Animal protection efforts employ a lot of people; some working in animal rescue or animal shelters, some on animal conservation projects; others for agencies perhaps in fundraising, lobbying, public education or administrative roles.
Scope of Work
Pet Animal Protection jobs need to meet legal and ethical standards in most developed countries if they are to maintain animals in a centre or kennel; though requirements vary in different jurisdictions.
- Fundraising staff, campaign staff;
- staff in animal rescue centres, animal shelters;
- rehabilitation officers;
- centre manager;
- centre director;
- animal assistants;
What You Need to Learn
- Animal husbandry and biology – animal taxonomy, animal nutrition, pet care
- Animal health – animal nutrition, feeding habits, environment, welfare
- Animal welfare – understanding different perspectives on animal welfare and protection
- Animal behaviour -informs about animal psychology, interactions with other animals
- Handling techniques – wild or domesticated. eg. transportation, confinement
- Safety practices for humans & animals – handling, diseases, animal care
- Animal ethics and regulation – animal welfare legislation, protection, diseases
- Catching wild animals – specific skills depending on species
- Communications skills – writing, visual communication, public speaking.
Starting a Career
Career generally start with a strong interest in animals. This may be through being around pets or farm animals at home. Acquiring experience working with or caring for animals is essential.
Pathways into working in the pet protection sector include:
- Volunteering at an animal shelter or refuge
- Administrative work with an animal organisation
- Working at a cattery/kennel
- Taking on fundraising work as a campaigner, or telemarketer for an animal charity
- Dog walking/cat care in your neighbourhood
The most important part of getting started in animal care is building experience. Potential employers will need to see you're comfortable handling animals and willing to learn. Look for opportunities through networking, volunteer work, and seminars. Spend time furthering your studies with books, courses, seminars, and more.
Progressing a Career
Careers can progress in many ways including:
- Moving horizontally to other industry sectors such as working with livestock or wildlife
- Moving vertically within an organisation or to more senior positions in other organisations
- Moving into self employment
Opportunities for career progression may take you into many different roles; for exampleinclude:
- Animal welfare officer, animal rights lobbyist, animal protection officer
- Behavioural consultant, trainer
- Fundraising manager
- Project manager
- Safety trainer and handler
- Senior animal attendant or assistant, veterinary assistant
Think about the type of work you'd like to do and set goals. Look for people in the industry and examine what they do. Invest time in building networks. Always keep learning (eg. attending conferences, studying PD courses, reading, from experience) These will help you find opportunities later.