Running an effective animal rights group doesn’t have to be tricky, and it certainly shouldn’t be boring. The key to running an effective group is staying in the public eye. How do you do that? By never allowing your group to become predictable or fall into comfortable habits, such as always targeting the same restaurant. If your group only does one monthly protest or the same annual vegan bake sale, take a look at PETA’s list of exciting actions that your group can take in order to stay edgy and interesting and remain effective advocates for animals.
- Start a letter-writing campaign: Getting your group together and sending letters is a great way to speak out for animals. We recommend writing letters to local legislators asking them to support or strengthen laws that protect animals, to news editors asking them to cover animal rights issues, and to local business owners asking them to make kind choices for animals. Is there a restaurant serving foie gras or shark-fin soup in your town? Start a letter-writing campaign, and be sure to inform the business owners that you’ll also be bringing this issue to the attention of the media. (Note: Only say that last part if it’s true!)
- Speak with local legislators: It’s easier than you would think to request meetings with local legislators or to speak at city council meetings. Start setting up meetings for your group’s members and ask for laws to be passed that will protect animals. Activists have had great success getting legislation passed that prevents the use of bullhooks (inhumane devices used on animals in the circus) as well as anti-chaining legislation to protect dogs.
- Give presentations about animal rights: Consider every venue that you have available to your group, and try to do a presentation about animal rights at one of them. Perhaps a member is active in a local church congregation or someone has a relative in a nursing home. These are both great places to give a small presentation or talk about animal rights to a group of interested people—just remember to tailor the presentation to your audience. This is also a great way to get new members! Contact PETA’s Action Team, and we can send you free literature to give out. We even have PowerPoint presentations about animal rights issues that you can use!
- Host a table at a local event: No public venue is too small for your group to set up an animal rights table. Some of the best tabling opportunities are at farmer’s markets and small street fairs. Take a look at your local calendar and see what’s coming up. Generally, a quick e-mail or phone call to the event’s planner is all it takes to get permission! Contact PETA’s Action Team, and we’ll send you free materials to use at your table.
- Organize fundraising events: Vegan bake sales, car washes, bowl-a-thons … pretty much anything that ends in “a-thons” is a great way to increase your group’s presence in the community, provide your campaigns with some much-needed funds, and raise awareness of animal rights issues.
- Use online social media campaigns: Pretty much every business has a Facebook page. Use that as an opportunity to create change! Have all your members start publicly requesting vegan options to be added to menus or demanding that stores stop selling fur or angora. Check out PETA’s YouTube for videos that can be shared on companies’ pages.
- Contact schools about dissection alternatives: Did you know that PETA has a program that gives free dissection alternatives to schools? Well, we do, but the schools need to ask for the alternatives. Your group can contact the principals of local schools and request that they provide dissection alternatives, and we’ll be happy to send them free alternatives that they can use in their curriculum.
- Have a monthly group leafleting session: You don’t have to plan a full protest in order to distribute materials about animal rights issues. Your group can get together for short leafleting sessions in busy parts of town. Try getting together to pass out leaflets for an hour at a time at least once a month. If it’s legal in your town, you can also leave leaflets on cars in busy areas.
- Movie screenings: Movie screenings are a fun way to get more people interested in your group and your mission. Set up a free public screening at a local theater, or show a film for free at a park. If you want to do a smaller event, then do a viewing party at one of your members’ homes and invite friends to join you. Need some inspiration? Check out PETA’s list of movies with animal rights messages—you can hold a discussion after the movie.
- Volunteer to read to kids: Many libraries, daycare programs, and preschools need volunteers to read to children. Consider volunteering and reading books with animal rights messages.
- Ask local news stations to run fun segments to help animals: It’s always great to ask your local news stations to cover animal rights issues such as recent undercover investigations or circus issues. However, you can also ask for fun and positive stories that help animals, such as a cooking segment about vegan food or a weekly spotlight about shelter animals who are in need of loving homes.
- Talk to the local school board: School districts are usually open to discussing the food choices that are offered to students. Your group can set up a meeting and request that healthy vegan options be added for students.
- Keep animals out of museums: Ask your local art museums and galleries to adopt policies against the exhibition of any live animals. Animals belong in museums only when they’re painted on the canvases, not when they’re alive.
- Get rid of Lobster Zone machines: Inhumane arcade “games” that contain live lobsters and allow people to torment and capture them using metal claws don’t belong in your city! If you know of a restaurant or bar that has a Lobster Zone machine, you can use PETA’s 10-step guide to getting it removed.
- Ask schools to support only animal-free entertainment: Contact schools in your area and ask them not to visit zoos on field trips, host petting zoos on school grounds, or plan a “donkey basketball” game.
If you’re looking for more ideas, e-mail us at [email protected]. We’d be happy to help!
Inspired to help animals?