Becoming an effective animal rights activist is easier said than done. The journey is often filled with tribulations and obstacles both from people who may not share such views and governments that view activism as something short of rebellion. While fighting for the rights of animals is a very noble cause, it requires not only passion and commitment to be effective. One has to know how to play it in a nice way, too. Here are 10 suggestions you may want to try if you want to become an effective animal rights activist.
Always Lead by Example
It is so easy to say that you should lead by example. Unfortunately, carrying this out day in and day out can be very challenging. There are many obstacles along the way. Your own family may not share your opinions. Your friends may distance themselves from you. However, everything starts with a clear understanding of what animal rights activism is all about. For many, they equate this with veganism. However, it is not the only thing that will make one an animal rights activist. It is a lifestyle and it requires a conscious effort for it to be effective.
Leading by example often translates to doing what you profess. If you are advocating for the rights of animals to live and not to thrive in spiteful conditions, then you should practice it. If you have pets, then it is important to care for them to the utmost of your abilities.
Your language matters, too. We all have the tendency to call a spiteful person “swine”, “ape”, or “bitch”. But these terms all relate to the very same animals that we are trying to protect. Hence, being a role model means living and breathing the very same principles that you believe in.
Get Comfortable Sharing Your Story about Your Transition into Veganism
Most folks do not understand the reasons why people turn to veganism. All they know is that vegans “hate” animal products or that they are averse to animal proteins and fats. There are many misconceptions about veganism that many people have. As such, when somebody learns that you are a vegan, then you must also prepare to share your story with them. More importantly, you should be comfortable about it.
The point here is that you should be prepared for rebutting many of their misconceptions. To do that, it is best to share your “own” side of the story and not from the viewpoint of a vegan that you know. This way, people will understand where you’re coming from. They will also appreciate that you are being you.
It is always best to start with a very clear sentence about why you became a vegan. This summarizes your journey. If they want to learn more, then they will ask questions. Take this as a golden opportunity to share your ideas about animal rights and how veganism can help.
Start a Blog about Animal Rights, Animal Welfare, and Veganism
First-time advocates of animal rights may not yet be ready to go out in public and join rallies and other protest actions. They may not be ready to answer many of the questions that people may have about their core beliefs. There can be a thousand and one reasons why an animal rights activist may not want to engage the public in a more “physical” manner. If you’re this type of individual, then doing a blog about animal rights, veganism, and animal welfare can be a great alternative.
There are many advantages to taking your ideals online. Millions of people use the internet to surf, learn, and be entertained. Joining a local protest will not get you the audience that you need. Of course, there will be people who may listen to your arguments, but most will dismiss it as nothing more than a nuisance.
Writing a blog opens up the door for other vegans and animal rights advocates all over the world. You can employ your persuasive powers in your writing technique to win people over to your cause. This is a more proactive, more effective, and more approachable way to advancing animal rights.
Create an Educational Video for Posting on Video Sharing Platforms
Did you know that you can post your very own videos on YouTube and other similar video sharing platforms? If you have already started a blog about inhumane animal welfare practices, then you may want to support that with more interesting and more educational video content. It is one thing to read a blog; it is another to watch an educational and informative video about the subject.
In case you are wondering why you should use YouTube, here are some facts for you. More than 1.3 billion people using Google’s video streaming platform. Every minute, a total of 300 hours of video get uploaded to the platform. Every day, people get to watch more than 5 billion videos. Every day, the platform receives more than 30 million viewers.
With all these figures, it should be very easy to see why creating and uploading an educational video will work to your advantage. You may not get the number of followers that you want the first time you upload a video. With perseverance, you will gain a good number of followers who will also share your passion about advancing the rights of animals.
Make Your Own Podcast and Invite Inspiring Vegans to Your Show
Podcasts may not be as popular as video sharing sites like YouTube but they have a strong community of followers. As of 2018, there are more than half a million active podcasts, more than half of which were aired on the iOS platform. A third of Americans listen to podcasts at least once a month.
Hosting a podcast is like hosting a radio show. You see, there are still a lot of people who value listening to radio broadcasts. The only difference here is that they will use their iOS devices to run a podcast app or iTunes. There are also podcasting apps for Android devices. People who have these apps are intent on listening to what you have to say.
Inviting inspiring vegans and animal rights advocates to your show will provide listeners with invaluable insights on your beliefs. Many vegans have incredible stories that they can share with your listeners. The topic can be about almost anything, too. For instance, you may want to appeal to businesses that you want to incorporate veganism in their operations. Hence, inviting a vegan business owner might be a good idea.
Build a Community of Animal Rights Advocates in Your City
So far, we have been talking about engaging in animal rights activities that can span the globe. Let us now focus on the local community scene. The first thing you can do is to establish a community of animal rights advocates in your city. If you have started a blog and showed diligence in updating its content, you should have followers by now. The same is true with your YouTube and podcast channels. There is a good chance that some of your followers are also within your city.
Reach out to them and forward the idea of creating and establishing an animal rights group in your community. You can meet and lay down the foundations for your group. It should include a vision statement and your group’s mission. Try to be as objective and realistic as possible in your statements. It is nice to have an “ideal” situation, but we all know the real world doesn’t allow for “ideal”.
If there is already a group of animal rights advocates in your city, try to find out more about them. Determine if they share your own views or if you are amenable to their activities. Keep in mind that different groups have different ways of carrying out their objectives.
Be Mindful Not to Duplicate Others’ Works
There are animal rights groups within a particular area that duplicate the works of others. This practice is also evident in some individuals who vow to be champions of animal welfare. If such is the case, then it is a lot better to join forces with them to make your work more meaningful. Otherwise, it is best to focus on things that other animal welfare activists are not covering.
For example, you may already have hundreds of vegan blogs and animal rights feeds talking about the same thing. There can also be different animal sanctuaries within a certain community providing the same services.
What we would like to emphasize here is for you to address other issues that other activists have not addressed yet. This way, you can cover more aspects of animal welfare advocacy than when you duplicate the work of others.
Encourage Restaurants to Offer One or Two Vegan Dishes in their Menu
If you consider yourself a magician in the kitchen, then maybe you can come up with a unique vegan recipe that local restaurants will love to put on their menu. It is a long shot but there are individuals who have been successful this way.
Building relationships with restaurant owners should be your first objective. You cannot go straight into a restaurant, talk to the manager, and shove your new animal-free recipe into their menu. It does not work that way. The best way to go about this is by building a mutually beneficial relationship with them. Start with the owner and then the manager.
Concoct your own vegetarian recipe and invite them to try it. You do not have to tell them the secret ingredients yet. Find out what they like about the dish and if they want something changed. If they say they love your dish, that’s your cue. You can start with one item on their menu.
Assist Vegan Restaurants in Flourishing
If there are already vegan restaurants in your community, assist them by writing blogs about their menus. Use your newfound knowledge about YouTube and podcast content to spread the word about the wonderful animal-free dishes that they have.
You can use your social media accounts to help in spreading the word, too. From Facebook to Twitter and Instagram, among others, there are plenty of online platforms you can use to help advertise the restaurant’s products.
It is obvious that you will be doing the marketing for them. Do not expect to get paid. You are doing this because you believe that these vegan businesses can help advance your dream of an animal cruelty-free and animal rights-loving world.
Be Serious about Being an Animal Rights Activist But Do Not be Offensive
Animal rights activism is not that different from winning the love of your life. The whole idea is to get others to share in your beliefs. It would be difficult to sway public opinion if you turn to violent means. We understand what others are saying about engaging in protest actions and creating a noise barrage as well as other “actions”. However, we also believe that we live in a society where everyone has the right to choose whatever he or she wants to believe in.
You can never win another person’s approval if you resort to violence or if your actions are somewhat too offensive. It is okay to protest so long as you also do not hurt other people who may not share your views. For example, there are protesters who use fat shaming and sexism in their activities. How do you expect other people to respect your beliefs if you cannot show respect to others?
It is one thing to be serious about being an animal rights activist. It means you champion the rights of animals. However, it is a different matter to attack the views of other people. So, if you want to be an effective animal rights activist, make sure you’re not hurting anyone else.
There are many ways in which you can become an effective animal rights activist. While some may espouse taking to the streets and disrupting the lives of others, there are more peaceful and equally-effective ways to promote the growth of the animal rights movement.