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Animal Equality Shines at AVA Summit in Washington, D.C.

In May, Animal Equality had the honour of delivering impactful speeches at the 2024 Animal and Vegan Advocacy Summit, the world's largest animal rights conference, gathering bright minds in the movement to exchange knowledge.

Drawing over 800 dedicated advocates and activists worldwide, this event featured over 80 expert speakers and 35 exhibitors, fostering collaboration for impactful change for animals.

Animal Equality’s Leadership Team Takes Centre Stage

Leading the Way in Latin America

Dulce Ramírez, Animal Equality’s Vice-President for Latin America, delivered a speech on Latin America’s unique role in the animal protection movement, providing an update on the progress being made in these countries. She highlighted recent milestones reached in Mexico, where there are virtually no legal protections for farmed animals, offering insight into the key ingredients for their success.

Dulce underscored Animal Equality’s success in advocating for the state of Jalisco – where the largest number of animals are killed for human consumption in Mexico – to criminalise animal abuse on farms and in slaughterhouses. She also spoke of their national victories, including last year’s amendment to Article 73 of the Mexican Constitution, which now allows legislators to create animal welfare laws that supersede state and local regulations.

By discussing our team’s achievements, relentless exposés of farms, and partnerships with other well-positioned groups in the movement, Dulce stressed the importance of persistence and resilience.

This commitment is a reflection of the collective achievements we see globally, particularly in Latin American countries. These nations are making significant strides in favour of farmed animals, with advancements evident in political agendas, legislation, and government actions. This should fill us all with pride and hope for the future.

Dulce Ramírez, Animal Equality’s Vice-President for Latin America

Driving Progress in the UK

Meanwhile, Abigail Penny, Executive Director of Animal Equality UK, shed light on the strides made in farmed animal protection across the Atlantic ocean, and the potential future for countries like Latin America, pending the establishment of stronger legal frameworks.

She referenced key statistics from Animal Equality’s 2022 ‘The Enforcement Problem’ report, co-authored alongside The Animal Law Foundation, highlighting the glaring lack of oversight and legal enforcement on UK farms.

Abigail delved into strategies outlined in our team’s subsequent report, ’The Enforcement Solution’, stressing the importance of downsizing the industry by informing consumers about the plight of farmed animals and supporting farmers through Government-issued subsidies to transition away from animal farming to plant-based alternatives. Additionally, she emphasised the necessity of heightened industry oversight.

Too often animal abuse and neglect in farms is going undetected and unpunished – this cannot continue. We need far greater oversight of the meat, dairy, egg and fish industries, so wrongdoing can be identified and non-compliant companies can be properly penalised. If all consumers were aware of the miseries these animals face, no-one would ever eat animal products again.

Abigail Penny, Executive Director of Animal Equality UK

Abigail’s insights underscored that “enacting laws is just the beginning” and that without proper oversight the true impact of new laws will not be felt by animals on the ground.

While animal advocates have known for decades that the enforcement problem persists, no organisation has directly tackled the issue in this way before. Numerous attendees approached Abigail after the presentation for in-depth discussions, while lawyers offered their support for the cause.

Between Speeches

In between impassioned speeches from Abigail and Dulce, Animal Equality’s President Sharon Núñez was invited to speak on a podcast titled “How I Learned to Love Shrimp”. In a captivating episode, Sharon discussed how Animal Equality has become more organised and strategic over time, launching full-scale campaigns against cruelty in corporate supply chains.

Little by little, [we were] just learning and becoming more sophisticated with our strategies… Now, we stand outside Denny’s with a banner, but as part of a campaign that has a specific objective to achieve on a specific timeline that brings us closer to eliminating gestation crates.

Sharon Núñez, President of Animal Equality

Beyond Centre Stage

Animal Equality also hosted a booth at the event, showcasing our virtual reality project, iAnimal, which allows viewers to experience the life and death of a cow, chicken and pig in a typical factory farm and slaughterhouse This immersive 360° project has been instrumental in unveiling the hidden suffering of farmed animals over the years and remains a powerful tool for advocacy.

Key Takeaways

With less than 0.1% of global philanthropy directed towards tackling factory farming, this event underscored just how much the animal protection movement achieves with the resources available to us. Unlike the for-profit sector, where knowledge is often guarded for competitive advantage, the animal protection space thrives on transparency and honesty and that’s why events like AVA are so critical for collaboration. By achieving a unified goal we can lean on each other, make the most of our unique strengths and fit together like pieces of a puzzle. Animal Equality left the event feeling inspired by other key speakers and our team looks forward to further continued collaboration with organisations in the movement!

Join the Animal Advocacy Movement

Are you ready to join advocacy leaders from around the world? By choosing plant-based foods, you can save lives and lead the way to a more compassionate world. Head over to Love Veg to download your digital copy of our plant-based cookbook and start making a difference with every meal.

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