Most people love animals. And even if you prefer humans, know that that (as Ghandhi said) ‘the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated’. Nearly all serial killers have a history of animal abuse. George Ansell (who started up a US version of the RSPCA) was once asked why he focused so much on animal welfare, when there was so much abuse to man. He replied ‘I am working at the roots’.
In her book Thanking the Monkey, Karen Dawn writes that the reason animal welfare campaigners are often seen as ‘feisty’ is because we spend a lot of time being accused of ‘not caring about humans’, just because we care for other species too. She writes that ‘compassion is not a pie’. Just because you love rhinos does not mean that you don’t love human babies. Just because you disagree with animal vivisection does not mean that ‘you don’t care about humans dying of cancer’. Just because you’re vegan doesn’t mean that you don’t empathise with the plight of farmers losing their land to greedy supermarkets or feel for the traumatised immigrant working in an abattoir.
Advocates for Animals is a new organisation run by lawyers, specialising in animal welfare. It’s been set up by two solicitors with vast combined experience in animal protection law, (all lawyers and students can find helpful information at A-law). Also see where to find free & low-cost legal help for pets.
Animals & Society Institute runs AniCare, which trains probation officers to stop animal abuse. It has manuals for both adults and children (include those who have witnessed animal abuse). Studies show that nearly all serial killers have a history of animal abuse.
Books to Create a Better World for Animals
Treated Like Animals looks at the way the British treat animals – eating around one billion chickens each year in a world where 60% of all mammals on earth are now livestock. In 2020, around 2.88 million scientific procedures on living animals were carried out in Britain, yet humane research is not just kinder but cheaper and more effective. Yet still people continue to donate to the main medical charities that use these outdated forms of research, which delay cures for ‘incurable disease’.
This book (written by a vet and naturalist) looks at how our consumer habits can create change. Animals deserve better and understanding the inconsistencies of attitudes and the law (and what is deemed acceptable practice) is an important first step. If you love barnyard friends, don’t eat them – or at least eat less of them and pay more for free-range. If you don’t know the science behind why humane research is better, look it up and then switch who you donate to. Don’t take your child to visit caged unhappy animals in zoos or aquariums, just to ‘keep the status quo’. Be brave enough to make informed and intelligent decisions, for the benefit of all beings – whether wild or domestic, free-living or captive.
Most vets spend a lot of their time facilitating society’s exploitation of animals: helping them grow well so we can eat them, ensuring they recover from going lame so we can ride them, and stopping disease so they don’t poison us. These are services we don’t like to talk about.
Saving Animals: A Future Activist’s Guide is a guide for anyone age 7 to 17 to animal and environmentalism activism (peaceful ways to create change). The book covers all aspects of animal protection – from pets to farm animals to wildlife), plus how to make the world a better place for animals including vegan outreach, animal advocacy and volunteering. Whatever your personality, skills or age, you’ll find something to inspire.
You’ll learn why animal protection is vital for all living beings and our planet, and find over 2 dozen interviews and stories with young activists (from 7 to 22) who are doing amazing things, to help create a kinder world. Catherine Kelaher was raised in England and now lives in Australia, where she is founder of a charity that rescues and re-homes animals from factory farms.
How to Be An Activist is by experienced campaigner Vanessa Holburn, with a foreword by award-winning animal welfare campaigner Lorraine Platt. It covers all you need to know to start a successful local campaign, from identifying the issues to learning how to work effectively with media, and staying safe within the law.
- Identifying the problem
- Finding your tribe
- Getting organised
- Gathering your information
- Spreading the message
- Direct action
- Online petitions
- Pressure groups
- All-party parliamentary groups
- The media & social media
- Budgeting & fundraising
- The law for campaigners
- Personal safety
Essential reading for anyone looking to start a grassroots campaign. And useful bedtime reading for some of our political parties too. Hannah Beckerman
I wish this book was available when I started campaigning for accessible toilets. Sarah Brisdion, Changing Places
There’s no time like the present to make the world a kinder safer place for all beings. This wonderful book will empower you to get up off your sofa and make that change. Emily Lawrence
Vanessa Holburn is used to waving banners in the rain. A working journalist, she was instrumental in creating Lucy’s Law, which has recently finally banned puppy mills in the UK. She is proof that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary change.
A Book for Animal Activists & Others
Aftershock is an important book on how those involved in stressful campaigns can recover enough to carry on. Written for people who work in areas like animal or human rights abuses, the main issue is often a world that does not care. Many activists do so much wonderful work, but then struggling with the physical and emotional reverberations of frightening, horrifying or traumatising experiences in the course of their work. This book explores the culture of trauma that people have created through our violent exploitation of the earth, animals and each other. And says that the obvious solution is to heal these injuries, by creating a more peaceful work. The book is also useful for therapists who treat trauma, and anyone who wants to reduce the amount of terror in the world.