Wspa Non-Profit Organization Research Paper

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WSPA Non-Profit Organization

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The most worthy non-profit organizations are those that commit to the plight of those who are unable to help themselves. The World Society for the Protection of Animals (or WSPA) is one such operation. Animals are a voiceless and unempowered presence in the world and human beings act as both their attackers and their defenders. The World Society for the Protection of Animals has committed their efforts and resources to the suffering of animals, a cause to which most people can relate, provided they have pets, enjoy nature, or just possess basic human compassion.

The WSPA has constructed a comprehensive website which is a wealth of information about the organization, including its history, operations, present and past programs, and goals. In addition, it is a valuable resource for people who simply want to learn more about the abuses occurring worldwide against innocent animals. The organization also maintains a YouTube page which hosts various advertisements and promotional materials. Their web presence is impressive, given that not only does the worldwide organization have a site, but so do many of the satellite offices, including WSPA USA, Canada, Thailand, Australia, and many other countries.

WSPA's work is "promoting animal welfare" (WSPA Home Page). But they are not simply a domestic operation, as "their work is concentrated in regions of the world where few, if any, measures exist to protect animals" (WSPA Home Page). Their simply worded mission is "to build a global animal welfare movement" (WSPA Home Page). Thus it is apparent that their work is not only direct aid to animals in need, but also larger goals of education and awareness raising, human empowerment, and advocacy.

Political cooperation is also an important component of WSPA's mission, given that it has "consultative status at the United Nations and the Council of Europe" (WSPA Home Page). Cooperation with those multi-national entities is helpful for the kind of work WSPA does, which often includes groundwork in nations with unstable governments or can include opposing commonplace cultural practices, as will be discussed later.

The history of the organization spans more than fifty years. WSPA as it operates today was "created in 1981 through the merger of the World Federation for the Protection of Animals (WFPA), founded in 1953, and the International Society for the Protection of Animals (ISPA), founded in 1959" (WSPA Give). The organization expanded in the 1980's, when "new field offices were established in Costa Rica, Brazil, Colombia, and Canada which considerably increased the scope of the society's investigations and projects" (WSPA Give).

The organization's scope is broad, as WSPA is "the world's largest alliance of animal welfare societies" (WSPA Home Page). This fact also points out the structure of the organization, which is that it operates in a web of "more than 1,000 member organizations in over 150 countries" (WSPA Home Page). These member organizations work in concert with the overall mission of the organization, but have individual concerns and focuses. They are supported by the centralized structure of the WSPA, which includes "13 offices and hundreds of thousands of supporters worldwide" (WSPA Home Page). As such, what is ostensibly an organization with a simple mission has been manifested into a wide-reaching, powerful, global non-profit.

A core belief system is at the heart of the WSPA, as outlined on their website. The belief statement published there offers a view into the values that underlie WSPA's work. This is of crucial importance, given that there is a wide variety of interpretation into animal welfare. In addition, there are a multitude of wildlife and animal charities, and they vary widely in terms of radicality of belief, political motivation, amount of support, method of application of support, and other issues. Where these organizations diverge is likely to be found in their foundational beliefs.

Three core beliefs of the WSPA are outlined, each of which is worth further exploration. The first is that "animals have biologically determined instincts, interests and natures, and can experience pain and suffering" (WSPA Home Page). This belief illuminates the idea that the WSPA is interested in alleviating suffering wherever they find it. Accordingly, where they find an animal in physical pain, they will want to change its circumstances. The other aspect of this statement is the recognition that animals are autonomous creatures, whose instincts should not be compromised. This statement could be extended to imply that those interests should not be compromised for human gain or exploitation.

The second belief is "each individual animal has intrinsic value, and…it is the responsibility of humans to ensure that their welfare is respected and protected" (WSPA Home Page). The belief reveals that not only are animals collectively important, but each one deserves to be protected. This attitude is evident in the direct aid work that WSPA accomplishes, as they do not just raise awareness or lobby governments, but also provide on the ground relief work in crisis situations involving animals. In fact, the belief statement goes on to say that "the key difference between animal conservation and animal welfare is that conservation focuses on species, populations and habitats, whereas welfare focuses on the individual animal" (WSPA Home Page). This distinction is obviously important to WSPA and paints a picture of an organization that promotes getting involved with animals on a personal level and not thinking of them in a more global way. Also this second belief statement quite pointedly puts the onus on the human population to care for animals. It advocates an active approach to preserving animal welfare, rather than seeing passive methods as being sufficient.

Lastly, the third belief espoused is that "animals should live their lives free from avoidable suffering at the hands of humans, rather than be used inhumanely as 'raw materials' for the benefit of mankind" (WSPA Home Page). This belief has numerous implications, some of which are potentially controversial. The core idea is that animals, as has been said, are autonomous and worthy of respect as individuals and that human beings are not justified in using them for their own amusement, gain, or other self-interest. It is a notion which runs counter to the traditional concept of man's dominion over the animals. Instead, it advances the worldview that animals and people are partners in the world, rather than adversaries.

One of the more interesting aspects of the WSPA is their variety of projects and the different methods with which they are carried out. They campaign in both grassroots and legislative ways against unethical animal practices instigated by humans, such as bullfighting, bear farming, bear dancing, bear baiting (a brutal sport whereby fighting dogs attack defenseless bears), factory farming, whaling, and the capturing and keeping of dolphins (WSPA Home Page). The WSPA are also involved in supporting bear and orangutan sanctuaries, necessary for abuses caused from loss of habitat or the aforementioned blood sports. Domestically, WSPA is also concerned with the treatment of companion animals (more commonly called "pets"). They promote "responsible pet ownership, humane stray management, and cruelty prevention" (WSPA Home Page). These campaigns are multi-faceted, but all have the goal of stopping existing transgressions against specific animal populations.

Along with the previously discussed sanctuaries, education is provided to the local communities in which they are built, which is important in preventing future attacks. Educational outreach also takes the form of training teachers in Costa Rica, Chile, Peru, Brazil, Kenya and Thailand, to teach their own young students the benefits of animal welfare (WSPA Home Page). Another initiative is Concepts in Animal Welfare vocational training, which is a program that "facilitate[s] teaching animal welfare at veterinary faculties worldwide" (WSPA Home Page). Education and advocacy are aimed at local populations, tourists, government officials, teachers and community leaders, veterinary staff, and young people. In casting such a wide net for its message, the WSPA can hope to both stop existing infringements against animal rights, but also prevent new ones.

Another substantial part of the WSPA's work is in disaster management. They operate as front-line workers in areas where natural disasters, man-made events like wars, and other large-scale catastrophes have occurred and provide direct aid to animals in need. The WSPA is eager to note that this work protects the livelihoods of people in the areas it aids. The protection is manifested most particularly in their assistance with farms in crisis, as many rural families rely on the survival of their animals to make ends meet. Disaster relief is carried out in the following ways: 1) Risk reduction (setting up "national warning systems and show[ing] people how to prepare for disasters"), 2) rapid response (emergency veterinary care, feeding, and reuniting animals with their owners), and 3) rehabilitation (restorative veterinary care and educating stricken areas on future practices) (WSPA Home Page). WSPA staff perform the disaster relief, often with the involvement of member organizations.

A 1998 Boston Globe article recounted the story of hurricane-ravaged Honduras and the ensuing rescue operation conducted by World Society for the Protection of Animals. The article describes the "sole mission" of the organization as… [END OF PREVIEW]

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