Getting Animals on the Political Radar
Animal Friendly NYC was launched in October 2002 to get animal issues on the radar of local candidates running for office. Each year scores of bills designed to protect animals are introduced in the New York State Legislature and New York City Council. But most never get past the point of being introduced. Why? Most lawmakers aren't even aware of their existence. The bills are introduced, but all too often they languish without any further attention, sometimes for decades.
We realized that we needed to start sending legislators to office already committed to animal issues. And the best way to bring candidates' attention to the issues and to show support for proposed bills is to work directly on their campaigns to help them get elected - and to work with them after they're elected to keep them abreast of animal issues they should support.
We've been remarkably successful for a group that just passed its second anniversary.
Who are we?
We're individual New Yorkers working in publishing, education, the arts, fundraising, veterinary medicine, law, and law enforcement. We don't do fundraising, but we get generous donations of time and talent from people who don't necessarily consider themselves animal advocates, but who recognize that what we're doing is valuable.
Because many of us are involved in animal rescue and adoption, we know first hand that unless we get help from our elected officials, the crisis of dog and cat homelessness will continue to swamp city and volunteer efforts. For that reason solving the homeless crisis has been our main focus for the last two elections.
"Animal Friendly NYC was the first animal welfare organization to support my candidacy, and their advocacy has proved to be a potent force throughout New York City.
"It was because of AFNYC that I introduced a bill to ban the practice of slaughtering downed animals. Their present efforts to pass legislation that will protect senior citizens with pets and regulate insurance for homeowners with dogs are indeed worthy causes. My commitment as a legislator to animal welfare issues has been enhanced by the work of AFNYC."
State Senator Liz Krueger
D - Manhattan
But we have a lot on our agenda, and we'll be working on other issues as we grow.
Some of the things we hope to accomplish:
How do we choose candidates to endorse?
We screen candidates based on their voting records on animal protective legislation. In personal interviews, we solicit their positions on animal issues. In coming elections, we'll circulate candidate questionnaires and publish their responses to voters who join our mailing list, and we'll hold forums at which candidates can directly address animal advocates.
As we grow, we'll endorse more candidates. Because the truth is, New York City is incredibly Animal Friendly, and plenty of our elected officials support legislation and policies that are not only good for animals, but good for us humans too.
All it takes to become part of this - and Animal Friendly NYC - is to hold up your hand. Join us!