By Kitty Block
When I joined the Humane Society of the United States back in 1992 as a legal investigator, I couldn’t have predicted that my career path would lead me to the role I serve now, as president and CEO of the HSUS and CEO of Humane Society International.
In my three decades of service, I’ve had the chance to work on many of our campaigns. This all started with investigating horse slaughter when it was still legal in the U.S. I was on a team that followed transport trucks and exposed what was happening inside these slaughter plants. I went on to represent our organization at international wildlife protection conventions, fight against commercial whaling, help usher in the era of dolphin-safe tuna, testify before Congress and help secure bans on the import of dog and cat fur in the U.S. and European Union. Although the work may have looked different throughout my career, at its core the goal has always been the same: creating a better world for animals.
If you have an animal-loving graduate in your life (or maybe you’re looking to make a change in your own career), take it from me: The animal welfare movement needs you! No matter your skill set or professional competencies, there’s likely a job or volunteer position out there for you. Here are some ideas to consider.
Find a full-time position. Animal welfare organizations like ours look for people with a wide variety of skills and interests. Check out your local shelters, rescue organizations, farm sanctuary or other animal welfare group for full-time positions. Plenty of organizations need support staff, including accountants, human resources professionals, public relations experts, graphic designers, even social workers!
Have you wondered how to get started on a professional career path in animal sheltering? If so, check out the Association for Animal Welfare Advancement. Is humane education the kind of work that speaks to you? Get certified through the Academy for Prosocial Learning or check out the resources at the Association of Professional Humane Educators. Do you want to learn about opportunities in animal sanctuary work? Here’s a good place to look.
Often, positions in animal welfare don’t require direct animal care expertise. Although we frequently have openings for direct care at Black Beauty Ranch (our flagship sanctuary in Texas) and on our Animal Rescue Team, we’ve got plenty of other positions available.
Take a look at our career page; you might be surprised at what’s available. From practicing law to producing videos, we need professionals with a wide range of experiences and backgrounds.
Start with an internship. We are proud to offer paid internships for animal advocates getting their feet wet. Just like our full-time positions, our internships range from direct care to behind-the-scenes (but equally crucial) work. Check back every few months to see what’s available through our seasonal program, and feel free to share the link with young animal lovers looking for professional experience.
Volunteer your time. Just as with our full-time positions and internships, the message here is the same: No matter your skill set, you can make a difference. (And you might just benefit in the process!)
If you’d like to get your hands dirty—metaphorically, but maybe literally!—our Animal Rescue Team is currently recruiting folks to respond during rescues and to provide daily care at our care and rehabilitation facility in Maryland. And if you’d prefer to work from home, we have plenty of remote opportunities available, such as phone banking, data entry and project management.
Animal welfare groups around the world can only succeed with the help of dedicated volunteers. Reach out to local organizations to see what they need; you might be surprised how you can help. From becoming a wildlife rehabilitator to organizing fundraisers, the possibilities are truly endless.
Working to help all kinds of animals has been a consistent source of meaning in my life, from seeing our teams shut down dog meat farms in South Korea to witnessing the end of the cage age for farm animals in many U.S. states, and so much more. No matter how you lend a hand to the animal welfare cause, you can feel proud knowing that you’re helping shape a kinder, more compassionate world for animals.
Follow Kitty Block on Twitter @HSUSKittyBlock.