Revel Miller, 82, a self-described “animal person,” first learned about Friends of Animals (FoA) in the early 1990s from a woman she knew who ran a thrift shop from which the proceeds went to a no-kill animal shelter. Miller figured if that woman belonged to FoA, it had to be a good group. As fate would have it, Miller was already a member of Primarily Primates, the sanctuary FoA later began managing in 2008.
“I started supporting wildlife sanctuaries because I thought, we have so many people helping dogs and cats, but the ones who are in the biggest trouble are the wildlife. “I was so thrilled that FoA stepped in and saved Primarily Primates. How is that for two things that you belong to coming together?” Miller said with a laugh.
Friends of Animals’ work to protect wildlife and critical habitat here and abroad has kept Miller a loyal member of the organization. “I’ve stayed a member because the work never stops. With more people in the world, it’s getting worse. People are multiplying like rabbits across the planet. And then you have climate change. And people just keep on breeding because they don’t use their brains.”
She looks forward to Action Line because it keeps her connected to FoA’s work. Miller decided to send a gift of the magazine to her nephew’s daughter who is currently in college. “I know she loves animals and I would like to get her involved,” Miller said.
“Young people are always on their electronics these days and they never go outside. As a young person I always played outdoors. I feel I’m also an environmentalist because of my love for wildlife. But young people are disconnected from nature. You cannot have a desire to protect nature when you are disconnected from it. That’s a big problem.”
We love that Miller is paying her love of animals and the planet forward. We know that without Miller and other longtime supporters like her we would not be celebrating out 60th anniversary. And thanks to them, we can look forward to the next 60. To say thank you, we put together this piece featuring a cross section of new members and longtime members who discuss why they decided to join FoA and why they’ve continued their support.
ALAN ROBERTS, FLORIDA MEMBERS SINCE 1981
I joined Friends of Animals 30 years ago to support its fearless campaign against animal suffering and exploitation. So many people harbor a great love for animals yet take no action to protect them or get involved in their welfare.
FoA is clearly a very active organization that takes on the most difficult battles to fight abuse here in America and all over the world. Priscilla Feral and her excellent associates have boldly confronted governments when senseless and harmful legislation is proposed at the federal, state and local levels.
With victories in courts, FoA lawyers and staff have saved more animals than we will ever know. Over decades, they have kept exploitation in the headlines and brought out the many horrible secrets of animal torture and death. FoA has waged campaigns to save the smallest animals such as parakeets and swans to the largest animals such as elephants and giraffes. And don’t forget the dogs, cats, primates, bears, horses, bison, cheetah, wolves, rhino...and, well you get the picture.
Action Line magazine has been an important connection to Friends of Animals as we are updated on current projects and issues. Feral’s In My View editorial is always good reading, as it brings us up to date on what’s going on. She and the FoA writers are never afraid to address the most sensitive issue and aggressive opponents. Additionally the magazine offers recipes and products we can purchase—I have sent slogan t-shirts to friends.
A recent issue of Action Line discussed trophy hunting and FoA actions against bringing back the corpses. Is it actually fun to kill a magnificent animal? Some people think so. Members at FoA cannot imagine it. Is it sport to shoot a moose? How about shooting at close range a feeding bison? Is it fun and sporting to kill animals brought into contained ranches? The magnificent big horn sheep is to be praised and admired, not slaughtered. Is it rewarding to have dogs chase a mama bear up a tree, then hunters stand below and shoot her with a high-powered rifle?
Through their membership, FoA supporters oppose all of this cruel insanity. FoA promotes the adoption of rescued pets, protection of the environment, the inhumaneness of laboratories and public awareness of everything animal. Priscilla and the FoA staff are driven by an optimism that humans really can make a difference.
My own connection has been to renew my membership every year with a donation and to pass along copies of Action Line. I have called Priscilla several times over the years to discuss various efforts and she is always most welcoming. I’ve been privileged to travel throughout Africa, South America, Asia, Australia and North America to witness animal life up close in its natural habitat. Congratulations to FoA on your 60th anniversary from a longtime proud member.
P. ELIZABETH ANDERSON, VIRGINIA MEMBER SINCE 1994
Friends of Animals is one of the first animal advocacy organizations I learned about. I was immediately impressed with its spay-neuter program because I agreed that the most direct way to reduce the number of dogs and cats perishing in shelters was to stem the tide. FoA’s low-cost spay-neuter program was unprecedented, and FoA is still a leader in this area.
Over the years, I have admired the broad scope of FoA’s programs, which focus on crucial ways to improve the lives of nonhuman animals, domestic and wild. I particularly like that FoA walks the talk, first evident to me when they took over management of the Texas sanctuary Primarily Primates. FoA accepted an immense challenge that other organizations found daunting, courageously making a commitment for the long-term care of animals, which was also unprecedented in my experience.
I respect FoA’s decisions and leadership. President Priscilla Feral is no ivory tower leader. FoA is what it is because of her exemplary leadership, but she is not reluctant to grab a bullhorn and join a protest. Her staff shares her passion and is often on the ground facing objectors to protect animals, educate the public and keep members informed.
I love FoA’s public awareness campaigns and other programs that educate about the despicable things happening to animals. The “Ban Fur” button is my perennial favorite. I order by the dozen, keep one on every coat and sprinkle them around to bring attention to the vile, unnecessary fur industry. These buttons are just one example of FoA’s clever, creative and unique approaches to the vital work of saving animals and protecting them from cruelty in all its manifestations across the globe. FoA is perfect to me—authentic, transparent and trustworthy.
As I have grown in my animal advocacy awareness, FoA has been right there with information I could trust and a plan I could follow to help animals. I recently began working with abandoned and rescued horses in the southwest, and was thrilled to learn that FoA has been focused on wild horses through its Wildlife Law Program.
We live in dangerous times. Some impending losses may be irrevocable, but I trust FoA to do everything possible for animals and not barter lives or merge with other organizations that do not share my values or approach.
Looking back, I am slightly embarrassed by the paltry donation I made in 1994, but I rectify the slow start with regular contributions and FoA-focused estate planning. It is unlikely, especially in the current political climate that crucial improvements for animals will happen in my lifetime.
Consequently, leaving resources for FoA to continue the fight to save animals is comforting. I may not see the changes happen, but through FoA, I will have helped.
SALLY MALANGA, NEW JERSEY MEMBER SINCE 1985
I treasure my membership at Friends of Animals. More than 30 years ago, I walked into the offices of Friends of Animals in Tinton Falls, N.J. and introduced myself with the words, “May I volunteer?”
During that time, I met an individual who video-taped the cruel animal testing procedures for banal personal care products at the Gillette company. Animal testing of consumer products is not mandated by law and is highly inaccurate in predicting product safety. This courageous activist and I placed a photo of a bunny rabbit on a giant postcard with the title, “I won’t buy from you, Gillette, unless you stop testing on animals!”
We went to malls and distributed the postcards to encourage consumers to stop buying products that were tested on animals. Many companies heard the rallying cry of consumers and we and other non profits saved millions of animals lives.
I had discovered that commercial beauty products are rife with unhealthy ingredients and animal byproducts, as well, so I founded a company that would offer an alternative to commercially produced personal care products.
We called it Ecco Bella, which means Behold Beautiful in Italian. I started the company in my townhouse in North Caldwell, N.J. My one-car garage was the warehouse. When I needed to make copies, I had to move my two sleeping Siamese cats off the copier. I follow a vegan lifestyle, as does my husband and we share our home with three cats, Kiwi, Madison and Marmalade. My husband and I love to go on vegan eating adventures around the world and we love hiking and swimming in beautiful places.
I currently serve on the Board of Directors of FoA and its sanctuary, Primarily Primates. I remain a friend to all animals by advocating for compassionate consumerism. I educate consumers on the merits of a plant-based diet as the ultimate beauty creator. We raise money for a variety of Friends of Animals’ projects.
MILA D’ANTONIO NOAKES, CONNECTICUT MEMBER SINCE 2013
I initially subscribed to Action Line a few years ago, prior to the birth of my daughter, to support Friends of Animals. At the time, I never envisioned a future where my quarterly subscription would open my daughter’s eyes to the wonders of animals in the wild. But since Evelyn’s birth, introducing her to animals has become an important issue for me.
Looking back at my childhood, I have fond memories of my parents taking my sister and me on weekends to visit Round Hill Park, an exhibition farm outside of Pittsburgh, Penn. My anticipation at the prospect of seeing the animals would peak as we entered the gates. At that point, the duck pond would come into view and the roof of the horse barn would crest over the hill, proudly displaying its weathervane.
My love for the farm and its animal residents lasted my entire life. So much so, that in the year after I gave birth to my daughter Evelyn, I knew exactly where we would host her 1st birthday party: at the farm! We even ordered a cake that depicted a barn complete with matching animal shaped cupcakes.
Evelyn gravitated to the animals and giggled and smiled at the goats and cows. “Mooo!” she said to them with puckered lips. After the farm-theme birthday party, I began teaching Evelyn the names of different animals. My husband and I started buying little animal figurines from the toy store and soon she amassed a small collection and could identify each one when prompted. One day recently, my Action Line magazine came in the mail. It was the “Out of Africa” issue, otherwise known as the monkey issue in our house. As I prepared Evelyn’s dinner, she spotted the magazine, and began yelling, “MUCKEY!” As she flipped through the pages, her excitement increased at the sight of each “muckey.” It was then that I recalled my own excitement some 38 years ago, as my parents’ car approached the gates to Round Hill Park.
It was also then that I realized the unforeseen benefits of subscribing to Action Line: It opens a whole new world to Evelyn about wildlife and teaches her how to care for animals. Research shows that when children are encouraged to connect with and respect animals, they show empathy toward them, as well as to people.
They also tend to care for nature and the environment. Creating interest and boosting children’s awareness and interest in animals promotes social and emotional development as well. I believe that children who are educated about the importance of being kind to animals grow into humane and respectful adult citizens.
It’s for these reasons that I consider Action Line to be an important tool for teaching children how to respect and protect animals. My hope is that she will become a member someday and use the magazine as a vehicle to share her love of animals with her own child.
DONALD HEINTZELMAN, PENNSYLVANIA MEMBER SINCE 2002
Friends of Animals is doing a much-needed service to wildlife, and other animals throughout the world. It is a leader in this type of activity, and through its magazine and other means provides a much needed forum informing the public about wildlife protection and related issues.
I continue to support FoA because I am unconditionally opposed to all trophy hunting in Africa, or anywhere else in the world. This type of activity is long out of date and needs to be stopped once and for all, period. Like FoA, I am a strong supporter of our National Parks and hope more will be established in the future.
The United States originated the idea of National Parks, and the idea spread worldwide. We Americans should be proud of that. I do not support recreational sport hunting of wildlife. There are already too many threats to wildlife. Instead we need to do all we can to help wildlife, such as establishing more and more inviolate wildlife sanctuaries across the United States and around the world.
Personally I’ve helped wildlife by establishing the Bake Oven Knob Autumn Hawk Watch, which just completed year 56—a long term hawk migration research project of the Lehigh Gap Nature Center (LGNC) in Pennsylvania, which I also co-founded. I continue to donate books to the superb LGNC research library. Donald, ornithologist, author and consultant to FoA.
NEFERA PURCELL, PENNSYLVANIA MEMBER SINCE 1998
I'm a senior citizen and currently live in a city row house. Having a 50-foot backyard, I've communed with squirrels, birds, opossums, raccoons, mice and cats...and a rat (Rudy), who lived under my house for at least three years and died in my lap.
I was once told that my yard was like ‘kitty video,’ with bird and squirrel feeders, a small fountained water feature and a birdbath that the squirrels use as well. I have always loved animals and at various times have shared my residences with multiple cats, two canaries, several fish and a dog.
I went on safari to Africa because I wanted to see the animals while they were still free and in their natural habitat. My first experience with FoA was in the early 1970s, the hippie days of ‘getting stuff for low or no cost.’ I was gainfully employed and got two spay/neuter certificates from FoA, but felt mildly guilty about it in later years.
Hopefully, the money that I've donated since, has helped people that truly can't afford the much needed neutering of their pets. Older unspayed cats have an incredibly high chance of developing breast cancer. I'm particularly impressed that FoA doesn't waste money sending multiple donation begging letters. I realize that fundraising is an essential part of non-profits, but it shouldn't be at the expense of animals (other organizations that I'm familiar with spend a much smaller percentage on their programs.) It recently occurred to me that instead of a few smaller donations to various non-profits, one larger donation to a national organization with excellent financial management like FoA might be more effective...and cut down on my recycling pile.
I have always appreciated and agreed with the views of Action Line and like to think of myself as a critical thinker. I also appreciate the scope of FoA’s activities and feel that the organization honestly cares about all living creatures—as do I. Thank you for what you do.
JUDY LINDSTROM, MICHIGAN MEMBER SINCE 1980
When I was in seventh grade my father would often take us to Toronto because he represented companies there. I remember one day passing a store that catered to tourists and outside there were about 20 people from a small Canadian group gathered with large signs showing the clubbing of seals for their fur.
They were very solemn protesters as the seal hunt was to begin the next day and the only “power” they felt they had was to convince tourists not to spend money in a store catering to this barbaric practice. Those pictures of the beautiful creatures with soulful eyes, white fur and innocence still haunt my soul. My thought process was in overdrive as I asked why? Why would they harm these animals? For what purpose and with such brutality?
It was certainly something that made me sit up, take notice and decide that even a 12-year-old could make a difference. It was not a giant leap for me to devote my time to finding a worthy organization to assist in animal advocacy when I returned to the states. What I didn’t realize was how important it was to find an organization that doesn’t just shout that the torture and cruelty of animals was and is wrong, as words mean nothing without action.
Instead, I was looking for an organization that actually teaches, inspires, and navigates the various laws and legislation and one that gets results. I found that in Friends of Animals (and for years I’ve supported Primarily Primates before it became part of the family). I am thrilled that Friends of Animals continues to serve its clients: the four legged, two legged, six legged and more with the respect they deserve.
I applaud the tireless staff and volunteers who contribute time and talent, and I pray that we all understand the tremendous gift animals have given the world. Three cheers for Friends of Animals as I will continue to support your efforts the rest of my life.
VIRGINIA MATNEY, NEW YORK MEMBER SINCE 1982
Over 35 years ago, I first heard about Friends of Animals while trying to find a low cost spay/neuter veterinarian for stray animals. FoA offered low-cost certificates for specific vets in an effort to try to help people with this essential medical procedure.
FoA was almost single-handedly trying to curb the homeless pet population through this very innovative spay/neuter certificate program. It was such a vital service (still is) and they were so progressive, from that moment forward, I knew that I loved this not-for-profit institution. Friends of Animals is the only organization devoted to helping animals worldwide, without any hypocrisy. FoA accomplishes their goals in effective ways, through persistence, an extensive international network and dedication to the rights of all species.
The longer I have been a member, the more I appreciate how devoted this organization is to animal rights and to improving their daily lives. FoA’s goals can be specific to each individual pet that requires help, as well as implementing all-encompassing programs on an international scale to support all different types of animals in need of protection. And they accomplish these urgent goals in a refined manner