Activist seeks to unify local animal rights movement
Published: Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 05:09
Hetti Brown, vice president of the political action committee Delaware Votes for Animals, visited the university Wednesday to speak about the improvement of animal rights in Gore Hall.
Brown, who represents the state's first and only PAC dedicated to animal welfare, asked university students to support legislation that would result in widespread change.
"To change our society, not only in the legal realm, but attitudinally, we need to say that this kind of cruelty cannot go on, cannot persist," Brown said. "Animals do not have a voice, so we have to stand up and give animals a voice, because when we do, politicians listen."
Delaware Votes for Animals work includes lobbying for new legislation and endorsing of political campaigns that align with its cause. Group members also work closely with the other animal protection groups.
Brown said the group wants to unify the state's community of animal lovers and create one cohesive voice that can influence Delaware policy-makers to advance animal rights.
She said more than 9 billion livestock animals are raised and killed annually because of financial interests. She said the great demand for food produced from livestock can cause companies to overlook certain US Department of Agriculture standards on mistreatment.
She said a gap exists between public awareness of animal rights and the laws enacted to protect living creatures.
"The majority of the public would be surprised if they truly learned how little animals are protected in the legal system," Brown said.
Brown said existing legislation does not protect all of the creatures that need protection.
She said the Humane Slaughter Act, a 1958 law, regulates industry meat-packing regulations but does not protect poultry. She also said federal laws designed to protect wildlife only protect critically endangered animals.
She said 2012 will be an important year for the PAC and for students supporting the cause, because they can ensure that animal-friendly politicians are re-elected.
Brown was invited to speak at the university by the Vegetarian Students Association, a registered student organization that promotes animal welfare awareness.
Junior and VSA member Jenny Menzel, a vegan, said more people should be exposed to information that was in Brown's presentation.
"I have a lot of friends who, if they saw this presentation, would think about changing the way they eat," Menzel said.
Freshman Daniel Bodine said he eats meat but does not believe in the mistreatment of animals.
"I think that animal protection is an important issue, but I do eat meat," Bodine said. "I think humane treatment of animals is important, but it does not bother me that some of it is processed through slaughterhouses."