New Political Groups

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"Power in the lawmaking arena comes from
organizing voters and endorsing candidates"

"The top factor that determines how a lawmaker votes on your bill is whether the lawmaker fears his or her vote on the bill could lose the lawmaker Election Day votes.
The bill's merits are low on the list of factors that determine its fate.
Act on these facts and win strong state and local laws that now are fantasies.”
Julie Lewin, NIFAA president, author, political trainer
Scroll down for About Julie

NIFAA: National Institute for Animal Advocacy
was launched to fill a critical need in our movement


CREATE a political culture among animal rights and rescue advocates, so we know that political groups that endorse candidates are a mandatory component of our advocacy

TRAIN you to form voting bloc political organizations that win strong laws for animals in your town, city, county and state

DEVELOP local leadership among you to lead these voting bloc political organizations to win stunning victories for animals

INSPIRE rights and rescue charities to form affiliated political groups, and teach them how to do it
In spite of public support for the humane treatment of animals, laws to protect them remain weak and unenforced. The solution? Voting bloc political groups that endorse political candidates — at every level of government.

Only NIFAA equips advocates with the essential political understanding and training
to win the strong local and state laws that animals desperately need.

Julie E. Lewin created NIFAA to fill critical voids in the animal rights
and rescue movements: the absence of a political culture and political training.

Julie lobbying Representatives John Geragosian, Majority Caucus Chair, and Zeke Zalaski in Connecticut’s statehouse. Representative Zalaski: “Before I was elected, I lobbied for my union. Julie was the first person to help me, showing me many of the in’s and out’s. Her lessons continue to help me even today.”

TO WIN the strong state, county, city and town laws animals desperately await, we must become “political.” This means pursuing laws through a political group that mobilizes sympathetic voters and endorses candidates. Its lobbyist—volunteer or paid—is a power player, because to lawmakers s/he represents Election Day votes.

NIFAA ADVANCES its vital mission through its acclaimed training webinars, workshops, and comprehensive “how-to” book, “GET POLITICAL FOR ANIMALS AND WIN THE LAWS THEY NEED: Why and How to Launch a Voting Bloc for Animals in Your Town, City, County and State —and the Simple Steps It Takes to Do It.” It's the only such book. First published in May 2007, it's widely acknowledged as “superb,”“a masterpiece,” a book that “will go down in history”—and “enthralling,” “engrossing” and “entertaining,” too. For information or to order, click here.

OUR WEBINARS AND WORKSHOPS win strong praise for their quality and dynamism. Many NIFAA alumni say they are “a life altering experience” that “utterly revises what I consider effective animal advocacy.” The webinars and workshops cover all aspects of establishing a political group, recruiting humane voters, how the lawmaking process really works, the political dynamics that drive it, how to lobby, when to use media as part of a political strategy, and more.  

NIFAA has been promoted in the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s The Animals' Advocate, Animal People, Animal World USA, the ASPCA’s Animal Watch, VegNews Magazine, and other publications. NIFAA has been featured on the websites of Best Friends Animal Society, Dogs Deserve Better, the Humane Society Legislative Fund, and many other groups.  

NIFAA is heralded by leading animal advocacy groups. It has received grants and donations from Animal Legal Defense Fund, Animal Welfare Trust, Animal World USA, ASPCA, Best Friends Animal Society, Coalition For Animals, Compassion in Entertainment, Dogs Deserve Better, Farm Sanctuary, Fund for Animals, Humane Society of the US, Lapin Foundation, League of Humane Voters of New York City and caring individuals.

To help NIFAA realize its vital vision, please become a monthly sponsor

Simon and Julie

 About NIFAA founder, president, author and political trainer Julie Lewin

As a lobbyist for more than a decade, I learned important lessons that we must heed. 

*Lawmakers’ top priority is to be re-elected. To win strong laws for animals, we must base our strategy on this fact, not on the merits of our legislation. Every other issue group pursues laws through political groups that endorse candidates, because it’s the way that works.

*Being political and winning is all about understanding Election Day math.
*Most lawmakers’ votes about animals are unknown by the vast majority of their constituents who care, leaving opponents of humane laws and ordinances in control.

*Inhumane laws and policies rarely reflect the views of the majority, but rather the interests of politically strong anti-animal minorities and commercial animal-exploiting interests. When we're political, lawmakers will no longer dare to ignore us or oppose us. And if we're organized, we can even win laws that the majority of the public doesn't want!

*This dire situation won't change until lawmakers know that members of political organizations will hold them accountable at the polls on Election Day.”

Beginning as a volunteer, Julie convinced the legendary Cleveland Amory, founder of The Fund for Animals (who coined the phrase “animal rights”), to make a job for her in Connecticut, where she became the animal rights lobbyist in the Connecticut statehouse. There she won a reputation as a shrewd and effective strategist. Julie also was a contract lobbyist for the ASPCA, Animal Welfare Advocacy, the Connecticut Humane Society, and the Humane Society of the U.S.

Julie was a daily feral cat rescuer* in Hartford’s inner-city, a newspaper reporter, a nationally published magazine feature and opinion piece writer, a publicist, and a community organizer. She has been involved in state and local politics, has been a political trainer, and has given media workshops. Julie was executive assistant to the commissioner of a state agency in Hartford, Connecticut, a legislative researcher in the state Capitol building in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and staff member of a national environmental organization. In addition to NIFAA, she does political consulting through Strategic Political Services.

Julie is a sought-after speaker at animal advocacy events. Many advocacy groups have hosted her for short presentations and half and full-day training workshops. She has been a presenter at many law schools, colleges, and universities.

Julie’s animal rights archive In 2006 the University of Massachusetts, Amherst acquired Julie’s collected papers to establish a Julie E. Lewin collection on animal rights.


A Voting Bloc/Political Organization

A group that holds lawmakers accountable to concerned constituents
on Election Day through the leverage of political endorsements.
It does this in three ways:

• Before casting a vote on a piece of proposed legislation, the lawmaker knows the group will inform its members in his/her district how s/he votes.

• Before casting a vote on proposed legislation of concern to the group, the lawmaker knows that her voting record will determine whether the group endorses her for re-election or endorses her opponent.

• The lawmaker knows that the group will deliver votes to its endorsed candidate
for his district on Election Day.

A Strong State Law or Local Ordinance for Animals

• Bans outright a specific use of or behavior toward animals, or

• Substantially raises the legal minimum standards of care for animals, and/or

• Creates and implements a government policy or program that helps many animals, and/or

• Makes it easier for humans to gain legal standing in court on behalf of animals.


NIFAA: National Institute for Animal Advocacy
is a project of the Connecticut Council for Humane Education, Inc., a 501(c)(3) charitable organization
which also has a large feral cat rescue program in some of Connecticut's poorest cities. 

                        6 Long Hill Farm Guilford, CT 06437 203-901-5355
Your donations are tax-deductible

© 2018 NIFAA - All Rights Reserved

Photo Credits

Chained dog - courtesy of

Raccoon - courtesy of Laura Simon, Humane Society of the US


*NIFAA is a project of the Connecticut Council for Humane Education, which also has a large feral cat rescue program in some of Connecticut's poorest cities.

NIFAA: National Institute for Animal Advocacy
is a project of the Connecticut Council for Humane Education, Inc.
a 501(c)(3) charitable organization
6 Long Hill Farm Guilford, CT 06437 203-901-5355
Your donations are tax-deductible

© 2018 NIFAA - All Rights Reserved

Photo Credits

Chained dog - courtesy of

Raccoon - Laura Simon, Humane Society of the US