Perhaps my favorite part of working for Ecorazzi is the opportunity to attend a slew of incredible green and animal events throughout the year. This past weekend, I headed to our nation’s capital to hang out with thousands of dedicated do-gooders at The Humane Society of the United States’ Taking Action for Animals conference.
An annual event geared to bring together both seasoned activists and individuals new to the world of animal protection, the 3-day conference featured workshops, presentations, and even a lobbying session. Most importantly, it offered activists new techniques to get involved and help create social change.
Because we’re crazy about celebs, I started my weekend off with a speech given by fashion photographer, filmmaker and author Nigel Barker. Nigel has worked closely with The HSUS for years and helped shed light on the brutal Canadian seal hunt in his 2009 documentary A Sealed Fate.
During the speech, Nigel detailed his experience making the film and explained why the hunt is dangerous for both humans and animals. He shared that on the first day of shooting, four hunters died after their boat capsized in the icy waters. This, embarrassingly, was met with a round of applause from a small portion of the audience. Quickly, Nigel asked them to stop cheering and explained the importance of showing compassion for all members of society. In this pivotal moment, he reminded the audience that whether one champions the rights of animals, humans, or the environment, one must never forget that each movement shares the same basic fundamentals: respect, kindness, compassion and thoughtful action. And that, quite simply, if we cannot embody these principals for all, we have no business claiming them for one.
Later that evening, participants filed into the Marriot Ballroom for the annual banquet dinner. As plates of artfully prepared vegan food were served, we listened to the words of HSUS President Wayne Pacelle, U.S. Representative Nick Rahall and actor/comedian Hal Sparks.
The remainder of my conference days were filled with interesting workshops, delicious food and many visits to the exhibitor hall, where 72 vendors sold cruelty-free products.
All in all, the weekend was a great success, and I had a blast hanging out with the many hardworking citizens who are doing their part to help create a cleaner, kinder, more compassionate world.
To learn more about the conference and how you can get involved next year, visit HSUS.org.