1. What is the mission of Advancing the Interests of Animals (AIA)?
AIA’s mission is to improve the lives of animals and to encourage increased compassion and respect for all living beings. The organization acts directly with focused campaigns to help animals as well as through a variety of educational activities and informational efforts. Its vision is to be an effective, passionate and nationally respected advocate for all animals.
2. How did AIA get started?
Drs. Lori Kirshner and Peter Spiegel initially founded Desert Paws in 2001 with a focus on the welfare of dogs and cats in the southern California Coachella Valley community. As the founders learned more about the plight of other animals, such as the abuse of animals in rodeos and circuses, as well as the exploitation of wild animals through such activities as illegal poaching, they expanded their advocacy efforts to be a voice for the humane treatment of all animals.
In 2011, they founded Advancing the Interests of Animals (AIA) dedicated to the belief that all animals – domesticated and wild – deserve to be treated with compassion and respect.
3. What does AIA do?
AIA is a national organization that addresses animal welfare issues around the globe through public education and regional projects. Its primary focus is to encourage people of all ages to treat animals with compassion and respect.
In addition, AIA promotes a plant-based diet, which is consistent with its mission and is also the least harmful to the environment. This diet has also been scientifically proven to be the healthiest for humans. In FY15, the focus of AIA’s work falls into four areas:
- Worldwide Education
- Responsible Pet Guardianship: A Focus on Spanish-Speaking Communities
- Inspiring Animal Welfare Advocates of the Future
- Promoting Community Participation
AIA’s founders, Drs. Kirshner and Spiegel, produce and host a weekly, one-hour radio show, Animals Today, which is aired in multiple markets around the US. It is also streamed online every Sunday for world-wide access. All shows are archived and available anytime on the show’s website.
The show provides a worldwide platform where individuals and organizations advocating for animals can present and promote their causes. It is a communication hub where listeners learn about a wide variety of animal welfare issues as well as the actions they can take to help animals locally and around the globe.
The show’s hosts conduct interviews on a wide variety of animal-related topics. Guests on the show include celebrities, politicians and government officials, lawyers, naturalists and activists working in the field. They all share a desire to improve the lives of animals around the world. AIA’s educational efforts are furthered by its two websites, www.aianimals.org and www.animalstodayradio.com. These websites provide information about its campaigns and activities, its radio show and audio archives, and essays and opinion pieces about animal welfare.
In addition, AIA utilizes social media extensively to interact with its audience. Blogs, Facebook posts and eblasts are used to promote weekly shows and provide the latest animal rights news. A project is underway to place all shows ever broadcast on YouTube. This will allow listeners to more easily access and share programs with others.
Happy and Safe Dogs and Cats Perros y Gatos Felices y Seguros
Advancing the Interests of Animals (AIA) is conducting an educational campaign aimed at predominantly Spanish speaking communities in the Coachella Valley. Happy and Safe Dogs and Cats (Perros y Gatos Felices y Seguros) provides much-needed information about responsible guardianship of companion animals through multiple media formats, all in Spanish. Utilizing 60 sec. radio advertisements, feature articles in the valley’s Spanish language newspaper, La Prensa Hispana, colorful informational flyers and strategically placed billboards, the messages emphasize the importance of fixing our pets, making sure they are properly vaccinated and licensed, that they have safe and secure living environments, and much more. AIA will soon roll out the campaign in select Los Angeles neighborhoods.
There is very little information about responsible pet guardianship available in Spanish and Happy and Safe Dogs and Cats directly addresses this void. With your support, we hope to continue to grow this effort, thus benefitting as many dogs and cats, and their families, as possible.
Inspiring Animal Advocates of the Future
Plans are underway to invite youth around the globe to participate in a contest that taps into their creativity utilizing today’s technology. In this way, AIA hopes to lay the groundwork for the next generation of animal advocates.
Promoting Community Participation
AIA encourages individuals to become involved in their local communities to promote the welfare of animals. One example of this work is AIA’s partnership with the Coachella Valley Animal Campus (CVAC) in southern California.
AIA is working with CVAC to expand and improve its volunteer program. This includes extensive recruitment and promotion of the program on the radio and AIA’s website, through social media, electronic newsletters and the distribution of thousands of fliers to individuals in the Coachella Valley. AIA has also created videos featuring volunteers at the shelter assisting the dogs and cats as well as thanking and acknowledging CVAC volunteers through public recognition and special events. The growth of this program will enable AIA to help develop a foster care program to further benefit the animals cared for at the CVAC.
4. Where is AIA located?
AIA’s national offices are located in Palm Springs, California. Its radio show has a nationwide audience. On the internet, listeners worldwide may access all Animals Today broadcasts and archived shows.
5. How is AIA different from other animal advocacy organizations?
As a national nonprofit, AIA has a unique focus of educating people about a wide-variety of animal welfare issues around the globe in a multi-media format. It provides a platform for animal welfare advocates – both individuals and organizations – to amplify their message and increase their impact by reaching a broad audience. AIA accomplishes this through its radio show, Animals Today, and its two websites, www.aianimals.org and www.animalstodayradio.com.
6. How do people benefit from the work of AIA?
AIA believes that people who treat animals kindly are generally more respectful in their dealings with other people. By promoting compassion and respect for animals, the work of AIA benefits animals and society as a whole.
In addition, animal abuse by youth can be an early warning sign of potentially violent behavior towards people. The connection between such abuse and the later development of antisocial behavior is well known. AIA educates people about the importance of recognizing and properly addressing animal abuse and neglect in order to interrupt this cycle of violence.
7. How is AIA funded?
AIA is a tax exempt, 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization and is completely supported by private donations. Its founders and radio show producers and hosts, Drs. Lori Kirshner and Peter Spiegel, donate their time and energy. All board members serve as volunteers.
8. Who supports AIA?
AIA’s supporters come from all walks of life and have a wide range of animal-related interests. These include concerns about the care of companion animals, protecting wild animals and their natural habitats, treatment of farmed animals, and teaching children compassion and respect toward animals. Most of all, AIA supporters share a common desire to help and protect animals.
9. How Can I Get Involved?
AIA seeks the support and involvement of individuals and organizations. Financial gifts of any size are appreciated. Tribute gifts can be made in honor or in memory of a loved one. Leadership gifts will be recognized on AIA’s websites and on its radio show. AIA also welcomes volunteers to assist with specific projects.