Animal Rights Awareness Week began in 1991 by the organization In Defense of Animals (IDA). Their aim? To raise awareness of the mistreatment of animals around the world and to educate in the importance of animal's rights being acknowledged. In Defense of Animals began in 1983 as a call to help mistreated animals at UC Berkeley's animal laboratories. The laboratories were in violation of the Animal Welfare Act, and IDA worked to rectify the inhumane conditions in which the animals were kept and treated. Since then they have become a global organization helping animals in need in every place and in every situation.
There are many ways to participate in Animal Rights Awareness Week both locally and globally:
Buy Cruelty-Free Products
Do research into the products that you purchase to be sure the manufacturers do not test on animals and are being produced in a humane way. Check PETA’s list here to see if products you use are tested on animals.
Stop Wearing Fur
Don’t wear products made with animal fur. Read labels if you are not sure your lining is synthetic or made with authentic fur. The fur trade continues to be a leading source of the inhumane treatment of animals.
Spread the Word on Social Media
Do use your social media connections to spread the word about animal rights and welfare. Help to educate others by sharing links and information. Challenge your friends to support you in your efforts to raise awareness.
Support Global Animal Efforts
Do consider donating to a cause. There are numerous foundations in support of animal rights and working to end canned hunts, illegal food trade, and poaching. African Wildlife Foundation and International Rhino Foundation are two examples of groups that are working to end the senseless poaching of rhinos and keep them from extinction. Find a cause close to your heart and support it, even if that means sharing information on social media.
Adopt, Don’t Shop
7.6 million animals get placed in shelters every year, and barely half of that number get adopted. Shelters often have purebred dogs and cats, though it is not commonly known. Buying a dog from a pet store most often means it originated from a puppy mill. Dogs who come from puppy mills are known to have hereditary problems and are born in deplorable conditions. Read our Blog on Puppy Mills for more information. If you can’t adopt, consider being a foster parent!
Support Local Spay and Neuter Programs
Stray animals that are well-fed reproduce at an alarming rate. One male cat can impregnate three-to-five females in one evening! That one evening could produce up to 30 kittens. Supporting your local programs can help reduce the feral population and also educate pet owners of the importance of spaying or neutering their pets. Rescue Adoption Clinic in Fort Pierce helps to minimize pet surrender by offering low cost spay/neuter services, They accept donations here. Operation CatSnip of the Treasure Coast has TNVR (trap/neuter/vaccinate/return) programs for Port St. Lucie and Fort Pierce. You can read about donating here.
Volunteer at a Local Animal Shelter
Many shelters are understaffed and overcrowded, which means residing dogs and cats do not get the enrichment they need to keep their anxiety levels at a minimum. Unfortunately, anxiety in a shelter animal makes them less adoptable. Volunteering to spend time with animals is not only fulfilling for you, but may also save their lives. Dogs and Cats Forever Animal Sanctuary is a no-kill shelter in Fort Pierce that would love to have your help! They also have a thrift store in Port St. Lucie with all proceeds going back to the shelter. Or if cats are more your thing, Caring Fields Felines in Palm City has many ways that you can help! Click here to find out how.
Report Animal Abuse or Mistreatment in Your Community
There are laws in place to protect pets from harm. If you witness or become aware of an animal in distress, click here to find out who to call in your area within Florida. For more information on local Florida animal laws, check out this site Animal Law in Florida.