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About Richmond Friends of Animals

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Richmond Friends of Animals is a group of volunteers in Richmond who stand up against animal abuse by promoting compassionate choices, holding peaceful demonstrations and outreach events, and directly improving the lives of animals in our community. We were founded in late 2008 as Richmond Animal Rights by a group of citizens who felt a need for increased animal advocacy in the Richmond community. Eventually, we became Richmond Friends of Animals to better reflect our vision of a human community filled with compassion for animals. Read below about the issues that are important to us, and then sign up on our mailing list to be informed about our next event. There's something for everyone, whether you're interested in protesting, talking to community members, or directly helping out abandoned animals. Whether you're new to these issues or a veteran in animal rights, we'll welcome you on board and help you get active in the issues that are most important to you.

 

Farmed Animals

Animals used by the factory farming industry are confined in tiny spaces, often for their entire lives, and deprived of what is natural to them. Every year, billions of animals suffer and die without ever seeing sunlight. For these animals, there is no notion of a happy farm; rather, chickens are painfully debeaked so that they don't peck each other to death in their cramped cages, cows are castrated without anesthesia, and pigs are kept in crates in which they can't even turn around. RFA reaches out to community members across the Richmond area, encouraging everyone to give a vegetarian/vegan diet a try! We've held tabling events, sharing free tasty vegan foods and recipes; led Farm Sanctuary walks to raise money for abandoned farm animals; led campaigns urging restaurants to stop serving foie gras (a French dish that is produced from force-feeding ducks and geese to make their livers swell up to 10 times the normal size); organized vegan potlucks and cooking classes; attended the Vegetarian Festival; and more! We accept everyone, no matter where you are in your path of compassion, and recognize that every little bit helps in reducing the suffering these animals experience.

Companion Animals

Every year, 6-8 million animals end up in shelters and half of these are euthanized because of breeding and failure to spay and neuter. RFA is dedicated to promoting spay and neuter throughout the community and encouraging people to adopt and never buy their animals. We are also working to expose the horrors that occur in puppy mills - horrors that many people who buy puppies are never even aware of! Our group regularly holds adoption stands to help find homes for dogs with Richmond Animal Care and Control at Fin & Feather Pet Center, a local business that worked with us to transition from selling dogs and cats to helping adopt out homeless animals instead. Many of our members have also worked with rescue groups, transporting animals up and down the East Coast to make it to new homes, and with the Coalition to Unchain Dogs, building fences for dogs who are chained in backyards for their entire lives so that they can finally run free.  The more we work to educate and directly improve the lives of animals, the fewer homeless animals we'll see in our community, and more and more dogs and cats will finally find their forever homes.

 

Clothing

Cows, raccoons, dogs, minks, sheep, snakes, lizards, and many other animals suffer so that their skins can be turned into clothing. We promote cruelty-free, fashionable options that spare animals the horror of being locked in tiny cages and even being electrocuted to death for animal-based clothing. Since the start, RFA has held peaceful protests regularly outside of Alan Furs to educate the public about the cruelty in the fur trade. One of our biggest events is a yearly protest on the biggest shopping day of the year, known as Fur-Free Friday, to show shoppers that they don't need fur to keep warm in the winter!

Entertainment

Today, there are so many ways to learn about animals and have fun without carting animals around from city to city or locking them in tiny cages. Every year, we line the street outside of Ringling's visit to the Coliseum to educate circus-goers about the cruelty Ringling commits against animals, from beating and shocking elephants and tigers, to locking elephants in chains and boxcars 11 months out of the year and failing to provide adequate veterinary care. Our peaceful demonstrations outside of Ringling have resulted in media coverage of the issue by several outlets in Richmond! Many people at the circus have turned their backs on the show after they find out about this cruelty, and we provide them with animal-free circus options, like Cirque du Soleil, to patronize instead! In 2013, we also launched a campaign to cancel our area's cruel bull run, which subjects bulls to crowding and dangerous conditions, and our petition has garnered over 2500 signatures and local media attention.

Experimentation

Animals in laboratories are subjected to painful surgeries, injected with poisons, and infected with illnesses in the name of science. Today we know that animal research is not reliable in predicting human behavior; for example, over 90 percent of drug tests that pass with animals actually fail in the human testing phase. RFA has held outreach events to distribute information about hundreds of cruelty-free products, from makeup to household cleaners, that people can buy that aren't tested on animals, as well as charities they can support that work to develop non-animal research methods. We have also demonstrated outside of Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris, during World Week for Animals in Laboratories, to expose the company's cruel tests on rats. Unfortunately, while consumers can choose not to support cruelty by the products they buy, the government still mandates that drugs put on the market are tested for animals. Still, we are seeing progress and aim for the day when animals will no longer be used in cruel experiments in the name of science. Top medical schools like Harvard and Yale are no longer requiring their medical students to conduct live animal experiments in favor of more humane alternatives, and in our own backyard, VCU is investing millions of dollars into developing alternatives to animal experimentation.