Taking Action for Animals 2008 was held July 19–21 in Arlington, Virginia. There was a huge turnout for this TAFA conference.
What's driving the tremendous growth of the animal protection movement? The best answer comes from Grace Markarian in her response to a question about her HSUS role: "There is no moral justification for cruelty to animals. Knowing this will be a beacon on those dark days when you wonder if you are doing any good. Because the answer will always be yes."
TAFA 2008 included more than 75 speakers who are experts in animal issues and campaigning. Highlighted speakers from the West included U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer from Oregon (Dem), who was 2007 Humane Legislator of the Year, and Jarrod Cooper, Oakland Raiders player (safety).
Some of my favorite causes were represented. The Dogs Deserve Better team was there.
Alley Cat Allies, the national group that helps feral cats, had a very nice booth.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) was well represented, of course. Farm Sanctuary's founder and president, Gene Baur, was a featured speaker. So many booths with impawtant animal people and organizations! Rabbits, chimps, and prairie dogs had advocates, too.
Michael Markarian, head of the HSUS Legislative Fund (HSLF), was there. The HSLF is a separate lobbying affiliate of HSUS. HSLF publishes the Humane Scorecard, a Voter Guide, and HumaneLines, a free electronic newsletter with news and action alerts.
I'm a political dog — that's why they call me "pawlitico" — and I'm in accord with the HSLF slogan "It’s time to get political for animals." In California, I'm helping to get the word out about the November ballot initiative to Prevent Cruelty to Farm Animals. Tell all California humans to Vote Yes on Prop 2!
"On those dark days when you wonder if you are doing any good," know that you are, just by caring about little four-footed friends and other animals.
Credit for photos: Grace Markarian, HSUS
Paw note: This article is the first piece by pawlitico, our new team member. Pawlitico is the nom de paw of Jackie — a young, energetic and politically-minded canine whom we'll be hearing more from in the months and years to come.
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