Ban wild animal
Set Your Goal
- Ask for a ban (see model ordinance)
- Be firm about your goals—
if they think you will settle for less, then that is what you'll get!
- If a prohibition is ruled out, then compromise—
but point out to officials the cost involved (e.g., inspections, liability,
Timing Can Help
- Use incidents, such as a recent elephant rampage, as a catalyst for
Do Your Homework on the Issue
- Research the issue.
- Find out what relevant laws are currently on the books from the town or
city clerks offices.
- Look for local connections, such as a recent animal escape or attack.
- Emphasize how the ban benefits the community (safety, etc.)
- Prepare brief factsheets on the issue and proposed ordinance for
legislators and proposed ordinance for legislators and media.
Write a Letter to the Editor
- This is an easy, effective, and free means of communicating your message
to the general public.
- Tell people what they can do (e.g., call their legislator, etc.).
- Be brief and to the point
Do Your Homework on the Legislators
- Call your local office of the League of Women Voters or the county clerk's
office for legislators' names and districts.
- Check past voting records on animal issues.
- Check with local humane societies and ask for support.
- Find supporters in each district—
legislators will be most responsive to their own constituents.
- Get to know legislator's aides, staff, and secretaries.
- Determine where you stand the best chance for change (city vs. county).
Visit Your Legislators
- Select a primary spokesperson that knows the issues and make an
- Demonstrate the impact to their constituents.
- Leave fliers and factsheets, but not thick packets.
- Allow time to encourage questions.
- Ask for support for the proposed ordinance.
- Thank the legislator and any office personnel that you interact with.
Call Your Legislators
- Make calls short and to the point.
- Be well informed.
- Be polite.
- If the legislator is unavailable, speak with an aide or other staff member—
they can be useful contacts.
Write to Your Legislators
- Write short, polite letters using your own words, preferably handwritten
if your handwriting is legible.
- Postcards, petitions, and form letters are least effective—
use only as a supplement with other correspondence to show support.
Know the Local Legislative Process
- Contact city or county council offices for information on the legislative
- Ask council clerks for the schedule of open council meetings.
- Attend at least one meeting to see how the system works.
Attend City/County Council Meetings
- Contact council offices for procedures to getting on the meeting agenda.
- Prepare for the meeting ahead of time.
- Dress professionally.
- Be brief and to the point.
- Let them know how it affects their constituents.
- Show that their constituents support legislation (petitions).
- Use the opportunity to meet the legislators and their supporters.
- Be a presence at meetings, even if you are not on the agenda.
Know What to Do
- Make sure that the legislators know how the bill will affect their
- Emphasize how the ban benefits the community.
- Be specific and know your facts.
- Be direct and positive.
- Provide a brief, clearly written summary of your position.
- Talk to legislators are working on and help when you can.
- Write a personal thank you after every visit or supportive action by a
- Be cooperative.
Know What NOT to Do
- Be argumentative or hostile.
- Interrupt when they are busy or in a hurry.
- Press for a commitment on the first visit.
- Hesitate to admit that you do not know everything, but let them know you
will find out.
- Make threats.
- Be overly emotional.
A petition demonstrates to your local legislators that voting for your
proposed ordinance will win them support from the community. It can be a
general statement of support for your campaign and does not need to cover all
aspects. Start collecting signatures as soon as you have decided to
undertake this campaign.
- Make sure only eligible voters sign (residents over 18 years of age).
- Ask people on the issues available.
- Have fliers on the issues available.
- Stand outside supermarkets, subway stations, etc., to reach the most
people-- put petitions on any information tables that you set up.
- Encourage group members to collect signatures on their own.
Letter to the Experts
Expert statements lend credibility to your campaign and make it easier to
convince both the public and government officials that your ordinance is
necessary. Approach scientists, veterinarians, biologists, zoos accredited
by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association or anyone else who has the
experience and credentials to be considered an expert on the issue. Inform
them of the situation, and ask them to give you a written statement of support.
- Look in the telephone directory for names and addresses of local
veterinarians; also call the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights (AVAR)
at 530-759-8106, for a list of supportive veterinarians in your area.
- Be positive and polite.
- Offer background material to explain the issues.
Letter to City Legislators
Try to keep your letter to one page and focus on two or three main points.
In our sample letter, we have used public safety (city liability), tax funds
(how the community wants its money spent), and humane issues. Tailor your
letter to relect the major points of your campaign and the major concerns of the
- Request a follow-up meeting, then call to schedule one.
- Be firm and strong, but always polite, never threatening.
Letter to the Editor
Help raise awareness in the community by submitting a letter to the editor of
your local papers.
- Keep the letter as short as possible (see your newspaper for length
- Make sure you include your group contact information.
Use news releases to notify the media of any important developments in your
campaign. Be sure to follow up the release with telephone calls to the
recipients (a couple of hours after faxing).
- Keep the release short and to the point.
- Provide contact information, and make sure that someone is available to
answer incoming calls.