[ Originally published in the Andover Townsman: Animal Attractions, April 24, 2014 – http://www.andovertownsman.com/townspeople/x2117346193/Animal-Attractions/]
Mass. School of Law touts creatures’ rights
By Sara Brown, Staff Writer
When people entered the main entrance of the Massachusetts School of Law last weekend, they were greeted by a donkey. Inside the school, dogs roamed freely as kids ran around with different animals painted on their faces.
It was all part of last Saturday’s eighth annual Animal Rights Day at the Andover-based law school.
Legal experts in the field of animal rights led discussions on issues related to animal cruelty, estate planning and more. The day featured presentations on training dogs, helping feral cats, adopting older dogs and animal law issues as well as the annual presentation of Humane-itarian Awards to individuals who made significant contributions to animal rights in the past year.
The Essex County Sheriff’s Department K9 unit showed the crowd how police dogs can stop suspects from fleeing and bat expert Nate Fuller led a presentation.
Danielle Wordell, humane education coordinator for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at Nevins Farm in Methuen, presented a seminar on cruelty-free consumerism. Wordell teaches children about the importance of using animal cruelty-free products.
“We are big on teaching. We focus on kids so they can learn from the get-go,” she said.
She said people need to be more aware of whether the make-up or shampoo they use has been tested on animals.
“Philosophically, we are against animal testing,” she said. “We always tell people to look for products with the sticker that says they didn’t test it on animals before they buy it.”
She said animal cruelty-free products are becoming more popular and can be found at major department stores.
The MSPCA is also against the use of fur and leather, she said.
“Even if you don’t care about animals, you should just use synthetic fur. It’s hundreds of dollars less than the real thing,” she said.
Attendees could also buy a birdhouse from Holly Lindgren, a painting from artist Karla Cook or learn about several different organizations that help animals. There was plenty for the children to enjoy, too, including face painting, pony rides, Easter egg hunts and a visit with some of the K9 team’s police dogs.
Kate Robertson brought her two sons to enjoy the day’s festivities. She said she does her best to teach her sons to be animal lovers.
“We have pets at home. I want them to care about animals,” she said. “I think it’s important to teach kids that it is important to not only respect people, but animals as well.”