Once again the Colorado Voters for Animals and the Humane Society of the United States will host Humane Lobby Day on Thursday, March 5, starting at 8:30 AM. This event allows the public who support humane legislation the chance to learn about animal welfare bills going through the Colorado Legislature and the opportunity to meet with local representatives to discuss these bills. Anyone interested in humane legislation is invited to attend this all day event.
The event will begin at the First Baptist Church of Denver, 1373 Grant Street, just one block away from the State Capitol. Speakers from both the CVA and the Humane Society will explain what bills are going through the legislature and the implications of the bills on animals. Both organizations also invite congressional members to meet with organizers in the morning to discuss ongoing issues. Whether or not congressional members visit the morning session depends on their schedules that day.
Currently the most important legislation going through our state and federal government is commonly referred to as the “Ag Gag” Bill. This bill will make it a crime for whistle blowers to record video of animal abuse on industrial farms and thus make it more difficult to prove animal abuse and food safety cases. Other issues for the Colorado Legislature include Horse and Greyhound racing in Colorado.
After going through the bills and issues of humane legislation, attendees are then given a lesson on how to become a citizen lobbyist. Tips include what bills are being discussed and if there are any statistics to help explain issues, these are provided. The organizations also talk about time constraints on meeting with congress members. Attendees will even learn where to go in the State Capitol and how to check into the building. If attendees are unable to meet with their representative that day, they can follow up with an email or phone call. All lot of the information and tips provided at this event will help anyone get in touch with their local representative on all sorts of issues, not just animal welfare.
After lunch attendees then break into groups by their district representative. Depending on the size of these groups, attendees may brain storm ideas on how to approach their representative. Large group may select a spokesperson to do the talking. Those in smaller groups may break issues down so every member gets the chance to speak. After this brief meeting, everyone walks over to the state building to meet with their representatives. This can be a chaotic environment and often the meetings take place in the hallway outside the legislature. Although it can seem very hectic, the CVA and Humane Society stress that our representatives want to hear from us, their constituents, and learn our opinions on the decisions they have to make. These face-to-face meetings are important to them.
Attendees are required to pay an fee of $8 to attend this event. This fee helps to cover the costs of the materials given to attendees. A coffee and pastry breakfast in the morning and a vegan lunch at noon will also be provided. The fee can be paid online at the HSUS website. When signing up for this event, a local address, not a PO Box number, must be given so attendees can be paired with their specific district representative.
A new extra event this year is the Humane Happy Hour hosted by the Colorado Voters for Animals’ Small Donor Committee. This event will be held after the representative meetings at City Grille, 321 E. Colfax Avenue, starting in 3 PM. Guests will get to relax after this busy day and get to know each other and the organization. Cash bar only.
I highly recommend this event, not just to those interested in animal welfare, but anyone who is interested in learning how our state government works and how to get in touch with state and federal representatives. Guests also get to meet with representatives of both the Colorado Voters for Animals and regional members of the Humane Society to learn more about both of these organizations and the work they do for animals in Colorado.