The Politics of Animal Advocacy (From Janet)
This past week, just-do-something.org met with our New York State Senator’s Office of the 55th Senate District. For obvious reasons, for meetings like this, it’s important to stay on topic and remain focused on the goals that one wants to highlight. But, like many topics, animal advocacy encompasses so much. So when your meeting time and date comes, although you have your set agenda to discuss, your minds is whirling with everything else you want to share.
Our goals for this meeting were to discuss plans to heighten Animal Advocacy awareness in our county, and to formulate an agenda to introduce Animal Advocacy in our local school district. These types of meetings usually go two ways: 1 – Thank you for your time, however we can’t help you in your endeavor, or 2 – We want to hear more, let us bring this to the Senator for consideration.
Happily, we received reply 2.
We kept aware that there are only so many minutes in a meeting. So we were excited to be able to extend our meeting time to talk about additional aspects of Animal Advocacy; our journey to-date, and what we have been learning and experiencing along the way.
When we started this website, we had an idea of how we wanted to present it, and how we wanted to evolve. We clearly stated that ours was to be an endeavor without any political agenda. We meant that, and we still stand by that.
However, it still amazes me how so many individuals and organizations make Animal Advocacy just that – political. Many times, it seems like it matters LESS about the rescuing and advocating, and MORE about whose name is attached to a good work, whose title is higher, who works harder, who rescues better, who’s helping more, who does it better.
In the end, does it truly matter who did what during the rescue, during the saving, during making a difference in saving or bettering the life of an animal in need? I would think that what matters IS the rescue, the saving, making a difference in saving or bettering the life of an animal in need.
Many people may not be aware that we do more than share Animal Petitions and information on social media! I say this because in between that, and life, we are on e-mail, participating in telephone conferences, attending meetings, and helping others with advocacy issues.
This has led us into some interesting conversations about what some people think Animal Advocacy is about – (gasp) THEM.
Personally, I don’t care if my name or our website is associated with saving or bettering the life of an animal in need. For me, Animal Advocacy is doing something to make a difference, together or alone. There IS strength in numbers – but if the numbers are fighting against each other, if the numbers let egos reign over humble, if the numbers put recognition over just doing the work … well, there’s not much strength there.
It’s not about logos, or money, or popularity. It’s not about fame, or accolades, or recognition. Granted, BEING well-known helps to spread the word faster, but a person doesn’t need to be famous to JUST DO SOMETHING.
My point? Animal Advocacy is NOT about us. It’s about those that cannot speak for, or defend, themselves. Period. End of story.
And, at least for my county, I would like to see all the fantastic resources together in one room. Sharing ideas TOGETHER. Working TOGETHER towards the same goal.
We all may take a different road to get to the same destination. There’s nothing wrong with that. And, if we all end up at the same destination, then what harm is it if you wanted to take Route A, and I wanted to take Route B? When it comes to Animal Advocacy, we are ALL walking the same path.
Wouldn’t life be more harmonious and productive in the Animal Advocacy community if everyone felt like this? I think so.
This is how I ended our conversation at that meeting this past week. And when I left, we were both nodding our heads in agreement.