!Let's Talk! Button

Askov – 320-838-3176
Hinckley – 320-384-7004 
Let’s Talk! 320-838-3176

National Animal Advocacy Day

April 15, 2024

There’s a pretty special day around the corner: National Animal Advocacy Day is the 30th. This is one cause that is truly near and dear to our hearts. Our animal companions are just as emotional and loving as people are, and they truly help enrich and fulfill our lives. However, they cannot control their own fates: it’s up to us to do that for them. Read on as an Askov, MN vet discusses this important cause.

What Causes Animal Welfare Issues?

There’s not just one thing to blame for the variety of issues that can impact animals and their health, happiness, safety, and well-being. Several factors come into play. Simple carelessness and cruelty are, unfortunately, nothing new. But there are many other aspects to this problem.

Some of these include animals being used for medical experiments, lack of veterinary care/proper care in domestic animals, the exotic animal black market trade, and factory farming, to name just a few.

Another big one would be animals being used as entertainment. This could cover everything from racing to the elephant people pay to ride at a fair or in a park. Disasters can also come into play, as can war and poverty. These tragedies impact both people and animals.

Climate change and habitat loss are also factors. True animal advocacy covers all animals, including the wild ones. Habitat loss is a big one for wildlife. The numbers on this are pretty sobering.

  • About 94 percent of temperate forests have been disturbed by farming and logging.
  • As much as 98 percent of old-growth forests have been lost.
  • Only 3 percent of America’s prairies and grasslands are left untouched.
  • More than half of America’s wetlands have been destroyed. In Europe, the number is even higher: estimates range between 60 and 70 percent.
  • Over 50% of wetlands in the U.S. have been destroyed in just the last 200 years. Again, it’s even worse overseas: between 60% and 70% of European wetlands are gone.

Getting involved with local conservation groups, taking steps to plant native flora, and reducing your use of toxic chemicals are all small things you can do to help. Got a yard? Jump on the no-mow May train, and give birds and bees a chance to eat those dandelions before you chop them down. 

How Do I Become An Advocate For Animals?

You don’t have to invest a lot of time or money into advocacy to make a difference. This is one area where every voice matters, and small steps can lead to great strides.

The best place to start is with your own pets. This can be as simple as doing some research to learn a bit more about your animal companion, their needs, their body language, and what it takes to make them happy. Your Askov, MN vet is also a great resource for this!

With many animals—particularly dogs and cats—simply taking time to get your pet fixed can make a huge difference. It may sound cute and fun to let Fluffy or Fido have a litter or two, but ultimately those adorable puppies and kittens are just adding to the issue of animal overpopulation.

Making sure that your pet is microchipped, fixed, and wearing proper ID tags is also important. This is a very simple thing you can do to provide a safety net for your pet if they were ever to get lost.

It’s also important to buy responsibly. Are you looking for a new animal companion? The slogan Adopt, Don’t Shop is a great rule of thumb to follow. If you do go through a store or breeder, make sure to choose one that is well-reputed.

You can also help by supporting animal rescues and by supporting laws and regulations that protect animals.

Getting The Next Generation Involved In Animal Welfare

Do you have little ones? This is a great time to talk to them about the importance of good animal welfare. 

Here are a few ways you can get the littles on board.

Education: Go to a bookstore, thrift store, or even the library, and get a few good books about animals. Many children are both fascinated by and also very empathetic about our furry friends. You can also watch a kid-friendly documentary, and talk about it.

Crafting For Shelter Pets: Contact local shelters or rescues and see if there are any items they could use. There are all sorts of cute toys, beds, and furniture pieces that can be great DIY options. These also make excellent rainy-day projects for kids! Look online for specific ideas and instructions. There are plenty of great ones out there to pick from.

Support Animal Shelters And Rescues: There’s no shortage of organizations out there working hard to help as many animals as they can. You can go with something nearby, but if you have a special fondness for a specific breed or animal, you can also look for rescues that specialize in that niche. Chances are, you’ll find some awesome ones! Your Askov, MN veterinarian may also be able to suggest local rescues and shelters. 

Here are a few other things you can do:

  • Host a yard sale or bake sale, with proceeds going to a local animal welfare organization.
  • Host a pet supply drive for a local shelter.
  • There are also some great toolkits and resources available from various organizations. For instance, the ASPCA has a bunch of good ones. If your child is in school, suggest this information to educators.
  • Virtually adopt or sponsor a wild or rescued animal. You can do this online. You may be able to get updates about your new buddy’s status and location.
  • Get involved in local kids’ programs, such as 4H.
  • Set up birdfeeders and plant native flora to help local wildlife.

What Is The Animal Welfare Act?

Enacted back in ’66, the AWA is the only federal law in America that regulates the way animals are treated in research, transport, exhibition, and by dealers. It has been amended several times, but there are still some loopholes.  You can find more information and a quick reference guide here.

How Do I Track Animal Advocacy Legislation?

The Animal Welfare Institute is a great resource for this. The site can be found here. It covers a wide variety of topics, from horse-drawn carts to shark finning. The ASPCA is also a great source. 

What Progress Has Been Made With Animal Welfare Recently?

This is a pretty sobering topic, so we definitely want to end on a good note. 2024 is starting out on the right foot—or paw, or hoof—in this regard. Several new laws on the books are going in the right direction.

Here are a few examples:

  • In California, new mandates require the use of non-animal-based tests for specific products, such as pesticides, food additives, and chemicals.
  • Michigan became the 16th state to pass laws ensuring that any dog or cat used in research be put up for adoption after the trial has ended.
  • New York pet stores will no longer sell dogs, cats, or rabbits, taking a bite out of the puppy mill industry.
  • Pet stores in Pennsylvania are now required to post breeder information and health documents about puppies.
  • The USDA released Organic Livestock And Poultry Standards, which legislates that animals must be treated according to outlined welfare standards.

Additionally, many more companies and restaurants are moving towards selling eggs from cage-free hens. Dollar Tree, for instance, has 100 stores selling cage-free eggs. There’s also a growing interest in plant-based menus and options. 

Make An Appointment With Your Askov, MN Veterinarian

Is your own pet due for an exam? Contact us, your local Askov, MN pet hospital, today! We are dedicated to offering both great service and top-notch care.