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Love and WAAR: Local man fights for animal rights with new blog

Justin Emery created an animal advocacy blog, WAAR—World for Animal Advocacy and Rescue. The site is a virtual place for people to be inspired for change, not just in the ethical treatment of animals but for the way we find tools to help them throughout our community.

Justin Emery

BLOGGING FOR PUPS: Justin Emery created WAAR blog in an attempt to raise awarness for animal rights. Courtesy Photo.

For New Jersey native Justin Emery, last January’s notorious polar vortex brought with it more than plummeting temperatures and blistering winds. It carried overwhelming concern for the animals around him, and distress for the absolute lack of easily accessible information regarding how to help creatures in need. But it wasn’t until Emery came face to face with a dying pelican while working at the Wrightsville Beach Marina that he finally decided to draw a battle plan for action.

“After lunch, that’s when I noticed—between the ramp and the dock box—there was a pelican with its wings dropped and its head sunken low,” he remembers. “It didn’t look good. The pelican didn’t move, no matter how close I approached. It never defended itself, but it was alive. It looked helpless—I had to act.”

Without thinking twice, Emery scooped up the bird and placed it in a sleeping bag he had in his car. The problem was, he didn’t know exactly where to bring it for help. It was a process of trial-and-error, in calling different bird rescues. As precious time ticked by, eventually Emery found SkyWatch Bird Rescue off of Market Street.

But, it was too late.

“I found out the next day, the pelican had died from shock, due to the severe cold,” Emery admits. “I kept thinking, If I had known more about where to go, or had brought the pelican to SkyWatch sooner, would he have made it?”

More so, Emery couldn’t stop wondering how many times the pelican was ignored by others who assumed there was no way they could help. Questions constantly weighed his mind. So, determined to help and motivate others in similar situations, Emery created an animal advocacy blog, WAAR—World for Animal Advocacy and Rescue. The site is a virtual place for people to be inspired for change, not just in the ethical treatment of animals but for the way we find tools to help them throughout our community.

“The way we address and handle animal rights and rescuing—the way we approach it—is kind of on the back burner,” Emery says with conviction. “We need to collectively—as humans, not just as animal activists—change the way we look at and treat animals in general.”

This includes livestock, pets or front-yard animals who appear in our lives daily. Emery Wilmingtonians and citizens elsewhere strive to take to heart that our human actions affect all living creatures.

“We need to pay more attention,” he urges, “make animals more of a concern. And that’s what I’m trying to do with this blog—to put animals in the forefront of everyone’s mind.”

The main difference between WAAR and others’ blogs geared toward animals is that it’s interactive as well as resourceful. It’s goal is to encourage and offer impact for positive change.

“The whole premise of the blog is to be a peaceful, common forum for all those that care about animals,” he explains,“to discuss issues and policies that pertain to our relationship with the animals in our world. Additionally, it will serve as a central location to make all readers aware of the various rescue groups throughout the world.”

Ultimately, Emery’s goal for WAAR is to serve as an educational outreach tool, as well as a networking opportunity where all animal lovers can connect. It covers wild and domestic alike. So far he’s posted spring wildlife tips in conglomeration with Mother Nature Network. He’s also posted about the Wolf Conservation Center.

“When you have education you have means to act,” Emery says. “Hopefully it will educate everyone about issues facing the animal world.”

Emery already has covered issues like where to find helpful animal sanctuaries, rescues and hospitals. “That day in January was definitely a catalyst for me,” Emery continues. “Maybe one day WAAR will have more of a physical presence. Say, if someone wants to know what’s going on in Wilmington that benefits animals, well, WAAR will be a source to find out.”

The forums are tightly monitored by Emery. He will not allow ignorance or disrespectful comments to flood the walls of the site. Under no circumstances will belittling be tolerated. The Internet is full of people trying to get a rise out of one another, Emery believes, but despite the spelling of the acronym name, WAAR is not the place for confrontation.

Currently, WAAR needs bloggers. Merely two weeks old, it’s currently seeking insightful posts from all those who care about animals—hunters, vegans, farmers, vegetarians, average pet owners.

“I know any great change comes slowly,” Emery says. “I don’t expect millions of followers overnight. I just want people to tell their friends—and to participate. This is truly a word-of-mouth situation. Animals are not our first thought and that needs to change. We need to revere their place in the world—to elevate their place in our lives.”

You can contribute to WAAR and add it to your favorites by going to

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