H.E.N. logo  
  Home | Contest | Animal Issues | FAQ | Take Action | Resources | About APIS | Search APIS | Contact Us

A Voice for Animals Contest

The 24th Annual Contest is now Open!

Please read the Official Rules and Advice for Participants before preparing your submission! Submit your entry online using the form below.

Prizes totalling $6000 will be awarded to high school students whose essays best promote the humane treatment of animals, including:
$750 First Prize (Video)
$500 Second Prize (Video)
$400 Third Prize (Video)
$500 First Prize (Essay/Photographs)
$300 Second Prize (Essay/Photographs)
$200 Third Prize (Essay/Photographs)
$400 First Prize (Blog/Facebook page)
$300 Second prize (Blog/Facebook page)
$200 Third Prize (Blog/Facebook page)
$500 First Prize (Personal Involvement Project by 15-16 year old)
$400 Second Prize (Personal Involvement Project by 15-16 year old)
$300 Third Prize (Personal Involvement Project by 15-16 year old)
$350 First Prize (Essay by 14-15 year old)
$250 Second Prize (Essay by 14-15 year old)
$150 Third Prize (Essay by 14-15 year old)

The 2014 competition is open! We are again sponsored in part by the Animal Welfare Institute and the Palo Alto Humane Society. We thank them as always for their support.

Official Rules

This year A Voice for Animals contest has two sections: for 14-15 year old students and 16-18 year old students:

  • Entrants in the 14-15 year old section of the contest are invited to write an essay which addresses either the mistreatment of one animal species or one cause of animal suffering, or the preservation of one species threatened with extinction, occurring anywhere in the world (see details below).
  • Entrants in the 16-18 year old section of the contest are required take anactive involvement in a project which strives to mitigate the suffering of animals (see details below).

You are strongly advised to read all the rules!

Active Involvement Projects

All 16-18 year old entrants must become involved in a project (new or pre-existing) which addresses one of the following anywhere in the world:

  •     the mistreatment of one animal species
  •     one cause of animal suffering
  •     the preservation of one species threatened with extinction

Projects should be worked on for at least two to three months and the project should have a direct impact on animals by means of either direct or indirect intervention. Your submission will document your project and your contribution to that project and, where possible, show how your project/involvement could reduce animal suffering.

      Your project could possibly be one of the following:

  • Form an organization to raise awareness about an animal issue and how to reduce suffering

  • Create a website to raise awareness about an animal issue and how to reduce suffering

  • Create a school group to raise awareness about an animal issue and how to reduce suffering

  • Create a Blog or a Facebook page that raises awareness about an animal issue and which shows ways to reduce suffering
  • Participate actively in an organization that raises awareness about an animal issue and how to reduce suffering

  • Create or demonstrate a plausible alternative to a practice which causes animal suffering

  • Devise an activity of your own that will raise awareness about, or mitigate, animal suffering

You must document your involvement in the project in one of several ways, each of which will be judged as a separate category:

  • Create an original video
  • Write an original essay accompanied by photographs showing your work
  • Create a blog or Facebook page

If you choose to start a group, you will need to demonstrate how many people were in the group and that this group was active and made significant contributions in your chosen area. In all categories we will ask you to provide contact information for someone who will vouch for the originality and duration of your project.

If you wish to submit a joint project, a group of up to four students can contribute to the project. Only one member of the group should submit the entry form and the names of other group members must be included just one time on the project itself.

Eligibility

  • Participants must currently be attending high school or be home-schooled and under 19 years of age on the date the contest opens for entries. No exceptions!

  • The contest is open to all otherwise eligible students worldwide regardless of nationality, citizenship or country of residence.

Subject Matter for all Categories

Your submission must:

  • focus on the mistreatment of one animal species or one cause of animal suffering;

  • be the original work of the author or authors;

  • show clearly which animal issue you chose to address and why;

  • show what you have done to help remedy this issue;

  • any sources you choose to quote in your presentation must be cited accurately. Citations substantiating your chosen project will be credited.

Submission format

All submissions must be made using the form which will appear below only while the contest is open for entries. Essays submitted any other way (e.g. via e-mail or the postal service) will not be accepted.

Essay files will be uploaded directly to our web site via the entry form. Other forms of submission will require that you provide a URL to your submission because it will be on another web site. The entry form will explain how to obtain, copy & paste the required URL into the entry form.

The requirements for each category of submission are specified below.

Video

  1. Your video must be at least three minutes but no longer than four minutes long.

  2. We will accept video submissions uploaded only to YouTube (www.youtube.com) or Vimeo (www.vimeo.com).

  3. Give your video a meaningful title.

  4. Add a brief synopsis of the video as the description of the video.

Please note:

  • You must have explicit permission to use any footage, animation, music or photography you use (i.e. it must be original or archival stock).

  • You must include your name in the video, but do not include any contact information (e.g. e-mail address or telephone number) in either the video or its description.

Essay with Photographs

  1. Your essay must be no less than 800 and no more than 1000 words excluding citations, page headers and footers (if used). Longer essays will be disqualified.

  2. Your essay must be written in English .

  3. Any citations, if included, must appear at the end of the essay.

  4. You must include your name and essay title at the top of each page. Do not include any contact information (e.g. e-mail address or telephone number) in your essay.

  5. All pages of an essay must be numbered.

  6. All pages of an essay must be double-spaced.

  7. We will only accept essays in the following electronic formats:

    • Microsoft Word (".doc", ".docx")

    • Microsoft Works (".wps")

    • Microsoft XML Paper Specification (".xps")

    • OpenDocument Text (".odt")

    • Portable Document Format (".pdf")

    • Rich Text Format (".rtf")

    • Plain text (".txt")

  8. The size of your file must be less than 2Mb, including photographs.

Blog/Facebook Page

Your Blog/Facebook page must span a period of three months with at least three submissions a week. If your submission is simply a link to another site, it will not count – it’s fine to link to other sites, but we want to know what you have to say as well! 

Fourteen and Fifteen Year Old Essay Submissions

  1. Your essay must examine either the mistreatment of one animal species or one cause of animal suffering, occurring anywhere in the world, and explore measures how your project/involvement can reduce that suffering;
  2. Your essay must be no less than 1400 words and no more than 1500 words excluding citations, page headers and footers (if used). Longer essays will be disqualified.
  3. Your essay must be written in English.
  4. Any citations, if included, must appear at the end of the essay.
  5. You must include your name and essay title at the top of each page. Do not include any contact information (e.g. e-mail address or telephone number) in your essay.
  6. All pages of an essay must be numbered.
  7. All pages of an essay must be double-spaced.
  8. We will only accept essays in the following electronic formats:
    • Microsoft Word (".doc", ".docx")
    • Microsoft Works (".wps")
    • Microsoft XML Paper Specification (".xps")
    • OpenDocument Text (".odt")
    • Portable Document Format (".pdf")
    • Rich Text Format (".rtf")
    • Plain text (".txt")
  9. The size of your file must be less than 2Mb.

Judging

Judges’ decisions are final. Please read the Advice for Participants to see what the judges  will be looking for.

Deadlines

Entry deadline: Sunday, May 25th 2014 (11:59pm PDT)
Results announced: Monday, August 25th 2014

Advice for Participants

The judges offer the following advice based on entries from earlier contests:

  • Read the rules! Every year we disqualify a number of entries because they did not obey the rules.
  • The judges will be looking for:
    • Personal initiative (e.g., how big a role did you play in developing and driving this project or in your portion of the project)
    • Commitment and presentation
    • Clarity and power of the presentation; your presentation should inspire others to get involved
    • Original ideas in the topic, the presentation, or the suggested responses to the animal suffering.
  • If your entry is an essay the judges will look for:
    • effective opening and closing paragraphs. The essay needs to be well organized with paragraphs structured around the main parts or points. 
    • good structure with good word choice and fluid writing. Check spelling, grammar and punctuation. The essay must be free of blatant errors; all research that is done must be adequate for the topic and have quality references – references from Wikipedia do not carry much weight.
    • a readable font! Decorative or script fonts are hard to read for more than a sentence or two, and with the number of submissions we receive we do not spend time reading hard to read scripts.
  • If you submit a video the judges will look for:
    • What motivated you
    • How you hope to inspire others to bring about change
    • How you present your subject
    • Something visually interesting
  • The judges will give extra credit for:
    • Any research that is done into the cruelty or problem.
  • The judges will take an especially harsh view of plagiarism. Don't do it! Cite all your sources.
  • ESSENTIAL: Learn from previous winners! Look at their entries to see how they stand out. Look at our home page and the essays of four previous winners.
  • Make sure the file or URL you submit is your actual entry! Each year we receive files which are clearly not the author's essay file. Due to the number of essays submitted we are unlikely to have time to contact you about your mistake.

Entry Form

First name:
Last name: Age:
Address:
 
City:
State: Zip/Postal Code:
Country: (if not U.S.A.)
E-mail:
Phone:
School:
Year in school:
Reference: You must provide contact information for a professional person outside your family (e.g. teacher, church official, veterinarian, animal control officer) who can vouch for your participation in, and contribution to, the project in the event that your entry is awarded a prize.
First name: Last name:
Phone: Email:
Relationship to the project:
Project title:
Submission type:
 
 
How did you hear about the contest?
I have read the official rules and confirm that my entry obeys them.
I certify that this entry is my own original, unpublished work.
I understand that the Humane Education Network reserves the right to post winning entries on this web site.
I have read the Humane Education Network privacy policy.
 

Previous winners

Select a winning essay and click the Read Essay button. The essay will open as a PDF file in another window.
(Essays shown in gray are not currently available online.)

Questions?

If you have any questions at all about our high school essay contest, please send e-mail to contest@hennet.org.