Humans are the core of animal welfare, rights, liberation, and advocacy. Volunteers work every day toward a better tomorrow for animals. Women, men, young adults, and children graciously and wholeheartedly donate their time and energy volunteering for animal shelters, rescues, and causes worldwide. Not only do we love our personal companion animals, we volunteers love ALL companion animals and wildlife including the injured, sick, old, and homeless.
Community is the crucial key element to achieving our goals. Our relationship with animals is beautiful and cherished. However, our relationship with humans is much more complicated. There is a division in animal advocacy as there is within every major movement whether it be religion or politics.
Although conflict is natural, animal advocates with opposing opinions and ideas argue, condemn, and are prejudicial towards others with particular affiliations. To succeed, we must set aside bitterness, come together, and celebrate all accomplishments.
After-all, isn’t our collective mission to strengthen the human-animal bond?
Our ability to communicate across continents is omnipotent. We can instantaneously connect with humans all over our planet, join forces, and change the future.
From her home in Calgary, Alberta, Nathalie Martel, developed and operates her own Facebook community, It’s never just an animal. Her community is driven by the heart of a true volunteer, with an apparent energy of compassion, desire for education and awareness, and a positive push for improving the lives of animals everywhere.
“I care equally about domestic, wildlife, and farm animal issues,” Nathalie says. “That’s what I love about It’s never just an animal. It’s about sharing information about animal abuse and cruelty affecting all animals.”
Born and raised in Montreal, Nathalie always loved animals. “I grew-up with cats, but I never gave much thought about animal welfare. Once I started looking into the inhumane treatment of animals, I couldn’t turn back.” Nathalie explains. “It’s driven me to improve animal welfare globally ever since.”
Working for the Calgary Police Service exposed Nathalie to animal abuse and cruelty. For several years, she lectured on the link between animal cruelty and human violence at the Calgary Humane Society.
Longing for an avenue where she could share all the information she learned with like-minded people, Nathalie, with the help of friends, took the social-media plunge and created It’s never just an animal. “I hooked-up up with organizations all over the world and started building my community by reaching out to others and taking an interest in their work.”
“I have learned so much about what’s happening and being done everywhere,” Nathalie says. Coupled with her legal knowledge, what she learns at animal-focused conferences, and her online studies in Animal Policy and Advocacy through the Humane Society University, Nathalie feels, “This is a great way of finding out what’s happening socially, legally, and politically in Canada and everywhere else.”
“In the short-term,” Nathalie reveals, “my goals are to improve animal abuse response policies in my own city and open-up the lines of communication between everyone doing rescue and investigative work in Calgary.”
“My long-term goal," Nathalie says of her future, "is to head my own foundation incorporating advocacy and rescue. I hope It’s never just an animal eventually grows into my own foundation.”
What about the future of animals? Nathalie believes:
“We are best served when we realize that animals and environment are interconnected and the survival of both should be treated on the same continuum. Too often, we think of both as mutually exclusive.”