Some of the greatest Animal Rights activists used to be
hunters. Then they woke up. Some of the most powerful members of our
movement used to work in the meat industry. Most of us used to eat meat.
We changed our ways because we saw the light, not because someone
insulted us. This must be top of mind as we write letters. If we insult
and alienate someone who may have eventually, even years down the line,
become a supporter, then we are venting our anger at the expense of the
If you are writing a complaint to a show or publication,
a store or a company, an organization or a politician, whose work or
products you have appreciated in the past, do not lose the opportunity
to pay a compliment. Then, gently point out the error of their current
ways. Forgive the animal cliché but, "You catch more flies with honey
than with vinegar." It is human nature to care more about pleasing a
friend who has been wronged than an adversary. The reader of your letter
is only human.
The reader of your letter is also probably very busy.
Keep notes short. Do not get sidetracked from your main point. You will
seem to be waffling. Save other points for future notes.
Use your spellchecker! (Just click the icon marked ABC
at the top of your screen.) Rightly or wrongly, people who can spell are
assumed to be more intelligent, more educated and are taken more
The reputation of the Animal Rights community is
improving. However, there is still some perception of Animal Right's
activists as crazy and hate-filled. If our mission is to change the
world, then unfortunately we must care about what people think; we must
change their perceptions for the sake of the animals. Thus we must make
sure that our letters are always rational, to the point, and preferably
concerned or disappointed rather than outraged. Anger tends to put
people on the defensive whereas concern and a rational argument can get
a decent hearing. For the sake of the animals, we must be heard. We will
be heard most clearly not when we are shouting loudest, but when we are
communicating in such a way that people are willing to listen.
With regard to that mission to change the world, I leave
you with those wonderful words of Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a
small group of concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is
the only thing that ever has."
DawnWatch: A New Website to Visit
Dawn Animal World News/media Watch
DawnWatch is a website and the base for a newsletter
from Karen Dawn that focuses on animals used for food and
experimentation. The newsletter alerts the reader to current news
stories concerning these issues and provides a link to the media source
so you can easily voice your opinion.
The website is well constructed and easy to navigate and
has an on site search engine. Many topics related to vegetarianism and
the treatment of farm animals are covered but the most compelling thing
about this site is its intention to be a platform for action. Karen's
objective is to make our voices heard by the media and in so doing
influence the treatment of animals for the better.
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