Simple, Easy Ways to Advocate For Animals
Want to become a powerful voice for animals but don’t have a lot of time? Or are you new to animal advocacy and don’t know where to begin? Then this is for you. Here are some very simple, easy ways to be an effective animal advocate for only one or two hours a week, or less!
Today, animal advocates are up against big corporations, big industry, big money, and big media, so now more than ever animals need your help. With limited time to give, you want to make sure your efforts are as effective and impactful as possible. It’s critical that the time you give to animal advocacy does the greatest good for animals—and ensures the greatest potential gains per hour spent. So here are some powerful ways to advocate for animals where your time will truly make a difference for them.
Simple and Effective Methods of Animal Activism
All of these strategies are considered highly effective and don’t require a lot of time. If you want to make more of an impact, you can do a combination of these methods. Choose the ones that work best for you depending on your time, interests and skills.
Post & Share on Social Media
Social media is a powerful tool for influencing and sharing. Spread the word about helping animals by sharing videos, graphics, photos and information on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Google Plus. What’s best to post? The best are animal videos or undercover investigative videos, link to articles, photos of animals, along with a short description – then ask your friends to Share your post! Read Mercy For Animals great article on How to Dominate Facebook!
Share the “10 Billion Lives” Video
Sharing this one video and doing this one simple action will make a big impact. Share the 4-minute video “10 Billion Lives” with friends and family on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google Plus or send via email—and you will powerfully raise awareness about the suffering of farm animals today for food. After viewing the video, ask viewers to consider transitioning to a plant-based diet!
Sign Online Petitions
Signing online petitions do work! There are countless victories and successes where petitions have worked as the primary method of animal advocacy. You can sign an online petition through email or start a new petition. There are many excellent petition websites, just go to the website to sign up for their petitions. The best legitimate and effective animal welfare petition sites are Change.org, Causes.com, Avaaz.org, Care2 and PETA. Be careful of petition sites that have been put into question, including AnimalPetitions.org, Petitionhub, yousignanimals.org, yousign.org and others. The key is to add your personal comment in the comment section and don’t remain anonymous! Be aware that many legislators will dismiss anonymous signatures or not count them. Sometimes petitions are tossed out altogether due to too many anonymous signatures. And make sure that the petition is being sent to a legitimate person of influence and that they are designated on the petition. You can sign up for the following animal protection petitions: PETA, Animal Petitions at Change, The Animal Rescue Site, Care2 and Causes.com.
Join Email Campaigns & Action Alerts!
You can easily join an organization’s email campaign or “Action Alert!” by signing up for them. This is a simple, but powerful way to make an impact. Action Alerts are as easy as adding your name and contact information to pre-written email letters that protest animal cruelty or injustice. These letters are pre-addressed and sent to decision makers. All you have to do is “personalize” the pre-written email and click “Send.” Sometimes non-personalized emails or letters are not counted or accepted, so be sure to take a little time to personalize your message, even if it is very short. Always be polite and civil in messages. You can sign up for Humane Society’s Action Alerts and Humane Society of the U.S. emails; Animal Legal Defense Fund’s (ALDF) Action Alerts; PETA e-News and Action Alerts; Humane Society International (HSI) Action Alerts; Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) Action Alerts.
Write to Legislators, Editors – Join Letter Campaigns
Letters are a highly effective and personal way to get your message across to decision makers in government, industry and the media. Sending a personal letter can be a very impactful way to raise awareness, encourage a change in action, or change in policy. You can participate in coordinated online letter campaigns by nonprofits (often through “Action Alerts”) or write and send your own personalized letters that address your animal welfare concern—to government officials, the editor of a local or national newspaper, or any media publication. Nonprofits will often have coordinated letter-writing campaigns and will request that individuals personalize their suggested “form” letters before sending them to the target person online. Campaign in World Farming offers some great tips for effective letter writing. Remember to be professional in crafting your message to deliver the best results.
Join Phone Calling Campaigns
You can join one of the many coordinated phone campaigns sponsored by animal welfare organizations such as HSUS and PETA, or independently call companies or organizations protesting against animal cruelty and injustice. Coordinated campaigns come through emails by the organizations providing information about the particular issue. They will request that you make a short, polite phone call to your state or federal elected officials, or director or executive. They often provide the telephone numbers to the state or federal House or Senate switchboard and you only need to know the name of your elected officials. The organization will often provide you with a short script of what to say making the call easier.
Join a Boycott!
Putting consumer pressure on companies and industry is a very effective way to get their attention, change their policies, and end the needless suffering of animals. Humane Farming Association’s (HFA) National Veal Boycott brought veal production from a high of slaughtering 3.4 million calves to the current level of well under 600,000. PETA’s current campaign against KFC is asking consumers to boycott KFC for supporting extreme cruelty to chickens. You can personally boycott a brand or company, simply by refusing to buy their products or do business with them. Every time you go shopping you are essentially voting with your pocketbook, and it impacts the business’s bottom line. You can follow-up and write a letter to the company, or email and call the customer service department to let them know why you are personally boycotting the company or brand. If you want to join an organized boycott, these organizations are very active in organizing boycotts: Ethical Consumer, PETA, Companion Animals Protection Society (CAPS), and many more. Boycotts have been very effective at reducing cruelty for animals, and historically boycotts have been extremely effective in bringing about progressive social change.
Change Your Diet, Go Vegetarian or Vegan!
One of the absolute biggest impacts and most effective ways you can help the largest number of animals today is by not eating animal products and transitioning to a plant-based, whole foods vegan diet. Each day try to eat less meat, dairy and egg products. Patronize restaurants that serve vegetarian and vegan dishes. Ask restaurants you frequent to carry more plant-based dishes. By not purchasing animal products you will directly reduce the suffering, exploitation and misery of animals—everywhere. Becoming a vegetarian is a step in the right direction, but still exploits dairy cows, goats and egg-laying hens. Learn more about veganism, and try it! Go vegan!
Donate to Charity – Any Amount
Animal protection organizations need your financial support! Most animal nonprofits rely 100 percent on donations from the public. Find an organization that you want to donate to—and to be even more effective—sign up for a monthly automatic payment plan. That way they can count on your giving every month and plan their campaigns more effectively. Double the power of your donation and give during a matching gift campaign. Matching campaigns can make a significant impact for charities so they can be more effective in their work. Remember matching campaigns have campaign deadline dates.
Wear Your Advocacy Everyday
You can be an effective animal advocate everyday—wherever you go—by wearing T-shirts, pins and adding a bumper sticker to your car. A variety of animal welfare and vegan organizations offer great T-shirts and sweatshirts for sale with good graphics and powerful messages. These can be good conversation starters wherever you go, too. To be even more effective, carry literature with you so you can follow-up a good conversation with some information that the person can read later.
Start Leafleting, it’s Fun!
Leafleting is easy, can be done anywhere, and is considered a highly effective, cost-effective method of outreach. Often leaflet literature focuses on raising awareness about factory farms, inhumane conditions for farm animals, fur animals, lab animals, and/or is encouraging a vegan/vegetarian diet. Leafleting can be done alone or in groups—in any high-traffic area such as on city sidewalks, college campuses, shopping centers, at events, transit bus terminals and stations, in front of subway stations, or in front of big box stores. You can get involved with a leafleting campaign by contacting a charity organization that offers leaflets and you can order your own to distribute independently, or work with an organized group to distribute them. Nonprofits that actively leaflet all over the U.S. are Vegan Outreach, FARM-USA, Mercy for Animals and The Humane League. The Vegan Outreach “Adopt A College” website is a valuable source of information if you’re interested in leafleting colleges, which are considered a high impact target. See Vegan Outreach’s “Tips” page that provides great advice on how to be more effective with leafleting.
Pass Out Booklets, Flyers and Educate
Join an organization’s outreach efforts that are planned and scheduled several times a year. You can sign up with FARM’s Compassionate Activist Network (CAN) and Mercy For Animals outreach. You can sign up to work independently or to coordinate outreach activities in your community. You can join group opportunities scheduled every year with flexible timelines. For individuals or small groups that want to distribute materials, you can order “Compassionate Choices” and many other brochures from Vegan Outreach. Mercy For Animals (MFA) offers their “Fresh” 8-page booklets about the cruelty of factory farms and tips on switching to a plant-based diet. MFA also offers their brochure entitled, “Vegetarian Eating: Healthy, Humane, and Sustainable” that you can order online and distribute. You can also create your own animal rights flyers at Making Waves Outreach to spread the word! With every purchase, up to 75% of the proceeds are donated to various charities and animal advocacy groups. A double impact!
Volunteer for an Animal Advocacy Organization
Consider what types of animals you want to help and join a nonprofit organization that is reputable and highly effective in their efforts. Farm animal charities and organizations can make the biggest difference for animals, because they impact the largest group of animals that experience extreme cruelty. For farm animals, Charity Navigator gives the highest rankings to Mercy For Animals (MFA), The Humane League, Animal Equality International (AEI), Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM), Vegan Outreach (VO), The Humane Society of the U.S.’s Farm Animal Protection Campaign (FAPC), and the Albert Schweitzer Foundation.
Good Luck! The animals need you!
See More Great Animal Advocacy Resources!
“How To Be a More Effective Advocate,” by Mercy For Animals.
Talks about wearing the shoe on the other person’s foot, to understand where they’re coming from, in order to be a better advocate.
“Effective Advocacy: Stealing From the Corporate Playbook.” Bruce Friedrich.
In this article, Friedrich highlights several key principles that will make your activism efforts for animals far more effective and powerful. Friedrich also discusses some of the common pitfalls and mistakes we can make in advocating for animals that can hurt the cause and how to avoid them.
“The Animal Activist’s Handbook, Maximizing Our Positive Impact in Today’s World.” by Bruce Friedrich and Matt Ball. A practical guide to being the most effective advocate for animals you can be.
“Effective Advocacy: Planning For Success.” By PETA. A PDF of the principles of success for animal advocacy work.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay, at pixabay.com.