Back in 2014, Toronto-based photo-journalist Jo-Anne McArthur was awarded a TPP grant for her ‘We Animals’ Humane Education Program, a program comprised of a series of humane education presentations for groups of youth and adults. The purpose of the program was to foster awe, curiosity, and critical thinking about our relationship with animals.
Today, after years of documenting the plight of animals on all seven continents and authoring two books, We Animals (2014) and Captive (2017), McArthur continues to ask the tough questions about how we, as humans, relate to animals through her new venture, We Animals Media.
We Animals Media (WAM) is a media agency focused on the stories of animals trapped in the human world and is anchored by a new website created by McArthur and her team to show, not tell, the stories of animals—from gentle depictions of the human-animal bond to the terrible cruelties of factory farming—through journalism, film, and photography.
“I want the work to be journalistic, not didactic,” McArthur explains. “I want people to think for themselves.”
To that end, WAM’s goal is to reach a broad audience, beyond the bubble of animal lovers, while appealing to those in the journalism and photography world to encourage them to tell these important stories as well. “Animals are underrepresented in the media by far,” says McArthur. “[This website] tells their story without the distraction of passionate description. It helps their stories to be taken more seriously.”
The website, which took over six months to develop, was funded by a grant from the Open Philanthropy Project, and was shaped by the entire We Animals team, including a professional designer.
“We wanted high-quality content,” McArthur says. “These stories overlap with other issues like human rights and the environment, but we maintain the central focus on animals. … It’s important to be innovative in the animal rights movement, and we hope the website shows that.”
The site, launched just a few weeks ago, has already received a lot of interest. “Photographers and journalists have reached out to us,” McArthur says. “It’s clear we are filling a void by telling these animals’ stories.”
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