I am a defender of wildlife. According to a letter sent to me by a wildlife advocacy organization, that’s what I am. They even sent me a calendar, address labels and calendar reminders stickys. Wow! I must be someone special because according to the letter (written by the president himself) it brings him great pleasure to send me these small tokens of appreciation.
He goes on to tell me how the calendar is such a great gift for such a wildlife lover as I. The letter is full of “Baby animal this” and “Baby animal that,” which of course pulls at my heartstrings. And of course the breathtaking photography and all those cute adorable animals stir my self-concept of altruism and therefore I am inclined to pull out my checkbook. My gift will help ensure the future of the baby animals that I love. The letter eventually asks me not to let the precious animals continue to exist only in photographs. Instead I must take action by joining the organization.
I will venture to estimate animal rights organizations number in the thousands – just like so many other organizations. Most of us are aware that many organizations “absorb” the majority of the donations they receive.
In order for me to make an informed decision regarding my donated dollars I check out Charity Navigator. They have a database of credible charities, as well as charities that are not living up to their missions. Animal’s rights, welfare and service organizations fared pretty well – especially the Animal Legal Defense Fund and PetSmart Charities, both of which received four star ratings.
We have plenty of trustworthy, sound organizations in Williamsburg County. Oftentimes the head of a particular group will stand before county council and solicit funding to help progress their particular mission. I support several local organizations that I believe are doing something for the greater good of the community.
I also support several national organizations: one being “Arm the Animals.” Arm the Animals is really a charitable company. It is run by a small group of nice people and isn’t politically motivated. I buy a shirt - they make a donation to a reputable shelter or animal rescue organization. Sounds good to me.
What they don’t do is plead, prod or persuade me to open my wallet. Their site isn’t filled with unpleasant images of injured or starving kittens or puppies: I see enough of that on the side of the road or in our local shelter where the good folks work to make life for their rescues a little better. Arm the Animals leaves my moral duty up to me, freeing me to decide whether or not I am a defender of wildlife.