Let’s assume that the petition before you is legitimate. Let’s also assume that the target is in a position to act on the matter. Further, that the target will be moved by a petition.
All major assumptions. But even if those assumptions are accurate, don’t sign the petition!
Shoot them an email. Better still, shoot them a snail mail.
If a petition is worth signing, it is worth your time to shoot them a serious communication.
Many of us animal activists spend quite a bit of time signing and promoting petitions.
Unfortunately, most of our efforts in that regard are a total waste of time and energy, and take away time from actually helping animals or working on productive campaigns.
Remember that a lot of petitions are created for the sole purpose of gaining email addresses and other information on animal activists. Sometimes this is done by worthy organizations for worthwhile purposes, but is often just a fund raising tactic designed to build databases.
Most petitions can be evaluated immediately as to their validity.
Any asking for petitions to governments or elected officials, whether domestic or foreign are usually a waste of time. Governments and elected officials are sensitive to their own citizenry and constituents, but even then only in terms of votes. If you can’t vote for the official you are petitioning, you are pissing into the wind.
Similarly, if the person you can vote for has nothing to do with what the petition complains about, it was likely designed to build an email list. For example, I recently saw a petition asking for signatures to urge the president to end kill shelters. A worthy objective, and one I support. But the president has nothing to to with local kill shelters. Nor does the federal government. State governments could ban kill shelters, which would impact cities and counties in those states, but the federal government is powerless to order cities and counties to ban them. Just as the federal government couldn’t establish local zoning ordinances.
However, petitions to government agencies, appointed officials, and judges can be effective. Primarily because they are very sensitive to public relations and media attention.
The most effective petitions are ones that are directed toward businesses or individuals who are sensitive to public opinion. Businesses dislike being involved in controversies, boycotts, and social campaigns. They do not wish to be a polarizing influence in society, as that translates into the loss of customers, the need to involve damage control professionals, and, if a public company, the need to deal with angry shareholders (who can force boards of directors to fire management).
Many times the issue raised by the petition is sufficiently important to share with folks who do not know of it that we share the graphic or post pushing it. And that is undoubtedly easier than redesigning the graphic and deleting the petition. But often the most effective thing to do is something other than sign and promote a petition. Sometimes signing a petition actually hurts the animals because we feel we’ve done something and do not do other things that would be much more helpful (like send emails or make phone calls).
If we all came to understand that the petitions are largely useless, we would be much more effective in the use of our time.
There are exceptions to all of this, but the general caveat is valid: petitions are usually not worth the time and effort to sign and promote.
And if a signature would actually do some good, a phone call, letter, or email is more effective by orders of magnitude.
The animals only have us. What we do for them should be the most effective use of time and resources we can expend.
• I am unaware of any other blog with the Armory’s mission of radicalizing the animal movement. I certainly hope I am not alone, and that there are similar sentiments being expressed by comrades unknown to me.
If you know of other blogs dedicated to animal rights and the defeat of capitalism, please comment with a link.
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You will find recommended reading on Animal Rights, revolutionary theory, politics, economics, religion, science, and atheism. There is also a section of supplies for animal liberationists, hunt saboteurs, and social revolutionaries. This is all brand new, and we will be adding lots more merchandise in the near future!
• Feel free to comment. I encourage open discussion and welcome other opinions. I moderate comments because this blog has been attacked by hunters and right wing trolls. I approve comments that are critical as well as those which agree with me. Comments that I will not tolerate are those that are spam, threatening, disrespectful, or which promote animal abuse and cruelty