Sunday, March 25, 2012

Raising Awareness, Part III: Write an Article on Animal Rights

Writing is a great way to share your views with other people. (That’s why I have this blog, after all.) Your written article could be published in a magazine, newspaper, website, ‘zine, blog, or anywhere else people agree to display it. This has the capacity to reach a great number of people.
In writing an article, you should follow some sort of guideline—is your article going to be a formal essay complete with thesis statement and all, a story recounting a personal experience involving animal rights, a cause-and-effect article, or a more informal piece with introduction and conclusion? You decide—but make sure that it suits your audience. Make sure that you have a specific topic—instead of writing an article on animal rights in general, you could write about the meat industry, animal testing, or the controversy surrounding the animal rights movement.
Next, you start writing. In gathering any data you may need, take note of where you got statistics and controversial information—it helps to cite other people’s work. And don’t limit yourself to one source. If you got all your information from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), for instance, some people who dislike PETA might not trust your article at all. Try to include information from a range of sources, from radical to scientific.
Give your opinion in your article (that’s why you’re writing it!), but I find that very many passionate people give the wrong impression when they write about animal rights. For example, WHEN YOU WRITE IN ALL CAPS WITH PLENTY OF EXCLAMATION MARKS (!!!), people might think that you’re a little, er, strange. Also avoid being too personal (as in, “All meat-eaters are trashy idiotic *****”), because you’ll not be able to convince anyone to join your cause by using that sort of language! Instead, be polite.
Once you’ve finished writing your article, you’ll need to find someone who’ll publish it. Newspapers and magazines require excellent writing skills and so are hard to get published in, but they help you reach a great number of people, which is important. A number of websites may publish your work. Here is one for teens:
Teen Ink: A website for teens to publish their short stories, articles, poetry, and artwork. Almost all entries get published on this website, but if you write well enough, they might also publish it in their magazine.
Good luck in writing your article! I promise you, there aren’t many better ways to easily raise awareness for the animal rights cause.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Raising Awareness, Part II: Create a Petition

Creating a petition is a very simple, yet rewarding, process. You can create a petition that will be sent to a decision-maker, company, organization, etc., asking them to make change.
Good sites to create a petition are and Follow their steps and watch the signatures come pouring in! Make sure to tell people about your petition via e-mail, spoken word, and social networking sites.
Also, signing petitions is a great, albeit small, way to help out. I have made a petition on in order to stop the live boiling of lobsters, so please sign it at
Well, that's all I have to say for this week. See you later!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Rainsing Awareness, Part I: Make a Movie

Did you know that you can send out the animal rights message through songs and movies? I know, for those of you who have never done something like this before, it probably seems pretty overwhelming. Before I started work on my environmental documentary, I was totally clueless as to how easy it was.
I sat down and started writing out new ideas for things to do to help the environment and animals. The idea of making a documentary came to me, so I started doing some voice recordings for the narration. This ended in complete failure (!) because I don't have that "narrator voice" and the narrations were just painful to work with. So I tossed that idea and decided to approach people to interview, instead. I asked my mom, and she suggested to interview the owner of an eco-friendly cooking class/catering company. I did that, and it worked out brilliantly! The owner had even more ideas of people to interview, and I am having my next interview very shortly!
You see, this is actually very simple. Sometimes it will be hard to ask people for favours or to use their music, but it is definitely worth it.
Here is how you can get started:
  1. Decide on the topic. Granted, "animal rights" is your category, but you may want to go more specific. This isn't necessary-- my eco-documentary is just on how humans are destroying the planet and how to become more environmentally friendly. If you choose a more specific topic, however, you will be able to dig deeper and will have more chances of convincing others.
  2. Decide on how you will gather and present the information. You may choose to sit in front of the camera and talk, while perforating your film with pictures and videos. Or you might not have yourself on the screen at all, and merely interview people and provide videos and pictures. Another option is to recruit a narrator for the job.
  3. Go! Contact people to interview or get started on your narrations, go out to events, laboratories and farms as a video-journalist, take pictures, and visit for a free soundtrack. Get creative.
  4. Edit your footage on movie-editing software. It really doesn't matter what you use, although it does help to use something more professional. I'm just using Windows Movie Maker.
  5. Work out where and how you will screen your video. Ask community and recreation centres, libraries, schools, film festivals, and other places that you know about. You can also enter documentary contests. If all else fails, host a screening at your house and then publish it on the Internet. Make sure to publicize your screenings, however!
  6. Decide: will you sell DVDs of your documentary or give them away for free? You'll reach more people if you give them away for free, but it will have to come out of your own wallet. You might also decide to charge a fee for people to attend the screenings, then donate the money towards a good cause.
For more ideas and information on what it takes, please see
For the next few weeks, I'll be talking about different ways to raise awareness, so stay tuned!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

And the Cruelty Award goes to...

If there's one thing that bothers me (besides people eating meat and testing on animals and trashing the planet, that is!), it would have to be rodeos. One rodeo, called the Calgary Stampede, takes place in Calgary, Alberta every year.
Aside from the inherent cruelty of forcing an animal to do one's bidding, animals are often made as uncomfortable as possible in order to make them "angry" enough to have to be driven into submission. For example, "bucking broncos" have had a girldle tied so tightly around their waist that they buck and run around wildly in order to try to get it off and relieve the pain. Calves get thrown around in contests. "Steer wrestlers" jump off racing horses and fling themselves onto the horns of frightened animals. And at the end of the show, injured animals may have to be euthenized. Remy Scalza, who attended a Calgary Stampede, watched as a bull rider clung on to a bull as part of the show.

"In the relative silence, you can hear the ominous clang of horn and hoof on steel as the bull rears and bucks in the tight confines of the chute.... The gate flings out and the bull launches a foot or more off the ground  in an apoplexy of rage and fear, its eyes wild and foam jetting from its mouth. Back legs rocket up and the animal's back bends so far it looks like it will snap. Then the bull plunges into a frantic spin-- around and around and around, launching clods of mud across the infield while its muscled neck whips side to side.... Then the horn blows-- his eight seconds are up-- and Thompson [the rider] is diving head first for the dirt.... Somewhere beneath his helmet and mask, he's smiling."
If this doesn't deserve a reward for thoughtless cruelty, what does?

There is also the fact that a lot of livestock events take place, which encourage people to raise livestock for slaughter. Another thing is that, as you can imagine, a lot of meat, steak, and ribs are served at the Stampede.

Photo Courtesy of

I highly discourage anyone reading this to attend any rodeo anywhere. But alongside an outright boycott, you can also:
  1. Spread the word-- tell your friends and family about the cruelty that occurs at the rodeo. Have them each tell two other people, who will them be asked to tell two other people, etc. You can always send them the link to my blog to make it easier!
  2. Contact the rodeo personally and tell them why you won't be attending this year. Polite complaints can go a long way, especially if we all do it.
  3. Find unique ways to educate others about animal cruelty at the rodeo (or anywhere else, for that matter!). Interesting media to try includes video, photos, audio (podcast), articles, speeches, visual art, blog posts, posters, etc.
  4. Go to the city that the rodeo is held in with a group of other people who care about animals. Hold up signs and hand out leaflets to deter people from going to the rodeo.
  5. Go to to learn more about the rodeo and to gather more information. (SHARK stands for SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness.)
Let's stand up to this cruel blood sport by educating the world! I think that the more people who understand, the more will refuse to support it.
Until next week!