Be an AdvoCat
Put Your Claws into the Cause
Sign up below to get our Monthly e-Zine called the AdvoCat that will tell you about our most recent rescues and how you can get involved, no matter where you live.
As an extra bonus you & a guest could win 4 Days/ 3 Nights at the Sirata Beach Resort, Airfare, Big Cat Rescue Keeper Tour, Dolphin Cruise, and more! Random drawing on March 15th of our Subscribers. Only one entry per person will be considered.
You & a guest could win 4 Days/ 3 Nights at the Sirata Beach Resort, Airfare, Keeper Tour, Dolphin Cruise, and more! Random drawing on March 15th each year from our most active current Subscribers.
If you would like to help in any of these ways below, please also contact Edith.Parker@BigCatRescue.org
How to be an “Advocat”
We use the term “Advocat” to describe people who care enough about the plight of big cats to add their voice to help stop abuse of big cats. The six easy ways you can do this are listed below. Our successes prove the power of many people expressing their opinion. You are not helpless – your voice CAN make a real difference!
1. Receive Our Alerts and Take Action
Legislation. We have a very sophisticated online system that monitors laws related to big cats and makes it very easy for you to add your voice. It identifies your legislators for you automatically and provides a template that you can quickly edit and send asking them to support legislation that can improve the lives of the cats.
Abusive Exhibits. We also identify malls, fairs and other venues that permit abusive displays like the cub petting. When a venue is identified, we may send an alert asking Advocats to email that venue through our system objecting to the exhibit. Even if you are not in that geographic market, the volume of emails shows the venue that many members of the general public, i.e. their customers, oppose this abuse. While the exhibit may draw visitors who are not aware of the suffering that these exhibits inflict, the emails show that the venue is offending other customers, which is bad business. Dozens of venues have agreed to cancel these exhibits, or not have them in the future, after receiving thousands of emails from people like you who care.
Monthly Ezine. We also send a monthly email newsletter with updates about events at the sanctuary and advocacy issues. We do not rent, sell or trade your email address to anyone else. You can unsubscribe at any time.
This is a great way to help that takes little time and costs nothing. Over 80,000 people who care about big cats are now Advocats.
Sign up to receive these alerts in the Win an Animal Lover Dream Vacation, at right, and then email firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Periodically Visit CatLaws.com
CatLaws.com is the website where Big Cat Rescue’s system tracks relevant laws and venues allowing abusive exhibits and other issues where your voice can make a difference. Visit the site periodically to see if there are any issues you have not already acted on.
3. When You See a Big Cat Exhibit or Unaccredited Zoo
Be sensitive to your own patronage of places that add to the problem. When you see a cub or adult tiger exhibit, voice your objections to the management of the venue. Nothing is as powerful as real customers saying I won’t shop here anymore. If you do see a traveling exhibit, particularly one with cubs, report it to info@BigCatRescue.org. When you want to visit an animal facility, make sure it is an accredited zoo or real sanctuary, not a road side zoo or pseudo sanctuary where your patronage just adds to the problem.
4. Call and Fax Your Legislator
When there is a current bill, call your legislator and fax a personal letter. This takes more of your time than the email you sent from CatLaws.com, but if you can make the time, it is far more effective! The reason is that so few people do it. For every person who takes the time to call or fax, the legislator’s staff assume that many, many more people agree with that person but will not take the time to call or fax. One day when the Founder of Big Cat Rescue was in the reception area of one of her legislators before an appointment, one of staff ended a call and turned to the other staff person and said “that is the 12th call I’ve gotten today on that issue – people must really be worked up about it!” It takes very few phone calls or non form letter faxes to make a big impression. If a bill is not ready for immediate vote, you want to ask your legislator to “co-sponsor” the bill. That means they sign on in advance committing to vote for it. If the vote is imminent and your legislator is not a co-sponsor, you want to ask them to vote for the bill.
Canned Hunting Bill. At this writing, the current bill that needs your support is H.R. 2210, The Sportsmanship in Hunting Act of 2011. It would end the horrible practice of “canned” hunting, including Internet hunting, where animals raised in captivity are shot like targets in a carnival booth. To help, read more at http://bigcatrescue.org/2011/hr-2210/ and ask your Representative to co-sponsor this bill.
5. Vote for Legislators who Support Animal Protection Legislation
At election time, support candidates who care about animals. You can see incumbents’ voting records on animal issues in the “Scorecard” maintained by the Humane Society Legislative Fund at www.hslf.org/humanescorecard/
Preventing cruelty to animals should not be a partisan issue. It should be an American issue.
6. Table an Event
Want to share Big Cat Rescue’s mission at an event in your community? AdvoCats are welcome to table on BCR’s behalf in their community. Tabling at events is an effective way to introduce Big Cat Rescue to new audiences, bring awareness to both our sanctuary and our cause, and educate the public on how big cats are kept in the U.S.. Our goals are to create a presence by having an aesthetically pleasing table with a representative sampling of information and materials people can take with them, and to engage attendees by staffing the table with AdvoCats who can answer general questions about Big Cat Rescue.
AdvoCats will not only have the opportunity to learn more about the issues facing big cats and strengthen their networking and community outreach skills, but they will also increase Big Cat Rescue’s capacity to expand our mission of Caring for Cats and Ending the Trade.
We sincerely appreciate your managing the table on behalf of Big Cat Rescue!
Steps to Tabling for BCR
1. Read this How To guide.
3. Submit a Tabling Materials Request Form no later than two weeks prior to the event.
4. Prepare supplies, materials, and plan.
5. Have a great time representing BCR on the day of the event!
6. Email the Director of Outreach event photos and your hours.
7. Return any unused materials and relish in your success!
Before the Tabling Event
It is imperative you both understand and support the mission, approach, and policies of Big Cat Rescue so you can represent these policies accurately to the public while you’re tabling, as well as to the community at large when you aren’t.
Ask the Director of Outreach if there is a current action specific to your community/city/state that you should inform attendees about.
Know the location of the venue, load in/out times and where to park. Check with the venue to determine whether the venue will be supplying a table. If a table is not provided, you will be responsible for bringing one.
During the Tabling Event
Wear your BCR AdvoCat or Volunteer t-shirt.
Arrive early to allow yourself enough time to navigate to the tabling location. Many attendees will arrive early and this will be a great opportunity to speak with them.
During set up, attach the Big Cat Rescue sign to the tablecloth using Velcro. Please see “Required Tabling Supplies” below for more information on signage and the tablecloth.
Arrange the table before the crowd arrives; set up table in a neat, visually appealing manner. The table should be set up so that it is similar in appearance to the “Sample BCR Table” on page 4.
Please do not leave personal belongings out in plain view and keep an eye on the paper BCR Newsletter and/or AdvoCat sign-up forms at all times. If you go to the bathroom, take your personal belongings and the sign-up forms with you.
Be approachable and personable. Engage attendees with courtesy.
Smile, make eye contact, listen and greet everyone as they walk by; stand as much as possible and don’t sit behind the table.
Let your enthusiasm for Big Cat Rescue shine—your eagerness will encourage others to want to get involved and be a part of our mission.
Approach people by introducing yourself and asking them a question (e.g. “Hi, my name is Jen and I’m a volunteer with Big Cat Rescue. Are you familiar with our sanctuary?”). Engage them in conversation, ask them questions, and answer theirs to the best of your ability. Many people who would not stop at our table can be encouraged to stop if you initiate the interaction.
Ask people to sign up for our quarterly newsletter or our monthly AdvoCat email so we can connect with them on ways to get engaged to help big cats. Surveys suggest that people are far more likely to get involved simply because they were asked.
Answer questions to the best of your ability, but don’t make up or guess an answer to a question. If you’re not sure of the answer, or if the question is posed in an antagonizing manner, write down the person’s question and contact information and refer the question to the Director of Outreach. You can always say, “I don’t know the answer to that, but I’ll make sure a staff person gets in touch with you!” This is much better to say than to risk providing the wrong answer.
If someone comes across as argumentative, don’t focus on negative or accusatory information; instead, talk about the good we’re doing. Remain calm and realize you cannot win everyone over. It’s not an effective use of the short time at an event to spend too long engaging with this person. Thank the attendee for stopping at the table and move on to the next person.
Non-alcoholic beverages may be consumed while at the table but must be kept out of view of attendees; please do not eat while working at the table.
Stay at the table for the entire time; don’t begin packing up or leave until the event has come to an end. You may leave to go to the bathroom during the event but don’t leave the table unattended for more than a brief period of time, and if possible, leave a note indicating when you will return.
After the Tabling Event
Allow 15-20 minutes for breaking down the table and re-packaging the materials.
Remember to email the hours you spend tabling on behalf of Big Cat Rescue to the Director of Outreach – email@example.com. We’d also love to get pictures!
Please return any large amounts of unused materials to: Big Cat Rescue 12802 Easy St Tampa, FL 33625
Required Tabling Supplies
Paper BCR Newsletter and/or AdvoCat sign-up forms and pens.
Big Cat Rescue materials: Order via the BCR Tabling Materials Request Form.
Big Cat Rescue sign. Click on this hyperlink to download a BCR sign for tabling events. Please download the file for the sign you choose and save it to your computer. Provide the file to a local printing company of your choice. The file size is 24 in. x 36 in, but make certain to specify with the printer company that it be printed to those dimensions.
Inexpensive black plastic tablecloth.
Optional Tabling Supplies
Folding chair(s) (if not provided by venue)
Rolling cart/luggage to help carry supplies and literature
Plastic leaflet display stands
Rubber bands to hold each stack of literature in place (if tabling outdoors)
Canopy tent (if needed and not provided by venue)
Water for yourself
Tabling Materials Request Form
If you would like Big Cat Rescue materials for community tabling events, please submit a Tabling Materials Request Form online. Once submitted, your request will be reviewed and we will follow up with you if we have questions. We are more than happy to provide you with access to these materials but please be prudent about the type of material(s) and the quantity you request; we ask that you be mindful that printed materials cost BCR money.
Tabling Materials Request Form link: http://goo.gl/forms/umfbdXOSmy
7. Tell Your Friends
There is power in numbers! Please share this information with people you know. Ask them at least to join as Advocats and to avoid patronizing abusive venues, which takes little effort. Urge them to take the more proactive steps above and donate if they can. Use the shortened link below to send them to this page:
Thank you so much for your interest in adding your voice to stop abuse of exotic cats!
For other ways to help at no cost click here
If you are able and interested in supporting our work to save big cats financially, please click here to see donation options.
To read past issues of our monthly ezine called The AdvoCat go to: The AdvoCat News
To read past issues of The Big Cat Times go to: The Big Cat Times
Become an AdvoCat today!