Saturday, May 21, 2011

Be Effective, Get Political to Help Animals

Three excellent animal legislative organizations in California:  
• Social Compassion in Legislation • Animal Legal Defense Fund  PawPAC  
California's Political Action Committee for Animals

Being an effective Earth and/or animal advocate demands more time intensive activism than signing petitions. Ask yourself, "Do I really want to help animals, or just feel good because I sign petitions online?"

The video above has a similar message to a lecture given at the SolFest 2007, by a pioneer in solar energy, Rhone Resch, who was able to achieve real change by being politically effective. He explained that petitions are ignored by decision makers such as congress people and their staffs, (unless the petitions are part of a strategically timed and planned massive email campaign.) However your congressperson will pay attention to hand written letters. Just like most people, if a congressperson receives a handwritten letter, as opposed to an email, the letter will have a far greater impact. Emails are so easy to send and ignore.
Check out this article: Ineffectiveness of Online Petitions: Online petitions can be a tool to learn about issues. If you care enough to sign a petition, consider writing letters to key decision makers. 

Spread the message with letters to the editor. To find all newspaper's contact information, check out this site:

Check out Bruce Friedrich's video Effective Advocacy:

The following information is from:
Alana Stevenson  an animal behaviorist and author of: 
The Right Way the First Time, Teaching Your Dog Kindly and Humanely
To really be effective do the following:
• Check out NIFAA, the National Institute for Animal Advocacy 
Read "Get Political for Animals" available there. 

• Check out World Animal Net (WAN) Web Site 
Introduction to Animal Protection Law Resources 
This section of the WAN Web Site contains information on animal protection legislation at regional, national and international level. It includes useful references to books and resources, contacts, and links to Web Sites of interest. It was compiled primarily to assist animal protection societies seeking to play a role in the introduction or improvement of animal protection laws, or who want to utilize existing animal protection laws to further their work. Our hope is that it will provide a good overview of existing legislation, including an indication of available 'models', and point the way forward for those seeking a more in-depth analysis. 

• Go to Animal law coalition bills This site is not up to date on most bills. Go to "pending bills," click on your state, see a link to the bills and click on that, see what is going on. Read the info and find the contact person. Contact them to get involved. If a contact person is not there: look up the bill and find the sponsors (who are legislators). Call their offices and ask what you can do to help. You can meet with state legislators. You can talk to state legislators. 

• Call, fax, write, email, in that order. There are so many things lame about online petitions. There are many ways to educate and be effective. The opposition does not circulate online petitions. They meet with legislators and are in the courts. People who believe online petitions are effective are misguided. Yes, that's what I said. Get effective for animals. Learn to be more effective. Anybody who is effective, or political will tell you online petitions are useless. You can educate people and give them something effective to do. I could go on. I have. I have written articles on this. There is a reason there are few animal protection laws folks and a small group of individuals seem to rule the powers that be when it comes to animal protection and cruelty. Animal people are ineffective, they are politically lame, they're too afraid to make phone calls or do their homework and the organizations make 100's of millions/year and pass little to zero laws. Enough is said. You can figure it out on your own if you want help. Sources are out there. Learn to be more effective. There are ways. Many ways. There are ways to change things for animals, not by signing online petitions. make a phone call. 

• Stop just mingling and converting the converted. Do your homework. Find a CEO. Find the headquarters. Find the right people to contact. Have people make phone calls and do more. Start by reading and do a little thinking. It is not a matter of 'agree' or 'disagree'…it' s a fact. Petitions are ineffective unless there is a coordinated campaign and it's 'extra' because somebody or a few people are doing the 'effective' stuff. Ask anybody in politics. Ask any big business. People in corporations, who abuse animals, in business, in governments could give a fig that people online are saying they don't like such and such policy. The animal people and animal movement has more people and they are by far the least effective out of the bunch… there' s a reason. But somehow people are attached to being ineffective. So they will keep signing and circulating online petitions, floating around to nowhere, not helping animals. Meanwhile down the street there is a city or court hearing on an animal issue or hunting issue that all the opposition/ breeders, hunters/circus trainers are attending and where are the animal people creating policy. A lot of policies are open to the public to decide on…animal people seldom attend. They don't know how. Most petitions do not have contact people or emails. And I would say, don't even bother with petition. 

• Look up the contact people, that is what google is for. Look up CEO's, Managers, Corporate Headquarters etc. Find the fax, phone numbers of the relevant people and then call, then FAX and write. And there has to be an 'action.' A petition to 'China' to stop eating cats is not at all effective. I have seen petitions that are over 10 years old circulating (prime ministers long obsolete). I have emailed creators of petitions (anyone can 'create' one) to ask when is this petition going to be delivered and who is going to deliver it…there is no answer. I have seen 'action' form letters to ban youtube videos on animal cruelty being sent to the president and address of MA. Representatives? Literally? My state representative has absolutely no say what goes on on youtube. I emailed the woman and asked why is she telling people to do this (which makes animal people really look like idiots) We are trying to pass a MA animal protection bill and need to be intelligent to legislators. And she emailed back…she didn't know what to do, so she thought she'd do 'something.' I immediately looked up the CEO's and corporate heads as well as publicity agents etc. for youtube and their headquarters. Found emails, phone numbers and faxes. And that's who the 'campaign' should have targeted. 

• There needs to be 'target' of action with sound bites (you need this with bills too): points to make, and there needs to be a course of action: "If such and such does or does not happen…this will happen" or "Please implement or enact this policy and add a formal statement advocating such" 

• People, including those you campaign against need to know what to do or what you will do (Endless phone calls, name smearing (you don't have to 'tell them'). So many different courses of action depending on the issue. 

• And large organizations send out petitions to gain more members and monetary donations. It's that simple. A way to pretend action is being done. The 'petition' is not doing the action, nor are 'electronic' signatures that are benign, least of all 'threatening,' it's people working in the trenches, meeting with lobbyists and legislators, and picking up the phone. If 1000 people, instead of signing their name, called 'x' individuals, their phones would be tied up.


wolfiesmom1 said...

Excellent post Nan!

Art Bock said...

Here is an example of a bad petition a woman in Oregon wants to "Boycott California products and tourism in Memory of Piglet the puppy"

She is assuming there is nothing of value in California, home to the Animal Legal Defense Fund and many animal activists, like me.

Nan Sea Love said...

Thank you wolfiesmom.

Yes Art this is just one of many well meaning but not well thought out petitions that take activists time to sign and share but are not the best use of our time.

When i first became active online, i rushed home early from a Ⓥegan potluck put on by to keep my promise to sign 91 petitions that day. It would have been a wiser use of my time to stay at the potluck to meet many allies face to face and make valuable connections.♥