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Youth for Animal Welfare
by Lauren Hay-Lavitt

Having been involved in dog shows for six years now, I have developed a passion for, and a commitment to, this sport that has allowed me to meet many of my goals in junior showmanship. Now that I am retired from juniors and am more focused on a future in professional handling, I have become increasingly alarmed by the continual efforts by animal rights extremists to pass legislation across the country that would ultimately destroy the sport of pure bred dogs, among many other things. Because of this, I am launching an effort to engage young people in all aspects of AKC activities as well as others such as 4-H and FFA to fight these extremists and protect our future interests.

PETA, HSUS and other groups have already managed to spread their messages, using celebrities, scare tactics and emotional hype to convince people to support them. What they are lacking is factual information; when the facts don’t fit their message, they simply distort the truth. Most people accept them at face value. My goal is to spread the word about those groups’ ultimate goals, and to get the truth out to the general public. PETA, etc., have gone so far as to take their campaigns into schools, targeting young people with their propaganda. We need to fight back! I plan to make available the facts, statistics, etc., which refutes the extremists’ message and my hope, is that you juniors can spread the word. We need to make sure that people of all ages, in all walks of life, can understand the reality of these groups and their goals, and can make educated decisions about what to support in their opinions, their donations and their votes. I will be creating a website that will provide resources that each and every one of you can utilize, including letters that can be copied and sent to politicians, so that hopefully the voters in your families can also get involved!

I am going to need a lot of help in this effort. For those of you who are creative, good at computers, have innovative ideas etc, lets see if we can all put our heads together, and come up with fun and enticing ways to get a bigger grass roots movement going! The time is now! I can’t do any of this alone; I need all of your help. We have to join together and help preserve what we love. I would like to have a representative from every state that can help so that the word is spread throughout the US. Please contact me, so that we can get this off the ground! I welcome any comments, suggestions, or opinions as this project begins. Lauren Hay-Lavitt at quailrdgk@cs.com