take action from home
What Are The Issues You Care About?
Writing letters is a very effective way of spreading the message about our cause. By writing to newspapers, magazines and other media, to politicians and businesses, we can educate others and influence policy and laws.
HSI has many wonderful home supporters who write letters on the issues they feel passionate about.
An easy way to get involved is to look at our Action Alerts. HSI's campaigners create these Action Alerts to help our letter writers make the most impact with their letters. Action Alerts offer background facts on the issue, a list of names and addresses of people /groups that should receive a copy of the letter and important points to cover in the letter.
GENERAL GUIDE FOR WRITING LETTERS
To make a good impression, you should type your letters, if possible. Otherwise, print legibly. If no one can read your letter, you have wasted your time writing it. Be sure to use correct grammar and spelling, and proofread your letter before mailing it. If possible, ask someone else to look it over, too.
Before writing, do your homework. Make sure you get facts and figures right, and use the library as a resource, if necessary. Do not use flowery or decorated stationery. Letters should be direct -- state your purpose early on. Don't include personal anecdotes unless you have a specific reason to do so (for example, if writing about a bill to ban 1080 and your dog has been poisoned). Keep personal grudges and name-calling out of letters -- they will destroy your credibility. Opt for a letter instead of a postcard, but by all means send a postcard rather than nothing at all.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
When writing a letter to the editor of a newspaper or magazine, be sure to follow the publication's instructions with regard to length and personal information that must be included. Newspapers often ask for a telephone number so that their staff can call to verify that you are the author of the letter before they print it. Keep letters short, generally one typed page or about 300 words. Add humour if possible and appropriate, but don't sacrifice the tone of a strong, serious letter just to add a punch line.
Letters in response to articles or other letters to the editor should be written without delay, within a day if possible. Not only is the paper more likely to print your response, but readers will remember the original item better. In rebuttals, it is best to focus on one or two points and bring them out clearly. Try to tell readers something they are not likely to be aware of, such as how eggs are produced, and, if possible, encourage them to take action (such as consuming humanely produced eggs).
Letters don't have to be rebuttals - they can express concern about any issue. You can also write to (or call) television and radio stations to protest against any animal abuse or to compliment them on a program that supports animal welfare and wildlife conservation.
LETTERS TO POLITICIANS:
Like letters to the editor, letters to politicians should be brief and to the point. Discuss only one or possibly two issues per letter. When writing to your parliamentary representative don't forget to ask him/her to raise the issue with the minister responsible. This way you inform two members of parliament at the same time.
LETTERS TO BUSINESSES:
Use your clout as a consumer by writing to companies that exploit animals, especially companies whose products you have used. Remember, there is little value in boycotting a business unless you let the manager know why you are doing this. For instance, tell cosmetics manufacturers whose products are tested on animals that you will purchase another brand of cosmetics until the company finds a more humane method of safety testing. Don't be threatening or angry in your letter; simply point out why you are protesting, and suggest alternatives, if appropriate. If a business holds a contest in which the prize is a fur coat, explain why you object to furs and ask the sponsor to offer a prize that does not represent animal exploitation, such as a trip or jewellery.
Letter writing can be an important part of animal welfare and conservation campaigning, and the more informed you are about the issues, the more convincing your letters will be.