Attending TAFA was invigorating, representing the Humane Society of the United States at TAFA was an honor. The workshops were very well-run and informative. Topics ranged from how to be an active citizen lobbyist, how to stop puppy mills, to advances in farm animal cruelty prevention and .
Many other organizations were represented on each panel in the many different workshops, including Farm Sanctuary, Animal Welfare Institute, among others.
The all vegan menu was surprisingly delicious and included a vegan rendition of chicken cordon bleu and chocolate mousse.
Working at the registration booth Friday night reminded me of working retail during my college days, but it was fun. I ran into a girl, Nicole, who was on my RAVS trip last summer. She won the award for HSVMA student of the year. She created a student chapter of HSVMA and helped to end terminal surgeries at her vet school. Her work inspired me to try to form a HSVMA Chapter at my vet school before I leave.
While working the government affairs table, I discovered a new side of myself. I was energized by the many interested citizen lobbyists, and those that may not have been interested in our lobby day bills I actively chose to engage. I urged people that could not attend lobby day to cal or write their senators and representative. I learned that 1 personal call or letter statistically represents 10,000 people with the same interest. So 1 call really does matter!
In another outgoing moment, I spoke to Nigel Barker and asked for a photo op. His work as a celebrity spokesperson, filmmaker and photographer has helped to end baby seal hunting in Canada.
The banquet was great. Congressmen Rahall from WV gave a great speech and we commended him for passing 11 wildlife bills through his committee during 2010. Hal Sparks was hilarious and I laughed harder than I had in a very long time. Wayne's speech was passionate and serious, but was interrupted by Spanish music in the adjacent ballroom. All the speeches made me question my own choices and made me wish our country was more in line with change. Wayne argues that the American public is ready, but government and interest groups are slowing the change process.
While the conference was exhausting on many levels, I am not only glad I was able to attend but that I was able to represent the Humane Society. And once again during the last 6 weeks, I feel invigorating and passionate for my career and all the many directions I can take.