Renowned anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Individuals have certainly made a world of difference for animals. The vision, courage, and tenacity of those devoted to ending cruelty toward animals have led to dramatic changes in the way society views other sentient beings. True, we have a long way to go to halt the relentless persecution animals have, and continue, to face.
But the gains wildlife advocates have made are by no means inconsequential. Many states have banned barbaric hunting methods, such as hounding and baiting. Communities are moving away from lethal controls of species like cougars and bears to cope with conflicts and instead employing preventative, humane measures to avoid encounters with wild animals. Some species, such as wolves and grizzly bears, have been afforded federal and state protections, ultimately rescuing them from extinction. Animal advocates have exposed the utter cruelty of the fur industry, making fur no longer fashionable. And society in general is developing a better understanding of the importance wildlife such as top and mid-level carnivores play in maintaining ecosystem health. These momentous changes in public policy and attitudes would not have been possible without the efforts of thoughtful, committed activists.
Whether you write letters to lawmakers to express your concern about wildlife, alert your community about wildlife suffering, or protest a government action that targets wildlife, know that your voice makes a difference.
BIG WILDLIFE'S GUIDE TO TAKING ACTION
Both seasoned and novice activists ask Big Wildlife how they can get more involved in protecting wildlife. To help strengthen our collective efforts, Big Wildlife offers our “Guide to Taking Action” below. Our guide gives you and others the tools to become more effective at lobbying decision makers, writing a letter to your local newspaper, working with media, broadening your base of support, and mobilizing others. We hope these tools will empower and inspire your work for wildlife.
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How to lobby lawmakers
How to engage media (writing letters to the editor)
How to engage media (influencing the editorial page)
How to organize and do outreach (phone trees)
How to organize and do outreach (electronic communication)
How to organize and do outreach (broadening your base)
AUDIO-VISUAL TOOLS AVAILABLE
Big Wildlife has produced a series of provocative and inspiring powerpoint presentations that offer campaign strategies for saving wildlife and highlight the threats facing wild animals. To request a copy of our powerpoint presentations, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Our presentations include:
"Effective Strategies for Saving Wildlife"
"Bad News for Bears: Life Becoming Unbearable for Bears Around the World"
"Wildlife Services' War On Wildlife"
"Government's Poisonous Policies Toward Wildlife"
SIMPLE PERSONAL STEPS YOU CAN TAKE TO HELP ANIMALS
Go vegan. Most government lethal control programs that target large predators are implemented to mollify industrial ranching and farming interests. Going vegan means you're not contributing to those special interests that promote killing of wildlife. For more information on going vegan click here.
Don't buy fur. Trapping animals with leghold traps, conibear traps, or leg or neck snares - all used to catch animals for the fur trade - is a barbaric business. Other animals killed for fur are raised in captivity in incredibly horrific conditions on "fur farms."
Prevent conflicts with wildlife. If you live in bear, cougar, wolf, or coyote country secure your garbage properly and take companion animals and their food in at night. Avoid hiking at dusk or dawn. Keep your dogs on leash when walking in areas with wildlife. Taking simple precautions can help avoid conflicts with animals, protecting you, your family, and wildlife.
Change the language you use about wildlife. Avoid using words like "manage," "cull," "harvest," "game species," and "resource" in reference to wildlife. Such words are often used by government officials, trophy hunters, the fur industry, agribusiness, and other interests to desensitize the public to the brutal reality of lethal control programs, trapping, snaring, and trophy hunting.
SOME WORDS ABOUT DIRECT ACTION AS A TACTIC
Direct action has a proud and noble history. Using direct action, Nelson Mandela, one of the world's most revered statesmen, led the struggle to replace the apartheid regime of South Africa with a multi-racial democracy. During the early to mid 1800s, the Underground Railroad - a network of secret routes and safe houses - helped shuttle slaves to freedom. On April 19, 1943, the Warsaw ghetto uprising began after German troops and police entered the ghetto to deport its surviving inhabitants. Seven hundred and fifty fighters fought the heavily armed and well-trained Germans. The ghetto fighters were able to hold out for nearly a month. The great civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr., employed direct action to promote justice and equality for African Americans. Dr. King famously said, "The purpose of...direct action is to create a situation that is so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation." Today, groups like the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society are putting their bodies in front of Japanese whaling ships to stop the illegal killing of whales in Antarctica. The animal rights organization, Compassion Over Killing, conducts "open rescues" at factory farms to help animals in pain and suffering, while documenting the deplorable conditions where they were held. All are examples of direct action. And all are symbols of great courage and conviction.
While Big Wildlife is a policy-oriented organization and does not engage in direct action, we applaud those brave individuals who lay their lives and freedom on the line for the animals. We understand that traditional campaign tactics sometimes fail the animals and that more creative measures, done strategically and with compassion, may be necessary. For more information on direct action, we encourage you to visit the sites below (Disclaimer: The links in the directory below do not necessarily reflect the views of Big Wildlife, its affiliations, or its staff. By providing these links we are neither encouraging nor discouraging individuals from participating in direct action.):
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Compassion Over Killing
Buffalo Field Campaign
The Animals Voice