How to Write a Letter to the Editor of a Newspaper to Educate People About Pet Mills
When there is an issue that you want to bring to the attention of the people in your area, writing a letter for publication in your local newspaper is an excellent idea. One thing that activist pet lovers wish to do is to stop puppy mills, and pet mills. The best way to stop these places of cruel mass breeding is by educating the public as to where pets that are sold in most pet stores come from, and why it is cruel to buy such animals.
When writing a letter to the editor you will want to find out what the newspaper requires. Most will ask for your name, address, and phone number. They will print your name (unless you specify that you do not want your name used and have a reasonable reason for such), but will not print your address and phone number. Most newspapers have a guideline in regards to length of letter. The newspaper may specific letters under 300 words or something to that extent.
Your letter to the editor should be clear and of interest to most people, not just a rant against one person who is bothering you directly. If the problem does not affect others, it is not publication worthy. You will want to make your point in at least 3-5 paragraphs. Some issues are more complicated and take more paragraphs. First, What is the problem. Second, Why is it a problem. Third and Fourth, What can people do. Fifth, How will we know the problem is fixed, what are the benefits.
Let us look at how to write a letter with an example.
First Paragraph: Define the Problem: Puppy Mills and Pet Mills
By now you have probably heard of puppy mills, and pet mills, if not let me tell you a bit about them and how you can put a stop to them. Puppy mills and pet mills are places where animals are produced in mass, they are bred as cheaply as possible so that the most profit can be made by the sale of such animals. The laws on puppy mills are rather hard to define, even where illegal they still exist. Toughening up laws is not the answer.
Second Paragraph: Why is this a Problem?
Puppy mills and pet mills are a huge problem. As mentioned they breed animals cheaply, thus producing lower quality pets, the animals are often warehoused in small spaces forced to breed over and over and over, until they cannot reproduce, at which time they are generally disposed of (often strangled). Their offspring are typically not handled at all, and in the case of small caged pets this means they are less social. The consumer simply pays too much for a low quality pet, and contributes to horrific cruelty in that every time a puppy (for example) is purchase it condemns the parent animals to live in horrid conditions, often stacked in cages one on top of the other.
Third Paragraph: What can People do to solve the Problem?
Many people think that toughening laws will stop these breeding mills, but that is not the answer. The only way to stop the cruel mass breeding of animals is if people stopped buying them. While a few mill animals are sold directly to the public most are sold to pet stores or to brokers that sell to pet stores. The only way to stop mills is to stop making it profitable for those involved. Quite simply people need to stop buying pets from pet stores. This is a very hard thing for most people to understand, since they feel they are giving a puppy a good home when they buy from a store, but they are failing to remember the suffering behind the scenes that this creates.
Fourth Paragraph: Continue the Point
Consider that everyone involved, the store, the broker, the breeder, and you soon realize how little expense has gone into producing the animals that are sold in stores. Buyers pay too much for poorly bred animals (cute but genetically low quality), while animal shelters are forced to euthanize millions of excess animals every year due to the flood of mill animals sold in stores (in the USA alone over 4 million cats and dogs are euthanized every year in shelters). Some cities are acting now to ban the sale of pets from stores, but until that happens I encourage people not only to refuse to buy animals from stores, but to refuse to shop at stores that sell animals.
Fifth Paragraph: What are the Benefits?
If people stopped buying pets from pet stores the stores would be forced to reduce their prices so that selling pets becomes unprofitable. They would stop supporting the mills, and the mills too would go out of business. There will still be plenty of pets for sale, reputable breeders, back yard breeders (who do not produce in mass quantities), and accidental litters, will still keep the pet industry going. If we can just get rid of cruel mill breeders we can not only end cruelty in the pet industry, but hopefully also reduce the numbers of unwanted pets.
Feel free to use this sample letter to the editor if you wish to write to your local newspaper, but do change it to make it “your own”. Do not target specific stores, add more information as you see fit. Getting people to understand the idea behind protesting the sale of pets via pet stores is very hard to do but education is the first step, and a letter to the editor will educate some people.