You Can Help Pets and Other Animals in Just One Day
Pets, wildlife and other animals can't ask for better laws, but you can. Be their voice at Humane Lobby Day
Heidi Osterman has never felt more empowered to help animals, and she owes it all to Humane Lobby Day.
Osterman, a Maryland resident, became a vegetarian at 15, works with a local elephant advocacy group and volunteers at a horse sanctuary, but she found her calling last year when she attended her first Humane Lobby Day, an HSUS-sponsored event in state capitals across the country where animal advocates learn how to push for laws that protect animals. Osterman met with state legislators to urge them to support pro-animal bills that session. At the end of that exhilarating day, it was clear: "That’s how I could help animals."
How Humane Lobby Day works
At each Humane Lobby Day, HSUS state directors meet with attendees to walk them through the issues and share fact sheets. Then the advocates disperse to meet with legislators or members of their staff. The brief meetings generally don’t leave time for wading into details, but advocates who aren’t sure how to answer questions can offer to have HSUS staff follow up with the information.
Why Humane Lobby Day is important
Lawmakers see a tremendous number of bills, says Heather Carpenter, HSUS director of state grassroots campaigns. A legislator may be silent on animal issues not because they don’t care about animals, but because they haven’t heard from constituents, she says.
Humane Lobby Day gives advocates a chance to change those perceptions. In some cases, just a few phone calls can make a difference. "These people are your neighbors, and you have an influence on them," Osterman says.
After her first Humane Lobby Day, Osterman began working working with state lawmakers to pass an elephant ivory and rhino horn ban in Maryland. "At the state level, you really can make a difference."
Heidi O., Maryland: "I had never lobbied before, so Humane Lobby Day was my chance to learn the process. My assignment was to talk about a roadside zoos bill. The next day Frank Turner, one of my delegates in District 13, signed on as a co-sponsor."
Ashley T., Tennessee: "I attended Humane Lobby Day for the first time this year, having no idea what to expect. I was thrilled to meet both of my state legislators, as well as many other animal welfare advocates just like me. I'm now the District Leader in my area, and I really feel I've found my niche in advocating for humane treatment of animals through our legislative process."
Haydon K. (15), Kentucky: "I have enjoyed attending Humane Lobby Day with my mom and one of our rescued dogs. Kentucky has the weakest laws in the country for animals. I am hoping to help change that by the time I am an adult."
At Humane Lobby Day, many of us are making our voices heard; it's empowering!" - Sharlene F., Indiana
Ruth S., New Jersey: "I came to lobby day as an animal rescuer and left as an animal advocate who later convinced my town to implement a trap-neuter-return program in lieu of killing community cats (and that was just the beginning)."
Jack L., Connecticut: "Humane Lobby Day not only helped me learn how to make laws that help animals, but it was a great networking opportunity with people from all over the state who, like me, care about animals!"
Robert M., Arizona: "It was a great day all by itself, but it also proved to be a gateway for me. Heartened by my Humane Lobby Day experience, and now knowing my way around the state capitol offices, I began to attend hearings on animal protection bills and to communicate with my representatives."
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