Student club fosters education and humanity

Hunter Wallace
News Editor

The Animal Outreach Club aims to stop animal cruelty and enforce animal rights.Photo by: Vinny Croce

The Animal Outreach Club aims to stop animal cruelty and enforce animal rights.

Hudson Valley’s Animal Outreach Club has established itself as a benefactor of animal rights that educates students and the community on the subject.

The club originally began as part of a Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

“Initially, the idea was to form a relief group and send supplies to the animals in Louisiana, but the club stuck together after that because animals are always in need,” said Dr. Valerie Walden, librarian and club adviser.

Teaching animal law at the time, Walden was aware of the legal implications surrounding animal cruelty. As such, one of the club’s first events was a public seminar on the topic.

“In 2005, we had a public seminar on animal cruelty, right here on campus,” said Walden. “We had the most powerful group of legal animal advocates in the state, including Steve Caporrizo, Stacy Wolf, Holly Cheever, Sue McDonough and Joel Abelove” she said.

Today the club continues to educate the public about animal cruelty law and factory farming.
“In the past 50 years, we’ve seen the evolution of factory farms in the United States and around the world, and it’s basically a more efficient way to kill animals on an assembly line-like structure and treat animals as economic units, rather than sentient beings,” said Walden.
“Factory farming harms us in three major ways: the animals and the brutality of it, the health of humans who consume sick animals and the environment,” said Walden.

The club also holds periodical fundraisers, such as an annual holiday sale, which typically generates up to $1,000, of which is donated to local animal charities, including Out of the Pitts, and Caring Heart Horse Rescue.

Additionally, the club has developed four service learning sites that allow students to earn college credit: Berkshire Bird Sanctuary, Catskill Animal Sanctuary, Little Brook Farm and Mohawk-Hudson. While dependent on each individual professor, service learning credit typically replaces a traditional paper or similar assignment.

Walden attributes the success of the club in part to her librarian position.

“My role as a librarian has allowed me to sift through and evaluate the resources out there, in terms of animal law and advocacy, and discern the junk from the credible studies, and therefore put together a subject guide that goes hand-in-hand with the club,” said Walden.

Students appreciate the efforts of the club and feel more informed because of them.

“I’ve known that animal rights laws are not where they should be, but [Walden] has brought so much more to my attention that I didn’t realize before joining the club; it’s shocking how many flaws there are in protecting animals,” said Cailee Navarro, individual studies major.

“Not only that, she’s also shown us people and organizations that are trying to make changes,” said Navarro.

“Students who participate in animal outreach will not only gain a group of friends, but they will be given the tools they need to go into the world aware of the issues surrounding animal rights,” said Sarah Geertgens, biological sciences major.

“I also think that one of the best parts about Animal Outreach is the people you will meet,” said Geertgens.

“I just want to add that I absolutely love being part of Animal Outreach; I’ve met so many wonderful and inspiring people!” said Navarro. “I truly believe that anyone can find a place here at Animal Outreach Club,” she said.

For more information, please contact Dr. Walden in person at Marvin Library, Room 141, by phone at (518) 629-7319 or visit https://clubs.hvcc.edu/wordpress/animaloutreach/contact-us/.

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