Be an AdvoCat
Put Your Claws into the Cause
Want to help Big Cat Rescue end big cat abuse and exploitation? Sign up below to be an AdvoCat and be the first to be notified when action is needed for the cats. We will also tell you about our most recent rescues and how you can get involved, no matter where you live. Click on the “Enter Now” button below to sign-up today! Then scroll down this page to check out just some of the ways you can take action as an AdvoCat!
If you want to help as an on-site AdvoCat at our sanctuary in Tampa, please 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 the abuse of big cats. Below are just some of the many ways you can take action as an AdvoCat! Our continued successes prove the power of many people expressing their opinion. You are not helpless – your voice CAN make a real difference for animals! Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Make the Call of the Wild!
2. Receive Our Alerts
Sign up to receive action alerts. We will also tell you about our most recent rescues and how you can get involved, no matter where you live. You’ll receive emails that will give you 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.
2. Take Action – Visit CatLaws.com
CatLaws.com is the website where Big Cat Rescue’s system tracks relevant laws, venues allowing abusive exhibits, and other issues where your voice can make a difference. Visit the site periodically to see if there are any new issues that require your action!
3. Take Action – Abusive Exhibits or Unaccredited Zoos
When visiting www.CatLaws.com, you will be shown several links that you can click that will enable you to take action to protect the welfare of Big Cats. One of the ways that we do this is by identifying Abusive Exhibits. We identify malls, fairs, and other venues that permit abusive displays like cub petting. When a venue is identified, we may send an action alert asking AdvoCats to email that venue through our system to object 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.
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 witness a traveling exhibit, particularly one with cubs, report it to info@BigCatRescue.org. If you believe you have witness abuse, neglect, or questionable treatment of an animal, please submit a complaint to the USDA.
4. Take Action – Call and Write Your Legislator
When there is a current bill, call your legislators, message them directly on social media, and write them 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 write, the legislator’s staff assume that many, many more people agree with that person but will not take the time to call or write. 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 letters to make a big impression. If a bill is not ready for an 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.
5. Take Action – Protest Circuses with Cats
Is the circus coming to our town? Although the country’s most famous circus is no longer operating, there are still many circuses that travel state to state with animal acts including lions and tigers that are forced to do unnatural behaviors, such as jumping through rings of fire. Our experience tells us that the only way to make a big cat perform is through abuse and intimidation.
Check CircusProtest.com to see if a peaceful protest has already been scheduled in your area and lend your voice to help the animals. If a protest isn’t already scheduled in your area, consider organizing a few people to speak out at one or more performance. We can provide you with posters for your protest and may be able to assist you with getting media attention.
Be sure to read this great article written by one of our AdvoCats. It’s full of tips on how to organize a successful and peaceful protest.
6. 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.
7. Give a Presentation about Big Cat Abuse
Check out this Advocacy in a Kit tool created by one of our former Outreach Interns. The kit includes a power point presentation about the Problems with the Private Ownership of Big Cats and video that can be used when discussing the issues of big cats in captivity. AdvoCats may use these tools to present on the issues to their friends, local community groups, and networks.
8. 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. 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 end abuse of big cats in captivity.
9. Submit a Letter to the Editor (LTE)
A Letter to the Editor is a letter sent to your local news publication about an issue of concern. LTEs are effective ways to educate the public about a topic and encourage engagement from both readers and your elected officials. AdvoCats may submit LTEs to solicit support for the Big Cat Public Safety Act or thank their legislator for cosponsoring the bill. You can also use an LTE to speak out against a traveling circus that intends on exhibiting in your town.
The first step is to identify the submission requirements for getting an LTE published in your local paper. Most publications provide this information online in the Editorial section of their website. LTEs are typically 200 words or less and may be submitted online or mailed in. Your LTE should clearly express your position on an issue or piece of legislation (including bill number). It should tell readers about the issue, what they can do to help, and include a call to action. Remember to name your legislator if you’re thanking them or seeking their support. For example, “As a constituent, I urge Senator Jane Doe to cosponsor H.R. 1380, the Big Cat Public Safety Act.”
Here is an example of an LTE about our federal bill (second letter on the page). Need help crafting your letter? Our Director of Outreach can help you draft your letter and personalize it for your community. For assistance, email her at Jennifer.Leon[at]BigCatRescue.org. If your LTE gets published, send your legislator a copy through email or regular mail, and share a link to your LTE to the AdvoCat Facebook group or email it to our Director of Outreach at the email address noted above.
10. Tell Your Friends
There is power in numbers! Please share this information with people you know. Ask them to join as an AdvoCat and to avoid patronizing abusive venues that allow cub petting. Urge them to take the more proactive steps above and donate if they can. Use this shortened link to send them to this page: www.BigCatRescue.org/advocats
Help us end big cat abuse by passing the Big Cat Public Safety Act! Make the Call of the Wild today! For more info about the big cat act, a downloadable factsheet and info card, and info on what you can do to help us pass this important federal bill visit http://bigcatrescue.org/big-cat-act/.
Thank you so much for your interest in adding your voice to stop the abuse of exotic cats! Become an AdvoCat today!
To read past issues of our monthly e-Zine called The AdvoCat go to The AdvoCat News
To read past issues of The Big Cat Times go to The Big Cat Times