Kool & the Gang Said it BestPosted by Tom Linney, Animal Law Program Staff Attorney on July 29th, 2010
So I just returned from the Taking Action for Animals Conference in D.C. and have to say that one of the things that I enjoyed most was the banquet performance by Hal Sparks. As a well-known comedian and supporter of animal causes, I was really curious to hear what his stand-up bit would be like. Of course, trying to re-tell a comedian’s joke never leads to the kind of laugh that he or she was able to get so I won’t dare try. But I laughed a lot and he had great commentary on a variety of issues. There was one in particular that stuck with me (along with his joke about the sweltering heat and the conference being held at the time when D.C. was closest to the sun!) He said something to the effect of, we (in the animal protection community) can be a pretty morose group at times. And with millions of animals abused every day in factory farms, dog fighting rings, circuses, laboratories, puppy mills, etc… you can see why.
But his suggestion was that we should act more like dogs. A dog may have been beaten, stabbed or shot, and the next day he or she will be there, wagging their tail and moving side to side in front of you to get your attention. The truth is we do have to take time to reflect on all the good that has and is being done for animals. When he said this, I thought of the attorney and law student reception ALDF hosted shortly before the banquet. At this reception, I had the great fortune of meeting both new and long-time practicing attorneys and current and soon-to-be law students. They came from all over – states like Vermont, Illinois, Pennsylvania, D.C., New Jersey, Oregon, New York, Texas, Kentucky and even the Virgin Islands. And they came from all types of backgrounds – criminal, non-profit, corporate, military, policy, children’s rights, etc… Some were former, current, or soon-to-be SALDF members and two had worked as summer clerks for ALDF. Some were new and anxious to get involved in animal law issues; others were leading experts in the field. Seeing this wide spectrum of talented attorneys devoted to the field really gave me hope for the future of animals and animal law in general. Let’s CELEBRATE our victories and stay positive about the work to come.
So in those instances when we feel like pulling a Debbie Downer and talking about how Mad Cow Disease can live in your body for years before it ravages your brain or how feline AIDS is the number one killer of domestic cats, think twice. Take on the spirit of a dog you know. And right on queue, my formerly neglected, rescue dog just rolled over and showed me his tummy. Lesson learned.