Friday, April 4, 2008

Letters for Change

Through a good friend of mine - my mother, in fact - I became aware last year of the plight of the farmed bears in China. My mother is a loyal supporter of rescue organizations and so, for Christmas, we sponsored a bear in her name. I thought that would pretty much be the end of it, but yet again I could not quite turn away from what I'd learned and I've been following the activities of Animals Asia (through whom we sponsored a Moon Bear called 'Bottom') ever since.

Last week I got an email from AA in preparation for the arrival of 28 rescued farmed bears and just had to check out the website. The story is truly heartbreaking - and the work of the organization is inspirational. In her blog, Jill Robinson, founder of Animals Asia, asks supporters to write to the head of the Wildlife Conservation Division of the Sichuan Forestry Dept in China and to convey praise for the efforts already made on behalf of the bears. This is something I did last night and have just returned from mailing the letter to China.

And it's an empowering experience.

I was never a big fan of writing 'letters for change', mainly because I really have no leverage with the intended recipient. For instance, if writing to my Congressperson on an issue, I can hardly imply that I'll withold my electoral support from them...since I have no vote anyhow. (Yes, taxation without representation, but that's a whole other story!) But the type of letter Jill has solicited is of another kind altogether. She stressed that the letters must be polite and encouraging and to reward the recipient for work already done, in the hope of encouraging more of the same.

This is a much more positive way to go about the whole business. And it seems the more *vegan* option too - thankfulness for what's been achieved, encouragement for what's to come and compassionate, respectful understanding for those involved.

If you have time and interest, do check out the website and the blog and pen a note to 'Madame Bear'.

Stay Vegan, Friends!

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