Animal welfare is a vast factor of my life as my parents instilled it in me before I was even born. Now, what is animal welfare? Animal welfare is mitigating the suffering and effects of animals who are human-controlled. This pertains to their mental and physical state, the environment they live in, and how they are treated. This applies to domestic animals such as dogs, cats, hamsters, etc; livestock; captive wildlife; animals used in research and testing; and many more.

The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) of 1966 — passed by President Lyndon B. Johnson — is the only federal law that regulates the treatment of animals in testing, research, exhibition, education, transport, and by dealers. It was not always the law it is now, such as in 1985 it was amended to to cover animals in laboratories. Before that, it was only household and livestock animals. Since then, it has been amended multiple times to become the law we know it as today. Since the first passing of the AWA, we have seen other laws blossom such as the ’28 hour law’ and all states have created their own laws around animal welfare and animal cruelty.

A few ways that I give back to the animals in my community are volunteering my time, fostering orphaned animals, and donating items (food and even money) to local charities. The most important way you can give back is with your time. Find a local organization and sign up as a volunteer, then work your way up to fostering as it is a larger commitment. Another way to give back is donating items such as blankets, food, and toys to local animal shelters. Each shelter has specific needs so call and ask what they are currently asking for. Blankets and towels are often overlooked, so next time you have a ripped blanket think about donating it to animals versus throwing it in the trash. Ask local pet stores if they have any items they are about to throw away due to its shelf life expiring (hint: they can not sell items such as food past a certain date but that does not mean they are not still usable and donatable). These are only a few ways to give back to animals in your community as opportunities vary in every area.

I spend Christmas Day volunteering so the animals have a family to celebrate with.

To learn more about what Animal Welfare is visit the resources below:

All it takes is courage to ask for donations and you may end up with over 200lbs of dog food!