Guidelines for Public Relations

Guidelines for Public Relations

Communicating with key publics is not only essential to businesses but is also the backbone of much animal and environmental protection advocacy as well. Public relations practice should foster mutually beneficial relationships between stakeholders based on truthful communication. Yet the public is often skeptical of PR as self-serving “spin,” especially in terms of a company’s environmental or animal welfare practices. To earn the public’s trust, and create open, honest dialogue that fosters informed decision-making, organizations should:

  • Conduct two-way communication with animal and environmental protection organizations as stakeholders. This involves listening to and addressing the activists’ concerns about organizational/business activities and being open or willing to consider amending business practices to increase the fairness and responsibility toward nonhuman animals and the natural world.
  • Be fair to animal and environmental protection organizations and activists or anyone with fewer resources and a smaller voice in the public sphere when publicly communicating about issues.
  • Consider the interests of nonhuman animals and nature when crafting messages as well as considering them as stakeholders or moral claimants who are affected by the organization’s practices and decision-making.
  • Be upfront with the public about the economic support and influence the corporation/organization puts into lobbying, especially if that involves weakening of animal and environmental protection laws. Share all corporate activities affecting nonhuman animals with the public, not just select, non-controversial or favorable activities. To avoid puffery or exaggeration (or charges of green-washing or humane-washing), represent oneself honestly in terms of the level of sustainability or cruelty-free practices the organization has yet to achieve.
  • Use language that acknowledges that animals are sentient individuals not objects. Refer to them as “he/she/them” not “it,” “who” not “that,” and “someone” not “something.”  (For more on this, see Selecting Appropriate Terminology in the Journalism section).

 

 For citation purposes, this page was last updated August 2014