Writing letters is one of the easiest things a vegan can do to make change in the world. Whether you’re writing to an activist who has been jailed for standing up for animals or the planet, or sending a scathing letter (or two, or five, or twenty) to a corporation engaged in animal-unfriendly practices, you can make a difference without even leaving your house. (That said, NARN hosts multiple monthly vegan letter writing events around Seattle, and we’d love for you to join us!). Check the NARN calendar for the next event.
Since the passage of the US Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, activists and vegans speaking out on behalf of animals, people, and the planet are often targeted and imprisoned for daring to challenge the systems of oppression on which our country blithely operates. As vegans, we oppose the notion of people OR animals being locked into cages, and those of us on the outside can do a lot to support our comrades who have been jailed for their beliefs. The US prison system is a bleak, dehumanizing place, and writing letters of support to prisoners is one way to remind them that they matter, that we care, and that their sacrifice has not gone unnoticed.
Not sure what to write? Most prisoners like to hear about what their fellow activists and community members are doing in their stead. Tell stories, talk about the work you’re doing in your communities, share your favorite vegan recipes, etc. For some more suggestions and guidelines for sending letters to prisoners, check out NYC ABC’s “Write a Letter” guide.
If you attend a NARN letter writing event, we’ll have up-to-date lists of political prisoners to whom you can write. We do try to keep the page up to date. If you see errors or omissions, please contact us to let us know (info[at]narn.org)
If you’re not comfortable or interested in maintaining a pen pal relationship with a prisoner, you may also consider sending a letter in support of or opposition to a politician or a corporation. This type of activism can also have a major impact: with enough community support, we can change a politician’s vote or a company’s animal-unfriendly practice.
Some examples of this type of letter include writing to a large university to protest its use of animal testing on campus; writing a letter to a local politician or city council to urge them to ban animal circuses from city limits; writing a letter to a local grocery store to ask them to stop carrying foie gras; or writing a letter to a national food producer asking them to stop using palm oil in their food products.
Writing a letter to the editor of your local paper or a magazine is kind of like staging a one-person protest without leaving your house. You have the opportunity to express your opinion and influence the hundreds or thousands of people who read the editorial section of your paper. Typically, you are writing in response to an article (i.e. if a magazine featured something about eating a vegan diet, you can write to thank them for their coverage and gently remind their readers that veganism isn’t just about what’s on your plate, but about advocating for the animals whose lives are so carelessly used for food, clothing, and entertainment) but if you’re feeling more ambitious (or just more wordy!) you can write a pitch, asking to write an animal- or vegan-related article for the publication. Vegan and non-vegan blogs are a great place to offer your services, though local news outlets may also jump at the chance to feature the voice of a community member. You never know until you try! Make sure you keep your letters short, sweet, and to the point. Don’t forget to spell check!
You can find some tips and templates for editorial and political/corporate letter writing here. At a NARN letter writing event, we will bring some current campaigns as well as standard language you can use for these types of letters.
USP Marion CMU
PO Box 1000
Marion, IL 62959
Walter Bond (Abdul Haqq) is an imprisoned Animal Liberation Front activist who was arrested in the summer of 2010 for the “ALF Lone Wolf” arsons of a sheepskin factory in Denver, Colorado, a leather factory in Salt Lake City, Utah and the Tiburon restaurant in Sandy, Utah which sold the incredibly cruel product foie gras. He pled guilty to all three arsons as well as one count of AETA (the infamous Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act). Walter received a total prison sentence of 12 years and 3 months and is scheduled for release on April 14, 2021.
Nicole Kissane and Joseph Buddenberg were arrested and federally indicted for alleged Conspiracy to Violate the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act—Title 18, U.S.C., Section 43 (a) (1), (2) (c) and (b) (3) (A). A federal grand jury indictment alleges that Nicole and Joseph conspired to release thousands of animals from fur farms and destroy breeding records in Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. The indictment also alleges that they caused economic damage to various retail and distribution businesses and individuals associated with the fur industry.
Joseph Buddenberg #12746-111 MCC San Diego
808 Union Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Envelope must be addressed to Marie Mason #04672-061
Federal Medical Center
P.O. Box 27137
Fort Worth, TX 76127
Marius Mason is a long-time activist in the environmental and labor movements. In March 2008, he was arrested by federal authorities for charges related to two acts of property destruction that occurred in 1999 and 2000; no one was injured in either of them. He accepted a plea bargain and was sentenced on February 5, 2009 to just under 22 years. He is now serving the longest sentence of any “Green Scare” prisoner.
13423 East 1150th Ave
Robinson, IL 62454
Brian is a vegan who was arrested on February 9, 2013 in Chicago for an alleged attempted arson at a McDonalds. He is serving a 9 year sentence.
5701 8th Street
Dublin, CA 94568
Rebecca is serving 5 years (until 04/07/2017) for arson and conspiracy charges stemming from Earth Liberation Front actions that occurred between 1996 and 2001. She accepted a non-cooperating plea agreement.