Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Simple and Easy Tips to Increase Effectiveness of Animal Rights Activism

This article is very positive in that it shows that anyone can do simple acts and make a difference. This is from Oregon, but the tips are applicable anywhere.


Be effective in defending animal rights


By Laura Moss / The Bulletin

Published: November 20. 2007 5:00AM PST

It doesn’t matter if you are a wallflower or if you are outspoken, you can be a part of getting legislation passed that could possibly help your pet and other animals.

At a Lobby 101 seminar held at the Humane Society of Central Oregon in Bend recently, more than a dozen people were told that each person can have an impact.

“You don’t have to be an expert to have an influence and to have a voice,” said Kelly Peterson, Oregon state director for the Humane Society of the United States.

Face-to-face meetings are a great way to make your views known to your representative, Peterson said. Oregon has a legislative schedule that is conducive to that, because it convenes only every other year. That means legislators have more time to spend in their districts. In 2008, however, a short supplemental session is scheduled to begin Feb. 4.

For more info
Information on effective lobbying techniques may be found on the Humane Society of the United States Web site, www .hsus.org, as well as other animal-related Web sites, like www.aspca.org.
If a face-to-face meeting is not possible, phone calls and e-mail are quick and effective forms of contact, Peterson said. Letters sent through the post office may take up to six weeks to arrive, she added, because they have to be transported out of state to be tested for anthrax before they are delivered.

If you are unsure who your current representatives are, you can find out on the state’s Web site, www.oregon.gov, or by visiting the Humane Society of the United States Web site, www.hsus.org.

It is important to know what could influence a legislator to take on a proposed bill, Peterson said. The merits of the issue, cost, impact on a representative’s district and personal affiliations could play a role in a legislator’s decision, Peterson said.

Knowing whom to contact is key, she added. Be sure you are contacting your own representative, as they may be less likely to be influenced by somebody who is not a constituent. If a legislator is a committee chairperson on a committee that could play a role in getting certain legislation passed, be sure to contact them, especially because they are likely paying attention to the statewide impact of any legislation, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

And finally, remember that a bill is not complete until the governor has signed it, so calling Gov. Ted Kulongoski couldn’t hurt, either.

Informing the public is also important, and attending public meetings and writing letters to the editor are good ways to do that. Peterson said that if you do attend a public meeting, especially one where a representative is speaking, be sure to be friendly and not attack them if they sound as though they disagree with you.

That is important with any contact you have with your representative, she said. Compromise is going to be part of getting any legislation passed, so be ready to do so as long as the compromise will not harm any animals.

When attending public meetings with representatives, the Humane Society of the United States gives a few tips for being an effective animal advocate. First, introduce yourself by name, address and organization, if any. State a clear and concise objective, refer to bills by their numbers and names, explain why the issue is important to you personally, and never mislead them. If you are asked a question that you don’t know the answer to, tell them you don’t know, and that you’ll find out. Peterson said she has had to do this before, and it is much more appreciated than guessing at an answer.


There is one animal-related piece of legislation that is expected to be part of the special session, Peterson said.

This is significant because during the special session, each legislator is allowed to bring only one piece of legislation to the table, which suggests that the issue is important to him or her, according to Senate President Peter Courtney’s policy analyst Sasha Pollack.

Courtney is scheduled to propose increased penalties for any person believed to be present at a dog fight, as well as any person in possession of dog-fighting paraphernalia, according to Pollack. Currently, it is considered a misdemeanor to be present at a dog fight and to be in possession of dog-fighting paraphernalia. If Courtney’s proposed legislation passes, it would make those crimes a felony.

Courtney is also proposing to add items like treadmills to the list of possible dog fighting paraphernalia, Pollack said. She said other crimes related to dog fighting are already deemed felonies, and what Courtney is attempting to do is go back and tighten up the rest of the legislation related to dog fighting.

In the 2007 legislative session, there were two bills that dealt with household animals, according to www.leg.state.or.us.

According to the state’s Web site, the passage of Senate Bill 570 requires the state offices of emergency management and agriculture to develop plans to help companion animals, service animals and livestock in major disasters or emergencies. The plans will encompass evacuation, transportation and temporary sheltering of those animals.

Senate Bill 1017 deals with reporting animal abuse, according to the state’s Web site. The bill, which also passed, requires veterinarians and officials to report if an animal they have come in contact with has suffered or is currently suffering aggravated animal abuse or animal neglect in the first degree. Included in the bill is a provision that no civil suits may be brought against a person who reports such crimes,.

Both of these bills will be in effect beginning Jan. 1

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