Boycotting a company or industry that profits from the suffering of animals is key to almost every form of activism.
By taking away the financial foundation of a company, they have little choice but to change how they do business.
Personal boycotting of an industry will never be enough to force an abusive industry or company to change. Additional action will always be needed.
Far too many people get lulled into believing that by simply abstaining from supporting a company, things will change on their own. But that’s not the way it works.
The company or industry must first know that it is being boycotted, why it’s being boycotted, and who is boycotting it — i.e. activists, a social group or club, the general public.
Writing letters or calling a company you feel is involved in unethical business and letting them know of your concern is the first step. Getting as many other people as you can to do the same will let the company know there is a growing collective of individuals who do not like how they do business pertaining to animals. Asking or telling them to stop profiting from the abuse of animals is essential.
Organizing a letter writing campaign can be effective. The US military received so much mail due to its use of beagle puppies in military testing in the 60′s, that they halted tests using dogs for years.
When writing a letter to any company it is vital, legally, to not make any sort of threat, other than to boycott their products.
Go into graphic detail about how animals are mistreated in relation to their business. Some companies may not even realize the horror animals endure inside animal testing labs due to their support.
The importance with boycotts and letter writing is numbers. If a giant corporation receives 15 angry letters about testing their products on helpless animals, they will shrug it off. But if they receive 1,500 letters, they will pay attention. Having the letters pile up is very important for the message to be felt.
Most business only care about their profits, so if they feel they will lose 1,500 or 15,000 customers due to their involvement in animal abuse, they will consider changing.
Putting pressure on a company with the threat of a boycott can sometimes make a company change without even the need to follow through with a boycott.
There are certain instances when letter writing campaigns don’t seem to be effective. Companies like giant egg farms that keep hens in cages so small they can’t even stretch out their wings, or product testing laboratories which use animals are entirely based on exploiting animals and will not be swayed by angry letters in most cases. The only way for these companies to halt their abuse of animals is for the company to cease to exist. For companies such as these, boycotts, protests, demonstrations and possibly legislative work is going to be the only effective means for stopping them from needlessly abusing and killing animals.
Some people feel we should not support a company that was ever involved in animal abuse, but I feel it is important, when it comes to consumerism, to show a company that if they change how they do business, they will once again have the support of all of us.
I don’t think this necessarily applies to companies that are still involved in animal abuse, such as KFC Canada serving vegetarian meat at some of their stores, or Proctor and Gamble having some products not tested on animals. We shouldn’t waiver from the goal of eliminating all needless suffering of non-human animals and should keep the pressure on a company until they stop their activities related to abuse.
Combining letter writing, boycotts, and public demonstrations together can be a highly effective form of advocacy.
Check out the other installments of the Effective Advocacy Series: