The Political Mainstreaming of Animal Welfare

The Mainstreaming of Animal Welfare – A Personal Perspective

Michele Patterson with Jack, Fiona, and Abbey

Guest blog by Michele Patterson

To say that 2020 was an interesting year is an understatement. With COVID-19 hitting Pennsylvania hard in March, my world, as well as many, many others had been turned upside down. The stay -at- home orders provided me lots of time. Actually, it provided me with lots and lots of time to think, to analyze, to ponder life’s most challenging question-why am I here????

I quickly realized returning to graduate school and immersing myself in the policy/political world was where my passion lies, creating change for those less fortunate, more specifically animals. I re-applied to complete my master’s after a two-decade hiatus and looked for every opportunity I could to gain more information and experience for this new endeavor. The search landed me a job on a state level campaign. I had the opportunity to gain resume experience and learn about campaign organization. What I also learned is that the political arena is finally recognizing that animal welfare is a mainstream political issue.

While working on this campaign I had the opportunity to meet several candidates and other campaign teams. Quickly it was evident that running a campaign about various current issues included animal welfare and protection. Candidates from both sides of the aisle were speaking about the importance of how they would vote on animal issues, as well as pointing out how their opposition had voted on animal welfare bills. Flyers, post cards, and social media posts were created by candidates and incumbents running for various state positions to show they cared about animals. Pictures of candidates with animals or getting testimonials from constituents were an important part of this public relations blitz. I even remember seeing federal candidates and incumbents doing social media posts as well. It was wonderful!

Candidates were boasting about endorsements on their websites and were actively seeking out the Humane PA endorsement. Some were advertising that they were THE humane choice. The animal welfare movement has arrived at the table and we are now players in the political arena. We now have an Animal Protection Caucus in our state. We have made great strides and must continue to do so.

Animal welfare and protection is one of the few truly non-partisan issues. Protecting animals is something most can agree on and now is the time to act. We have some new members in office, as well as familiar faces sympathetic to our furry and feathered friends. We can continue to grow this movement and make more positive changes for animals. The most effective way to do so is meeting with our legislators. Doing so virtually and on the phone is constructive until we can safely do so in person. In my experience, legislators are bombarded by new bills introduced each session and we can help by letting them know which ones are important to us and why. We must continue to speak for the animals to keep our seat at the table.

Let’s resolve to make PA a more humane state in 2021!

Editor’s Note: We at Humane PA PAC have dedicated our lives to making animals a political priority in Pennsylvania and personal stories like this are so inspiring to us as we continue to realize the collective difference we have made, continue to make and we look forward to further grow our influence. It is easy to get caught up in the day to day tasks of working to pass bills, raising awareness, and personal stories like this allow us to step back and celebrate the incredible difference animal lovers in PA have made in the political arena. Thank you Michele for reinforcing the importance of every effort we all make to make sure that animal cruelty is a mainstream political issue.

Michele is currently attending York College of Pennsylvania to attain her Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration. Her love of animals has landed her in various positions in veterinary hospitals, including many years in practice management. Michele began seriously advocating for animals in 2016 and has been working with organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States and other national organizations to help animal welfare and protection legislation pass in state and federal government. She loves all animals and volunteers locally as well, working with puppy mill groups, dog rescues, and wildlife rehabilitation centers.

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Categories: Pennsylvania Elections, Pennsylvania Law and animals, Pennsylvania politics and animals, Spotlight


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