Yesterday, I attended Humane Lobby Day at the state capitol in Sacramento. The intent behind lobby day is to give constituents a chance to meet their representatives and promote a few bills that improve the welfare of animals.
Turnout was great, maybe a 100 or more people whose impetus for coming was that they cared about animals.
I attended with trepidation as did many other first-time attendees.
While I’m familiar with the legislative process and the how of lobbying, I haven’t done much of it. Like so many others, I forget that representatives are there for us – literally. We pay their salaries, we pay for their offices and we pay for the maintenance of the state capitol building, why shouldn’t we express our viewpoints, concerns and accolades (or disappointments)?
California’s state capitol is beautiful, so it wasn’t hard to enjoy my first meandering moments until I found the correct room. The basics of lobbying and legislation were covered, as well as the three bills we would be promoting to our representatives (or in most cases, their staff and aides).
Then it was time for lobbying. While lobbying isn’t as scary as it sounds, no one really wants to do it by themselves. So, for the most part, everyone had a partner (some districts had groups of 6 or more!). One of my partners was a soft-spoken woman from Fort Bragg whose sole reason for attending was her love of animals. She drove out on her own, overcoming her public speaking fear to help animals. My other partner was a very gregarious woman from Sonoma County – she had even visited the sanctuary and met Howie (she was appropriately impressed by his awesomeness). I think we made a great team!
I would strongly encourage you to attend a lobby day event in the future. It’s incredibly insightful and - I swear I’m not making this up - actually fun. You will meet new people and make new connections. And most importantly, you will be putting your compassion into action!
While Humane Lobby Day for California is over until next year, there are still upcoming lobby day happenings in other states – find out if your state has a humane lobby day here.
In the upcoming days and weeks, we’ll be promoting some bills that affect animals and asking you to contact your legislators. Keep an eye out for a bill that would outlaw the tail docking of cattle!
And remember – you pay their salary, you deserve to have your voice heard. If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for the animals.
-Marji Beach, Education Coordinator