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By David Cantor, Responsible Policies for Animals, Inc. (RPA)
The news-industry guidebook for accurate and truthful reporting on animals, which Responsible Policies for Animals (RPA) has been preparing and building financial support for, arises in part from many years of news-industry misrepresentation of animal rights and misuse of the term "animal rights" and other basic terms.
RPA has sent several of the most respected news venues many letters-to-the-editor, for years on end, correcting wrong usage of "animal rights," "humane," and other
basic terms that shape understanding of the relationship between humans and the other animals. In the very rare cases where RPA's letters have been published or broadcast,
the news venues have altered them to change the core point about wrong usage. Universally, the venues have refused to establish a correct-usage policy.
Wrong usage is devastating to nonhuman animals and the animal-rights movement -- the organized effort to fundamentally change the relationship between humans and the other animals by establishing basic legal/constitutional rights for all sentient beings. Pandering to the news industry for publicity exacerbates the problem.
If the news industry continues to use "humane" incorrectly as in "humane" methods of slaughter or "humane" raising of animals for food, the public will continue wrongly believing people can humanely destroy other animals other than to end irremediable
suffering, or can use animals humanely -- impossible, by definition.
If the news industry continues calling everything people do to help animals "animal rights" and calling anyone who calls themselves an "animal-rights activist" an animal-rights activist even when their activities do not promote animal rights or are
antithetical to it, the public will continue not knowing what animal rights is and will not understand or support animal rights -- as is the case today.
In communicating about the news-industry problem, I have learned that some other concerned people have also sent letters for publication or otherwise urged news venues to use basic animal-related terms correctly and stop using them incorrectly. It will be of great value, in completing the news-industry guidebook , if people who have contributed to the correct-usage effort will inform RPA of what they have done. Here is what we need, all with complete identification and contact information of all parties:
- Complete, exact text or copy of submitted letters or other communications;
- Number or approximate number of similar submissions, if not practical to provide all of them;
- Statement of whether a submission was or was not published or broadcast;
- Complete published or broadcast version, if letter was published or broadcast, including venue and date;
- Complete, exact text or copies of responses from news venues, other than publication or broadcast, if discussion/e-mail exchange occurred;
- Complete, exact text, copy, or sufficient other information about the news item the animal advocate responded to, showing what incorrect usage elicited the letter or other communication;
- Details of any additional context or circumstances that will assist RPA in using the material to educate the news industry and the public about the problem of inaccurate and untruthful news-industry communications about animals.
Send to me at [email protected] or P.O. Box 891, Glenside, PA 19038, USA. No faxing.
For the animals, thank you!
David Cantor is executive director of Responsible Policies for Animals.
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