New wave of animal advocates
It started with an idea: What if one week per year was dedicated to training people on how to create sustainable, locally driven change to benefit countless animals? The idea became a reality for a week this spring, with the goal to recruit 1,000 people to join the first-ever National Action Week for Animals. People across the country could sign up to learn, for free, from experts at Best Friends. They could learn things like how to approach local government about helping cats, connect with other animal advocates, and share information that makes a difference.
Advocacy is a key part of supporting every shelter in every community to reach no-kill nationwide by 2025. That’s why it’s so important that animal lovers everywhere know how to uncover the issues facing dogs and cats in their area — and how to help resolve those issues. Some laws and ordinances protect animals and the people who care for them, but others are disastrous, resulting in pets being killed.
“We wanted to have one week in which everyone in the country, no matter where they live, could participate in collective action to help animals — and this year, cats specifically,” says Kaitlyn Simmons, Best Friends senior manager of grassroots advocacy.
More than 1,000 people sign up
Remember, the goal was to sign up 1,000 people for National Action Week for Animals. Well, that didn’t happen. Instead, more than 3,200 people registered. It was a smashing success.
The week was filled with online trainings and presentations, and experts were on hand to answer questions. People wrote personal letters to their elected officials to make it clear that saving animals’ lives is important to them. The week ended with a day of action, when participants organized around an issue facing animals in their community.
Best Friends staff were there in Riverside, California, and Weslaco, Texas, to support local advocates, as those are key areas where the work is needed. Whether people joined virtually or in person, they came away with new confidence that their voices matter.
And when many people in a single community voice their support for animals, it means lives are saved. Kaitlyn says, “Alone, we have power, but together we can do anything and create sustainable change.”