Thursday, April 30, is National Animal Advocacy Day—a day to recognize a cause that’s very close to our hearts! We know that you, our wonderful ASPCA supporters, are fighting for stronger laws for animals all year long, but this is the perfect time for all of us to pause and ask ourselves how we can make our work together even more effective. Is your lobbying game on point? How do you know if your messages to legislators are getting through? We have some tips from insiders on being the best, strongest voice for animals you can be.
It’s all about becoming a known entity to your legislators. A staggering number of messages flow through legislative offices, and the way many offices handle and prioritize these communications is by sorting them by the perceived “value” of the sender. They want to see that you’re politically engaged: here’s what they’re looking for and how you can transform from a mere voice in the crowd to a valued constituent whose opinion is sought and respected!
1. Register to vote—and actually vote, especially in primary elections. Legislators want to stay in office, which means they want to hear from their constituents—not people who live outside their districts—and they really want to hear from the people who actually determine whether they get to keep their jobs: voters. When you email your elected official, staff will often cross-reference your information with district voting records to see if you’re a voter, and active voters have more value to them than someone who asks for things but who has no record of having voted. We’re sorry to say it, but if you’re not a voter, your message probably won’t be given as much consideration.
2. Sign up to receive e-newsletters from your federal and state legislators. Another way that legislators see if you’re engaged is by checking your email address against their internal lists. Almost all of them send out periodic email blasts, which you can sign up to receive from their official websites. Find your federal and state legislators here, then visit their sites and opt in for emails! These emails will also inform you of opportunities to meet your legislators, which brings us to…
3. Attend “town hall” (in-person) forums in your community. Whether it’s a formal Q&A held at your local library or a more casual get-together at a coffee shop, municipal, state and federal lawmakers frequently host in-district events to take the pulse of their constituents. These events are the perfect chance to become a familiar face to your legislators and their staff and, of course, to bring up animal-protection issues. Public speaking is not easy for many people, but the more you do it, the easier it gets—and in this case, it’s often simply a conversation you’re having with someone who represents you.
4. Join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade and act on our Advocacy Alerts. We’ll let you know when animal-friendly legislation is pending where you live, give you specific actions you can take and provide talking points to use with your elected officials. Taking action once enrolls you in the Advocacy Brigade. Get started right now:The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, which would ban horse slaughter and the export of American horses for slaughter, was just introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. Our web alert lets you quickly and easily contact your members of Congress on the bill’s behalf. Help us make 2015 the year we eliminate this vile practice for good—email your legislators here.
We hope these tips have inspired you to get active in the policy-making process and become a stronger voice for the causes that matter to you. Please email [email protected] with any questions, and thank you for celebrating National Animal Advocacy Day with us!
Yesterday Tyson Foods, Inc. announced that it will phase out the practice of feeding antibiotics to the broiler chickens it produces when those antibiotics are also used for human medicine. Tyson joins other companies including Perdue, McDonald's, and Chick-fil-A that have recently made similar statements.
While it is great that companies are responding to consumer concerns about the very real public health issue of drug resistance, removing antibiotics without improving living conditions on farms is like taking off a bandage and leaving an open wound exposed.
Chicken companies have relied on antibiotics to counteract the disease that runs rampant in today’s crowded, filthy industrial farms. Bred to grow four times as fast as chickens grew 60 years ago, today’s chickens have weak immune systems, suffer from high rates of lameness and often spend most of their lives lying in their own waste. Removing antibiotics without addressing these animal welfare issues leaves animals vulnerable to disease and could increase consumers’ exposure to foodborne bacteria.
That is why the ASPCA has joined the Center for Food Safety to call on the chicken industry to fulfill its responsibility to consumers and animals by providing more space, better sanitation and lower stress for birds in tandem with this reduction of antibiotics. Consumers are demanding not just safer products but higher animal welfare on industrial farms, and the two are inextricably linked. If you want to demand more humanely raised chicken where you shop, fill out our supermarket request card today!
Animals are known for their good instincts, so it seems only logical that they would know when they’ve arrived in the perfect place. That’s why, when Kurby the cat’s previous litter-box issues vanished in her new home, we knew she had found the forever family of her dreams. Here is her Happy Tail.
Kurby was found as a stray in Harlem, New York, last fall. A year-and-a-half old at the time, the 7-lb. Calico was timid and developed a reputation for being a bit of a grump. We knew that her perfect home was out there, but we also knew that cute Kurby would be picky—and we were right.
In early November, Kurby was adopted. She spent two days in her new home but refused to use the litter-box, instead leaving “accidents” all around the apartment. The adopters sensed that it wasn’t a good fit, so they returned her to the ASPCA to try again. Fortunately, it wasn’t long before Kurby met Liann and her boyfriend, Carl.
“When we first met Kurby, she was curled up in the corner of her kennel, not really interested in making eye-contact,” says Liann, whose sister Karen first spotted the shy kitty. A lifelong cat-lover, Liann had never adopted a feline of her own, and this was her first trip to the ASPCA Adoption Center. Recalling that first moment with Kurby, Liann laughs, “Carl and I felt, ‘we have to meet this grumpy kitty!’”
We informed the couple of Kurby’s litter box issues, but they had a good feeling about the quiet cat in the corner. “When we opened her kennel door, her eyes lit up and, after a small hesitancy in sniffing Carl’s extended hand, she stretched herself into purrs and pets,” says Liann. “Carl picked her up and placed her on his lap, and she gave no indication of irritation or distress.”
The couple went on to meet other animals at the Adoption Center, but they couldn’t get Kurby out of their mind and soon returned to her kennel. “When we came back to see her again and the greeting pattern remained the same, we knew she was the cat for us.”
Liann and Carl adopted Kurby that day, and, armed with knowledge of the cat’s litter box issues, “prepared to love and support her and guide her in the right direction should she need it.” But sure enough, something amazing happened when Kurby arrived in her new home: the litter box issues disappeared.
“I am very happy to report that not once has Kurby failed to make it to her box, or even slightly outside of her box!” Liann said in an update a few months later. “While she has always been a lover, I feel like she truly adopted us,” she adds. Kurby now runs to greet Liann and Carl whenever they come home, and she regularly follows the couple from one room to the next. “At night, she lies at our feet, and she chirps every time she jumps up to join us.”
Although it took two tries, Kurby made it clear that her second home was the one she had always hoped for. Liann says, “She has become such a sweet member of our family. We’ve got our little sidekick, and she’s got her forever home.”
Our Behavior team calls Gary a “busy body,” and for good reason! Like many New Yorkers, this affectionate and friendly pup is happiest when he’s on the move. Gary is an energetic guy who loves to be out and about—he’d make the perfect sidekick on your afternoon run or walk through the park.
This smart boy is a quick learner and picks up new skills very easily—he already knows sit, down, stay, paw and is working on roll over! Gary shows interest in playing with other dogs and with some guidance, we think he could make a few canine friends! This sweet dog would be thrilled to go home with an experienced adopter who is willing to give him plenty of daily exercise and playtime. Gary would do best in a household with teens-and-up. Adopt Gary today!
Garyis available for adoption at the ASPCA Adoption Center. If you are interested in adopting, please call our Adoptions Department in New York City at (212) 876-7700 ext. 4120. To learn more about Gary please visit his profile page.
To learn more about Gary and to watch him in action, check out the video below!
Lifestyle brand Alex and Ani and its charitable division, Charity by Design, have created a charm design in support of the ASPCA! Part of ALEX AND ANI | CHARITY BY DESIGN collection, the "Prints of Love" bangle features a paw print shaped charm and is available in both Rafaelian Silver and Rafaelian Gold. The ASPCA will receive 20% of the purchase price of each bangle sold through December 2015 to support our lifesaving work for animals across the country. ALEX AND ANI |CHARITY BY DESIGN is proud to support the ASPCA and its mission. ALEX AND ANI is dedicated every day to protecting animals all over the country through this support and is honored to be a part of a team so dedicated in animal welfare. To purchase the Prints of Love bangle, you may visit alexandani.com, Alex and Ani retail locations, or participating retail partners nationwide.