The largest animal welfare non-governmental organization in the world, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), successfully organizes each year Animal Care Expo, the most important animal rights event worldwide. This year it was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, from May 21st to May 24th. I had the great opportunity to attend as a guest sponsored by Humane Society International (HSI), where I participated as Ambassador of World Animal Day, a UK-based organization.
Around 1,200 activists attended this event, from the United States and some 40 countries, such as India, Bangladesh, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Nicaragua, Peru, Mexico.
I had the honor to have a talk with Mr. Wayne Pacelle, who has been the Chairman/CEO of HSUS for the last eight years. He’s been the major strategist in achieving animal protection laws enacted directly by the electorate; furthermore, he has successfully campaigned in twelve states to impose a ban on cockfights and inhumane treatment of animals in factory farms, amongst other accomplishments. Mr. Pacelle said: “Thank you very much for the great anti-bullfighting work you’ve have been doing, I’m proud of the heroic job you’re carrying out.”
Moreover, many highly relevant lectures were delivered to enrich our work against speciesism, such as “Humanitarian Education”, “Future Planning in Natural Disasters and Animal Help” and “Enacting Laws against Animal Cruelty”, among others.
Ed Clark, Chairman of Wildlife Center of Virginia, in his lecture “Managing an Effective Organization,” shared his insights into the effective work of the NGO that he leads. He stressed the importance of raising animal rights activism to the standards of a successful company, asking us to think about what we want to do in order to improve the lives of millions of animals suffering from the indifference and cruelty perpetrated by our species onto others. He entreated us to make a declaration of our mission, one or two lines that describe the purpose of our labor. He emphasized that a mission keeps us together and highlighted that a plan without a mission is like a traveler without a compass. In addition, he pointed out the importance of having realistic goals directly linked to our cause, within a deadline to carry them out. He asked us to dream first and then to find a way to fulfill those dreams that will help to build a better future for people and for animals of other species. He stressed the fact that although we may have some differences, we must stand together to eradicate cruelty to defenseless animals. It is important to stop focusing on issues on which we disagree and focus instead on issues where we do agree. As Ed Clark says: “let’s sell our idea of animal protection to others.”
I ask you to be worthy representatives of the beings we defend, so that with our ethical example, good manners, organized and professional work we persuade others to join us.
Ara Ferris/World Animal Day (WAD) Mexico
Translated by María Guadalupe Zamorano.