Using the right protest tactics, demonstrations, marches and protests can draw attention to animal cruelty issues.
By bringing a cause to a wider audience through protesting, support can be gathered from other members of the public who previously did not know about the issue. Signatures can be collected on petitions from these people during the protest.
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If the support of enough people is gained, the target of the protest
often feels under sufficient pressure to stop causing the animal
suffering. Protests embarrass the organisation and attract unwanted
publicity to them.
Protests work best if they are done in conjunction with other campaign tactics.
The media can sometimes report on protests, bringing publicity to the cause, especially if it is an unusually creative protest. People sometimes protest naked or topless.
However, while trying to draw attention to the cause, it is important not to offend people you would like to gain support from, as this will only alienate them from the cause.
Below: Protestors demonstrate against a pet shop selling puppies supplied by cruel puppy mills
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The targets of public protested can find being demonstrated against very embarrassing.
For instance, the South Korean Dog Meat Festival was cancelled this summer due to outraged people within the country protesting against it, as well as international campaigns being mounted against it.
The protests, telephone calls, emails and letters of complaint were so frequent that the organisers felt it would be impossible to run the event, which promotes the eating of dogs.
They also could not find anyone willing to rent them suitable premises for the event, as they did not wish to be targeted by protestors and campaigners telephoning or sending emails and letters. Protests against them is publicity people do not want.
Below: Protests in South Korea against eating dogs played a large part in getting the dog meat festival cancelled there this summer. The festival aims to promote human consumption of dog meat
Below: The left hand image shows protestors who demonstrated outside a shop which sold furs. It lost money for the whole time they were there because it did not open. The protest was reported in the media, so the message of how cruel the fur trade is was spread that way, as well as in the streets while the protest was on. (credit: heraldsun.com.au). The image above right shows protestors who have climbed on to the cat walk at Melbourne Fashion Week to demonstrate against fur. As a result, the fur that was due to be shown in the show, was not shown
When it comes to holding a demonstration, the most important thing is getting your message across clearly, rather than how many people take part in the protest.
Although it is true that the larger protests are, the more impact they tend to have, having any impact at all is better than having none. Therefore a small protest is better than none at all.
Below: Smaller protests against animals being forced to perform in circuses and against animals being used in experiments
There are straight forward public protests and demo's where people stay
in one place, and then there are marches, which you could view as a
demonstration which moves through the streets.
Large placards with big, clear text on them are important to get your message across. Calling out or chanting your message can also help with this. Having a loud haler to amplify your voice helps to spread your message.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA) are known for using elements of eye-catching creative street performance in their protests. They often use their own bodies to depict the suffering of animals.
Below: Peta's protest tactics: In the image above left, nude human bodies are packaged the way meat is sold in supermarkets. Above right, naked PeTA protestors wear bear masks outside St. Paul's Cathedral in London, protesting against the use of bear skins to make the hats of the Queens Guards.
Below: PeTA Protest tactics see protestors put themselves in a cage to protest against the fur trade in the image above left. Above right, in a topless protest, the protestors enclose themselves in small stalls similar to those in which many pigs spend their entire lives in factory farming.
The more creative and eye-catching public protests or demonstrations are, the more attention they can draw. Some interesting and public protests even get press coverage, mainly due to their creativity.
Below: A joint campaign from Lush and the Humane Society involved a creative performance for shoppers of a young lady volunteer taking the place of an animal, apparently being experimented on. The point of the display was to emphasize the fact that animals have the same capacity to suffer as humans
You can use street protests as an opportunity to show people how lovely vegan food and drink can be by giving away free samples. protests and demonstrations are also an opportunity to give out information to the public.
Depending on numbers, this could be done from an information point, such as a table, by the protesters themselves, or both.
People who protest against issues of animal cruelty usually feel extremely strongly about them and it is sometimes difficult to keep such strong emotions under control.
However, instead of winning supporters, certain behavior can sadly turn people against the cause. Violent conduct, vandalism, or similar illegal behaviour is likely to lose support for the cause and gain sympathy for the opposing side.
Below: An example of a violent protest
It is also a fine balance to achieve to draw as much attention as
possible to your cause, without offending the people you wish to gain
support from. For instance, a nude or topless protest may get your
protest noticed, but it may also offend.
An option is to try to minimise any offence caused by painting the naked bodies as animals and cover any potentially offensive body parts with placards / protest signs!
Below: Peta protest tactics sometimes involve willing and passionate animal rights protestors protesting nearly nude - topless wearing only bikini bottoms and tiger style body paint. They use placards / protest signs to preserve their modesty
Not everybody is as compassionate, empathetic and emotionally intelligent as most animal activists who campaign against animal cruelty. You should be aware that you may receive some negative remarks.
This is because of some peoples' lack of understanding, lack of ability
to understand or feel compassion, and their ignorance about animal
Some people apparently have the impression that people who protest only do so because they are unwashed hippies that do not have jobs, and have nothing better to do.
Another common assumption is that animal activists are hypocrites that will protest and campaign against one form of animal cruelty, such as the fur trade, but fund another by wearing leather shoes and eating burgers while they protest!
A lot of people, however, have their eyes opened by the information they learn from protests, and compassionate people have nothing but praise for the protestors highlighting the issue of animal cruelty.