Careers in Animal Rights


A career in animal rights can be an extremely challenging and emotional journey, but also an extremely rewarding one. Representing the rights of animals who cannot speak for and protect themselves seems to be a natural calling for many people. And for those interested in pursuing a career in animal rights, it's never too early to start building knowledge and experience. Volunteer at an animal shelter, take classes in school centered on communication and biology, and try to find work in a veterinary clinic.

Animal Control Officers

  • Animal control officers, also known as animal cruelty investigators, typically work for either municipally-funded animal shelters or nonprofit humane societies like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. These investigators pursue and help to prosecute cases involving animal abuse. According to the Humane Society University, high school diplomas are needed to enter the field, on-the-job training will follow and certification training is also available. Education in criminology, law enforcement, veterinary technology or animal science/behavior are helpful, as is knowledge of anti-cruelty and control laws, animal diseases and animal care standards. Officers must also have effective communication skills, which are necessary when interacting with pet owners and attempting to resolve an animal cruelty problem.

Animal Activists

  • Several jobs exist in the field of animal rights, both with law agencies and with nonprofit organizations, and anyone pursing this type of career should be comfortable with communicating, fund-raising, grant writing and program development. A college degree is usually required for these careers, and on-the-job training will also be provided. One of the most well-known animal rights agencies, People for the Ethical Treatment for Animals (PETA), employs a wide variety of animal rights activists in areas like investigative research, field worker, corporate liaison and assistants in laboratory investigations. The requirements vary by position.

Wildlife Conservation

  • A career in the field of wildlife conservation involves saving and protecting wild animals and their natural habitats. According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, careers in this field involve science, global conservation, education and the management of nationwide urban wildlife parks, including the Bronx Zoo. Areas of study include health, climate change, wildlife hunting and trade, and landscape ecology and geographic analysis. Careers can entail field research and financial management and many of the positions require technical and scientific expertise.

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