As the daughter of two veterinarians, Julia Tursi learned to care for animals at a very young age. When one of her mom’s colleagues introduced her to the Humane Society of the United States just a few years ago, she learned how to advocate for them, too. She has spoken out and helped raise money to support farm animal welfare, equine protection, the fight to end puppy mills and more.
“During the past two years, I’ve been able to do a little of everything for everyone,” says Julia, 17, a high school student from Lansdale, Pennsylvania. “I have a passion for farm animal advocacy, and that’s what made me stick with the organization.”
She has spread the word about the cruel treatment of animals on factory farms and is currently advocating for Victoria’s Law (S.B. 44). Named after a puppy mill survivor, the state bill would end the sale of commercially bred dogs, cats and rabbits in Pennsylvania pet stores.
“I’ve always been aware of puppy mills because of my parents’ work,” says Julia, who also promotes the bill on social media. “They’ve seen the genetic issues and problems these dogs show up with, and it’s really heartbreaking. To be able to work on this is huge because I can already see how big of a difference this bill will make, and it will pass, I know it.”
She felt a little nervous about lobbying for the bill at the state Capitol, but HSUS state director Kristen Tullo showed her the ropes, and she took it from there. “Julia is truly a lover of all animals and gives her heart and soul to this cause,” Tullo says. “We’re so lucky to have young allies like her.”