Hundreds of animal lovers and animal rights advocates are coming together and converging in Fort Lauderdale as part of the March Against Cruelty to Animals rally on Saturday.
The rally, which will run from Huizenga Plaza towards the Riverwalk, is something organizer Andrew Kirschner hopes will be the beginning of a major nationwide movement for animals and animal rights.
Kirschner, a life-long advocate for animals, says he's been protesting the mistreatment of animals for twenty years, starting when he was a young man when he joined a group to protest the Miami Seaquarium.
The idea for the march came to Kirschner while he was protesting at events to try and educate the public about adopting puppies from shelters, rather from mills. Only a handful of protesters would show up to these events. But it sparked an idea to get a larger group of people together for an event that could resonate to the public at large.
"I thought these issues warrant more attention," Kirschner tells New Times."So I thought, what if I brought all these animal people together all at once and hold up some signs. Maybe it would get the public's attention."
Kirschner says that he was able to get multiple animal advocate groups together for the event, including Mercy For Animals and Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary.
"We'll have food, and guest speakers coming," Kirschner says. "All free to the public."
As of this writing, the March Against Cruelty to Animals website has gotten over 150,000 hits, and Kirschner jokes that he expects anything from 200 to 100,000 people to show up to the event.
The goal -- besides bringing animal cruelty to the public's awareness -- is to have the event expand to all 50 states.
"This is the first time I've put together an event of this scale together," he says. "But the plan is to inspire enough people to do it in every state."
As for those who have already committed to showing up, Kirschner sings their praises.
"These are unsung heroes. People who aren't doing this for pay. People who volunteer their time."
As for the public, he says there's really not much too it when it comes to protecting animals.
"If you can buy 'cruelty free' products, that makes all the difference in the world," he says. "Some stuff are so simple. Be more aware of those kinds of things."
The March Against Animal Cruelty starts at noon on Saturday and is free to the public.
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