Do You Hafta Have Money to be an Animal Welfare Advocate?

Last night I attended a grassroots meeting held about an hour from here; the meeting was sponsored by Grey2K and the Humane Society of the US. Both groups sent me an email about the meeting, and both emails mentioned start time was 6 PM.

At 6 PM I rolled up, only to learn the meeting actually started at 5 PM. Those in the know were able to meet and greet, eat fancy food, and get some cool swag.

Carey Thiel of Grey2K and Kate McFall of HSUS
Carey Thiel of Grey2K and Kate McFall of HSUS

I asked a woman who was apparently in charge if I could at least register as having attended. The woman gave me a snotty look and said that I was too late for that, but I could still listen to the speakers.

What the f….? 

Now I wouldn’t be so petty as to mention the experience if this was the only time something like this had happened. Except it’s not the only time. It seems to happen EVERY time I attend one of these animal welfare advocacy events. 

I’ve been to meetings. I’ve attended Lobby Day Events in both Florida and Tennessee. And it’s always the same- within the attendees is a distinct separation between the upper middle class that seem to be running the show, and the rest of us.  They’re not happy about it, but they begrudgingly allow rabble like me to attend, though they would NEVER trust one of us do anything important. Their unspoken message to us is, “just stand to the side and be quiet, and maybe they won’t notice you’re here.”

Of course, they change their tune when they learn I’m a blogger, but it’s too late. I’ve seen their true colors.

Why the fuck does this keep happening? The movement needs EVERYONE on board, including people like me who don’t run in the hoidy-toidy social circles. Do you REALLY think you’re going to change the outlook for animals alone? Perhaps you don’t think it, but you sure as hell act like it.

Is that why when I apply for jobs with these agencies, I never get an interview, or even an acknowledgement? Is my hair not blonde enough?  My family not rich enough? Is it because I lack that sense of condescension that seems to be prevalent among the lot of you?

Florida State Senator Don Gaetz (standing left) was in attendance.
Florida State Senator Don Gaetz (standing left) was in attendance.

Animal welfare advocacy groups might want to take lessons from politicians such as State Senator Don Gaetz, who attended last night’s meeting. When I introduced myself to Sen. Gaetz as a constituent in his district, he was very polite. And he should be. He’s smart enough to know that if I made the effort to attend that meeting, I will also make the effort to vote, regardless of how I dress or talk. And I don’t have to vote for him.

So to you advocacy groups, here’s a word of advice: Get over the cult of personality. I may not be as pretty or speak as elegantly as your “in crowd”, but I have many gifts to offer the cause. My income shouldn’t be a hindrance to my making a contribution.

Perhaps it’s time to allow some of the rest of us have a voice.  When you’re ready to open your ranks, I’m here. 

58 thoughts on “Do You Hafta Have Money to be an Animal Welfare Advocate?

      1. Rumpydog,
        I attended the event last night and I am very sorry you feel the way you do. I am not rich. I don’t use fancy words. I went with an open heart and the willingness to make a difference. I don’t care if anyone is rude to me. I look at it as its something bothering them – not anything about me personally – afterall, they do not know me. I hope you don’t lose sight of all the positive. I found it informational and walked away at the end of the night with a better understanding oh how even little ole me might be able to contribute to making a difference in the lives of so many pets in need.

  1. I wonder of they are like this because they know that the grassroots people are the ones crawling in the drains..climbing over walls and not afraid to bend the occasional rule in the name of animal welfare…money is great..but human hands used in the dirtier aspects is vital….jerks…

      1. It is also sadly a case I think of them ‘being seen’ look at blah blah and their ‘little charity work’..often people who have the money are using it as way to make themselves feel better..which is fine for the animals…but….a cohesive group of individuals is needed to make change…a true animal advocate will accept any and all help…you never know who is going to be your greatest ally and they may not be wearing the lastest fashion or the best shoes..they may have sheep poop on their boots..for these people face value really has a value….

    1. You would think, Easy, but that’s not the case here in the US. Last night one of the speakers referred to two groups of advocates- the knowledgeable ones, and the crazies. I guess they assume that because my income is less desirable, so must be my views.

      1. There is nothing that pisses me off more than knowing animals suffer because we can’t agree within our own ranks. If we could get our act together as a group, we would be formidable!

  2. Have you ever engaged one of these folks about this? Sometimes people don’t even realize what they are doing or that what they are doing is hurtful and not enlisting the support and help from folks like you, me and so many here in the “trenches.” Sometimes people get so wrapped up in their “world” – they associate with their kind and their perspective of their world gets reinforced and at the same time their field of view gets more narrow each day. Pretty soon they can’t even see anything else. Have you written or contacted the heads of these agencies? Come at them from the place that drives what you do, your heart. I can see you being one of the “non-blondes” (hee hee) opening the door for the rest of us.

    1. Sweetie, I AM engaging. Why else would I have written this blog post? It’s not like I can go up to people within their social sphere and tell them they come off as rude. They’d never hear me.

      1. I hope I didn’t offend you, I know you are engaging and your frustrated. The opportunity, the right person, will be there one of those times and will listen. Neva surrender your efforts, surrender your heart. Focus on what you want, ask for help from your divine source and watch the doors open. You know what you don’t want, like what you’ve written here…you have the power to change it. Big hugs coming through the wires to you and your Rumpy!

      2. I am far more concerned about how many others have been turned off and turned away by their actions. It’s their Achilles heal, and the animal agriculture lobbying groups know this and effectively use it against us.

      3. Ironic isn’t it? Just like all “politics” the people running things shunning the people who they need the most. A thought just came to me. You are leading a new campaign with each post you write and you aren’t turning the people who do all the dirty work away…the people who are truly manifesting reform and change. Don’t know if you thought of it that way…you don’t need them to do what you are trying to do. You are leading by example. Don’t know if you thought of yourself that way 🙂 okies…nuff said.

    1. Not really. There’s some sort of Noblesse Oblige mindset among the leadership. You will never see class warfare on a deeper scale than when you become a warrior in the fight for social change.

      1. And yet, they are always complaining about needing more help. Ironic, isn’t it, that they would rather the animals suffer than accept help from you?

  3. Yes. I have encountered much the same thing. And it’s not limited to animal activism – but is prevalent in all forms of activism. A lot of it is due to fund raising efforts. They seek out the deep pockets, and really can’t be bothered with the guy who’s skipping a meal, to make a 10 buck donation.

    There’s also this sort of who you “are” kind of thing going on. Just like with regular business. These groups have their celebs, and if you’re not on that list, you’re a nobody. Snobbism and class warfare exists in all walks of life. I’m sorry this happened to you.

    1. I’m sorry it happens too, because I can’t help but wonder how much further our cause would be advanced if ALL were welcome to the table, and not just the ones with deep pockets.

    1. I wondered that myself. Event was held at an animal sanctuary that I refuse to mention because I won’t give free publicity to them after the way I was treated.

  4. It seems to be the nature of groups: that someone’s ego gets massaged by being like that to the other “less than followers” which is one reason I’m allergic to most groups which to me seem to operate this way. It’s a rare occasion I find one I admire, like Doctors Without Borders. Whether it was a fundraiser disguised, or the in-group dictating, it’s one of the main reason for volunteer attrition throughout charitable organizations. For me, all it takes is a smile, a thank you, be kind, AND DECENT TO ALL, and I’m in. Jen (& Rumpy & Gang) you’d be welcome at my table any time and man it’s anyone’s loss to not have you, or include you with kindness. Afterall, Rumpy knows that’s the RIGHT WAY TO ACT. Big hug and thanks for indulging my grandstanding here. Love, Paulette ❤

    1. Thanks, Paulette. But those snotty bitches aren’t running me off. I’m going to keep showing up, and I’m going to keeping telling them about themselves in public, until things change or I die, whichever comes first.

      1. People sometimes do good deeds to be seen as “good deed doers” more than for the actual service. But at least there is good from it, if not good will toward other humans. Sad.

  5. Some animal rights activists are just like human rights activists: their sanctimonious attitudes make them some of the most obnoxious people you could ever meet. You’d think they would be just the opposite; caring individuals who have a vested interest in helping others and therefore, would be more than happy to have newcomers join their crusade. In reality, they often feel they have all the answers and anyone who deviates in even the slightest is detritus. Stay away from such extremists, Jen. You’re doing just fine without them.

  6. Jen, I’m sorry. You do so much for animals and are so right. Kuruk and I have experienced this ourselves in the smaller scale attempts we’ve had in animal welfare. Even with his book to raise awareness and money (we don’t have the means to donate otherwise) for animal rescue, it’s been hard to find anyone who will even give it a shout out except for a few bloggers. Surprisingly, most pet bloggers will happily buy up extra toys, and treats, and stuff for their own pets, but not buy something that raises money. Anywhoooo, Ku and I are thinking of retiring his campaign.
    We send you much luck to you, and Rumpy, and the furramily!

    1. I hear ya. I would suggest you attend local meetings of like-minded animal welfarists, but my experiences don’t bode well for you there either. However, I will say that I’ve had some interesting email conversations with folks from Grey2KUSA and HSUS. They suddenly seem interested in what I have to say. Who knows, Julianne, there may be change one day after all!

  7. Really??? You have it ALL TOTALLY WRONG, the event was open to a variety of a couple thousand people. I recieved an invite & by no means, am I wealthy. The invititation included the agenda which all activities were open to all attendees. Not sure how you came to your conclusions but apparently they included many assumptions on your part. Receiving an invitation had nothing to do with wealth but I would imagine that they would try to keep out the “crazies”—-apparently they weren’t totally successful with that! Rather than looking for problems & issues that don’t exist, how about putting those efforts into actually being an animal advocate!!!!!

  8. Dear narcissistic personality disorder:

    I arrived without an invite, proceeded to the REGISTRATION BOOTH, where I was greeted by 2 BRUNETTES, who were both warm and inviting. Thereafter, I mingled with pleasant people whom I’d never met, some with money, some without, all very generous and pleasant.

    I don’t have money, I didn’t inherit anything, I just appreciate when people get together to do great things, no matter their background

    I’m very sorry you did not get that cool swag! Or those jobs to which you applied! Perhaps when it keeps happening TO YOU, you should consider that the problem IS YOU.

    I know it is cathartic to express all your negativity through a blog, and perhaps it does feel good to you, but I think it is time to get off the computer, and realize that not everyone is out to get you.

    Enjoy your miserable life!


  9. WOW!

    I LOVE it.

    How many times I have run into this exact same feeling, especially when looking to contribute to the group’s(s’) efforts. There is so much class-warfare and “uppity-with-nose-high-in-the-clouds” mentality at many types of gatherings, it makes me wonder what is really important to these folks, to include the organizers.

    Thank you for having the cajones to stand up for principle and writing about it.

    – Rev. Dragon’s Eye

  10. Double like! Keep being a pain in the a$$ of these entitled, self important clowns. At some point, those smug jerks will get their comeuppance. Keep the faith and keep after them. They must be held accountable. And know we’re all with you in spirit even if we can’t be with you in person to shoulder the load.

  11. Well, that’s just wrong. Everyone needs to be on the same page if we want to help animals in need. Occurrences like this are offensive and unacceptable, and the fact the reason everyone is there is for the animals’ welfare seems to get lost. You would have been a great asset to them…what a loss. It is disturbing to hear of this treatment of others. When it comes to the care and advocacy of animals in need, there should be no lines, no attitudes, no egos. What is needed is concern, compassion, and unity as we are all in this together for the benefit of the animals.

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