Big Cat Rescuers are sitting in the airport waiting for the flight back to Tampa. We are so exhausted we can hardly speak, but it is that wonderful sort of exhaustion that comes from knowing you gave it everything you had and that you made a difference.
Big Cat Rescue was the Diamond Sponsor of the 2014 Taking Action for Animals Conference because it gave unparalleled exposure to more than 1,200 animal activists who cared enough to travel to D.C. for four days to learn about ways to help animals. Our sponsorship also gave us access to all of the celebrities and high rollers who attended the Humane Society of the United State's 60th Anniversary gala.
It also gave us the premiere location in the Exhibit Hall and I don't know how many people attended that, but it was far more than just the 1,200 attendees, as that part was open to the public. Jeff and Coleen Kremer, Susan Bass, Lauren Buckingham, & Valerie Stockton manned the booth, answered questions, shared our mission and made many new friends in the animal welfare community.
Big Cat Rescue AdvoCats, Jennifer Leon and Stephanie Derdouri attended as well and carried our mission to attendees and members of Congress as well.
Below are some of the photos from the trip.
It was so cool to see our logo everywhere. It was also on everyone's gift bag and name badge. The sign on the left promoted Howie's talk at 1PM both days about why we need a ban rather than relying on regs that are not enforced.
We got two, full page, full color ads in the beautiful TAFA show guide. One inside the front cover and the other inside the back cover.
Howie stays on top of all of his other work at the sanctuary by cell phone during the breaks.
This was on all of the screens in the rooms where the workshops were held. The screens were 10-15 feet high.
Mike Markarian introduces Howie as the next speaker at the Plenary.
Above the exhibit hall there was a balcony where Howie talked about why we need a big cat ban.
I should have gotten a photo later because every seat was filled and people were lining the sidelines to hear Howie on Saturday. The turnout on Sunday was amazingly good since we figured everyone who wanted to hear it had been there on Saturday.
Lauren and Valerie have done an amazing job helping our guests reach out to their legislative offices so we took them to TAFA. Valerie says she would like to find a job, full time, in this arena. Lauren is from the U.K., but we would love to have her here full time.
HSUS celebrated their 60th anniversary with this $500 a plate, star studded gala. As the Diamond Sponsor of TAFA we got in free.
There really is no other organization that is having such a huge impact in protecting animals.
Everyone was chattering about how this guy was from The Walking Dead. His dad is on the board. There were a lot of celebrities there, but Jane Velez Mitchell was the only one I recognized. I don't watch much T.V.
This was the sign outside the door for my presentation. After my talk some people said it was the most inspiring talk of the event.
The show hall was gigantic, so the booths had a lot of space to set up so that people weren't crowded. There were masses of people but it never seemed crowded because of the layout.
On Lobby Day there were about 30 people in the Florida delegation who went around to talk to our Senators and Representatives. Most states were represented, but FL seemed to be the biggest group.
Lauren has her packet of bills to present to lawmakers.
Jennifer came as our guest for all the work she does as an AdvoCat.
Wayne Pacelle talks to everyone on Lobby Day about some of the bills that we are trying to push over the finish line.
Howie takes a selfie of us in front of the Capitol on Lobby Day.
Howie takes a selfie of us with Jennifer.