Meet Your Mission
First a Kitten, Then the World?
Aileen Walden is the member services director at the Best Friends Animal Society, a Kanab, Utah-based organization dedicated to leading a “kindness revolution that transforms the way we relate to the animals, the environment and to each other.”
“The state of our culture is reflected by the way we treat our most vulnerable,” Walden explains. “By focusing on the welfare of the companion animals in our society and, indeed, on all animals, we can create a more compassionate society. As a result, we can elevate the way that we relate to our fellow human beings.”
But while few can deny the heartstring-tugging appeal of a pup in need, BFAS wants to go further by relating animal protection and compassion to a healthier, happier society for humans too. And that’s where things get tougher.
FundRaising Success: What are your toughest fundraising
Aileen Walden: It can be difficult for people to understand the importance of caring for companion animals and offering them the care and compassion they need to live happy lives. People don’t understand that ill treatment of the animals and animal overpopulation have a direct impact on the health and welfare of communities and are indicative of pathologies that lead to violence and other crimes against each other. There’s also a lot of competition among the many animal welfare organizations.
FS: What needs to be done to overcome them?
AW: We need to more effectively educate the public on the positive impact that proactive programs to end pet overpopulation and animal cruelty can have on communities both culturally and fiscally.
Animal welfare is an ongoing concern, but like most organizations with compassion-based missions, BFAS is feeling a surge of interest from post-Katrina America.
There is some greater awareness of the need to consider the welfare of animals as a result of the Hurricane Katrina relief effort,” Walden says. “[But] momentum could quickly disappear if we don’t make an effort to keep animal-welfare issues in the public’s awareness.