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Black Indigenous and People of Color [BIPOC] AND their pets are on the frontlines of Global Climate Change, Air Pollution, and Rising Sea Levels. Millions are paying a price for policies they have little control over. CARE is determined to advocate for people of color and their pets facing Environmental Injustice.

Our Method For Change

Akisha Townsend Eaton, Chief, Environmental Justice & Policy

What is Environmental justice (EJ) is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.

Following CARE’s Human and Animal Well-being framework, we’ve begun implementing vital Environmental Justice and Policy work in Kentucky. Unlike other organizations working within the Environmental Justice space, CARE centralizes people and their pet family in the work we do. We look forward to gaining lessons from Kentucky that will insight future projects around the country.

Some things to keep in mind:

• Approx. 44% of people who declined to evacuate during Katrina did so due to fear of abandoning their pets • Many human shelters do not accept companion pets – not even during natural disasters • Climate Change impacts pets and people alike, particularly people of color and those who are economically challenged


Take a moment to better understand how marginalized communities are vulnerable to global climate change.

More about Kentucky

December 2021 will be a month no Kentuckians will ever forget, especially those in Representative Patti Minter’s House District (D-Bowling Green). More than 80 people died, destroying thousands of homes and displacing thousands of residents. More on the victims here.  In Representative Minter’s district, the vast majority of fatalities were people of color.
After Hurricane Katrina, numerous states enacted laws to this effect, to supplement the federal PETS Act.While Kentucky does account for the needs of people pets in its state Emergency Operations Plan, these protections have not been enshrined into law.  SB bill 172, a bill CARE supports, would change this reality.  The bill also goes further to specify the importance of reunification and minimization of euthanasia of pets.  For the BIPOC community especially, policies such as the waiver of hefty reclaim fees to be reunited with pets and direct return to owner protocols would remove financial and transportation barriers and help ensure that people and their most treasured companions can stay together, while also reducing economic strain in general. We are grateful for Rep. Minter’s acknowledgment of CARE as an organization and our work on these issues.

Deeply affected, the Bowling Green legislator introduced a resolution to commemorate those that perished due to Mother Nature’s wrath. Representative Patti Minter introduced the resolution in the House of Representatives, which acknowledges the human and animal victims of the horrific tornado outbreaks, through the commemoration of “CARE” Day, which is named for Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity (CARE). CARE’s Chief of Policy and Environmental Justice Division, Akisha Townsend Eaton, who is a resident of Bowling Green, helped bring the plight of BIPOC residents and their pets to Minter’s attention, after seeing the devastating impact firsthand.


Summary of Bills, Projects, and Policy Measures currently underway

CARE Response to Anti- ‘Critical Race Theory’ Legislation

Race is a Crucial part of our Shared History Image

Every day, all over the world, humans are doing something compassionate for companion animals. Some of those individuals are elderly, some are home insecure, and many don’t look like traditional Hollywood heroes. The animals being rescued, fed, and healed know help comes in different shapes and sizes. They know love can’t be seen from the outside. My enduring hope is that we learn to be as humane as the companion animals around us.


CARE strongly opposes policy that would have the effect of silencing discussions around the lived experiences of BIPOC and other marginalized individuals and communities. 


Critical Race Theory, an academic and legal framework for understanding systemic racism in American society, has recently become a hot topic in the news.  As evidenced by the passage of legislation throughout our country, the concept has been manipulated and misinterpreted to promote the suppression of the history of racism in America in K-12 classrooms and beyond.  Additionally, broader concepts around racial equity, diversity, and inclusion are also subject to prohibition in schools and workplaces under such legislation.  So-called ‘anti-critical race theory’ legislation silences the teaching of factual and historical events, often imposing harsh penalties on those who foster discussions on such topics and concepts.  These policies greatly harm all educational institutions, workplaces, and nonprofits striving to advance racial equity in the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement in America

Possible outcomes of the passage of such policies include but are not limited to: 

The prohibition or severe restriction of diversity, equity and inclusion training, workshops, and events, even if such training is based upon verifiable and factual information and statistics.

The prohibition of field trips, guest speakers, and career exploration opportunities for students wishing to learn about principles of equity and inclusion. 

The stifling of solutions to societal problems as they pertain to specific racial demographic groups as identified by the U.S. Census, and other official sources of information. 

The suppression of dissemination of information of scholarships for racially diverse students in historically underrepresented fields (e.g.,veterinary profession). 

The widening of the racial equity gap in employment, especially where racially diverse employees are least represented. 

The inability to compete for diversity, equity, and inclusion-related nonprofit grants and other funding.

It is not a coincidence that an attack on truthful dialogue comes after George Floyd’s death – a murder that highlighted systemic racism and the dire need for social justice.  Rather, such concerted efforts to suppress and silence testify to the necessity of this dialogue we are to continue dismantling racial inequity – an exceedingly  critical part of Human and Animal Well-Being.  As such, CARE stands firm in its position to oppose any measure, policy, or initiative that would inevitably cause harm to the communities we serve.  We call upon all individuals, communities and organizations dedicated to these principles, to unite against any effort to suppress initiatives that promote equity and inclusion in classrooms and workplaces. 

Bowling Green Human and Companion Animal Natural Disaster Impact Study

Study Description:

The study assesses the experiences, barriers, and issues of importance from companion animal owners of color living in Bowling Green, Kentucky, who have been affected by December 2021 tornados. In partnership with CARE’s Environmental Justice Division, we seek to help identify how to prevent and combat the unwanted effects of natural disaster scenarios./span>

Kentucky Senate Bill 172 Sponsor: Julie Raque Adams

Summary This bill does the following:
  • Requires the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management to plan for the needs of people and pets in disasters.
  • Requires this plan to include methods to notify owners of lost pets, provide direct return-to-owner protocols, and minimizing euthanasia of owned pets.
In some of the worst hit areas of the recent natural disasters in Kentucky, members of BIPOC communities were disproportionately impacted, representing most or all of the casualties in the largest localities


Our nation faces countless environmental challenges. Few of those challenges are being met from the perspective of BIPOC Americans and their pets who bear the heavy weight of climate-driven disasters. Nevertheless, CARE is committed to making change and supporting communities where we can. We hope to inspire other organizations and communities to do the same.

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