Where animals fare well, children, families and individuals fare well. This is one of the guiding principals of The Oklahoma Roundtable for Animal Welfare.
The Roundtable is a result of a challenge issued by Christian Keesee, executive director of the Kirkpatrick Foundation.
“He gave us the challenge to make Oklahoma one of the safest and most humane places to be an animal by 2032,” said Paulette Black, program officer for the Kirkpatrick Foundation.
To that end, the Kirkpatrick Foundation has devised “Safe & Humane: A New Vision.”
The roundtable is part of that plan. Its goal is stated in the Safe & Humane document, available at kirkpatrickfoundation.com:
“Our mission? To improve the lives of Oklahoma animals and the people who care for them.”
The first meeting of the roundtable was held Nov. 12. Twenty-five local civic, nonprofit and industry leaders came together to discuss the welfare of Oklahoma's animals.
The group identified the most pressing issues facing Oklahoma animals: education for the general public and industry professionals; minimum standards of care in various fields from animal rescues to shelters to livestock production; disaster preparedness and response, affordable services and education outreach for underserved populations; regulation of exotic and wildlife ownership and trade, community and field awareness related to the human/animal bond; and support for law enforcement agencies.
The roundtable will be a twice-yearly event and members of the community can call the Kirkpatrick Foundation to discuss being part of the next roundtable event, scheduled for May, 2013.
“I think it's commendable for the Foundation to take this step to really make a safer state for animals,” Black said. “How animals are treated is an indication of how people are treated.”
The Kirkpatrick Foundation has long been active in animal welfare issues. As part of the Safe & Humane initiative, the foundation has identified several steps to a humane community. These include a 2013 study to assess the status of Oklahoma animal welfare, recognizing advancements in leadership, education and research and development via a newly established Kirkpatrick Prize for Animal Welfare, biennial reports, expansion of grant making and conferences every three years.
“I'd like to see Oklahoma be an even more responsible community where animals are inherently valued and where cruelty, neglect and suffering are minimized,” Keese said in a news release.
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