People pursue profit at the expense of other living creatures in countless ways. From entertainment to experimentation, animals are tormented at the hands of humans every day. Despite feeling fear and pain, just like us, they can’t ask for the suffering to stop. However, by becoming more involved with animal advocacy, you can help give a voice to the voiceless.

Joining the chorus of others working to end animal cruelty will help make a difference. Yet with numerous animal rights organizations on the map, it can be difficult to choose the best path for investing your time, money and energy.

It all depends on what path of advocacy hits on your passions and feels right for you. Here are a few options that may have different and specialized goals, but share one broad mission of creating a better world for our furry (and feathered or scaly) friends.

1. Work With a National Organization

Working with a national animal rights organization is one way to get involved on a larger scale. Through an assortment of projects, organizations like PETA, the Humane Society and the ASPCA are constantly paving the way to a restored future for all animals. This translates into advocating for animal protection legislation on a national scale, organizing campaigns to inspire reforms, conducting animal rescue and emergency response or even investigating acts of inhumane treatment all over the country (and world).

An important statute imparted by the HSUS is the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act of 2006. This mandates consideration for animals in disaster protocol, and has grown increasingly important as hurricanes and other natural disasters displace animals and put them in peril.

2. Work With a Local Shelter

Another option is to get involved with one of your local rescues or animal shelters. Local shelters find homes for animals, as well as offer great programs for the community like regional spay/neuter, pet adoption and no-kill advocacy programs. Driven by guiding principles of kindness and respect for all lifeforms, these shelters ideally seek to create a world with no more homeless pets.

If you can’t volunteer or work at one, simply donating to your local shelter goes a long way. Some shelters are entirely supported through donations. As such, these organizations need people to help promote fundraisers and pet adoptions, or to simply help spread the word about their programs.

Finding a local shelter that has a no-kill policy is ideal, or you can even advocate for your local shelter to make the switch to no-kill. Check out No-Kill 2025 to learn more about how we can end the killing of dogs and cats in shelters. There are a couple of ways to participate in this program, such as registering your shelter, rescue group or other animal welfare society for Shelter Animals Count and encouraging other animal rights organizations in your area to do the same.

3. Be an Online Advocate

These days, you can advocate without leaving the house (or spending a dime). Sign petitions to help stop cruelty to dogs, cats, farm animals, endangered species and much more (sign Lady Freethinker’s own animal petitions here). When thousands (or more) people like you add their signature, policymakers take notice, and real change can happen fast.

Beyond petitions, use your voice on social media to speak out for animals. Share the latest news and investigations to help educate your friends, family and coworkers on the hidden animal cruelty of factory farms, puppy mills, circuses and other animal industries. The more people know the truth about animal abuse, the better chance we have of stopping it.

4. Donate

If nothing else, you can never go wrong with a donation! Even the smallest bit counts. You can donate to any of the organizations listed in this article, donate to your local shelters or research other animal rights charities to find out where you’d like your dollars to go. Make sure you do your homework! Most organizations are well-intentioned, but you’ll want to ensure that your donation is going to the cause and not into exorbitant fundraising expenses or other non-mission related costs.

Time to Speak Up

The ethical treatment of animals has long been disregarded by industries that benefit from using their bodies for financial gain. When an animal is restricted from exploring the world in its own way and is instead viewed as means for increased production, its welfare is not a top priority. Consequently, we must speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Though the world today is a miserable place for animals trapped in the for-profit system, there are glimmers of hope for the future. With a swelling number of individuals and organizations working relentlessly to spread awareness of the issues, conditions for the animals exploited are bound to change. We all need to work to put an end to the injustice of animal cruelty once and for all.