Jan 19 01

Writing for Change

Let’s talk about another form of animal rights advocacy in which I see other dedicated activists participating. It is an important advocacy that I admire, but an advocacy that is just not in my wheelhouse – YET! It is an armchair advocacy that can be highly effective. At the very least, it lets people know that we are here to stay, that we are not lurking in corners eating granola and murky, sludgy plant stews. We are not spending all of our time on Facebook  and other social media creating memes about animal cruelty and animal loving alike, while bashing other vegans for being “veganish” because they have a view that differs from ours. We believe implicitly in what we do and many of us are prepared to march to the front lines of companies, governmental agencies, associations and mainstream media to ask the tough questions and respectfully demand changes – for our friends, the animals!!!

So, you guessed it! The advocacy of which I speak is that of accountability. Every time we see a wrong, an injustice to animals we need to first ask the perpetrators for clarification, then, if required boycott  said perpetrators. We write to them, we inform them that we are indeed boycotting and explain why we are doing so. We then ask them to put a stop to their continued and ongoing practices which harm other species.

This is a pretty tall order-the “every time we see a wrong”  bit!!!! And this is why I have not yet delved much into this practice. At the moment, it is a time issue for me. This is not a justification for my lack of e-mail and letter writing, but merely the truth. It is something that I am working to change. But, in the meantime, I have met wonderful passionate people who fill the void and do advocate in this manner.

One such person is Susan Griffiths who, like me, is new to veganism. The newness of living this truth is in no way reflective of her passion, her commitment and her honesty in her endeavors. She conducts herself as if she has been at this for years. For this reason  I extend to her my gratitude and respect.

I asked Susan if she would be willing to share her perspective on the subject of holding people, agencies and organizations accountable. She has graciously agreed to do so!  So, as I always say, without further ado……Here is Susan, answering the question,

Why is it important for animal activists to send letters and emails to decision makers?

Susan Griffiths

Susan Griffiths

“People and companies behave differently when they know they are being observed. It gets their attention. Sending an email or a letter, to a particular person, in a specific office, does this.

The person to whom we direct our queries  requests and comments needs to be the right one of course, the one with whom the buck stops,  at least for that moment. The questions we ask must be clear and answerable. The request or demand must be reasonable, explicit and ‘doable’. This delivers the card of accountability to our target. From now on, any response or decision they take (tacit included) needs to stand up to public scrutiny – and the recipient of the communication will know this. Now we most certainly have their attention!

Communicating directly with companies, governmental agencies, associations and the like is an important advocacy for animal activists. By so doing we deliver a message, not just to the specific target and the public to whom they are accountable, but also to those who are the decision makers, the bosses as it were. It gives us the opportunity to inform and to persuade. Inch by inch….. The thin edge of the wedge and all that … making a difference….!

Decision makers need vision and reassurance. Our communications will be ‘challenging’ to the recipient. Provided the request or demand is reasonable and doable, then it is possible to persuade this person to act, to move, to make that decision or to present it to someone who has the authority to do so. Presumably they will list the benefits of making this decision, as well as take note of the lost opportunity if they do not make changes. They may research and outline which other organizations are moving in this direction and whether or not they would make good allies or partners.

Our personal emails or letters are not sent in a vacuum. This is an essential strategy that can help end the animal holocaust. There are others like you and like me. Every single email and letter, so sent, helps persuade and mobilize allies, of whom we have great need. To defend against speciesism and to secure the equal rights and liberation of all animals, we face an enormous front. Let’s use our collective voice to defend the voiceless – your email or that letter you post, matters – it matters a lot.”   _____Susan Griffiths

 

Clarion Hotel Tyholmen

Clarion Hotel Tyholmen

Allow me to add a caveat. Phone calls, e-mails and letters of congratulation sent to companies and the like who look for and implement positive change are also life affirming and important  to our cause. Here is a for instance. Nordic Choice Hotels in Scandinavia is in the trials phase of  removing from their menu bacon, sausage and some other animal based products  They are making this move in light of the recent WHO report which states that highly processed animal products are “carcinogenic to humans”. Yes, the revised hotel menu is a trial and yes they are not talking about the rights of animals, and yes, veganism is the goal,  but they are making changes, changes which have the potential to open hearts and minds. Exposure is key to raising awareness.

Annie’s Vegan View

Being vegan and campaigning for the freedom of all species is a many pronged effort on the part of  devoted,  passionate and compassionate individuals.

These efforts, though varying and different, merge together and we become a united voice as we stand in alliance with and for the animals.

May all beings be happy and free.

Anne
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14 thoughts on “Holding non vegan organizations accountable by sending them e-mails and letters.

  • November 25, 2015 at 5:15 pm
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    I sign a lot of online petitions that seem to make a difference, but haven’t had much luck with emailing corporations asking for accountability. I have a big beef with plastic and have emailed my expensive do-gooders pet food company, Halo, (and they do donate A LOT of food to shelters) about why I can’t buy pet food in bags that are recyclable and no response. I know there’s more spoilage with paper. I went to Purina’s website and they explain that the plastic they use is highly recyclable, can be turned into just about anything, but if no one takes it, it’s not recyclable. Same results with my expensive organic grocery store, Jimbo’s. No response about all the plastic packaging. I think companies that are geared toward organics and giving back to the community have a bigger responsibility. Don’t get me started on Starbucks and McDonald’s and all the plastic they put into the environment with no accountability. I hear a lot of talk about how biodegradable plastic is bad for the environment but I never hear anything about corporations reducing their plastic footprint. I’ve tried making my own pet food, with mixed results. They like the stuff in the plastic bag better than my own. Maybe I need to keep trying and if they get hungry enough they’ll eat! Happy Thanksliving to everyone in the vegan community!!!

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    • November 26, 2015 at 5:51 pm
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      Hi Ellen,

      Good to hear from you. This must be very frustrating to write a company and not even hear back. And the plastic is a huge issue. One use cups and so forth are a blight on this earth. I must admit to using them sometimes if I pick up prepackaged plant based food at one of my favorite haunts. I will, however wash the container out and reuse if possible.
      Making plant based cat food for my cats is on my list of things to do. For the sake of transparency I will say that our cats eat standard cat food made from animal by products. I have not found an acceptable solution for this considering that there is so much info out there about cats being obligate carnivores. It is is my mind to make their food and add taurine, which I understand is the required element. but I have not done so, yet. But this is one place where I feel obliged to break my rule about not using animal products in any form. Sigh!!!
      I think the idea behind requiring accountability from organizations is that if we keep sending in letters and e-mails and if more people start to do it, they will have to at least consider our assertions.
      There is no easy answer, but I do believe that public pressure can make a difference.
      Take care, Anne

      Reply
  • November 25, 2015 at 6:42 pm
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    Yep, personal letters and emails are a great way to advocate. And perhaps even more effective than online petitions. Haven’t done too much of this of late, but my last email was to the ED of our local thrift store (where I’ve pretty much gotten all of my stock for my Etsy shop) informing them I would no longer be one of their regular customers. Why? They decided to have a whole pig roast as part of their entertainment for kids and adults at their 50th anniversary celebration. You can imagine the contents of my email. 😉

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    • November 25, 2015 at 6:44 pm
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      Oh, forgot to add, holding vegan organizations accountable once in a while also wouldn’t hurt. 🙂

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      • November 26, 2015 at 6:06 pm
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        Hi Friend,
        I agree with you!!
        Take care,
        Anne

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    • November 26, 2015 at 11:42 am
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      WOW! I know how huge it is that you did that! Awesome, HGV!!!!! (insert clapping emotocon here).

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      • November 26, 2015 at 5:56 pm
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        Hi Krissa and friend,
        I am also clapping!!

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    • November 26, 2015 at 5:55 pm
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      Hi Friend,
      Good for you for sending the e-mail. Even if they do not change their cruel practices, at least your objection is noted. And they will most certainly miss your business. Pig roasts disgust me. I do approach animal shelters who hold fundraisers which feature other animals who have been BBQ’d, fricasseed and the like. It is unconscionable to allow shelters to continue to do so with impunity.
      Take care,
      Anne

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      • December 1, 2015 at 5:19 pm
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        Yep, and a lot of the volunteers there know me too. Even if not by name, they’ll see that my clunky ’73 Raleigh with the bold red bike panniers (hard to miss!) hasn’t been in their parking lot for months now.

        Sadly, pig roasts are quite popular with churches in my town too. Plus, my Christian brother and SIL still attend an annual family pig roast, which annoys me to no end. They know how I feel about that as well! 🙁

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        • December 3, 2015 at 8:17 am
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          Hi Friend,
          73 Raleigh-Wow! This name sounds familiar to me. I think my parents had a Raleigh at one point.
          I know for sure that I would never attend a fundraiser that has animals on the menu, beside the fact that, in general, I do not like to attend fundraisers. Most of the ones I have attended are way too high brow for me.
          Take care,
          Anne

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  • November 26, 2015 at 11:40 am
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    Great post! “Allow me to add a caveat. Phone calls, e-mails and letters of congratulation sent to companies and the like who look for and implement positive change…” – thanks for pointing this out, this is something I started doing a long time ago. I don’t know how many petitions and e-letters I sign and write a year, but it’s a lot and there are plenty of times I do hear back about the results and a long time ago I began to write the companies involved to say thanks. Once in a while, there’s a pre-set “form” for this, but very rarely. So I make sure to look up and write a thank you to whoever it may be that deserves it. That is very important, I think and it’s super that you pointed it out. And I do look up companies when I read about them online, but aren’t directed to them through a specific campaign to point out the wrong I read about. …. One thing I know for sure, any thing any of us does no matter how “big” or “small” to help our fellow beings, is huge. If they could somehow know about things like letters – if say, a pig on a factory farm; a cow on its way to slaughter; a dog in a research lab… even if it didn’t save them, didn’t end their pain….from what I know about our fellow animals, it would still mean so much to them that someone cared and did *something*. They have as much of an inner life and psychological recognition and cognition as we do and so if they could know about any thing we do, yes, I do know that it would give them at least a tiny bit of peace even if it doesn’t stop their immediate physical suffering. We need more, but there are at least those of us doing things big and small that hopefully we’ll somehow make a permanent difference in this terrible world our kind have forced on others and finally succeed in stopping the harm ‘we’ do to other animals.

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    • November 26, 2015 at 6:04 pm
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      Hi Krissa,
      Thanks! I am glad that you enjoyed my post. I believe that we must always give credit where credit is due. It is important to let organizations know that their efforts are duly noted and appreciated.
      i think that when more of us start protesting cruel deeds in this manner, companies and governments and organizations will have to address these issues if they want to maintain their business and credibility. The vegan movement is growing and we are not going away anytime soon.
      It is interesting that you mention the animals who suffer. Even if they may not know how we advocate for them, it is important to acknowledge their time on the earth and show through our actions that we care deeply about them and their suffering. this is why it is important for me personally to attend vigils at slaughterhouses-to bear witness and to acknowledge the animals who are senselessly going to their death after cruelty filled life.
      take care,
      Anne

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      • November 27, 2015 at 12:27 pm
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        This is interesting timing… I just now finally watched your friend and left a comment on the older post when you were on Facebook at the vigil a few weeks ago for the chickens. I seriously have to commend you guys that you keep your cool and speak clear and strong…. I do very well on paper when I write letters and sign petitions. I’m even (not with design, but with respect) culturally respectful when I write. In person…the best I did was when I shared the photos with you from months back when I was at the anti-slaughterhouse worldwide march/demo. In day to day life… I don’t do so well in holding back. I’ve never been at the doors of a slaughterhouse, much less at a vigil like you’ve been to. The closest I came have been the demo/marches I’ve been to and I ended up screaming at someone in one of those…and have cursed people out in person when I come upon them tormenting dogs tied outside stores here and cats, birds…. So I sincerely commend you and your friends for using a strong, clear voice in the hardest of circumstances. That is so needed…and maybe someday I can do the same. Thank you for what you do.

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        • December 3, 2015 at 8:23 am
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          Hey Krissa,
          Thank you for your support. I agree that it is tough to hold back! I have so much that I want to say and I don’t always feel like being polite about it. But I do feel, that at the end of the day, a cool headed but firm approach has a chance of winning the day. This does not mean that we should be wishy washy about speaking the truth. It needs to be said.
          I always feel that I sound dumb when I speak in front of people or even carry on a conversation one on one or in a group. the words flow much better when I write. It is something on which I am working.
          No question that people need to be stopped when we encounter them abusing or neglecting an animal. I imagine that this could be an in your face encounter for most people. It is not easy to disabuse people of cruel notions and to get them stop immediately.
          Take care, Anne

          Reply

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