A picture on the rear window of Curt Albright’s pickup truck shows a puppy and a piglet side by side.
“Why love one but eat the other?” asks the accompanying text.
That’s a question Albright, 52, regularly inspires people to ask themselves.
The investment banker from Waxhaw spends his spare time volunteering to make the world a kinder place for all animals.
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“As a resident of Waxhaw and the Union County leader for the Humane Society of the United States, I am dedicated to working to give animals a voice against the cruelty that we see too often in our county and state,” he said.
He and his wife, Sharon, live on about 11 acres with three dogs, five cats and an assortment of swans, ducks, geese and herons. Albright, originally from Virginia, said he’s always been an animal-lover, but his animal advocacy resulted from a progression of events.
The first, which he classified as “my wake-up call,” came at age 37, when he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Later, a doctor he’d visited for sleep apnea suggested he read the book “Eat to Live,” which helped improve his dietary habits – and his health.
Then, he saw a video of a speech by Philip Wollen, arguing that “animals should be off the table,” he said.
“That’s the video I credit for me going vegan,” said Albright, who is now an organizer for the annual Charlotte Vegfest.
The book “The Hope” by Andrew Harvey made him consider which issue “breaks my heart the greatest,” he said.
“To me, it was animal suffering,” he said.
That series of revelations, over a dozen years, created the path he now walks as he volunteers through local and national organizations.
He said he and his wife provided the financial support to open a Charlotte office for The Humane League. The organization advocates for farm animals through public education and corporate campaigns, according to its website.
He also works with local rescue organizations, such as the Humane Society of Union County and Carolina Waterfowl Rescue, and with national groups such as Compassion Over Killing, which recently released an undercover video of poultry workers in North Carolina’s Harnett County burying live, unwanted chickens.
That video prompted Albright to post a petition on Change.org asking Harnett County’s sheriff and district attorney to prosecute those responsible. In less than 10 days, the petition had garnered nearly 140,000 signatures.
He said one of the comments written by a signer of the petition resonated with him: “…If I were being buried alive, I would hope that someone would speak up for me,” he quoted.
Albright said “…The thing that I wanted to believe when I first saw a video like that was that it was the exception. It’s not. No, that’s the norm….
“There are seven billion humans on the face of the earth. In this country alone we torture and kill nine billion animals every year in our food system. In this country. Every year. That’s a lot of suffering. That’s why I decided to really commit myself.”
He said even animals raised in factory farms feel emotions, though the average consumer doesn’t consider that.
“Again, I look at the cognitive dissonance on how we save our dogs and cats – our companion animals,” he said.
Albright gave examples of horrors inflicted on the two categories of chickens found in factory farms – egg layers and broilers.
“It’s pretty brutal,” he said. “The efficiencies of factory farming come at the expense of the animals.”
He said he’s hoping that, by helping to shine the spotlight on the conditions found in factory farms, he and other animal-rights advocates can make a positive difference.
“I do this because it’s what’s right for animals,” he said. “It’s the way I’m wired … and it’s been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.”