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February19–25

National Justice for Animals Week – February 19-25, 2023

National Justice for Animals Week takes place during the fourth week in February each year. This year, it takes place from February 19 to 25. The world ought to agree that concepts of justice are meaningless unless they serve the voiceless: dogs, cats, and all beings with feathers, claws, fins, or fur. Take, for instance, the story of Katarina the Pitbull. Law enforcement officers rescued her from a horrendous puppy mill, and she’s now on the long road to recovery in a happy new home. And then, there’s Chuck the duck — one of the 150 animals rescued from terrible conditions by Animal Rescue Corps. 

These are stories of hope. But they have more in common. Katarina and Chuck are some of the official representatives of National Justice for Animals Week. Their cases demonstrate the power of collective action to make a lasting difference for animals in need. National Justice for Animals Week is an annual event dedicated to raising awareness about animal abuse: how to identify and report it, and how to rally your community to create stronger laws and enforcement.  

History of National Justice for Animals Week

Holding abusers accountable is critical, and that’s not possible without robust legislation. Created by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (A.L.D.F.), the week aims to raise public awareness of animal cruelty. This includes learning about the legal definition of animal cruelty, how to report cases, and guidance on campaigning for stronger laws.

The A.L.D.F. protects the interests of animals by working within the legal system. It files lawsuits and provides legal assistance to prosecutors. The A.L.D.F. keeps track of and opposes legislation that might harm animals in any way. In addition, the A.L.D.F. campaigns for stricter enforcement and organizes programs to inform and inspire local communities to take action.

Each year’s event also features a representative — an animal who received a second chance at a happy life thanks to the justice system. The law often runs on loopholes when it has the power to do and be much more. A representative’s story illustrates the possibilities when the law gets it right.

The A.L.D.F. usually caps off the week by honoring America’s Top Animal Defenders. It’s a list that includes animal rescuers, law enforcement officials, judges, advocates, prosecutors, and everyday heroes who work tirelessly for animal rights.

It’s an uphill battle but one worth fighting for. As individuals, we can do much more to improve the lives of animals. Today’s a good day to consider fostering or adopting abandoned pets. There are too many roaming the streets dazed and confused.

National Justice for Animals Week timeline

2015
Gracie, the Alpaca

Thanks to Cross Creek Alpaca Rescue, an emaciated Gracie finds a happy, forever home. 

2016
From Puppy Mill to Loving Home

The Oregon Humane Society rehomes Baxter, the dachshund.

2018
Two Horses Find Sanctuary

Once severely malnourished, Willow and Stormy (and their foals) survive and thrive thanks to local rescuers and prosecutors. 

2021
America’s Top Animal Defenders

The A.L.D.F. recognizes the work of Detective Vanessa Acosta and Dr. Carolina De La Garza of El Paso, Texas, to prevent animal cruelty. 

National Justice for Animals Week FAQs

Is there still animal cruelty?

Animal cruelty exists everywhere. While most people can recognize obvious signs of animal abuse (caged, injured), other indicators can be more subtle. Animal neglect also qualifies as abuse. 

Is leaving a dog outside animal abuse?

Depending on state laws, leaving a pet outside in harsh weather conditions can invite animal abuse charges. The rule applies even to people who do so without cruel intent. 

Why does animal cruelty still happen?

The reasons for animal cruelty can vary. Like most forms of violence, the perpetrator hopes to threaten or shock others to feel more powerful themselves. Cruelty can also be a result of deep-seated trauma and personality disorders.

How to Observe National Justice for Animals Week

  1. Set an example

    Champion animal rights by being the best pet caretaker. Always ensure your pets have enough water, healthy food, medication, and opportunities for socialization. Be kind to strays or, better still, adopt. Feed them, get them spayed/neutered, and shower them with love.

  2. Learn how to recognize abuse

    Read up on the definition of animal abuse according to your area’s law enforcement. Keep an eye out accordingly, and be prepared to report a case if necessary.

  3. Shop ethically

    Ask around for more information on pet stores in your area. Ethical companies always publish details on their policies. If a place seems sketchy, don’t shop there. Remember to avoid puppy mills or stores that sell animals. 

5 Facts About Animal Sentience That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. Chimpanzees like to play it fair

    Studies have found that chimpanzees distribute an equal share of their bananas, crying foul if cheated.

  2. Lending a helping trunk

    A group of elephants can display complex, human-like cooperation levels to achieve a shared goal.

  3. Mice with a moral compass

    A study published in 2006 found that mice grimace when a fellow compatriot they know is in pain. 

  4. Dolphins love everyone

      Dolphins routinely show kindness by saving swimmers from sharks or guiding stranded whales back to the sea.

  5. Fish can feel pain

    Scientists have discovered that fish feel and suffer pain as much as humans do. 

Why National Justice for Animals Week is Important

  1. It restores our faith in humanity

    Most of us live inside our bubbles each day. The news makes it seem like the world is a terrible place. Today we’re reminded of folks doing exceptional work despite the odds. 

  2. The world belongs to everyone

    National Justice for Animals Week dreams of a world where all beings exist in dignity. It’s a cause everyone should rally behind. 

  3. Second, third, and fourth chances

    Nothing brings us more joy than witnessing an animal’s physical and spiritual transformation after a rescue. Everyone deserves another chance at life — animals, especially so.

National Justice for Animals Week dates

YearDateDay
2022February 20Sunday
2023February 19Sunday
2024February 18Sunday
2025February 16Sunday
2026February 22Sunday

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