Animal Rights/Vegan Activists' Strategies Articles

Animal Activist Jodie Wiederkehr

From Jodie Wiederkehr
Facebook posting, June 2022

In 2015, Wiederkehr founded and continues to direct the Chicago Alliance for Animals (CAA). CAA was formed with the goal of making Chicago a more humane city. CAA’s biggest achievement so far is banning the inhumane and dangerous horse carriage trade in Chicago.

Originally pubished in Southland Voice's "Someone You Should Know" column, June 2022

Jodie and Friend

Jodie Wiederkehr feels like she has always been an animal activist. As a child, she went around her neighborhood giving treats to and sitting and petting dogs on chains. She once rescued a bird with a broken wing.

Another time, she took a poisoned rat to a veterinarian to be euthanized after she saw him suffering. After college, she made animal activism her career. Animal protection is more than a profession for Wiederkehr, it is her passion and the driving force in her life.

Wiederkehr said she loves all animals, and that she does not have a favorite. “Cats and dogs and horses, I love them all equally,” she remarked while laughing, but horses tug at her heartstrings quite a bit. “Horses are such gentle creatures,” she said. “They don’t fight back. A 1,000 plus pound horse can be broken by abuse.” She also has a soft spot for rescue animals. “You don’t know their backstory,” she said. “You never know what you’re getting. It takes time and love, but if you are patient, you will get a loving pet.”

Her first “baby” was founded in 2011. Wiederkehr is the Executive Director of the Center For Ethical Science (CFES). Its mission is to dispel the myth that animal experimentation will cure human diseases. It also exposes the immense amount of our tax dollars used to finance the faulty science.

In 2015, Wiederkehr founded and continues to direct the Chicago Alliance For Animals (CAA). CAA was formed with the goal of making Chicago a more humane city. CAA’s biggest achievement so far is banning the inhumane and dangerous horse carriage trade in Chicago. In April 2020, Chicago’s City Council voted overwhelmingly (46-4) to ban horse carriages in the city beginning January 1, 2021. This groundbreaking victory makes Chicago the largest U.S. city to ban horse carriage rides, and CAA did it in a record 2.5 years without any paid staff, celebrity support, accidents, or fatalities.

PETA named Wiederkehr an ‘Outstanding Activist of the Year’ and presented her with a ‘Hero to Horses’ award. “Horses have a true ally in Jodie, whose unwavering commitment and compassion have helped make Chicago the largest city in the country to shut down the cruel carriage industry,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk.

Wiederkehr then formed the Partnership To Ban Horse Carriages Worldwide in 2017. She has more than twenty active chapters around the world that she mentors with effective steps and strategies and who are fighting to ban the inhumane excuse for entertainment in their cities.

Another victory for Wiederkehr and CAA occurred when they closed the 7-year-old loophole in which pet stores labeled puppies as rescue animals, allowing puppy mill stores to remain in business in Chicago. This closed two stores and the third stopped selling dogs and cats.

CAA’s current campaigns include urging Lincolnwood, Illinois officials to enforce the laws already on their books that prohibit the keeping and sale of naturally wild animals and enforcing the Cook County law which bans the sale of rabbits. On March 15 of this year, Lincolnwood’s trustees voted to waive their own law, which resulted in keeping Spur, a huge African tortoise, in intense, solitary captivity inside a pet store, where she has languished for more than 30 years.

CAA is also actively trying to free Rocky, a coyote who’s been stuck all alone in a small cage in the Forest Preserves of Cook County for more than four years. Officials tell us they will have a report in July to decide if he can be released to the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado at no charge to taxpayers.

CAA has also been working with local activists and former volunteers to expose the rampant animal suffering and untimely animal deaths at an unlicensed, so-called animal rescue called Settlers Pond in Beecher, Illinois.

Wiederkehr encourages anyone to become an animal activist if they are passionate. She said volunteers are often pulled in many directions, as everyone has lives, jobs, and families.
However, she says that are easy things the public can do that will make a difference. Via CAA’s Facebook page, you will find her Daily Action Alerts (DAAs).

The DAAs highlight animal issues that need attention. She provides all the contact information for the targets, usually legislators, since they are the people who can change laws and policy and enact humane legislation.

She explained that these actions are incredibly simple and can be done in one minute’s time. She gave an example, “Please send Spur to sanctuary.” can be sent to an official through Facebook messenger, email, tweet, etc. They can even be accomplished during a television commercial.

If you would like to get involved or would like more information, you will find what you need on her Facebook pages, websites (Chicago Alliance For Animals (CAA), Partnership To Ban Horse Carriages Worldwide and Center For Ethical Science (CFES) and her Twitter handles are (@ChiAnimalRights, @BanHorseCariage and @BehindLabDoors.)

You will learn many ways to help Wiederkehr “Save the ones we can.” 

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