I firmly believe in Animal Welfare, which is completely opposite from the animal "rights" groups that seek to eliminate all animals from our lives, except those existing in the wild. This is not feasible, nor logical. As a people, we are becoming too disconnected from nature to appreciate it, and removal of all pets from peoples lives will further disconnect people from caring about other living creatures. If they don't know it, they don't care if it's being destroyed or abused, threatened, endangered or extinct.
I was fortunate to be taught at a young age to have an appreciation for all Earth's creatures. I have a special love for (non-human) predators.
Every person should have the right to have whatever pet they want AS LONG AS they can fully provide for that animal in all ways, protect that animal from those that would do harm, protect that animal from harming others, keep that animal healthy (physically and mentally) being RESPONSIBLE animal owners, whether their pets are domestic or exotic, native or non-native. It is our responsibility to care for animals that otherwise become extinct because of our (invasive) species destructive tendencies.
What Gives Me Hope
Seeing people who fully research an animal's nature, tendencies, needs and health requirements BEFORE even starting to buy, adopt, or otherwise attain that animal. Including making sure that they have a vet that is aware of the needs of that animal before bringing it into their life.
If I were Mayor, I'd make the world a better place by
Set aside more greenbelt causeways across our nation for wildlife, with connections of these greenbelts across highways as overpasses and underpasses specially designed for wildlife to cross safely. As the US transportation infrastructure is rebuilt, ensure it is wildlife friendly, with more bat-friendly bridges.
Also, encourage all corporate buildings to have solar panels, wind turbines, food or algae biodiesel gardens on their rooftops, depending on their location (whichever is most feasible). There is no reason, given our current level of technology why we can't start moving toward non-fossil fuel energy without incurring more habitat loss.
Bring classroom pets back into schools, allow kids to learn first hand about the proper care and treatment of animals in the schools, especially ones not often encountered. My 6th Grade teacher had 2 Quails, a garter snake, 2 frogs, 3 toads, a turtle, a crayfish, a rabbit, and a guinea pig in her classroom. They were incentives to turn in all homework. (turn in all homework for the week and have permission, you can take an animal home for the weekend.) Talk about INCENTIVE!
What/who changed my life and why
My mom - because she taught me to question, research, learn, and respect nature and others. We are all the same race, the human race, and due to our nature, we have caused great harm to others, other humans, other creatures. We must all coexist. Any loss to the overall biodiversity in any area affects all areas, and should be mourned, then be the catalyst for positive change.