Writing a letter to the editor is an effective way to raise public awareness about a specific animal protection bill, issue or event. A well-written, well-timed letter can shift public opinion and influence policy. Here are several tips:

  • Letters should generally be 200 words or less and be sure to stay under the newspaper's word limit, if they provide one. Before writing your letter, review the newspaper's policy on letters to the editor. It is frequently available on the newspaper's website under the Opinion section. Note that editors will modify your letter for clarity and could cut parts of it entirely if it is too long.
  • Open your letter with a strong statement that will catch the reader’s eye and include a call to action. Examples include, “Please take action to protect wolves from trophy hunting” or “Don’t let legislators allow horse slaughter plants to open in our country.”
  • Keep your letter as short as possible by focusing on one or two major points. Support your position with facts, statistics and citations. Editors prefer to publish concise, timely letters.
  • If you are writing about a specific piece of legislation:
  1. Briefly explain to readers what the issue is.
  2. Clearly express support or opposition to the bill.
  3. Refer to the bill by number.
  4. Suggest action(s) readers can take to help.
  • Name your legislator in the letter so it gets picked up by their news clips service or Google alerts, e.g., “As a constituent, I urge Representative John Doe to co-sponsor H.R. 1380, the Big Cat Public Safety Act.”
  • Submit letters by email or through the newspaper’s online form whenever possible. Look for the email address on the newspaper's website.
  • Be accurate and avoid personal attacks. You’ll help animal protection issues stand out from the crowd by being polite and professional.
  • Connect the issue you are writing about to the possible effect on your local community. Editors are more likely to publish letters on issues that are important to their readers.
  • Close with the thought you'd like readers to remember.
  • Ask someone to review your letter to be sure your writing is clear and you are getting your point across.
  • You must include your name, street address and phone number. Editors are on guard about fake identities and will often contact you to verify that you wrote your letter. They will not run anonymous letters.
  • Don't submit multiple letters in a short amount of time. Many papers have policies that limit how frequently they will publish the opinion of one individual or organization. It’s also important not to submit the same letter to multiple papers.