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Protests, demonstrations, marches, and street performances can effectively draw attention to animal cruelty issues that many people do not know about. By finding out, they may be horrified to the point of taking action.
You will see on this page how protests can really help stop animal abuse.
Street protests and demonstrations are very embarrassing to the perpetrator of the cruelty. Companies and organisations are usually pretty mortified that something they would rather keep quiet is being exposed in such a public way. Protests and demonstrations outside a shop can put customers off from going in. People who previously did not know about the cruelty will learn of it, and many will be horrified.
Combine Forms Of Campaigning
To make your efforts to stop animal abuse more effective, you can combine your protest, demonstration, or street performance with other forms of campaigning.
This may be petitions, emailing, letter writing, and phone calling campaigns. During your street protest, signatures can be collected on petitions and on boycott pledges from the public.
Any Number Of People Can Be Involved
Protests and demonstrations can involve any number of people, from one to a huge number. The bigger the street protest, and the more often it happens, the more the target is likely to feel pressure to change. Having said that, it only takes one person with a clear message to embarrass a company or organisation. As long as the message is effectively conveyed, the number of people is much less important.
The media can sometimes report on protests, demonstrations, or street performances. This brings publicity to the cause. If it is a large or unusually creative protest, it is more likely to be covered. It is not just the media that matters. It helps if the public video or photograph what is going on and share it on social media or on blogs. People sometimes protest nearly naked, topless, or with body paint on. If you can come up with a creative way of protesting that will be interesting to people, it can gain publicity.
However, while trying to draw attention to the cause, it is important not to offend people. The idea is to gain support, not anger and alienate people. Also be aware of local laws around what you are planning to do.
Exposing The Truth
Without campaigning and exposing the truth, awareness will not be raised. This means people will not learn of the cruelty of industries, companies, and organisations. As people learn of it, strong support against the cruelty is gained. More pressure is then felt by the perpetrators of the cruelty to change their practices. Without this happening, they will carry on and never change.
Image: Animal rights activists protesting against a cruel mobile zoo in Canada. So that cars would stop for him, one protester dressed up as a parking attendant so he was able to give them leaflets about the cruelty. Source
Protests Really Do Work!
Below is an example of how protests and demonstrations have been a huge part of helping to stop animal abuse.
A South Korean Dog Meat Festival was cancelled due to outraged people within the country protesting against it, and international campaigns being mounted against it. As a result, countless dogs lives were saved.
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.
Part of the problem for organisers was that they could not find anyone willing to rent them suitable premises for the event. Venues did not wish to be bombarded by protesters and demonstrating outside, or campaigners telephoning, sending emails and sending letters.
Image: Protests in South Korea and worldwide against eating dogs played a large part in getting a dog meat festival – which promotes human consumption of dog meat – cancelled there. Source
Below is another example of success.
Protestors climbed on to the cat walk at Melbourne Fashion Week to demonstrate against fur. As a result, the fur that was due to be showcased in the show was not shown at all, due to the fear of further disruption and negative publicity.
Image: Anti-fur protestors on the run way at Melbourne Fashion Week. Source
Cube Of Truth
The Cube Of Truth is a form of street performance put on by Anonymous For The Voiceless activists. Activists stand in a cube formation, facing outwards, holding screens such as laptops and tablets which show footage of what legally happens to animals in the animal agriculture industry. There are also additional people who can talk to interested onlookers about what they are seeing, and give them information cards.
Image: Cube Of Truth Protest, helping to stop animal abuse by showing the true cruelty of animal agriculture. Source
I came across this post in a vegan group on Facebook. It demonstrates that the Cube Of Truth approach really does work. The post is written by somebody who saw a Cube Of Truth in his local town centre and writes of the impact it had on him.
The Number Of People Does Not Matter
When it comes to holding a street protest or demonstration, the most important thing is getting your message across clearly, rather than how many people take part in the protest.
Social media should be used to spread your message further, using photos/videos of the protest. It only takes one or two people to be able to do this.
Image: A small demonstration at Sheffield University, UK, against animal experimentation. Although there are only two protestors, the message is effectively got across. Source
The Save Movement
The Animal Save Movement is a worldwide movement that holds vigils bearing witness at slaughterhouses. The animals are often suffering in the extreme heat or cold of the lorries. Activists provide the dehydrated animals they can reach with water, and give what comfort they can.
It only takes one person to be there at the slaughterhouse, filming the animals arriving, and sharing it on social media, to have an enormous impact. In fact, Save Movement groups often begin with just one person doing it, bringing it to the attention of others, who then join them at their slaughterhouse vigils. That is how the movement has grown so rapidly across the world.
Image: Logo of The Save Movement, a worldwide movement aiming to stop animal abuse. Source
Different Ways To Protest
There are static public protests and demo’s where people stay in one place, and then there are marches. Marches move through the streets and often end at a target destination relevant to the protest.
Make Your Message Clear
It is important to let people know why you are protesting, so large placards with big, clear text on them are important. Calling out or chanting your message can also help with this. Using a megaphone makes your message clearer. Giving out leaflets and using a megaphone to amplify your voice helps to spread your message.
Try to attract attention to yourselves, but keep in mind that if you irritate people you will alienate them from your cause. You could use props, costumes, masks, and even instruments like a drum or tambourine. You could use body paint (all vegan so no animals are hurt as a result of course!). Choreography could even be incorporated into your protest or march. Because a march is a moving protest, it should attract the attention of people it is passing.
Image: On a mission to stop animal abuse: The annual official animal rights march in London. Source
Some people have got creative and used a flash mob method. With a traditional flash mob, the people involved blend into a crowd in a busy area, acting completely normal.
Music is then played and one of the people involved starts to dance on the spot and attracts attention. Then another person involved, who is a few people away, does the same and joins in the choreography so both are now in sync, then another person a few people away does the same, until there are many dancing in sync.
Those dancing can either stay where they were – and have rather bemused normal people in between them – or all the people dancing can make their way together. Some protesters have used the same principle and altered it to convey their protest message.
Freeze flash mob
It does not have to involve dancing, some people have done a “freeze”, where the people involved suddenly freeze still for a certain length of time, or where everyone involved suddenly collapses.
You could alternatively have one person chanting or singing, and then each additional person joins in with the chant or song and reveals their protest message. The message could be in the chant or song words.
If singing is not involved, then the message could be printed on t-shirts that the activists involved have kept covered up until it is their turn. Particpants could also unroll a banner they had concealed.
Video: A singing vegan animal rights flash mob.
Protesting At Shop Entrances
Protesting near the entrance of shops can sometimes make people uncomfortable enough to change their minds about going in. It is especially the case if protestors approach or try to engage people who look like they are about to go in. This loses the store custom and profits.
If customers do go in, try to let them know about why you are protesting against the store. Leaflet people. Be careful to not be aggressive, or give authorities any grounds to remove you.
Image: Anti-fur protest outside Harvey Nicholls by CAFT members. Such protests could put off prospective customers going in. Source
As well as being likely to lose them business, having a protest held outside their premises is highly embarrassing for a business or organisation.
Image: Animal rights activists put people off fois gras by exposing the facts to customers. Source
Anonymous For The Voiceless
Anonymous For The Voiceless activists are best known for staging peaceful demonstrations, or street performances, called The Cube Of Truth.
This is where a group of activists stand silently in a cube formation, facing outwards, holding placards and showing footage on laptops. They dress in all black and typically wear Guy Fawkes masks. The cube can be large or small, from one or two people to many. There are usually additional people who can talk to interested onlookers in a warm and friendly manner, and hand out information cards to them.
There are also variations of this used by animal rights groups which do not conform to the rules set by Anonymous For The Voiceless. For example, sometimes circle formations are used instead of cubes, and the footage shown can be different. The masks and hand outs can also be different.
Image: Anonymous For The Voiceless activists in Cheltenham in their cube of truth, helping to stop animal abuse. Source
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA) are known for using elements of shocking and eye-catching creative street performance in their protests. These often have bloody and semi-naked themes. Protesters often use their own bodies to depict the suffering of animals.
It is good to have an element like that in your protest or demonstration, to spark peoples curiosity and make them want to look closer. Onlookers tend to video or photograph such street performances and share them on social media, bringing publicity to the cause.
Image: Stop UBC Animal Research, an organization aimed at ending animal testing at the University of British Columbia, uses eye catching protest tactics outside a hotel where the Canadian Association for Lab Animal Sciences was holding a symposium. Source
Image: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals use eye-catching protest tactics. Source
Image: Covered in “blood”, semi-naked Peta members demonstrate against the Running Of the Bulls in Spain. Source
Image: Helping to stop animal abuse: Peta protest against the cruelty of the meat industry.
Image: Peta demonstration of “skinning a rabbit”, against the use of animal skins at London Fashion week. Source
Image: Peta protesters drawing attention to the horrifically cruel fur industry. Source
Direct Action Everywhere
Direct Action Everywhere activists are known for protesting inside of shops and businesses, instead of outside. They also have been known to interrupt official Government meetings and sports games with their protests. These approaches, though, may get you in trouble with the law.
Image: Direct Action Everywhere Activists protest inside a supermarket. Source
Do I need a Licence / Permit To Protest?
Protesting in a public place can often mean you are protesting on land owned by the local authority. Getting a licence from them before your protest can be a good idea for if anyone such as the police or the security guards/staff of businesses you are upsetting try to stop you protesting. Their first question can often be “Do you have a permit to do this?”
Many people protest peacefully without obtaining a licence or permit, and are not challenged about it.
Depending on how creative you are planning on making your protest or demonstration, check you will not be breaking any local laws. Do not give authorities any reason to remove you.
Trespassing Is A Civil Offence
If you wish to protest on land or premises that are privately owned, getting an agreement from the owner is preferable, as they can say you are trespassing otherwise.
In the U.K., trespassing is only a civil offence and not a criminal offence (correct at time of publishing, October 2018), and so do not result in a criminal record. However, laws change, so it is wise to check.
Give Things Away At Protests
As well as giving out leaflets and other materials promoting the reasons you are protesting, you can use street protests as an opportunity to show people how tasty vegan food and drink can be by giving away free samples to people interested. They will also be appreciated by the protesters – especially if the food is hot and the weather is cold!
Depending on numbers, this could be done from an information point such as a table, or by the protesters themselves, or both.
You could give children small colouring or story books that gently educate the them, posters, or other items children might like.
Leaflets, posters, and other protest materials can often be obtained from animal rights charities and organisations. They will also often offer guidance of the best way to protest. You should check the law in your own area to see how far you are legally allowed to go.
Image: Animal rights organsations often provide leaflets, poster, and other protest materials, to help stop animal abuse. Source
Image: Anti-circus protester handing out leaflets. One approach is to mingle in the crowd so that people who are attending the circus think you are a member of circus staff and so are willing to take a leaflet from you.
Image: Helping to stop animal abuse: Animal rights activist information table.
Things That Detract From Demonstrations
People who protest or demonstrate to try to stop animal abuse usually feel extremely strongly about it. It is therefore 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 unlawful behaviour is likely to lose support for the cause and gain sympathy for the opposing side. It gives people against animal rights protesters ammunition.
Image: A peaceful animal rights protest march headed for the legaslative assembly in San Jose, turned violent after someone unexpectedly burned an effigy of a legislator opposing an animal rights bill. Source
It is also a fine line to walk to draw as much attention as possible to your cause, without offending or irritating 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.
Image: A PETA campaign that compared the holocaust of Jewish people to the incarceration and slaughter (holocaust) of farm animals was deemed so offensive hat it was banned in Germany, on the basis it trivialised the (Jewish) holocaust. Source
Not everybody is as compassionate, empathetic, caring, and emotionally intelligent as most animal rights activists are. You should be aware that you may well receive some negative remarks.
This is because some people lack the ability to understand and feel compassion, and are ignorant about animal cruelty issues. When negativity comes from the young, there is the issue of immaturity, and them showing off to their peers.
Image: Banners such as this held by protesters outside shops can shame customers into not going in the shop. Source
Misconceptions About Activists
A 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 meat burgers while they protest!
Another misconception is that animal rights protesters are either scruffy hippies, or wealthy middle class people who have nothing better to do.
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 protesters highlighting the issue of animal cruelty.
The Save Movement
The Save Movement is a worldwide movement that holds vigils bearing witness at slaughterhouses. The animals are often suffering in the extreme heat or cold in the lorries. They are often injured, scraped, bloodied and battered, sometimes with broken bones. Some even die during long journeys. They are usually very dehydrated and thirsty.
Bringing Consumers Face To Face With Their Victims
Activists provide the animals they can reach with water, and give what comfort they can. They also photograph and film the animals, and post the material on social media. It brings consumers face to face with the their victims. They see the faces of the individual animals.
Information about how the animals have emotions just like humans, individual characters and personalities, and other facts, often accompanies the footage and photographs.
Save Groups Around The World
Their website lists all the Save groups across the world, so you can check to see if there is one near you. If there is not, anyone can start one.
It Only Takes One Person
Save Movement groups often begin with just one person doing it, bringing it to the attention of others. It only takes one person to be there at the slaughterhouse, filming the animals arriving, and sharing it on social media, to have an enormous impact.
You may know of like minded people that may be interested in taking part. Or if you have joined any vegan or animal rights groups on social media or elsewhere online, you may find people there are keen to take part.
Offering Comfort, Humanity, and Raising Awareness
Although the people bearing witness cannot save the animals from their cruel fate, they can offer water and comfort to dehydrated and frightened animals. Crucially, they raise awareness of the plight of these animals and their suffering by sharing their activities on social media.
They show viewers the faces of the frightened and confused individual animals, about to experience horrific deaths because consumers pay for it to happen. It forces people to think about each one of those faces. It is a growing movement to stop animal abuse, and has expanded rapidly in recent times.
Image: The Save Movement brings into peoples consciousness the animals being forced to endure horrific deaths every day at slaughter houses. Source
Animal Rights Events Calendar
You can find animal rights activist events, including demonstrations and protests to stop animal abuse, here:
Other Effective Animal Rights Activism
For many more types of animal rights activism, that everyone can do, have a look here.
Have a look on this page to find out what the most effective Vegan activism approaches are.
You can find advice on how to be the best advocate for animals, by keeping a healthy and happy mind, here.
Other Ways To Help Stop Animal Suffering
On this site there are many varied ways you can help animals and help stop animal abuse. In fact, there are so many different ways that there is something for every personality type, no matter what their circumstances.
If you would like to learn more about why we so urgently need to help stop animal abuse and suffering, please see this website. It will allow you to broaden your knowledge of many different types of world wide animal cruelty, giving you the ability to help animals by spreading awareness and answering questions people may have. Please be aware that you may find the information distressing.
One great way to help animals is to share the information you have seen on this website. Doing so means more people could help stop animal cruelty, and that would make you responsible for more animals being saved from suffering. Together we can help people help animals <3
Have Your Say In The Comments Section
Do you know of any information we have missed, or do you have any information to add to this page? Please leave a comment to let everyone know about it.