Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pop Over to POPVOX Today

Yesterday I discovered this is National Justice for Animals Week, sponsored by the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Fortunately, I did my part without even realizing it.

On Thursday, I attended (by invitation) Humane Lobby Day in Frankfort, Kentucky, the capital of the Bluegrass State. Most states have a Humane Lobby Day, which is a brainchild of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). It’s the annual designated day when animal welfare advocates from across a state gather to persuade legislators to craft laws that protect animals from neglect, cruelty, and abuse and to support those laws with tougher sentencing and better law-enforcement training. At least, I thought that was our mission.

Instead, I found a disheartening small number of attendees (though the event organizer announced it was the largest turnout for the event in the 10 years it’s been held), speakers who couldn’t hold the audience’s attention, and too many under-informed, first-time advocates (like me) sent to speak one-on-one with legislators (the three people I was assured would do all the talking in my meeting with a Congressperson didn’t show!).

The clear (yet unintended) message of the day: As you were, legislators. Go ahead and keep doing whatever agribiz lobbyists and “sportsmen” want you to do. Most Kentuckians don’t care about animal welfare, and the few who do may easily be ignored.

What the legislators didn’t know was that the event was by invitation only. Or, more specifically, you had to RSVP to attend. This is understandable for the folks who agreed to meet with legislators at appointed times. But as far as networking with like-minded people (another goal for the day) and rallying in front of the press and Capitol visitors, the event should have been widely publicized—should have pulled in as many supporters as possible to show Frankfort and the media that animal advocates are a force to be listened to.

“I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.”
—Abraham Lincoln

The refrain I heard again and again on Thursday regarding humane animal treatment was “It’s just common sense.” It’s just common sense that after animals have been abused, they shouldn’t be returned to the abuser. It’s just common sense that farm animals should be able to turn around in their pens. It’s just common sense that sick cows that can’t even stand up for slaughter should not become the beef served to schoolchildren in the U.S. It’s just common sense that a double-decker truck built for pigs shouldn’t be used to transport horses. It’s just common sense that animals need food, water, exercise, shelter, medical care, and attention.

Newsflash, folks: It isn’t. It’s not at all about common sense, which is apparently in short supply in the Bluegrass and Washington, D.C. Animal advocates aren’t fighting unused common sense. They’re fighting GREED and a LACK OF COMPASSION—the driving forces behind the Iraq War, the housing debacle, and the new Sandhill Crane hunting season in Kentucky. Animal advocates are up against the Dark Side of Capitalism and the free rein given to sociopaths. The battle is fierce. It requires wit and wisdom and patience and perseverance—and every single compassionate human we can persuade to join us.

Today is the last day of National Justice for Animals Week, but it’s not too late for you to take part. With a click of your mouse at POPVOX, you can voice your support of animal welfare legislation being considered by Congress. Yes, you’ll have to register, but it’s short and easy. Plus you can see how legislators across the country voted on other issues important to you. Or go to and sign a petition.

Please speak up for the voiceless. If not today, soon.

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