Who hasn’t penned passionate prose to a potential paramour that ends with “Check ‘yes’ or ‘no’ if you like me,” or poured their heart out to a celebrity crush and waited by the mailbox for a reply? (I’m still waiting, Sir Paul.) Words can also be a conduit for change, so prime your pen, charge up your computer, and write some letters to make animals’ lives better:

  1. Letters to Editors

You can get great exposure for animal rights issues and reach thousands of readers by writing letters to the editors of newspapers or magazines, so watch for articles, ads, or letters that mention animals. Use the calendar for inspiration (for example, on the Fourth of July, warn your community that fireworks can terrify animals). Don’t forget to be brief (keep it to 100 to 150 words), timely (respond within three days of an article), catchy, and informative. Writing as a local or concerned citizen and including personal anecdotes and increasing your credibility by mentioning anything that makes you especially qualified to write on a topic (such as starting off with “As a former fur-wearer”) also go a long way.

  1. Letters to Businesses

Demand change for your dollar by using your clout as a consumer to protest companies that exploit animals. Tell cosmetics manufacturers that you’ll purchase other brands until they stop testing on animals, or tell store managers that you won’t shop there until they stop carrying fur, live animals, etc.—and explain why.

  1. Letters to Legislators

Constituent input really does make a difference. The governor of Virginia vetoed a bill that would have put a bounty on coyotes because he received so much mail against it. According to a former member of Congress, “Legislators estimate that 10 letters from constituents represent the concerns of 10,000 citizens. Anybody who will take the time to write is voicing the fears and desires of thousands more.

Find out who your federal and state representatives are here, then write a polite, concise letter or e-mail that focuses on a specific topic. If you’re writing about a particular bill, mention the bill’s name (and number if you know it) and whether you support or oppose it in the first paragraph. Include reasons and supporting information in the next paragraph or two. Conclude by asking for a response. And always identify yourself as a concerned citizen, not a member of an organization.

Inspiration to Get You Started

Animals all over the world are crying out from the sting of a whip, quivering as their skin is ripped from their bodies, bellowing as their necks are hacked open, and desperately pushing against restraints as blades cut into their bodies.

Try your hand at letter writing today!