Sunday, October 19, 2014

Calling Your Legislators: This Makes A Difference!

Your voice and your vote are powerful-- use them to make your state more animal-friendly. If you are reading this blog, you probably at some time or another have felt helpless regarding the inhumane treatment of animals. I also feel that way at times. What helps me is to think of all the things that can be done, large or small, to chip away at the problem. It helps me even more thinking of all the changes that have been made due to the hard work of others who care enough about the welfare of animals to dedicate their time and energy to the cause. This has motivated me and made me realize that we CAN make a difference. There are lots of small things we can do. For example, If we have money, we can make a donation to an animal rescue organization. If we don't have extra money to contribute, we can volunteer at our local shelter as a dog walker. We can spread the word that adopting from shelters rather than buying from pet stores or the internet is what will put an end to #puppymills .

One thing I want to encourage everyone to do is call your legislator. Though you may ask yourself, "What difference will one phone call make?", I can assure you that it does make a difference. This is just one of many things I have learned through my friendship with #AnnieHornish, the Humane Society of the United States' Director for the State of Connecticut. From 2009 to 2011, Annie was the representative for District 62 in the Connecticut House of Representatives so she has sat in the chair of the elected official. She is the person that stressed to me how important it is to call your representative and tell them which issues are important to you. I was surprised when she said that a relatively small number of calls can swing their vote. Another thing I learned from Annie is that the more time and effort you put into this contact, the more seriously they take your opinion. When you think about it this makes sense. After all, anybody can send off a quick email to give their opinion but it takes more time and effort to call and ask to speak with the representative or even better, ask the representative to meet you for a ten minute conversation over coffee. Now THAT shows you really care about the issue. When I haven't been able to speak to the representative, I leave a message with his or her aid stressing my position. Part of my message is always that I care very much about the humane treatment of animals and that I always vote. Go online and see how your representatives have voted in the past on bills that concern animal welfare so you know who to support. While you are there, check out their voting record on other issues that are important to you as well. One of my representatives has a voting record that shows she is definitely not a friend to animals. I spoke personally with her as part of a small group of animal advocates and like most politicians, she was polite and listened to what we had to say. However, when we left her office it was clear that she didn't plan on changing her position on animal issues. In our district there is pressure from hunters so in order to change her vote she would need to hear from more constituents who advocate for animals. You can bet I spread the word about this to my friends who are opposed to animal cruelty and I would go to the polls on November 4th if for no other reason than to cast my vote against her. I encourage you to call your representatives (get their contact information online) and let them know what you care about. Our votes keep them in office or boot them out so make your opinion known and make a difference. I hope you will use your vote to help create a kinder world for our animal friends.

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