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July 18, 2011

Coming Together to Take Action for Animals

You can’t have a successful social movement without on-the-ground organizing and training. The goal of a group like The HSUS must be to strengthen its connections to people in communities throughout America and to train them to be more effective advocates. To that end, this weekend we greeted nearly 1,000 people at the Taking Action for Animals Conference in Washington, D.C., where they participated in workshops and programs to build their awareness and to provide them with a roadmap for stepping up their advocacy.

Volunteer Kitty Jones from Washington State
Volunteer Kitty Jones

On Saturday night, I recognized several people in the crowd for their stellar, self-sacrificing work for animals, and I was especially proud to cast a spotlight on one 18-year-old from Shoreline, Wash. Kitty Jones collected more signatures than any advocate has ever amassed in any ballot measure campaign in the history of our movement. She personally gathered 10,003 signatures of registered voters in support of a ballot measure to ban battery cages for laying hens, hitting the streets after school and then devoting all of her weekends to public signature gathering. She was part of the army of advocates who collected more than 350,000 signatures for I-1130.

Ultimately, that effort was leveraged to help us forge a historic agreement between The HSUS and the United Egg Producers (UEP) that, if approved by Congress, will improve conditions for more than 250 million laying hens total across the nation. Both groups have pledged to publicly support federal legislation to phase out barren battery cages and to provide more space and enrichments for birds, along with a national labeling program for consumers buying eggs.

When Kitty heard about the HSUS-UEP agreement to support federal legislation to phase out barren battery cages, she wrote, “With our minds set on the 6.5 million battery caged hens in Washington State, we were able to miraculously help and forever change the lives of every hen in the country if this bill is enacted.”

TAFA is an inspiring reminder of what each of us is capable of when we set our mind to a task. There are so many people who want to help animals, and they have decided they do not want to be bystanders to the crises that so many animals face. If you weren’t able to join us this year, you can always find more ways to help animals in your community here and on our website, humanesociety.org. We also have special resources for students here. In The Bond, I have an appendix that provides “50 Ways to Help Animals,” and I hope you’ll consult the list and take action in as many ways as you can.

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