In partnership with The Animal Welfare Fund of New Jersey and the NJCAR Foundation, the Lesniak Institute’s essay contest encouraged participation by New Jersey students in elementary, middle and high school. The goal of the contest was to inspire students to use their writing skills to promote the need to protect animals from cruelty and to save animals from extinction. Below, please find one of our winning essays.


Student: Adam C.
School: Mainland Regional High School


Animals around the world are in need of help. But this is no secret as we see commercials and different posters all the time about saving “insert animal’s name”. We know that palm oil, used in most foods we eat, and manufactures like McDonald’s use in their food. But what we don’t know is that this hunt for palm oil is causing MASSIVE deforestation in South America. The orangutan’s population has seen a drastic decline because of this hunt and faces near extinction because of it. Animals like the orangutan need attention and the spotlight in order to get them the help they need; just like tree frogs and Lowland Gorilla that are hurt by deforestation.

Another animal that is hit by human consumerism is the cow. The cow plays a major factor in American society with it’s meat and skin. The meat is used for consumption and the skin is used to make leather. It takes a quick google search to see that there are 94.4 million cattle in the U.S.A. But when you look deeper you will find that out of those 94.4 million cows, that 39 million of those cows are slaughtered ( The animals are kept in cages for most or all of their lives and then killed for food. These animals need are help and need better living conditions or else we might lose them and the needed balance in the food chain. Losing a population of a species can be catastrophic to an ecosystem and could lead to further damage down the line. We need to treat these animals with the respect that they deserve because this is their Earth too.

New Jersey laws do a good job of protecting, not just household pets, but livestock. They have strict laws about violence and cruelty which help keep animals safe. But as a community we need to come together and all take part to help animals ourselves.

I personally volunteer at an animal rescue in Ocean City, New Jersey called Mew To You. This organization rescues cats and kittens and helps get them adopted to families. It’s a really clean and safe place and the people there sacrifice their time and usually work for free. My family has adopted two kittens from Mew to You that are now 2 years old.

With the help of a community, I believe that we can help with the stray cat and dog problem here in New Jersey. New Jersey is a wonderful place to live we great people and we can really make a difference and set an example as for what to do in helping these animals. I have rescued two cats and one rescued dog so this topic means a lot to me. Animals have played a major key in my life as I have grown up with them and I want people to experience what I have experienced with animals. The have shown unconditional love and companionship. Animals, such as pets, need humans to be their voices and stand up for their rights and basic needs.

Overall, the treatment of animals outside of the country needs to become better whether it be with Trophy hunting or deforestation for resources by funding organizations like WWF. And as a state we need to come together and try to help with animals in need. I believe New Jersey is on the path to becoming a more humane state and a leader in the United States. This is something that I am very proud of as a New Jersey resident.