THE PERSONAL TOUCH

Lobbying your MP

The Diaries of Despair campaign is a truly historic opportunity in the battle against vivisection. Let's seize this chance and strike a blow against barbarism! Animals can't vote, they can't protest, they can't lobby their MP, and they can't boycott companies. Without your advocacy, they are utterly defenceless. Every single person can do their bit - justice for animals can only be achieved if people make a stand in their defence. Dan Lyons explains how you can get active...

It's time to advance this campaign towards the heart of Government. There is one highly effective form of advocacy that everyone should participate in as committed defenders of animals - Lobbying your MP to sign EDM 1340 - "Uncaged Campaigns", which calls for an independent inquiry into the Diaries of Despair affair. Remember, your MP is there to represent your concerns and interests.

Please make it a priority to visit your MP at their constituency surgery. Personal contact with your MP can have a huge impact. Experts in government and politics agree that personal lobbying is the most effective way of getting a message across to decision-makers. Animals are depending on you and the sign of an effective advocate is their ability to present a strong case to those in power. Here are the practical steps to how you can make a real impact.

Step 1

Find out who your MP is and whether they have already signed EDM 1340 by either visiting the www.parliament.uk site or telephoning the House of Commons Information Office on 020 7219 4272, who can also give you your MP's constituency office phone number. This is important. Follow this link to see if they've signed EDM 1340.

Step 2

If your MP has not signed EDM 1340, telephone the constituency office and find out about their constituency surgeries. It might help to write a letter first, based on the standard letter to MPs on this subject and advise them to visit this website to read the report and documents.

Step 3

Prepare and practice what you want to say and present to your MP. We have found that MPs are particularly interested in the political misconduct raised by the affair, such as: the Home Office failing to enforce it's own laws and regulations, and its collusion with Imutran in the licensing process; inaccurate written answers given to Parliament; the need for the behaviour of Home Office to be independently investigated and for due process to be observed (see Guilty Government). MPs should be extremely concerned about these issues, irrespective of their wider current opinions on animal testing. Get familiar with the key issues. Check out the suggested letter to MPs and also the memorandum. It may require a small investment in your time and attention, but the pay-off is an enhancement of the impact and quality of your lobbying. Knowledge is power!

Step 4

Make an appointment if necessary to see your MP at the appropriate surgery and go along and ask them to sign the EDM. The bottom line on signing the motion is that it commits the MP to supporting due process, and that everyone should agree with the enforcement of rules that are supposed to stop severe and 'unnecessary' animal cruelty. There is strong evidence (to say the least) that these rules have not been enforced by the Home Office, which is why there is a need for an independent inquiry. If your MP is Labour, it might be politically expedient to focus your criticism on the civil servants and the Inspectors who, in reality do most of the decision-making (though the Minister is ultimately responsible for the behaviour of their civil servants). Stick to the issue in hand, don't overload your MP with other or broader concerns. Stay focussed and keep cool and patient if necessary.

Step 5

Don't give up! If your MP cannot sign because they are a minister, shadow minister or whip, ask them to write to the Prime Minister to request the establishment of an independent inquiry. If your MP simply won't sign, ask them for a specific reason why. Many MP's have written to the Home Office, who have produced an inaccurate and evasive reply to cover up their callous misconduct. If your MP has received this and is satisfied by it, please forward it to me as we have a document explaining the truth underneath the Home Office spin. Revisit your MP if you are not satisfied!!

I cannot stress how important and valuable this kind of work is. Persistence is also vital in any historic campaign: it took two-and-a-half years to finally see off Imutran and Novartis and together we must keep up the pressure on the Government until we achieve justice.

If you want to get involved in protests, stalls and essential fundraising, then see the Action Diary for more information. If you have any questions, please get in touch and we'll do our best to help you out.

 

Petition hand-in at 10 Downing Street
Credit: Corin Jeavons

Please make it a priority to visit your MP at their constituency surgery. Personal contact with your MP can have a huge impact.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rally in London 2002
Credit: Corin Jeavons

 

 

 

 

 

Rally in London 2002
Credit: Corin Jeavons

 

 

 

 

 

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