Write Letters to the Editor
One of the best things you can do to promote animal rights is writing letters to the editor of your school paper. It’s like taking 10 minutes to write a leaflet, then getting someone else to print thousands of copies and distribute it. That’s what we call excellent delegation skills!
Submit letters as often as possible. With a daily school paper, you should easily be able to get 15 or more letters in the paper per semester. That said, papers tend to not want to constantly print letters from the same person. So once they’ve already printed one of your letters, you can draft or ghostwrite letters for your friends and fellow advocates to sign and send in. After a month goes by, you can start sending in letters with your own John Hancock again.
Another great way to be a campus presence is to ask your school paper if you can write a column for it. Then you will be assured a place to write your message of animal rights on a routine basis, and you can still orchestrate a constant flow of pro-animal letters to compliment your articles.
Tips for Writing Letters to the Editor
- Make sure the letter is timely. When responding to something printed in the paper, the sooner you get your letter in, the more likely it will be printed. Take 10 minutes that day to just get it done. If your letter is promoting an upcoming event, send it in a week or two ahead of time.
- Get the newspaper’s letter-writing guidelines and follow them. Most newspapers have guidelines on how long the letters should be and what information you need to include with them.
- Be brief! Campus newspapers will often print longer letters, but if you’re submitting a letter to a newspaper off campus, keep it short as editors are less likely to print long letters. Sometimes one short, poignant paragraph is enough.
- Stick to one issue in the letter. Give specifics and make your letter persuasive.
- Use personal stories to draw the reader into your letter. Read this sample letter for an example.
- Tell the readers how they can help. Encourage them to take a specific action like going vegetarian, buying cruelty-free products, avoiding the circus, or … you get the point.
- Always, always, always direct readers to a Web site for more information. This allows readers the opportunity to learn more than what you can tell them in a letter. PETA has a ton of great Web sites on a variety of subjects that you can send them to—peta2.com being the best one, of course.
Good Excuses for You to Write Timely Letters to the Editor
- In response to any article or letter to the editor in the paper. If an article or letter mentions animals, animal rights, or any topic that you can use to segue into animal rights, respond to it! Read this example.
- In response to any visible, high-profile activity on campus. Here are sample letters to use after you chalk, poster, or place info stands on campus.
- After any demonstration you do on or near campus.
- Tie-ins with local events. This includes when the circus or rodeo visits town, before the homecoming game (“Consider grilling veggie dogs and burgers before the game”), spring break, or any other large campus events.
- Tie-ins with holidays. With a little creativity, animal rights can be linked to all of the major holidays: Fourth of July (“It’s time to give animals independence and liberty”); Easter (egg production); Halloween (“Nothing is scarier than the way animals are treated on factory farms. It’s a real-life horror story!”); Thanksgiving (“Tofurky, not turkey”); Christmas (Tie-in with ham, turkey, lutefisk, or Christian veg themes); etc.
Use every excuse you can think of to submit letters, and keep the buzz about animal rights going on your campus.
Sample Letters for the ‘Veganize Your Cafeteria’ Campaign
Unless otherwise noted, none of PETA’s materials is copyrighted. Feel free to use our sample letters, factsheets, and other materials to help you create letters to the editor. The following are some examples of good letters to write:
Contact us if you need help writing a letter. We are here to help!
Send College@peta2.com your letters, clippings, and Web links to your published articles so we can thank you.