The holiday season — or what I like to call “the giving season” — is finally upon us (and so is Giving Tuesday on November 28). A lot of people are starting to think about which charities to support and which organizations to give to. I would like to make a case for what I consider the best animal charities.
My list only includes charities that I know best utilize their donations and use them to make the lives of animals better. Something I’ve learned over the years is that the most vocal in-your-face organizations that advertise a lot are not the best organizations to give to. These types of charities often use most of your dollars to line their own nests; they pay themselves money from the donations and use very little to further the cause they are meant to be furthering. Let us never forget that.
If you’re ever in doubt as to the authenticity of a particular charity (including animal charities), you can look them up on the Charity Watch website. It keeps charities honest, and it keeps us — the paying public — well informed.
The Best Animal Charities You Should Donate to
African Wildlife Foundation (AWF)
AWF’s mission is simple: to ensure wildlife and wild lands thrive in modern Africa. According to their website, “African Wildlife Foundation is devoted entirely to, and ever-present in, African wildlife conservation and sustainable development — recognizing and responding to critical threats in a multifaceted way.” Their annual reports showcase their transparency.
Animal Welfare Institute (AWI)
AWI’s mission is “dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by people. We seek better treatment of animals everywhere — in the laboratory, on the farm, in commerce, at home, and in the wild.” They also work to end the suffering of fur-bearing animals by campaigning against traps and snares of all sorts. This is a particular passion of mine so I’m pleased that someone is waging this battle. AWI also has their annual reports on their website.
Blind Cat Rescue & Sanctuary
Based in St. Pauls, North Carolina, Blind Cat Rescue is a lifetime cat care sanctuary whose mission is “the lives of loving cats that will be automatically killed in high kill animal control facilities because they are blind, leukemia positive or FIV+.” Their website provides more details about the stellar and necessary work that they do. You can also meet their many rescues on the site.
Bat Conservation International (BCI)
BCI focuses on bats because they are “threatened, important, misunderstood, everywhere, and cool.” That’s the best mission statement I’ve read in a long time. On their website, they detail the many challenges that are being faced by bats across the world and what they are doing to help.
Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International
Dian Fossey began saving gorillas alone in the forests in 1967. From those humble beginnings, the charity now leads the world “in protecting and studying gorillas, while helping local communities thrive and build their conservation capabilities.” What I like about their mission statement is that they fully understand that in order to help gorillas they also need to help local communities.
Humane Farming Association (HFA)
Farm animals are often neglected when it comes to animal charities. Yet they are the ones who are in dire need of help. The Huffington Post has found that “of all the animals killed in the United States, 99% of them are farm animals; despite this charities that focus specifically on this area receive less than 1% of all funds donated to animal advocacy as a whole.” This is why it pleases me that charities like HFA exist, and they need your help to continue doing the amazing work that they do.
The Marine Mammal Center (TMMC)
TMMC considers themselves the “sentinels of ocean health,” and with good reason. Their mission is “to advance global ocean conservation through marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation, scientific research, and education.” According to their website, human activity negatively impacts and affects 10% of the animals that they rescue. It’s a good thing these sentinels of the seas are on duty.
Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)
PAWS “has been at the forefront of efforts to rescue and provide appropriate, humane sanctuary for animals who have been the victims of the exotic as well as the performing animal trade.” They also investigate “reports of abused performing and exotic animals, document cruelty, and assist in investigations and prosecutions by regulatory agencies to alleviate the suffering of captive wildlife.”
The Fox Project
My personal favorite animal charity, The Fox Project, operates in the United Kingdom to protect a much maligned animal who has been a victim of cruel hunts and barbarism over the centuries. The charity’s ambulance picks up foxes who need medical aid or assistance. Then, the kind folks at The Fox Project treat the foxes and release adult foxes back into the wild. The Fox Project welcomes donations in cash or kind, and there is a link to their Amazon wish list on their website.
Awanthi Vardaraj lives and writes in the port city of Chennai, in the south of India, where she runs her own small artisanal bakery and keeps a garden full of jasmine plants and herbs that she still cannot name. As a freelance writer, she mostly focuses on food, feminism, travel, mental health, and poverty. She also nurtures a deep love for the Oxford comma and the semicolon. Visit her website at www.awanthi.com and follow her on Twitter at AwanthiVardaraj.
Do you plan on donating to any animal charities this Giving Tuesday? Pick one of the above for extra good karma! And let us know below what your favorite charity is. Happy holidays!