There are many ways for non-lawyers to get involved in animal law. Check out the ten tips below!
- Sign up for the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Action Alerts, connect with us on social media to share our cases and campaigns, and donate to support our work.
- Action Alerts are a powerful way to make your voice heard. The term “Action Alert” refers to contacting a legislator or another official by phone or email to urge him or her to support or oppose a specific piece of legislation or policy. Some people are dismayed by the current political climate and feel that their voice doesn’t matter. It does. Legislative aides keep track of all the calls, emails, and messages that their legislator receives on each issue (and whether constituents support or oppose the bill). Legislators want to be re-elected and are influenced by their constituents’ views – but only if they know about them. Even if the legislator ultimately does not vote in the way you hoped, you can be certain that your stance was noted.
- Go the extra mile by making a phone call. Sometimes people contact us and ask if they can just sign a petition instead. Unfortunately, the answer is no. Petitions can be helpful tools but they do not take the place of picking up the phone or sending an email to your legislator. Think of it this way – it’s very easy to sign a petition, it takes a little more work to send an email, and takes even more effort to make a phone call. Legislators know this and place value on each action accordingly. So if you feel passionately about a proposed bill, pick up the phone and politely let your legislator (or her staff member) know.
- Get involved with animal initiatives at the local level. Ordinances (local laws at the city or county level) prohibiting circuses that use wild animals and banning pet stores from selling puppies and kittens unless they are sourced from a rescue organization or shelter are sweeping the country. Not only are these ordinances important to protect animals in your own community, they lead to bigger change. For example, after dozens of California municipalities adopted retail pet sale bans, in 2017, California became the first state in the country to ban the retail sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits unless they are from a shelter or rescue.
Educate yourself and others about animal law.
- Many people are surprised to learn that there are virtually no laws protecting farmed animals from cruel treatment. Spread awareness about the realities of factory farming to promote change.
- Our regular series, Animal Law Updates, offers a comprehensive, detailed look at the latest developments in animal law and they’re written for a non-legal audience. Our Animal Law Academy offers webinars taught by Animal Legal Defense Fund attorneys and other experts on topics including animals’ legal status, puppy mills, and Ag-Gag laws.
Use your voice!
- Spread the word by joining our ROAR program – our social media ambassador program. ROAR members commit to sharing posts every week about the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s work, including Action Alerts, and news about animal law and animal protection.
- If you see animal cruelty or neglect, report it immediately.
- Writing letters to the editor can bring your message to a much wider audience than your friends and family. Find tips here.
Support the animal protection movement.
- The legal system does not exist in a vacuum; it is a reflection of our culture and shared values. The law typically follows rather than creates social change, so working to change attitudes and norms regarding acceptable treatment of animals is essential to creating long-term legal change.
- The book Striking at the Roots: A Practical Guide to Animal Activism is a good resource for incorporating activism into everyday life.
- Our Hen House’s “14 Tips for Getting a Job in Animal Rights” has some helpful advice for getting a job in animal protection generally
Today the House of Representatives voted 272 to 114 to pass the Big Cat Public Safety Act. Endorsed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the bill prohibits the private ownership of big cats and makes it illegal for exhibitors to allow direct contact with cubs.December 3, 2020 Press Release
The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit against the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) over the agency’s critical redactions in a contract between the USDA’s Wildlife Services program and a Colorado slaughterhouse, outlining plans for slaughtering geese rounded up in parks across Denver.November 23, 2020 Press Release
New White Paper Offers Policy Recommendations to Combat Zoonotic Diseases and Pandemic Risk from Factory FarmingThe Animal Legal Defense Fund released the second in a series of white papers — COVID-19 and Factory Farming —providing policy recommendations to address industrial animal agriculture’s role in our heightened risk for zoonotic diseases outbreaks, like COVID-19, and its potential to be the source of the next global pandemic.November 19, 2020 Press Release