Dear Friend of Animals,

You have made it possible for Friends of Animals to remain a vital, smart-working organization for 58 years. For that, we are deeply grateful.

We’ve changed and grown a lot since our humble beginning working to eliminate systemic killing in shelters and pet overpopulation through a nationwide, low-cost spay and neuter program. The number of animals that die in shelters has dropped by millions annually, and it’s your tenacity and financial support that’s helped bring about this change. Fifty-eight years later, we continue to run a successful spay and neuter program, because it’s still the best way to save the lives of cats and dogs.

We just produced an engaging and humorous PSA starring Danny Treijo, a popular actor who’s starred on “Breaking Bad” and other popular TV shows and movies, to keep this important issue at the forefront, which you can view right here. Additionally, I wrote a new cookbook this year, but it’s for dogs—really! All of the proceeds from For the Love of Dog Biscuits go directly to our spay and neuter program. And the icing on the dog biscuit—the recipes are fun, healthy and guaranteed to make tails wag.

We continue to produce national anti-fur campaigns, and work to protect animals, wild and domestic, across North America and throughout the world, in addition to managing a phenomenal primate sanctuary in San Antonio, Texas, which is also now home to two wild horses we rescued. We’ve committed vast resources this past year, and taken an all-hands-on-deck approach, to saving America’s last wild horses, who are being treated like pests and managed to extinction by the government agency charged to protect them.

Our work and accomplishments on behalf of the animals who need us—who need you—are too long for this letter, but I hope you’ll visit our website and see how we’ve helped animals this year. I’m certain you’ll feel that your money has been put to good use; in fact, it’s saved lives, and there’s really nothing more important in our line of work.

One individual animal stands out this year, however, for reasons that are both troubling and hopeful: Cecil the lion. Cecil, as I am sure you know, was killed by an American dentist this past July. Cecil, the lion, had a name. He was cherished in his village in Zimbabwe. Cecil was murdered on a hunting safari, killed to become a trophy. His death sparked outrage the world over; the death of this majestic lion sparked the social media hashtag #IamCecil, which animal advocates smartly used to highlight that all animals are deserving of respect, dignity and protection. Humans are encroaching upon, and destroying, every square inch of the wild—which is home to the animals with which we share the planet. We must learn to coexist and we must learn now.

Prior to Cecil’s death, Friends of Animals had already drafted a bill that would protect lions and other frequently trophy-hunted animals in Africa. The law would prevent their bodies from being exported back to the United States through New York, which will go a long way to help stop this grotesque practice. The law was renamed Cecil’s Law as a tribute to the beloved lion and worldwide symbol, and is currently working its way through the New York state legislature; it will be the most comprehensive law ever passed in the United States to end trophy hunting. Our wildlife law program’s work is especially far-reaching so please check out our website, and of course Action Line, for a comprehensive report.

Cecil should not die in vain. The time is ripe to fight harder and smarter, employing all the resources at our disposal. At Friends of Animals, our greatest resource is you, our members.

We’ll continue to work on the ground, in the court room, on social media, in town halls and public meetings, and through publishing educational materials. We’ll continue to work hard at what our members have challenged us to do: stop animal exploitation.

Please give generously, so that 2016 is a better year for animals. Thank you for your unceasing support. We could not do this work without you. Please join us on social media, too; it’s an easy way for us to stay in touch. We’re on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and we use those platforms to discuss and inform.

We will not give up; we need you to stand with us.

With gratitude,

Priscilla Feral