My friend Jana Kohl is a real hero to me. Like many people, she’s always loved animals, but was unaware of the deprivation and suffering so many creatures endure. I met her some years ago, and spoke to her about the varieties of animal abuse that occur in our culture. She reacted with a blend of disgust and determination. She also spoke to Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary and a number of others who have taken a deep dive into animal issues, she read literature and books, and she watched videos (we have an abundance of them on humanesociety.org/animalchannel). She became thoroughly informed.
And then she took action. She has made an extraordinary impact—lobbying for a ban on the sale of foie gras in Chicago (where she lives), supporting anti-fur efforts in Illinois and throughout the country, helping pass statewide ballot initiatives to ban factory farming practices, and working on all manner of federal legislative issues—from animal fighting to horse slaughter to providing funding for enforcement of our existing animal welfare laws.
All of the issues grip her, but she has a constant presence in her life that reminds her about one of the issues. After visiting a number of puppy mills throughout the country as a private citizen, she adopted a dog who had been used for breeding in a puppy mill, and she named her Baby.
Now Jana is writing a book about puppy mills and compassion for animals, due out next year, and it features Baby—a fragile, beautiful little poodle with three legs who spent 10 years at a puppy mill in Lodi, Calif. She was bred every heat cycle, and treated like a breeding machine. Baby is pictured in the book with remarkable people who care about animals, and it is apparent that she bears no hostility to anyone, even though some people caused her to suffer so much for so many years.
We can all find inspiration in Jana’s activism and reach for the level of commitment and engagement she has achieved. We will be an even more successful social reform movement when more of us upgrade our commitment, as Jana did after she learned about animal abuse.
At The HSUS, our staff takes action for animals every day. But we also try to give you opportunities to take action, too. It’s only through the collective action of our staff and our millions of supporters that we exercise power, raise awareness and stop cruelty and abuse.
Today again, you have one of your many opportunities to engage in meaningful work for animals. If you are on our email list (I hope you will sign up, if you are not), you may receive an email from me today about the latest offensive in our campaign to combat puppy mills. I’m sending the email to nearly one million people, with a link to our latest investigation into puppy mill dog auctions. You can view the email here.
If you are unaware of what happens inside puppy mills and at auctions, you must watch this video. It tells the story.
Then take action by signing our pledge to stop puppy mills, and urge your friends and family to do the same. And be on the lookout for future calls to action. Only when we are strategic and determined can we make an impact.