In my opinion, there are 2 types of activists. Those that just vent their emotions and those that are actually productive. I believe the latter type is better.
The first thing you should do is confirm the situation. Is it real, or is it just a hoax? This is especially important when dealing with information you receive on the Internet, as there are alot of individuals that create stories and email chainletters just for their own amusement. If this is something you have seen personally, you can skip this step.
Gather all the information you can. Who is responsible for the situation? Who is involved and who is being hurt? Who has the power to eliminate the situation? Find out who has the authority to handle the situation. Get their names, mailing addresses, email addresses and phone numbers. If you are dealing with a website that encourages abuse, etc. note who their advertisers are and gather the above information on them. If they are hosted on a free website, such as geocities, tripod, etc. get the address as abusive material is usually a violation of their terms of service.
See if you can handle the situation yourself. I do not suggest that you approach an abusive person, as they might be dangerous. Instead, contact the appropriate authorities, and make sure they are aware of the situation. If it is a website, contact the company that hosts the website and their advertisers. If this does not work, move on to the next step.
If this does not work, spread the word. There is strength in numbers. Write to/call organizations that handle this type of abuse. Peta and the humane society are usually good places to start in situations that involve animal abuse. They may also be able to refer you to other helpful resources. Contact the media local to the problem. Newspapers and local televison and radio stations are a good place to start. The Internet is also an excellent resource for spreading the word. Build a webpage detailing the situation, include all contact information on who is doing it, and what authorities can stop it. You may also want to include a sample letter to send to each official.. Post this information to any lists you may be on (ones that allow this.) You can also create petitions on the Internet. There are many places that allow you to do this for free, some will even email the petitions to the specified officials on the petitionís close date.See the links at the bottom of the page for more information. Please bear in mind for these Internet petitions to be taken seriously, people need give their real name, location, etc. This may put some people off, but it is necessary to prevent fraud. If you are going to use a petition, it is best to use one where this information is kept private.
Last but not least, please consider this: No one listens to someone that behaves like an insane radical. People are far more likely to listen to you if you behave in a civilized manner than they are if you are ranting and raving. Always be intelligent and concise when writing and making phone calls, etc. Remain calm, use proper grammar and spelling, concentrate on factual information. It is important that you express that you strongly disagree with situations that promote animal abuse and exploitation, but do it in a controlled manner. I understand that certain situations evoke very strong, emotional responses, but if you are out of control, the very people that can change these situations will view you as a radical nutcase not to be taken seriously. Vent your emotions in private if you feel the need.
Never give up! YOU can help stop abuse. Follow your conscience. There are so many animals abused in the world, it is overwhelming. But if you can help just one, do it. That animalís life is as important to it as yours is to you. One life does make a difference. If we all helped just one animal right now, think what we could accomplish.
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