© 2010 Allie Phillips

Every day I am amazed by how many people, like you, are interested in protecting animals. It is comforting to know that the long hours and sleepless nights are supported, and together we can make a difference. An unfortunate downside has been witnessing well-intentioned and passionate people create divisiveness and conflict within the same group or advocacy campaign that they belong. I have worked in areas to protect children, domestic violence victims, elder citizens, and victims of crime. But only in the area of animal protection have I watched people turn on each other and ultimately create conflict that harmed the collective purpose to help animals. I’m a big believer in free speech and appreciate diverse opinions. I also  know that you cannot please 100% of the people 100% of the time. This topic has been on my mind the past few weeks as I am writing about it in my next book on How to Become an Animal Advocate. I am struggling to find a deeper understanding for why these internal conflicts almost always arise when trying to help animals. I’ve seen it at the smaller level within animal rescue organizations and on a larger stage involving state or national legislation. I have come up with two possible answers: First, animal issues are “super charged” emotionally, more so than other issues because animals truly need us to advocate for them.  And second, many people get involved in animal rescue or animal protection issues because they have lost faith with how people treat animals, or maybe they simply relate better to animals than people and, therefore, may not have the best conflict-resolution skills. As I continue to ponder this issue, I’d love to hear your thoughts if you have experienced this and why you believe this happens. The bottom line is that when internal strife and divisiveness occurs in campaigns and efforts to help animals, the only ones caught in the cross-fire are the voiceless animals.

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