The 17th June – 23rd June is Animal Rights Awareness Week

Written by Lauren Brink

This week gives us an opportunity for us to learn how we can help to end animal abuse. All animals, both big and small, enrich our lives in many ways, yet we often don’t treat them with the respect and compassion they deserve.

Animal Rights Milestones

  • The first animal rights bill in history, named Martin’s Act, was introduced into Irish law in 1822.
  • PETA is formed in 1980 and they organise the first World Day for Laboratory Animals protest in the U.S. and the first demonstration against chicken slaughter at Arrow Live Poultry
  • In 1980, Belgian-American animal rights advocate, Henry Spira, paid for a full-page advertisement in The New York Times that featured a rabbit with sticking plaster over the eyes which the caption: “How many rabbits does Revlon blind for beauty’s sake?”.
  • Avon stops testing their products on animals in 1989 and in 1990 Revlon follows suit.
  • In 1993, General Motors stops using live animals in crash tests.
  • National Institute of Health stops funding of new experiments on chimpanzees in 2011 and the documentary ‘Blackfish’ reaches a mass audience, causing widespread public criticism of SeaWorld in 2013.

Local Players

In South Africa, the National Council of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals(NSPCA) was founded in 1955 as the Federation of SPCAs to bring uniformity to welfare legislation and standards. Apart from dealing with legislation and specialist matters, the NSPCA also operates in areas where there is no existing SPCA, where support is required or in response to disasters such as; floods, fires, etc.

Our second largest independent animal welfare organisation, the Anti-Cruelty League (as it was formerly known) was formed in 1956 by Olga R. Allen, Martin Hind and Wendy Harvey. Soon after the Anti-Cruelty League was renamed to the Animal Anti-Cruelty League (AACL) and last year they celebrated 60 years in animal care and protection.

Lending A Hand

There are many ways to do your part in support of animal rights, but here are a few we would recommend:

  1. Foster a pet in need.
  2. Hold a fundraiser for your favourite animal shelter/charity and donate the proceeds.
  3. Investigate and search for an animal shelter/charity (NPO) near you and volunteer your time.
  4. Pledge to eat less meat.
  5. Search for your local animal charity’s wish list and donate where possible.

Animal Rights Awareness Week is an excellent time to acknowledge the hard work that is done for animals by our local organisations. It’s also the right moment to learn about what is being done in your town and what volunteer opportunities might be out there. So, we hope that we have inspired you to make a different for those who can’t do it for themselves.