• Cierra Voelkl

National Justice for Animals Week is Here!

The week of February 24th to March 9th brings us National Justice for Animals Week presented by the Animal Legal Defense Fund. This was started in an effort to bring awareness to animal abuse along with how to go about reporting incidents and standing up to the government for stricter laws. From ALDF: "Each year’s event features seven days of actions, and a representative – an animal whose experience with the justice system helps illustrate the law’s power to do more for animals. The annual week of awareness is capped off with the announcement of America’s Top Ten Animal Defenders – the list of top prosecutors, law enforcement officials, lawmakers and others who champion the cause of animal crime victims."

Photo Credit: Adventures of a Frugal Mom

The tile of 2019 representative goes to Justice the horse who is the center of a groundbreaking lawsuit that was started on her behalf. If they win, it will set a precedent for animals to sue their abusers in court. In 2017, Justice as found at just 8 years old starving, suffering from frostbite and numerous other injuries after his "owner" failed to give him even the most basic care like food and shelter. Justice was a whopping 300 pounds UNDERWEIGHT! While the abuser did plead guilty to criminal animal neglect but her consequences did not include paying for his care from that point forward. While Justice is now in the hands of the Sound Equine Options nonprofit in Oregon, he is having a tough time finding a permanent family due to his extensive injuries and the large expense to care for him. If all goes well with the lawsuit, the ALDF hopes that it will further make the public aware that animals are sentient beings that deserve our respect.

Photo Credit: ALDF

The following comes from the Animal Legal Defense Fund:

"There are seven actions you can take—one for each day of the week.

  • Be prepared. Know what to do when you witness animal cruelty.

  • Familiarize yourself with your state animal protection laws.

  • Sign up for Action Alerts so you can take action on national and local animal issues.

  • Don’t just read the news—make it! Write a letter to the editor about an issue involving animals in your area.

  • Connect with the Animal Legal Defense Fund on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Share this page with #NJFAW, #Justice4animals and #aldf!

  • Join the Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapter at your law school. Chapters are encouraged to host events to raise awareness about criminal justice issues in animal law. Please see the list of suggested events and projects below.

Suggested Events & Projects for Student Chapters

  • Table during lunch or class breaks (we can provide free materials!). Request them by February 3, 2019.

  • Hold a film screening.

  • Email or call your representative about pending local, state, or federal legislation. Check city and state government websites for current legislation, or contact us to see if there is pending legislation in your area.

  • Organize an Animal Legal Defense Fund Benefit Day by contacting a local vegan/vegetarian restaurant or animal-friendly business to see if they would donate a percentage of their total daily sales to Animal Legal Defense Fund.

  • Host a guest speaker.

  • Find more project ideas here.

Suggested Speaker Topics

  • Ag-Gag legislation, which criminalizes whistleblowing of egregious animal cruelty on factory farms.

  • Criminal anti-cruelty laws: an overview of the laws in your state or exciting legislative developments, or how certain animals like farmed animals are exempt from them.

  • The connection between domestic violence and animal cruelty.

  • The prosecution of animal cruelty cases.

  • Your chapter can apply for a project grant to support your event. You can also receive a grant for a student chapter banner to use during National Justice for Animals Week and other chapter events. If your chapter has any questions, please contact the Student Programs Attorney."

There are so many little things you can do to help animals in need this week and every other week of the year. Something so small is speaking up when you see animal cruelty as that is the first step in getting justice for that animal. WE are their voice.

Photo Credit: Associated Press

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