Today I had the unique opportunity to spend a day at the Capitol in Harrisburg. I was able to meet with my legislators and impress upon them the importance of standing up for those who cannot speak for themselves. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) hosted Humane Lobby Day which is an annual opportunity available to all of us.
The largest lesson I learned today is how EASY it is to meet with legislators as well as how important it is. To start things off, we were treated to a vegan breakfast (not even any ‘regular’ creamer on the coffee table! Just 2 kinds of Silk – heaven!!). We then had a briefing on the most relevant legislation and the up to the minute status of each bill. We received some tips on how to approach conversations with legislators, and then we were free to attend meetings with our state senators and representatives.
From my own experiences and from what I heard from others, we were very well received! Many legislators expressed appreciation for our visit and it became quite clear that a face to face visit can be so much more powerful than the phone calls and e-mails (especially the form letter emails!!). We also learned that people who vote in every election – no matter how small – go to the top of the list as ‘super voters’. They take note of our concerns and it gives us a stronger backbone and relationship when we need to talk about specific meaningful legislation.
A tour of the Capitol allowed us to visit the House and Senate, understand the process firsthand, and even sit in on a Senate session!
At the end of the day we were treated to a visit with Wayne Pacelle, the President and CEO of HSUS. He presented Representative John Maher with the Legislator of the Year award, recognizing him nationally for his tremendous work for the animals.
Today was the 5th annual Humane Lobby Day in PA. What began with 7 attendees has grown to 80, and momentum is gaining rapidly. While it seems as though cruelty to animals is innately wrong and you shouldn’t need to go out of your way to prevent it, you’d be wrong. Sadly, the small percentage of people who are involved with cruel practices are capable of doing so much harm. Things like live pigeon shoots or using a gas chamber to euthanize dogs are examples of barbaric behaviors that not only DO happen today, they happen in our own backyard, and it’s perfectly legal.
Today was a reminder that there is much work to be done, that there is great change yet to come, and that many small voices make for one very loud and clear message – we will no longer sit idly by as innocent creatures are neglected, tortured, or killed. Enough already.
To see if your state’s Humane Lobby Day is still coming up, check here.