Don’t Forget the WildlifePosted by Dana Campbell, ALDF's Chief Contract Attorney on April 28, 2008
A Sierra Club representative contacted me on Earth Day last week about possibly working on a future project together with ALDF, and it reminded me that our work overlaps in many ways–that protection of the environment is good for the animals, and vice versa.
I’m lucky enough to live in upstate New York, a place where deer, rabbits, and squirrels cross through my yard, and I have even seen the neighborhood’s elusive fox emerge from the nearby woods to trot up my street. Recently I discovered that if I take a certain road to the store, I might see a flock of 8 magnificent wild turkeys who must reside in a forest that borders a field where they rather recklessly hang out endlessly in full view from the road, if they are not in fact IN the road.
Seeing wildlife out in the open has absolutely thrilled me in an indescribable way ever since I was a child, and it still does. In those moments I truly feel like nature has chosen me to have a glimpse of a special, beautiful secret, and I hold my breath and watch as long as I can, until the animal returns to its normal place hidden out of view of humans (except for the turkeys).
All of which is a long way of saying, don’t forget the wildlife. I know that with all the work we do at ALDF on companion animal cases and farm animal issues, it’s easy to forget about the wildlife–who are usually exempt from most animal protection laws, hunted when out in the open, and whose habitat around the world is diminishing daily.
I’m teaching my 6-year-old son to appreciate these specially revealed moments in nature, to respect all animals, and to do what we can to ensure their habitat is preserved before it’s all gone. He thinks the deer are "awesome" and can identify as many bird species as I’ve been able to teach him (note to self: bone up on learning more bird species). Despite his mother’s extreme phobia about snakes, my son has embraced them. Literally. So we do what we can to remember the wildlife, and their environment, and hope others will too.