Alison Bezzina is the Commissioner for Animal Welfare for the Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights, a full-time Animal Activist Marketing Guru And Journalist. Author Of ‘I Will Not Go Away’…
I first met Alison back in 2013 when she interviewed me for Pink Magazine in my pop star days. She was a freelancing journalist at the time for various highbrow publications including The Times, The Malta Independent and more but after spending twenty years writing about every subject under the sun, she took a two-year sabbatical to clear her mind and thoughts before beginning her new chapter which has no doubt influenced her path to date. At that time her blog, ‘I Will Not Go Away’ focussed mostly on a subject that’s very close to her heart – animal welfare. Aimed at educating and exposing the true facts about the situation of animal care and welfare in Malta, it gives animals the voice they don’t have and helps animal lovers get their concerns, reports, and complaints in front of the right authorities.
In her own words, ‘an I-don’t-want-to-know attitude is commonly displayed by people when it comes to animal cruelty. Because it is an unpleasant subject, it is sometimes easier for us to bury our heads in the sand than to do something about it. Sadly this actually helps abusers, and those in positions of power don’t bother with implementing change. So the abuse goes on unchallenged and unhindered.‘
Four years on from beginning her blog, she announced her appointment for the post of Commissioner For Animal Welfare and we couldn’t think of a better person for the job.
What are you working on right now?
I tend to work on a variety of projects simultaneously. I don’t do well with tackling one thing at a time. At the moment I’m working on proposing various changes to legislation and processes that have to do with Animal Welfare in Malta, as well as an audio-visual awareness campaign that focuses on 11 different subjects.
What drives you to do what you do?
Learning something new everyday. Whether it’s professional, social or emotional knowledge, I need to end every day with a lesson of sorts. Sometimes I’m lucky and I get blessed with multiple lessons on the same day.
What inspires you?
The challenge of solving a problem in the most efficient way possible. Some call it being lazy because I’m always aiming at finding that infamous sweet spot – that solution that produces the greatest results with the least effort.
What keeps you sane?
Variety and silence. I get bored easily so I need to be doing several things at once to keep sane. That said, I can only do so if the only sound I can hear is that of my dogs breathing peacefully. I don’t do well in noisy environments.
What is your proudest achievement?
Not ever giving up on improving the state of Animal Welfare in our country. The cruelty, abuse, and neglect that we see on a daily basis, can very easily lead to cynicism and a defeatist attitude. I consider sticking it out and celebrating the small wins as my biggest achievement to date
What has been your biggest lesson to date?
My brother developing an intellectual disability was a game-changer for me. His disability is a result of a medical mistake, and it’s a constant reminder that even the best and most learned minds screw up sometimes, and yet, life goes on. This, as well as my brother’s own attitude towards life, has helped me overcome that nagging fear of failure that everyone suffers from. No mistake I make can be as big or as consequential as the one that my family and I suffered following that medical mistake, so now, though still prudently, I go after what I want to achieve regardless of my chances of making it.
What’s your tip for life-work balance?
Get a dog (or two) and treat them right. If you treat your dog the way you should, you’ll be walking twice a day, be back home in time for playtime and dinner, and spending as much time throwing a ball, as you can.
What advice would you give your younger self?
When you’re unhappy about a situation for more than a week, it will not go away unless you do something about it. It’s not you, it’s the situation, speak out or get out.
What message do you want to leave the public?
There’s not enough space in this publication for all the messages that I have for the public with regards to Animal Welfare, but I think that one thing encompasses all messages – animals are sentient beings, which means that they feel like us humans – both physically and emotionally. In addition, they are innocent in every way imaginable, and therefore, at the very least, they deserve not to suffer unnecessarily. So let’s not take advantage of our dominant position on earth, and instead, use our humanity towards helping and caring for animals. There’s a special place in heaven for people who care for animals, and a special place in hell for those who don’t.
What book changed your life
The Women’s Room by Marilyn French. This book is a page-turner that deals with the second wave of feminism and the social norms that are accepted so blindly. However, my copy had 43 pages (out of 520) missing. So, I went from not being able to put it down to having to wait two weeks until I received my second copy. That changed my life because it taught me that everything, even what feels most compelling and pressing, can in fact wait!
The Takeaway. Be inspired by Alison’s infallible values and how she stands up for them every day. Champion her commitment and focus to her work and celebrate her love of animals and the greater good.
These are some of the ways Alison shows up in the world: I Will Not Go Away | Facebook