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Born Free USA Blog

Born Free USA Blog

Yes We Can

Published 11/05/08
By Adam M. Roberts, Senior Vice President

President-elect Barack Obama has popularized the phrase “Yes We Can” throughout the 2008 election campaign. Yes we can elect an African American President of the United States of America. Yes we can have inclusive rather than divisive politics in this country. Yes we can address the staggering challenges of today with hope for tomorrow. Yes we can.

But a “can do” attitude is not the exclusive domain of politicians of either political party. The market on hope is not cornered by Democrats or Republicans. Hope begins with vision, is fed by unfettered determination to right a wrong, and is fulfilled through success.

Hope is predicated on a positive outlook. That we can achieve. The number one rule in our house is that there are two words we never utter: “can’t” and “hate”. We fill ourselves with hope and possibility.

Yesterday America embraced a hopeful attitude that we have to expect will serve us well in the months, years, and decades to come. This is not just about our next President. As animal advocates we must embrace hope every day as we try to spare countless animals the suffering to which too many Americans avert their eyes.

Voters in California, for instance, approved Proposition 2, which bans battery cages, veal crates, and gestation crates by 2015. To take on the industrial powerhouse of intensive agribusiness is an enormous task. It is one that cannot succeed without that “can do” attitude and vision and determination of spirit to right a wrong.

It is also an example of the power that each of us holds to make an enormous difference in the task before us. Prop 2 doesn’t pass because elected officials think it should. Prop 2 doesn’t pass because Born Free USA united with API endorses it. Prop 2 passes because legions of people think it is right, have hope for a better day for farmed animals, and do their part to achieve success. A four-year-old like my daughter (whom I often write about in these blogs, I know) can even educate thousands about the cause through a simple video!

The amazing thing about politics and animals that I’ve learned over the past two decades is that animal protection is bipartisan. President Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act into law and George H. W. Bush signed the Wild Bird Conservation Act into law. Conservative Republican leader Mitch McConnell from Kentucky historically championed the Bear Protection Act to end the trade in bear gallbladders. It’s not the political party that matters, it’s the cause. And our cause is just.

Sure, with a Democrat in the White House we might see political appointments in the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior that improve our chances of success. With a stronger Democratic majority in the House of Representatives and Senate we might improve our chances of animal protection legislation not being stonewalled, as happened this year to the Captive Primate Safety Act. But it’s not the responsibility of democrats to spare animal suffering. It’s a shared responsibility of all decision-makers and the constituents to whom they are beholden.

It’s all about hope, vision, education, and perseverance.

Can we get elephants out of circuses? Stop trapping innocent furbearers? Close down deplorable zoos? Remove wild animals from the “pet” trade? Stop killing wildlife for ivory, skins, or body parts?

Yes we can.

Blogging off, with hope for the future,


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