We recently sat down with Cheryl Phillips, author of GG’s Journey: From Lost to Loved, for a Q&A session. Cheryl was asked questions surrounding her inspiration, personal views, tips for writers, and thoughts on animal activism.
This interview portion shares about her thoughts and views on animal activism and animal rights.
How have you used your book to aid in your animal right’s activism?
Through GG's rescue, and to my dismay, I learned a lot about what goes on behind closed doors in shelters; breed discrimination, subjective temperament testing, and the definition of no-kill; saving all healthy and treatable animals which are also subjective. I relentlessly work to give the animals a voice through speaking out for their rights and teaching both youth and adults humane education, advocating for spay/neuter and protection of community cats. I am an active TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) volunteer with the Humane Society of Huron Valley, and I assist colony caretakers with their felines by providing shelter, and food. Also, I conduct GG's Humane Education Workshop for youth. The goal of the program is to inspire, educate, and create awareness of the abuse and neglect that animals endure in our society, and what we can do to prevent it. Teaching youth to be respectful, responsible, and compassionate to all living creatures is the first step toward creating a kinder, more humane world for animals, people, and the planet. GG has been my inspiration and ignited my passion for animals, animal rights, and humane education. GG is a real example of the hardships that animals face, the glimmer of hope that they need to survive, and the power of love.
What do you think are the most challenging issues facing animals today?
Leadership! I think if we are to prevent the killing of 3 to 4 million shelter animals annually in the U.S., we need to address the root-cause of homelessness, neglect, abandonment, and abuse. Tens of millions of dollars are donated to humane societies and shelters annually. There are many actions we can take to prevent homelessness, and it starts with life-affirming leadership in our humane societies and shelters, educated boards with term-limits, and board members that are willing to conduct comprehensive assessments of current practices to improve outcomes for the animals and follow proven best practices that work to save lives.
In your opinion, what rights do humans have that animals should also have? What can we do to make sure animals' rights are respected?
Animals are treated as property; therefore, they do not have the same rights as humans to be immediately removed from the home or property. Yes, neglect and abuse are felonious acts, but too often the owners are given a time period to correct the situation. If an animal is neglected and abused, you should lose your rights to have a pet! Animals should have the right to be rescued IMMEDIATELY, and the owner should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Do you think the life of an animal is just as important as a human's life?
Yes, I do. They have feelings, and grieve just like we do. All life is precious, and we are stewards of the planet to protect and preserve.