One can always fight for animal rights in numerous ways. For instance, people who work with children can teach them about kindness toward animals or help stop dissection in their schools, lawyers can offer their services pro bono to represent activists and take on animal rights cases, and so forth. Anyone, no matter what their career field, can do plenty for animals in their spare time!
Some basic skills and traits that has been proven most effective to advocate animal rights:
Empathy is the ability to identify with and understand another person’s experience and point of view. NASW defines it as “the act of perceiving, understanding, experiencing and responding to the emotional state and ideas of another person.”¹
Communication – both verbal and non-verbal – is a vital skill for animal advocacy. The ability to communicate clearly with a wide range of people is essential. It is the duty of every activist to advocate clearly for animals – in order to do this, activists must understand the need of hour.
Activists have busy schedules and a wide range of responsibilities in addition to managing and supporting campaigns, including documentation, reporting, billing and collaboration. This requires activists to be very organized and able to prioritize campaigns’ needs in order to effectively manage cases. Disorganization and poor time management could cause a social worker to overlook a campaigns’ needs and result in negative outcomes.
Critical thinking is the ability to analyze information gathered from unbiased observation and communication. Activists must be able to objectively evaluate each case by collecting information through observation, interviews and research. Thinking critically and without prejudice enables activists to make informed decisions, identify the best resources and formulate the best plan to help clients.
Active listening is necessary for activists to understand and identify a campaign’s needs. Listening carefully, concentrating, asking the right questions, and utilizing techniques such as paraphrasing and summarizing also helps activists to engage and establish confidence within the group.
Full-time activism can be demanding and emotionally stressful, so it is important to engage in activities that help you to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Self-care refers to practices that help to reduce stress and improve health and well-being – engaging in these practices helps to prevent burnout and compassion fatigue and is crucial to having a sustainable career.
Animal rights activists encounter an array of circumstances and individuals in their work. It is important to have patience to work through complex cases. This empowers activists to understand the client’s situation and avoid hasty decision-making and frustration that can lead to costly errors and poor outcomes of the campaigns.