Like people, animals need laws to protect them. That’s why The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) works with concerned citizens around the country to increase protections for animals in their communities.

One of the most effective tools the ASPCA uses to engage advocates is the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade. Members of the Advocacy Brigade receive the most up-to-date information about animal welfare legislation pending at the state and federal levels, and are given tools to contact and share their concerns with local representatives. Here are more ways to be an effective advocate for animals:

  1. Lobby your decision-makers
    A quick and effective way to influence political decision-makers is to call them. You can also write letters, attend public hearings and town hall meetings, and respond to action alerts. When your representatives stand up for animals, always be sure to thank them.

  2. Meet your legislator in person
    When you take time out of your busy schedule to personally visit your legislators, they take note. Be aware that your legislators are also very busy, so come prepared with a clear outline of your concerns, and share your personal connection to the issues. Ask questions and listen, and be sure to thank them for their time. Maintaining this relationship is critical, so be sure to request future updates and follow up.

  3. Join or build a coalition
    There’s strength in numbers, so join forces with individuals or groups with common interests to work together towards a specific goal. Working in a group allows you to be inspired by others with diverse skills and talents. It also encourages new ideas, can have a broader reach, and will give your advocacy more credibility.

  4. Utilize the media
    Media outlets want to hear from local citizens about issues important to them. Write a letter to the editor of your hometown paper to respond to a recent article or comment on happenings in your community. If you’re planning an advocacy event, notify local newspapers, television stations, and blogs to spread awareness about what you‘re doing and why it’s important.

  5. Vote
    If you want candidates and leaders who are committed to animal welfare, you’ll have to do your homework. During campaigns, ask candidates if they will make animals a priority. You can also get involved in the electoral process by volunteering with or donating to campaigns, and publicly endorsing candidates in conversations and through social media.

Remember, you don’t have to be an animal welfare expert – or a legal one – to help make a difference when it comes to animal protection. All that matters is that you turn your deep care into deliberate action.