Matt’s Blog: A New Day for Animals in Need

January 20, 2021

Dog at the Washington Monument

By Matt Bershadker, ASPCA CEO

The first two weeks of 2021 revealed the worst and best of human behavior, but the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as President and Vice President signals new hope for our country, our government and the most vulnerable people and animals.

That historic transition didn’t come easily. The U.S. Capitol—and our democracy itself—had to withstand a vile attack by thousands of domestic terrorists, including white supremacists. In addition to denouncing the insurrection, it’s important to call out the systemic racial inequities and injustices in our country and institutions that create and sustain such conflicts.

Violent uprisings against the government affect animal welfare directly because creating systemic change for animals requires a stable and civil society, integrity in government and peaceful transitions of power, all of which were threatened this month.

As an organization, we forcefully condemn the lawless insurrection and seditious rhetoric purposefully designed to undermine a fair and decisive election, and join the multitude of organizations, businesses, leaders and individuals around the country dedicated to strengthening American society through honesty and compassion, not tearing it apart with deceit and division.

The insurrection did not succeed, but we must continue defending our most important values with determination and vigilance, including efforts to protect countless animals in need.

We’ve already begun working with the Biden Administration on several critical animal welfare issues affecting dogs, cats, equines and farm animals across the country and are encouraged by those discussions. We will also maintain our commitment to providing accessible and affordable veterinary care through programs that enable pet owners to keep their pets at home and out of shelters. The COVID-19 crisis and its devastating financial challenges and housing consequences make these programs and services more important than ever.

You can help make 2021 a year of renewed hope for vulnerable animals by adopting and fostering shelter animals, supporting local animal shelters and rescue organizations, and advocating for important federal, state, and local laws that protect animal lives.

President Biden and Vice President Harris have been strong advocates for animals throughout their professional careers and personal lives. Their support, combined with the powerful enthusiasm of animal lovers and advocates nationwide, inspires confidence that 2021 will be as hopeful and momentous for America’s animals as it is for our country.