An animal activists' handbook
4. producing LEAFLETS AND POSTERS
The most important part of campaigning is spreading information and the most effective way to do this is through the distribution of leaflets. Many of the groups listed in the Resources section will supply a variety of leaflets free or cheaply priced, but if you want to promote your group and its activities or you run a local campaign against a particular establishment, you will need to produce your own. In order to put the message across effectively, your leaflets need to be eye-catching and readable. This chapter advises how to produce such leaflets on a low budget and we have provided some examples.
In order to put your message across effectively, you need to make sure that your leaflet is concise, but that it contains enough information to win the public over to your argument.
Several of you should have a brainstorming session in which you list all the important points which your leaflet will cover. Imagine that one of you is a curious member of the public who feels concerned about animals but really hasn't got a clue why anyone should want to protest against the trade or establishment in question. Just write down anything which comes into your head, as in the following example of a campaign against a small zoo.
- What types of animals does the zoo have?
- What conditions are they kept in?
- Give some examples of animals which are kept in particularly cruel conditions and the effects these conditions are having on their mental and physical health.
- Deal with the 'conservation' argument.
- Point out that zoos are not educational for children.
- Appeal to people not to visit the zoo.
- Explain what will happen to the animals if the zoo closes.
- Explain what else people can do to help stop the cruelty.
Then turn what you have written into a brief 'essay', which makes it clear why your group strongly objects to the zoo and wants it to close and that such zoos only exist because people pay their admission to go in.
WORDING FOR ZOO LEAFLET
Thousands of animals in zoos worldwide are driven mad by captivity. In the wild, animals spend much of their time searching for food, avoiding predators and interacting with each other. In zoos, animals suffer enforced idleness, deprived of their natural environment, social groups and behaviour patterns. Together with the unnatural lighting, diet, noise levels and proximity of human visitors and alien species, this leads to obsessive, repetitive behaviour, such as pacing, rocking, circling, licking, bar biting and self mutilation. At Anytown Zoo, our investigators have watched adult chimpanzees smearing their own waste on the enclosure walls and a snow leopard pacing up and down along the side of the enclosure.
Zoos insist that 'their' animals are healthy, yet the truth is that many zoo animals die from illnesses caused by the unsuitable climate, unfamiliar parasites and contact with humans and other animals. Other zoo animals are killed or injured as a result of malnutrition, eating their young, poisoning, use of drugs and anaesthetics, and fighting brought on by the stress of their cramped conditions.
There are 4,000 species on the endangered species list, only about 100 are being bred in zoos and of these only a handful have been released back into the wild. The flaws in captive breeding programmes include the unnatural selection of mates and the difficulty of reintroducing into the wild animals mentally and physically scarred by captivity. The vast amounts of money needed for these programmes could be far better used conserving animals AND their habitats, funding anti-poaching patrols, educating local populations about animals and encouraging less destructive farming methods.
Out of all the species displayed at Anytown Zoo, few are described as `endangered or vulnerable'. What possible justification is there for exhibiting the others?
What You Can Do
Don't visit any zoo or safari park.
Write to Annie Malibuser, Zoo Manager, Anytown Zoo, Princes Park, nr Pleasureland Anytown, with your view of the zoo. Complain about the continued captivity of wild animals.
Write too asking for an urgent review of the licence issued to the zoo by the local authority.
The group then typed this information up and laid it out as a double sided A5 leaflet using a desktop publishing programme, adding large headings and a photo, along with the address of their group.
HOW TO LAY OUT YOUR LEAFLET
There are several approaches to this. Experiment a bit and then settle on a style you feel comfortable with. We suggest that you order a selection of sample leaflets from national societies, then sit down and study them carefully.
Think about what makes these leaflets informative and eye catching and look at the way in which some text has been highlighted to make it look more important. Then take lots of scrap paper and have a go at drawing up your own.
As an example, here's an excellent leaflet produced by London Animal Action.
ARE YOU FED UP WITH
CRUELTY TO ANIMALS?
THEN GIVE US A HAND! If you are sickened by the many forms of animal abuse all around us - the meat trade and factory farming, fur shops and coats, animal experiements, circuses and zoos, bloodsports, unwanted pets, etc - you are not alone! There is a group of people in London who are actively campaigning against such cruelties and for an alternative way of life that is not based on the exploitation of people, animals and the environment. We are called London Animal Action. The Group London Animal Action was formed in 1994 to build unity amongst campaigners and is an amalgamation of three previously existing groups: London Boots Action Group, London Animal Rights Coalition and London Anto-Fur Campaign. We cover the whole of the city, act as co-ordinator for other local groups in the capital, and publish a monthly newsletter, London Animal Rights News. As well as campaigning against all forms of animal abuse we hold meetings and information stalls to educate the public. We do not carry put illegal actions as a group but recognise the effectiveness of direct action. Some of our members take part in hunt sabbing and we provide support for people who have been imprisoned for animal rights activities, by writing letters, visiting prisoners and demonstations at court appearances. We are an open group without any leaders or hierarchy and welcome anyone who shares our aim of total animal liberation. For more details please turn the page.
Campaign Against Cruelty An Animal Activists Handbook
available for £4.99 (plus p&p) from Vegetarian Guides, or order it from all good book shops.