This is about the sample e-mails peta2 provides for us to send off to various people. We’ve all seen them, they’re available for pretty much every cause peta2 brings to light. I used to just send them off, get my points, and congratulate myself an animal well saved. But now, I’ve started really reflecting on my choices as an activist. I want to come up front and say, animal rights is not my passion. For me, it’s a building block that will eventually come together with all the other social issues and build something awesome. So when I read these letters, I notice conflicts with my other values. Most specifically, the golden rule.
I’m going to put this as blankly as I can. Some of the letters are mean. Most are blaming, and some sort of remind me of slut shaming. I honestly don’t see how they are going to help us achieve our goals. If we aren’t polite to these people, why would they want to help us? The letters lay blame, and generally make the receiver feel ashamed of themselves. Which I’m not saying some of the people don’t deserve, but this isn’t about the people, this is about the animals. And if we want to help them, we have to get people on our side. How you ask?
If there is one thing I’ve learned in my activism, it’s that you have to make it easy for people to say yes to you. Lay out what they can do. (Or what you want them too). Show them. Demonstrate what you want. Right now, I feel like our letters aren’t doing that. Many that I’ve seen spend most of the time pointing out negatives, and then a brief mention of the solution. As you probably know, when you screw up bad, really bad, (these people aren’t monsters after all, they have a heart), most of us would jump at an easy fix. So we should provide that. We want these people we are trying to reach to feel that it is fixable, and easy to do the right thing.
And it’s not like we don’t have the solution either. Most letters make a reference to sanctuaries willing to take in animals. If we outlined and emphasized this, I think we would have much more success.
So, in light of walking the walk, I *think* I’ve clearly explained the issue, and told you what I want to happen. So now, here’s how we could accomplish it.
We could just revise the style they are written in. I don’t know who writes them, how busy them are and ect. so I don’t know how practical this is. But if it’s not working, you could ask us, the street teamers. We’ve got things to say, and we know how to write letters. We’re passionate about the issue, so you could just release the relevant information, and make it a mission. And if that doesn’t work, then I suppose I could volunteer.
Are there others out there who think this? peta2, what do you think? I know the samples are intended samples, but you must realize that many people just go with the generic version.I find it’s much easier to communicate, and get people to do as I ask this way, but I realize that everyone may not feel the same.
I like how you pointed out that peta2 want us to speak for ourselves, because that’s totally true. I rewrite the letters before I send them, and you’re right they are just suggestions. I guess I just wish that they were more informative than emotional. Because I feel like most of us can supply the passion for the letters, I mean, we got worked up enough to write them. But we rely on peta2 for the information on exactly what we are asking them to do, and sometimes I’m unsure of what that is. If they gave us a more bland/factual one, then we could customize it to our own flavor of writing and inject our own passion. I like to write in a sort of non-confrontational way, and other people might like to be more direct, or talk with outrage, or if they really wanted, an angry one. Do you know of a page on this site that has in depth information about what we are asking the people we send letters to to do? I could just use that instead to make my own letters. Thanks!
I understand where you’re coming from, but nobody is forcing us to send the sample e-mails that PETA writes up. We have every opportunity to say what we feel we need to say to these companies. If you don’t like the way the PETA letters are worded, then you should definitely create your own and send it. PETA -wants- you to speak up and say what you have to say.
They offer the sample letters as a base to work with, and for the people who aren’t necessarily so good with words.