How to Start an Animal Rights Group in 5 Steps

Want to take action for animals? Well, you’re not alone—and teaming up with like-minded people can make your hard work much more impactful.

First things first: Check online for existing animal rights groups nearby. There could be a meeting going on in your own backyard that you’re missing out on. Oh, the FOMO! But if such a group doesn’t already exist, it’s time to start your own. There’s strength in numbers, and forming a local group is one of the most effective ways to optimize your efforts for animals. And it’s easier than you might think.

Keep reading to learn exactly how to join up with others and become a force to be reckoned with.

If you’re a student, check out PETA’s guides to starting an animal rights club in middle school or high school or in college.

1. Determine your cause, and decide on a name.

Foie Gras DemoSo what exactly is a group? It’s just two or more people. You + me = group. Don’t get caught up trying to create a massive coalition right off the bat. If you meet another activist at a circus protest, perfect—ending the use of animals in entertainment is your mission. Do you and a friend love getting together to cook vegan meals? Great! Your cause can be sparing animals slaughter by informing others about healthy and delicious vegan food. You get the idea.

After you decide which issue or issues you want to work on, you’ll need a name that reflects your cause and makes people remember you. And voilà—you are now the proud cofounder of a kickass animal rights group.

2. Get informed.

Sad chained elephant

Now that you have a group, cause, and name, it’s time to become an expert in your field. For example, familiarizing yourself with the laws regarding animals used for food, with methods used to kill animals in the fur trade, or with the number of times UniverSoul Circus has violated the federal Animal Welfare Act will ensure that your group is credible and your work is meaningful.

3. Meet up and mobilize. your first meeting to discuss your strategies for spreading your message, gaining new members, and planning your course of action. At this meeting, you should decide who’ll be responsible for what, come up with measurable goals, and create a schedule. Remember to be open to new ideas and encourage your members to be vocal.

There are a lot of ways to get active, so be sure to define your approach—which can always evolve over time (as your group surely will, too).

Consider the goals of your group. Is your main focus raising money for existing, established charities? Do you want to get animal-friendly laws passed in your city? Are you interested in doing outreach to shift public attitudes? Want to take down a certain animal-exploiting business? Your tactics will depend on your goals. Here are just a few ideas to consider:

And there are many more ideas where these came from! How much time do you have? Check these out:

4. Get loud on social media.

This is the age of information—we have the internet. Use this mega-powerful tool to reach a large number of people with your message. Whether you share a graphic exposé of animal abuse documented on a fur farm or a hilarious video outlining the hypocrisy of a nonvegan “environmentalist,” sharing your message on social media is a great way to be sure a lot of people see it.Use an outlet like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or Meetup to start a page and reach more people. These sites are also great for planning meetings, promoting events, and spreading the word to others interested in joining your cause.

5. Get in touch with PETA.

PETA can provide you with free leaflets, stickers, vegan starter kits, posters, and other materials that will help you spread information. Be sure to drop us a line at [email protected] to request literature for your next animal rights event—or you can order a free activist starter pack. Remember to have fun and stay positive! Even if you and other group members disagree during meetings, you’re all there for the same reason: because you care about animals and want to end their suffering. And we at PETA would love to help you.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind