Thomas Ponce, 15-year-old activist & founder of Lobby For Animals

Thomas Ponce—the 15-year-old activist and founder (at age 12) of Florida-based Lobby For Animals—recalls the circumstances that triggered his precocious interest in animal activism, as well as how hearing about the importance of lobbying at an animal rights conference in Washington, DC inspired his focus on that action. ae1473_4d6617d5070d49b789b724fe927b88ec.jpg_srz_228_215_85_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srzPonce describes the mechanics of launching Lobby For Animals, noting some of the obstacles along that path, including the difficulties being taken seriously as a pre-teen founder of this sort of organization, and the supreme challenges of achieving 501 (c) (3) nonprofit status. He reports on taking an online class offered by the Humane Society of the United States, as part of collecting information to be presented on the Lobby For Animals website, and deciding to make his own training videos about lobbying for the site. Ponce explains his reasons for why he feels lobbying is the most effective method to affect true, meaningful change for animalIngrid-Newkirk-and-Thomas-e13660020272981 welfare. Ponce also outlines the roles he plays at other organizations, including regional coordinator at Fin Free FL, which raises awareness about the plight of the shark and about shark finning, and an advisory capacity at The Pollination Project, which provides seed grants to fund “individual change makers.” Ponce has been recognized for his work by such national entities as PETA and the Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM). (www.LobbyForAnimals.org, www.facebook.com/Lobby.For.Animals/)

FullSizeRenderALSO: I spoke briefly with Alex Blunt, who under the auspices of PETA, has been on an extended tour, visiting schools—and, now, summer camps—to deliver presentations about elephants in circuses and other performance settings…joined by Ellie, a six-foot robotic elephant that moves and talks (voiced by actress Priyanka Chopra). This conversation was in advance of a tour stop in St. Petersburg, and a number of other Florida locations. (www.peta.org/blog/meet-ellie-ex-captive-elephant-and-anti-circus-crusader/)

 

COMEDY CORNER: Drew Hastings’ “Farming 101” (part two) (http://drewhastings.com)

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: Henry Mancini’s “Baby Elephant Walk”

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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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