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Meet The Team: Jennifer Auten – Fundraising Manager

by | Jan 25, 2024

Jennifer Auten – Fundraising Manager. Photo credit: Cindy Hughes

[Content warning: Contains a confronting image]

Meet some of the wonderful individuals behind We Animals in our ‘Meet the Team’ Q&A series. This month we spoke with our feisty, friendly and hardworking Fundraising Manager, Jennifer Auten.

Hometown and where I live now

I grew up in various small towns in Alberta, Canada, until my family eventually settled in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. After high school, I went to university in Vancouver. Then in 2002, I relocated to Ottawa for a four-month contract and never left! I now live here with my partner and child.

What I do at We Animals

My job as the Fundraising Manager is to connect the incredible people who want to help build a kinder world with opportunities to support We Animals’ mission. Whether someone can give $10 a month or fund an entire photojournalism assignment, donors fuel our work and the broader movement for change.

Favourite snack

I don’t have a big sweet tooth, except for fruit. I love a ripe clementine, mango or berry, that perfect blend of sweet and tangy. Ironically, I’m allergic to several kinds of fruit – but I will eat all the rest!

What I love about working at We Animals

The people. The team is brilliant, compassionate and funny, and our donors are amazing. I get to connect with the caring, generous people who make our mission possible. Likewise, I’m inspired by our courageous animal photojournalists and honoured to play a small part in getting their work out into the world.

What’s my background

My studies in Communication and early work experiences at Simon Fraser University sparked my interest in advocacy. My time in fundraising and communications at Amnesty International, and as a volunteer with a local environmental organization, deepened my skills. I’m thrilled to now build on this experience for We Animals’ mission.

Guilty pleasure

I started watching Coronation Street by accident years ago and got hooked. My guilty pleasure is catching up on episodes while doing chores, even when it’s not particularly gripping. To my further shame, I partly watch so that I can then listen to my favourite Corrie podcasts (yes, there’s more than one).

If I had a superpower, it would be…

I’m torn between teleportation – to see the world and be with the people I love at a moment’s notice – and the ability to “stretch” time. A less selfish superpower would be something like Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth to remind us all how interconnected we are with each other and nature.

One We Animals image/video that has really stuck with me and why

There are many, but one that’s stuck with me is Jo-Anne McArthur’s photo of a piglet dying alone at a pig farm in Quebec, Canada. The photo description explains that he was shivering and panting, unable to move. The injustice of this baby’s short, painful and lonely life is palpable. He never got to play outside or even receive the comfort of his mother as he was dying.

Maxine

A piglet lies shaking and dying alone on a floor at a Canadian pig farm. At pig farms, it is typical to see sick or dying piglets left discarded on the floor in a room or hallway rather than being treated or euthanized. We do not know how long this dying piglet had been lying here when we encountered him. Quebec, Canada, 2022.

Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

I always saw myself as an animal lover. And yet, I grew up viewing farmed animals as lesser. I ate and wore animal products, even cheered at rodeos with my family – suppressing my doubts about the norms we’d collectively set. Nine years ago, thanks to the difficult work of animal photojournalists and activists, my partner and I finally recognized the oppressive, destructive realities of animal industries. We decided to become vegan. I believe in the necessity and urgency of We Animals’ work because we need to come to terms with our disconnection from those we share this planet with.

Favourite farmed animal ethology/behaviour fact

Pigs are intelligent, playful and empathetic. My two favourite pig facts: they like to keep their sleeping and eating areas meticulously clean, and mother pigs will sometimes sing to their babies. Some even decorate their homes with flowers and other foliage.

Connect with me if…

You’d like to know more about We Animals’ work and how you can support it! You can learn about becoming a We Animals Ally with your monthly donation via our website.

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