Happy New Year and best wishes for 2016 to all! We are proud to announce that the Animal People Forum – Animal People’s new global platform for animal activists and supporters to connect and share information – is flourishing, and it is with great excitement that we look forward to the new year and the endless possibilities it offers!
We’ve come a long way since this time one year ago. As of January 2015, our publication Animal People News, our main project since our organization’s founding in 1992, had been out of print a full year, due to serious and ultimately irreconcilable differences between members of the board. Resolving the conflicts that ensued and setting a new course forward had taken up much of the year since. The remaining board members had by the start of 2015 agreed to pool our resources into developing a new online project, which would foster the exchange of ideas relevant to animal rights between people of all backgrounds, but the Animal People Forum was still little more than an idea on paper.
Our vision finally came to life in mid-September, with the completion and public launch of the Forum website. The Animal People Forum has since published 84 new works, most submitted by site visitors such as yourself! We have received submissions from users in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, in a broad range of formats and covering an enormous diversity of topics. To give just a handful of examples, the Forum now hosts:
- Press releases from anti-fur campaigns in China
- News reports on the United States’ decision to retire all lab chimpanzees
- Opinion pieces on effective vegetarian and vegan advocacy
- Photo galleries of wildlife rescue projects in Indonesia
- Poetry musing on humans’ responsibility to the environment
- Scholarly resources on effective spay/neuter strategies for dogs
- Articles, essays, videos, photos, and artworks covering many other animal issues worldwide!
We offer our immense gratitude to all those who have submitted material to the Animal People Forum so far. Without your creativity, insight, and dedication our vision could never have taken wing. Thank you for all you have provided, and we hope for your continued participation in the future. To those who have not yet written for the Forum, we encourage you to do so, that your knowledge and ideas may help to further the animal protection cause!
In addition to publishing content, the Animal People Forum offers a variety of other ways to learn, share, and network on behalf of animals! These include:
- Our global network of people and organizations. By registering an account on the Animal People Forum for yourself or your group, you help build our international community of animal advocates, increase your own visibility and influence, and connect with fellow activists, projects, and potential supporters!
- Our live feed, which highlights site-wide activity and allows users to easily share media, commentary, and links to outside stories. By using the feed, you can spread knowledge and start important conversations on animal issues instantaneously, with none of the restrictions or delays of publication!
- Our photo library, hosted on Flickr, which offers thousands of animal-related photographs from our archives free for use under Creative Commons. If you need an image to illustrate your story on the Animal People Forum, or to use in campaigns and projects of your own, this is a phenomenal resource to check out!
- Our repository of articles and back issues from Animal People News, our former publication which provided breaking news and information on animal issues worldwide from 1992 through 2013. Though now out of print, it remains invaluable for understanding the history of the animal movement and various issues within it. We will be completely overhauling the repository in 2016, making it easier to access and use.
- Our online exhibit Beyond Human: Animals, Aliens, and Artificial Intelligence, which explores current scientific evidence for animal intelligence and consciousness, its relevance for understanding intelligent machines or alien life forms we may encounter in the future, and the ethical dilemmas posed by sentience in non-human beings.
We are constantly working to improve and expand the Animal People Forum, and intend to introduce yet more features in the coming year. Our goal is to become a hub for the global animal movement as it expands and diversifies, by providing a space where people who care about animals can share views and information on a level playing field, for the benefit of the cause and the creatures it serves.
Finally, we are excited to welcome three new members to the Animal People team!
- Wolf Gordon Clifton has been involved with Animal People since childhood, contributing drawings to Animal People News, writing articles, assisting with various tasks, and in 2012 joining as a member of the board. In June 2015, he began as Animal People’s new Executive Director, spearheading development of the Animal People Forum website and overseeing its operation since. With degrees in Museum Studies, Astrobiology, Religious Studies, Film, and Astronomy, he is highly knowledgeable about the intersection between animal issues and various areas of human culture.
- Dylan Forest is a recent graduate of the University of Washington, where he double majored in Comparative History of Ideas and Anthropology. He focused his research on humans’ relationships with other animals, studying human-orangutan interactions at the Woodland Park Zoo and volunteering at Pigs Peace Sanctuary. As Archivist and Photo Editor, he is in charge of digitizing Animal People’s vast collection of photographs and making them publicly available through our Flickr library.
- Anita Mayangpuspa brings 12 years of previous experience with various animal welfare projects in Indonesia, including Jakarta Animal Aid Network, iCare, Dogs Need Love, and 911 For Dogs. With a formidable professional record and academic training in business, marketing, design, and communications, she is well prepared for her duties as Social Media Coordinator, managing Animal People’s Facebook and Twitter accounts and promoting our work to a larger audience.
We are extremely grateful to count Wolf, Dylan, and Anita as members of our team. They join President Kim Bartlett, a veteran animal rights advocate of over 40 years, co-founding Animal People in 1992 after six years as editor of The Animals’ Agenda magazine; and Publisher Patrice Greanville, a longtime political commentator, economist, and animal rights activist who has been with Animal People since 1993. With a diverse range of knowledge and skills, and perfect balance of youth and experience, Animal People is blessed with an ideal crew to carry it forward far into the future.
We welcome you to join in our vision as well. If you haven’t already, you can get started simply by registering an account on the Animal People Forum. We are confident you will find it to be a fascinating and valuable resource in your efforts on behalf of animals!
You can also help the Animal People Forum by donating to support our work. Animal People is a non-profit charity, and we do not host paid advertisements; as such, we depend entirely on the generosity of donors such as yourself to fund our operation. You can send a donation via PayPal below or by mail, addressed to P.O. Box 960 Clinton, WA, U.S.A. 98236. We will be enormously thankful for any support you can provide!
We look forward to your participation, and to all the promise 2016 has to offer in creating a kinder world for animals!
Top photo: Pepi the dog on Kotok Island, Indonesia, where Wolf visited Jakarta Animal Aid Network’s raptor rehabilitation center in September 2015 (Credit: Wolf Clifton – Animal People, Inc.)