Results For 2008 “A Voice for Animals” Student Essay Contest
In spring, Palo Alto Humane Society (PAHS) joined the Humane Education Network (HEN) in co-sponsoring the 18th annual “A Voice For Animals” High School Essay Contest.
More than 3700 students, representing all fifty states, submitted essays examining animal welfare issues or discussing their personal involvement in animal advocacy. The essays spanned an immense range of welfare issues regarding farm animals, wildlife, pets, laboratory animals, and animals used in entertainment. Students wrote about hundreds of topics, including the plight of circus elephants, the endangerment of the Amur Leopard and Siberian Tiger, dogfighting, animal hoarding, factory farming, puppy mills, the Canadian seal hunt, the impact of global warming on wildlife, classroom dissection, horse racing, and the condition of chimpanzees in biomedical research. In the Personal Involvement category, students wrote about organizing coastal garbage cleanups to protect wildlife, creating and teaching education programs about sea turtle preservation, and volunteering at a horse refuge.
The Palo Alto Humane Society congratulates the contest winners for their phenomenal work. Along with intervention and advocacy, PAHS promotes education as one of the most powerful tools for helping animals. We believe that increased public concern and consciousness about animal issues is a vital ingredient in creating a more kind and just world for all creatures. Only with an informed and caring public, can we effectively address the urgent and pervasive abuses that so many animals face in today’s world. A Voice For Animals Essay Contest, spearheaded by the Humane Education network, exists to encourage students to closely examine animal issues that are often ignored or hidden from public view. The contest not only provides an opportunity for students to learn about issues themselves, but also to share their findings with a wider audience.
The award-winning students have written articulately and compellingly on animal issues that rarely receive the attention they deserve. These students demonstrate strong proficiency in research, critical thinking, and writing. Yet more important, these students display a profound care for social justice and a vast capacity for empathy, unhindered by the species barrier. These are no doubt qualities that will be needed in great measure to move forward with both issues of animal rights and human rights in the 21st century.
The contest is named A Voice For Animals out of recognition that animals have no voice of their own. Since animals cannot advocate for themselves, it is up to us to speak on their behalf. This is precisely what these students have done, and they have done so with eloquence, compassion, and hope. They are truly a voice for animals and we should all be inspired.
To view the prized essays, visit the Humane Education Network website.