Massachusetts Voters for Animals is the nonpartisan political arm of the animal protection movement in Massachusetts and the only animal organization in the Commonwealth that can influence elections for animal protection. Local shelters and other non-profits cannot influence or endorse candidates, organize volunteers or raise money for humane candidates because of their 501(c)(3) tax designation.
We support Democrats, Republicans, and Independents based on a single criterion: their support for animal protection. We organize in key districts to mobilize volunteers for humane-minded candidates. We raise money from compassionate citizens in Massachusetts to donate to various campaigns at the state and local level. We also organize people to work on the campaigns of humane-minded candidates.
How does Massachusetts Voters for Animals endorse candidates?
Massachusetts Voters for Animals creates a questionnaire to get candidates’ positions on animal protection issues such as hunting, breed specific legislation (BSL), wild animals in circuses, and farm animals. In addition, Massachusetts Voters for Animals asks candidates if they have taken action in either their public or private lives on behalf of animals, whether they would favor legislation for animals despite arguments for commercial and economic benefit from animal exploitation, and if they view animal protection as a core value. If the candidate has held office, Massachusetts Voters for Animals also reviews the voting record.
In addition to questionnaires and voting records, Massachusetts Voters for Animals maintains connections on Beacon Hill and other areas of political action to track legislative activity on animal issues.
Once Massachusetts Voters for Animals gathers the information, we evaluate the candidate to determine whether to endorse him or her.
How does Massachusetts Voters for Animals’s work impact elections?
After endorsing a candidate, Massachusetts Voters for Animals publicizes the endorsements and positions on its website, Facebook page, and through other media sources. In addition, the organization raises funds to donate to elections as a PAC, and organizes volunteers to help with campaigns.
Over the past several years, Massachusetts Voters for Animals has seen growing concern regarding animal protection among politicians. Many seek out Massachusetts Voters for Animals’s endorsements and some have begun adding an animal issues page to their websites.
Why and when was Massachusetts Voters for Animals created?
Massachusetts Voters for Animals (formerly Humane USA-Massachusetts) was started in 1997, after the 1996 ballot question to restrict cruel traps was passed. Part of the initial work of the PAC was to elect humane legislators to ensure this new law was not repealed. The PAC also has lobbied in several campaigns for Massachusetts’ Governor, since the Governor appoints the members to the state’s Fisheries and Wildlife Board. Changing this board so that it isn’t comprised of a majority of sportspeople was also part of Question 1. We re-branded in 2013 as Mass Voters for Animals, a name we think is more descriptive of the mission.
How can I get involved?
Joining our PAC is easy and getting involved in elections is a lot of fun. Here are some ways you can join our team:
- Stay Connected: Sign up for our mailing list, like our Facebook page and/or follow us on Twitter to stay up-to-date on events, volunteer opportunities and endorsements.
- Volunteer: We are always looking for good volunteers. We need door-knockers, phone bankers, envelope stuffers and outreach coordinators.
- Host a Meeting: To grow our numbers we need people who care to reach out to their networks and bring in more people who care. If you are interested in hosting a meeting in your community to introduce your animal friendly friends and neighbors to our team please let us know!
- Host a Fundraiser: Throw a party for animals! Would your friends and family enjoy a poker night? A ladies brunch? A night out dancing? A bake off? Let’s get creative and find fun ways to raise money for the animals. We can help you put together a party for animals.
- Donate: If you believe animals need a voice at the State House simply click here and donate.
What is the difference between lobbying and electioneering?
Lobbying entails persuading elected officials to support a specific position on legislation. Electioneering involves endorsing a specific candidate, donating money to his or her campaign, holding a fundraiser for a candidate, or otherwise attempting to influence the outcome of an election. Nonprofit groups can and should lobby (although there are limits to the amount of time and money that can be devoted to lobbying under Internal Revenue Service rules). However, nonprofit groups cannot electioneer without breaking the law. If they do, they jeopardize their tax-exempt status.
I support my local animal shelter and donate money to a national humane/animal protection organization. Should I also donate to Massachusetts Voters for Animals?
Yes. It is important that you support these other organizations, but their hands are tied when it comes to elections. To truly shift political power away from entities that want to abuse animals to people who can protect them, we must have a thriving PAC in Massachusetts. Our opposition is engaged in electioneering. The only way we can gain enough political power to defeat them is if people like you donate to the PAC.
Are donations to Massachusetts Voters for Animals tax deductible?
Unfortunately, donations are not tax deductible. Although Massachusetts Voters for Animals is a non-profit organization, it is not a tax-deductible charitable organization. Massachusetts Voters for Animals is a political action committee, registered with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
How can I donate?
Send a check payable to:
Mass Voters for Animals
c/o Sherry Weiland
144 Brook Street
Hudson, MA 01479
Or do it conveniently through our Paypal Donation option.