Animal Welfare Internships

Dog with paws on a fence in an animal shelter
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There are many internship options available for those interested in gaining experience in the field of animal welfare. Students may seek this experience as a complement to their educational pursuits in welfare-related veterinary medicine, animal rescue, animal sheltering, animal law, or welfare advocacy. Here is a sampling of internships for those interested in pursuing a career related to animal welfare:

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

The ASPCA (in New York) offers several internships related to animal welfare. Of particular note is the ASPCA Cruelty and Intervention Advocacy Internship. Interns are involved with animal welfare research, education, follow up field visits to pet owners, and data analysis. Applicants must be graduate students, and college credit hours are available as compensation. The fall internship runs 15 to 19 weeks (August to December) and the summer internship runs for 10 to 13 weeks (June to August). A Government Relations internship is also available in Washington D.C with compensation of $10 per hour or academic credit.

Animal Welfare Approved

The AWA (in Virginia) offers internships for undergraduate and graduate students with an interest in farm animal welfare and sustainable agriculture. Program interns assist with mailings to farmers, shipping promotional materials, and general office tasks as assigned. Interns must commit to 20 hours per week. The internship is not a paid opportunity but a travel stipend may be arranged. A media relations internship is also available.

Animal Welfare League of Arlington

The AWLA (in Virginia) offers Humane Education Assistant internships each summer. Interns give presentations and tours, work at student day camps, and create educational content. Applicants should be sophomores, juniors, or seniors who are working towards a degree in early childhood education or a related area. They also should have experience with animal welfare and handling companion animals such as dogs and cats. Internships run from June to August with a 35 hour per week commitment. Compensation is $9.82 per hour.

Center for Zoo Animal Welfare (Detroit Zoo)

The CZAW (in Michigan) offers fifteen-week animal welfare internships at the Detroit Zoo. Recent graduates (within 3 years) may apply for a residency. Interns must commit to at least 16 hours each week. These are unpaid opportunities but college credit may be available. 

Humane Society of the United States

The HSUS offers more than a dozen different internship programs primarily based out of Maryland. Internships may center on a variety of areas including programs, campaigns, communications, policy, and law, or animal care. Most of the internships are unpaid opportunities but some carry a small stipend. College credit may also be arranged.

Humane Society Legal Fund

The HSLF (in Washington D.C.) is a separate lobbying affiliate of the Humane Society that offers internships to students interested in animal welfare law. Interns perform research, assist with lobbying campaigns, and attend meetings or briefings on animal protection issues. Applicants should be able to commit to 24 hours per week for at least 12 weeks. Internships are unpaid but college credit is available.

International Fund for Animal Welfare

IFAW (headquartered in Massachusetts) offers several internship programs that vary from 3 months to 12 months in duration. Applicants may be considered for a social marketing internship, a companion animal internship, and a policy analyst internship. The first two are based out of the main office in Massachusetts and the latter in Washington D.C. Some of the internships are paid opportunities.

Mercy for Animals

MFA offers internship opportunities at its offices in Los Angeles and Chicago. Two internship paths are available: legal intern and outreach/campaign assistant intern. Legal interns work with animal attorneys and perform legal research. Applicants must be in their second or third year of law school. Outreach interns help develop educational and advocacy materials. Legal internships provide a small stipend ($50 per week) plus housing. Outreach internships are unpaid.