Speaker: Thomas Ponce

On Behalf of All Living Beings: Speaking Up for Voiceless Creatures

Thomas Ponce is a 14-year-old animal rights advocate and a citizen lobbyist from Casselberry, Florida.  Thomas is the founder of Lobby For Animals, the Coordinator for Fin Free FL, and founder of Harley’s Home, which is used as his school-based animal rights club.

Thomas became a vegetarian at the age of 4 and began writing about animal rights at the age of 5.  Soon after, Thomas’s parents realized that his advocacy for animals was not a phase, but a way of life.  His thoughts on animal rights not only strengthened, but he garnered support from other activists and eventually his own family, who are now Vegans thanks to Thomas’s influence.

Thomas believes that speaking out against cruelty on behalf of all living beings, including the environment, is not only a pivotal part of progress; it is our responsibility.  Thomas created Lobby For Animals as a way to teach people about the importance of lobbying for animal rights and to offer tools necessary for success in the political arena.  The Lobby For Animals website has training videos that give step-by-step instructions and tips on how to be an effective lobbyist, contact information of government representatives, templates of sample letters, a bi-weekly legislative report and more, including a video that Thomas himself made entitled Tips for Successful Lobbying.  “I feel that it is our responsibility as both citizens and human beings to use our minds, hearts and voices to speak up against the injustices we see in the world,” explains Thomas.

His work has also been featured by The Thinking Vegan, Go Inspire Go, Fins and Fluke Radio and a number of local newspapers.  Thomas has received awards from The Pollination Project, his City Commissioner's Office, the Farm Animal Rights Movement, and Barry University of Law, and he recently received The President’s Volunteer Service Award, The Jefferson Award and The Prudential Spirit of the Community Award for the second year for his community service work through Lobby For Animals.  Thomas was also a contributing author in the book Animal Hero Kids Voices for the Voiceless by Susan Hargreaves.

As Thomas says, “We have to remember, we are speaking up for those who can’t speak up for themselves; we are the voice of the voiceless and we need to be heard!”

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