As a state representative of the Humane Society of the United States, one of the questions I’m asked most frequently is, “What can just one person, like myself, do to help animals?”
I get it. Often as individuals we feel helpless against large industries and trends like puppy mills and greyhound racing. But without the individual efforts of animal advocates across the country, we would not have made the important strides we have on the state and local level. For instance, all states now have felony animal cruelty laws and felony dog fighting laws.
On March 9, Kansas will celebrate Humane Lobby Day in Topeka. This is an excellent opportunity for individual Kansans to make a difference in the quality of life for animals in our state. The event offers an opportunity to meet with elected state officials and let them know in person that puppy mills and greyhound racing are not OK.
If you can’t join us for Humane Lobby Day in Topeka, there are other ways individuals can make a difference in the lives of animals, whether it’s by adopting a pet, choosing products not tested on animals or engaging our communities in animal protection issues. Here are some practical ways to help animals.
Make it personal
If you’re a pet owner, be sure your animals are spayed or neutered. I.D. your pets, and encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same.
If you’re not currently a pet owner, consider adopting a pet from a local shelter or rescue group. Companion animals have been shown to improve the health of their human housemates, yet nearly 3 million animals are destroyed every year because they can’t find homes.
Help reduce the number of animals abused by the beauty and household industry by purchasing cruelty-free products. Ask your local restaurants and grocery stores to add cage-free eggs and products from dairies that treat cows humanely to their dairy cases.
Support “compassion in fashion” by purchasing from fur-free retailers and designers.
Encourage your office and landlord to implement dog-friendly policies, and turn your outdoor space into a sanctuary for animals.
Help feral cats in your neighborhood by participating in a local trap-neuter-return program.
Sponsor a local classroom and purchase animal-friendly publications like Kind News magazine for the class.
Write a letter to the editor on an animal issue, and send a note to your local radio and TV stations asking them to air animal-friendly public service announcements. Post fliers in local coffee shops to spread the word about puppy mills and animal fighting and include anonymous tip lines.
Educate yourself on local animal issues, such as breed specific legislation or greyhound racing, and use social media to influence your circle of contacts to improve the lives of animals. Always send a note to your state and federal representatives whenever animal-important issues are facing your legislature.
Vote. Your voice matters.
For more information and resources on the suggestions above, such as a list of beauty product manufacturers that don’t conduct animal testing, visit the Humane Society of the United States’ website at HumaneSociety.org.
If you would like to be an advocate for animals at Kansas Humane Lobby Day, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Midge Grinstead is the Kansas state senior director of the Humane Society of the United States.