This year Lourdes celebrates 33 years working to protect animals!
Lourdes has been a grantee since 2018 when she received a seed grant to support the International Congress of Animal Rights in Veracruz, Mexico. Lourdes holds this yearly conference to bring together activists, scientists, and academics to discuss animal protection. In 2022, she included a special session on farmed animals and raised the important conversation about farmed animal protection to diverse stakeholders.
Lourdes also received an impact grant for her organization, Project ARPA (Actions for Respect and Animal Protection), in 2020 and a coalition grant in 2021 for the Best Practices campaign. She serves as TPP’s coordinator in Mexico for the Global Animal Advocacy Program and is an animal rights leader in Veracruz, Mexico. She has dedicated her life to being a voice for animals and inspiring others to take action.
“I always felt a special connection with animals. From a very young age I always liked helping cats and dogs, animals with whom I lived the most; I did my first rescues when I was very young. However, it was approximately 33 years ago that we decided to start more serious work for animals. I came from Mexico City to Xalapa and when I arrived in the province I realized that there was no work for animals, so at the age of 17 me and my sister started work. I started planning how I could help the animals…and I dedicated myself to visit groups, shelters to be able to make the correct decisions…from that moment we decided that we had to work in education and to change the legislation.”
In the past few decades, Lourdes has worked on educational campaigns for companion animals, taught children about animal sentience and caring for all animals, carried out sterilization and adoption events, disseminated scientific research about animals, and more. Some of her most notable successes include persuading her municipality to substitute motorcycle carts for the cruel horse carts that had long been used for garbage collection (thanks to her work, the use of horses is prohibited!), and helping to pass the first state law for animals in 2012. In subsequent updates to the law in 2016, due to her advocacy, the first prosecutor’s office focused on crimes against animals in Latin America was created, making Veracruz the first state at the national level to prohibit the killing of companion animals as a method of population control.
“I like working in many areas but I’m always focused on education, law, and public policy.”
Lourdes has made huge progress for animal rights in Mexico through her various roles including through her work with TPP.
While working her full-time job as a logistics coordinator at the Universidad Veracruzana where she’s in charge of social and sustainability issues at the Directorate General office, and changing laws and educating the public in her spare time, she also serves as the Mexico coordinator for TPP’s Global Animal Advocacy Program which focuses on grantmaking and movement building to protect farmed animals in Mexico, Brazil, and India.
“I am finally working in the area of animals used on farms. This is a great opportunity for me because although I have always worked in coordination, I have never represented an organization as strong as TPP. Now thanks to this opportunity I am working with many other activists and people who haven’t worked before in activism and who are doing things for…farm animals.”
Lourdes is applying all of her experience working with legislators, scientists, animal activists, educators, and so many other animal welfare stakeholders to fight for farmed animal protection to become law in Veracruz, Mexico in 2023.
In her role at TPP, she not only connects with and funds activists working for animals throughout Mexico; she also leads a coalition made up largely of companion animal activists that campaigned last summer to garner support for a bill that would make many of the cruelties inflicted on farmed animals illegal. She is awaiting the final vote from the Chamber of Deputies but received initial majority support in December 2022. Regardless of the legal outcome, this has made farmed animal protection an animal rights issue that cannot be ignored by governing bodies and, perhaps more so, this has been an extraordinary initiative that has demonstrated the importance and power of working with allies to advance protections for animals.
Lourdes’ 33 years working for animals highlights many important lessons and this one may be most fundamental to the success of the animal protection movement: the networks we build through genuine relationships which are centered around what we have in common are essential and powerful.
Lourdes is an inspirational educator, organizer, and changemaker who leads with compassion – we cannot wait to see what more she does and the changes that cascade across Mexico and the world because of her dedication.