In order to create a better future for the animals in Texas, we must ensure that our elected officials are dedicated to animal welfare issues. From working to give animals a better standard of care and shelter to addressing the growing animal homelessness population, it is vitally important that our elected officials understand and have a plan to address our communities’ animal welfare crises.
And when it comes to uncovering how political candidates plan to handle such issues, Houston PetSet is leading by example. Before the city’s 2019 Municipal Elections, the organization created a questionnaire and held a forum to discuss animal welfare issues and get answers from candidates on their plans to make Houston a more humane city. Houston PetSet was successful in receiving nearly 30 responses from candidates running for Mayor, City Council, and the City Controller. The forum, “A Conversation For The Animals” also featured structured debates between mayoral and city council candidates and was even covered on local news. Both the questionnaire and videos from the forum are posted prominently on the Houston PetSet website so voters can easily access the information and learn more about candidates’ views on animal welfare before casting their votes.
How Can You Emulate This Process?
Communities across Texas can establish processes similar to those of Houston PetSet’s to build human-led cities -- and it all starts with concerned residents like you. Here are a few things you can do to help:
- Find out if local animal welfare organizations in your community have plans to establish a similar process or if they would be interested in implementing one.
- Help move the process along by offering to draft a questionnaire for candidates before the next municipal election. Include questions about a candidate’s:
- History with animal welfare issues
- Strategies or plans to address animal welfare issues in your community
- Personal history with pets and animals
- Plans for increasing or decreasing funding for animal welfare organizations
- Willingness to actively partner with local animal welfare organizations
- Any other questions specific to the animal welfare issues in your community
- Offer to help plan/organize a forum for candidates prior to your next municipal election
Local government is hugely important to safeguarding animals and solving animal welfare problems specific to each Texas community. Using the process above to understand a political candidate’s views on animal welfare issues can uncover how a candidate may or may not support animals and can be an effective tool in ensuring the winning candidate takes real action once elected. Texas animals need us to give them a voice, and establishing such processes will ensure they have one through local officials.