Australian Charity Recognised on World Stage
17 December 2015 at 10:05 am
An animal welfare charity has become the first Australian organisation to be recognised as a “standout charity” by a US charity reviewer.
Animal Charity Evaluators has selected Animals Australia as one of its 2015 standout charities, the second highest ranking the organisation awards.
“Animals Australia has shown the ability to steer public conversation in Australia in a more animal friendly direction and make concrete achievements on behalf of animals like getting McDonald’s to phase out eggs from hens in battery cages,” Animal Charity Evaluators said.
“They also show a mindset of critical self-evaluation, for instance by tracking poll numbers on animal issues.
“About 15 years ago, Animals Australia made a significant shift in their focus from lobbying to corporate and public campaigning to be more effective.
“They have shown significant growth over the past few years, which we think reflects well on their ability to gain support and increase public concern for animals.”
Animals Australia Communications Director, Lisa Chalk, told Pro Bono Australia News that the charity was “thrilled” with the accolade.
“Fundamental to how we operate is ensuring that every effort and every dollar is put to the most effective and strategic use for maximum impact for animals. So while this is core to our modus operandi, we of course welcomed hearing from an external party that we are hitting the mark,” Chalk said.
“The commitment of our team shines through in everything we do. For us, this is not a job, it’s a life-commitment to help bring about change, to create a kinder world.”
Animal Charity Evaluators was not completely full of praise for the Australian charity, saying that they spent too much effort on programs the evaluator saw as less impactful – such as ending live export – rather than working on other farm animal issues.
“While the largest portion of Animals Australia’s resources is used to advocate for animals in factory farms, they spend a significant portion of their resources on smaller populations of animals like those used in live export or puppy farming,” Animal Charity Evaluators said.
“We understand that these issues have helped Animals Australia establish a stronger public profile, in order to advocate for all animals. But while this work is important and might have important spillover effects on larger populations, we worry it might not be as cost-effective as their other programs.
“Also, they primarily work in Australia, so although they do work with other organizations and their social media reach extends further, some of their work like corporate outreach is largely confined to a single relatively small country, which limits their reach.”
Chalk said Animals Australia’s impact in the area of live export was difficult to measure.
“Our investigations into the live export trade have resulted in unprecedented change on the ground in a number of countries; driven the uptake of pre-slaughter stunning in countries where it was never before thought possible; and forced regulations on the industry which for the first time made exporters legally responsible for the animals they sell,” she said.
“No single issue has raised awareness around the sentience of animals raised for food more than live export in terms of understanding that the ability of cattle and sheep to suffer is no different to any other animal. These are things that are difficult to quantify but that are absolutely invaluable when working to change mindsets about the treatment of animals.”
Chalk said the team at Animals Australia was proud of their ability to put a spotlight on animal cruelty issues and in 2016 they would be working on increasing their impact.
“The key to change for animals is caring people becoming informed so our efforts will continue to be directed towards investigations and public awareness campaigning,” she said.
“We’re building capacity in our investigations unit and have one of our most ambitious campaigns ever in the works – which will tackle the leading cause of animal cruelty in the world today.”
Animal Charity Evaluators singled out three organisations, Animal Equality International, The Humane League and Mercy for Animals, as its top charities for 2015.