Peaceful Protest Tactics


Peaceful protest tactics, demonstrations, and marches can effectively draw attention to animal cruelty issues.

Street protestors and demonstrators carry large placards exposing the animal cruelty of the target. They should be as large as possible, with very large and clear writing on so people can read it very quickly as they pass. Protestors can also shout about the cruelty, and together they can chant anti-cruelty slogans. They often have literature to hand out to passers by.

Street protests and demonstrations are very embarrassing to the perpitrator of the cruelty. They are horrified that something they would rather people did not know the details of is being exposed in such a public way. Protests and demonstrations outside a shop can put customers off from going in. Support can be gathered from other members of the public who previously did not know about the issue.

To make it more effective, you can combine your protest or demonstration with email, letter, and phone call campaigns, as well as petitions. Signatures can be collected on petitions from the public during your street protest.

Protests and demonstrations can involve any number of people, from one to a huge number. The bigger the street protest, or the more often it happens, the more the target is likely to feel pressure and take notice.

The media can sometimes report on protests, bringing publicity to the cause, especially if it is an unusually creative protest. 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 support by, for example, people sharing  photos of it on social media.

However, while trying to draw attention to the cause, it is important not to offend people you would like to gain support from, as this will only anger and alienate them.

It is vitally important to get your voice heard by street protesting, or through petitions or letter, telephone, and email campaigns, because if the perpitrators of cruelty do not know that there are so many people who are bothered about the cruelty, they will carry on oblivious and never change.

Image: Animal rights activists protesting against a cruel mobile zoo in Cananda. So that cars would stop for him, one protestor dressed up as a parking attendant so he was able to give them leaflets about the cruelty. Source


Protests Really Do Work!

The targets of public protests can find being demonstrated against very embarrassing.

For instance, a South Korean Dog Meat Festival was cancelled due to outraged people within the country protesting against it, as well as international campaigns being mounted against it.

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.

They also could not find anyone willing to rent them suitable premises for the event, as they did not wish to be bombarded by protestors and campaigners telephoning or sending emails and letters.

Image: Protests in South Korea against eating dogs played a large part in getting a dog meat festival – which promotes human consumption of dog meat – cancelled there. they cram themselves into cages the way the dogs are before they are barbarically slaughtered in front of one another, and ask, what’s the difference? Source


Image: Protestors who have climbed on to the cat walk at Melbourne Fashion Week to demonstrate against fur. As a result, the fur that was due to be shown in the show, was not shown. Source


Protest Tactics: Size 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.

Although it is true that the larger protests are, the more impact they tend to have, having any impact at all defnitely counts. Therefore a small protest is better than none at all.

Image: A small demonstration at Sheffield University, UK, against animal experimentation. Although there are only two protestors, the message is effectively got across. Source

Protest Tactics: Different Ways To Protest

There are straight forward public protests and demo’s where people stay in one place, and then there are marches, which moves through the streets.

Large placards with big, clear text on them are important to get your message across. Calling out or chanting your message can also help with this. Having a loud haler to amplify your voice helps to spread your message. If you are silent, you run the risk of people not even noticing you. You should somehow attract attention to yourselves.

Image: Anti-fur protest outside Harvey Nicholls by CAFT members. Such protests could put off prospective customers going in. Source 


Image: Animal rights activists try to put people off fois gras by exposing the facts to customers. Source

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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, and protestors 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.

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

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Image: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals use eye-catching protest tactics. Source

FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2013 file photo, animal rights activist and co-founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Ingrid Newkirk lies on a mock barbecue stand as a sign of protest in Mumbai, celebrating World Vegan Month, a month long celebration of a health, environment- and animal-friendly vegan diet. PETA turns 35 years old in 2015, is the largest animal rights group in world with 3 million members, and has done a lot with a little sex, shock and celebrity.(AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool, File)

Image: Covered in “blood”, semi-naked Peta members demonstrate against the Running Of the Bulls in Spain. Source


Image: 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


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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 often also 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. 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. 

FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2013 file photo, animal rights activist and co-founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Ingrid Newkirk lies on a mock barbecue stand as a sign of protest in Mumbai, celebrating World Vegan Month, a month long celebration of a health, environment- and animal-friendly vegan diet. PETA turns 35 years old in 2015, is the largest animal rights group in world with 3 million members, and has done a lot with a little sex, shock and celebrity.(AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool, File)

Image: Animal rights activist information table. 


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Protest Tactics: Things That Detract From Demonstrations

People who protest against issues of animal cruelty usually feel extremely strongly about them and it is 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 illegal behaviour is likely to lose support for the cause and gain sympathy for the opposing side.

Image: A peaceful animal rights protest march headed for the legaslative assembly in San Jose, turned violent after someone unexpectedly burned an effigy of  an legislator opposing an animal rights bill. This has left the animal rights movement that the bad publicity will affect the goal they have worked so hard for. Source


It is also a fine balance to achieve to draw as much attention as possible to your cause, without offending 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 to the incarceration and slaughter of farm animals was deemed so offensive hat it was banned in Germany on the basis it trivialised the holocaust. Source 


Hostile People

Not everybody is as compassionate, empathetic and emotionally intelligent as most animal righst activists are. You should be aware that you may well receive some negative remarks.

This is because some people lack understanding, lack the ability to understand and feel compassion, and are ignorant about animal cruelty issues.

Image: Banners such as this held by protesters outside shops can shame customers into not going in the shop. Source

Harvey Nichols anti fur protest MM

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 burgers while they protest!

Another misconception is that animal rights protesters are scruffy hippies 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.

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Learn Of Many Other Ways to Help Stop Animal Abuse

On this site there are many varied ways you can help stop animal cruelty, and there are ways  that will suit everyone, no matter what their personality.

If you would like to learn more about why we so urgently need to help stop animal suffering, please have a look at the Types Of Animal Cruelty section of this site. It will allow you to broaden your knowledge of many different types of animal abuse that happens in the world.

Sadly, what you will find is only the tip of the iceberg, but do not worry, because in the Help Stop Animal Cruelty section of this site, you can find a large and varied choice of ways that you can help stop the suffering. Have a look and see what ways would most suit you.

Help animals further by sharing the ways to stop animal cruelty you learn with other people. Doing this could mean more people help stop the cruelty, and therefore you are responsible for more animals being saved from suffering.

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