IFAW's guide to writing a letter to your local paper

Local newspapers print letters from their readers on a regular basis. This is a great way to publicise issues of interest to you and other people in your local area. Why not write to your local paper about hunting?

Below are some key things to remember and some suggestions from IFAW on points you could include to ensure that candidates are aware of your views opposing hunting with dogs.

Things to remember:

  • Keep it short. There is a lot of competition for space in the letters pages so be sure to keep it short and snappy. This also grabs other readers’ attention more easily. Make your key points clearly and politely at the start of the letter – if the letter needs to be shortened it is more likely to be edited from the bottom upwards.
  • Give your name and town/village etc, so that the paper knows you are a local person. If you do not want your name printed make sure you mark clearly on the letter that you do not wish to have your details printed. Papers can print letters and just state “name and address supplied”, so that your details are protected.

Points you may want to include in your letter are:

  • Hunting with dogs was banned because the majority of the public find the idea of setting dogs on wild mammals for entertainment abhorrent.
  • The majority of the public continue to support the ban, including in rural areas and across party political boundaries.
  • The hunters want the Hunting Act repealed and the Conservative Party leadership has repeatedly stated it wants that too (despite the fact many Conservatives disagree with that decision), which means that such an important landmark piece of legislation is still under real threat.
  • Facing the prospect of not having enough votes for a repeal of the Hunting Act, pro-hunt politicians may be attempting to weaken the ban again (as they tried to do so in 2014).  They wish to amend the Act in such a way that its enforcement will be more difficult. Essentially this would be a “repeal by the back door.”
  • Explain how the hunting fraternity, by abusing the Act’s exemptions and by developing the false alibi of trail hunting, is making enforcement of the Act very difficult. Therefore it is necessary to amend the Act to strengthen it.
  • Ask your Member of Parliament to commit to voting against repeal of the Hunting Act or weakening of the ban, and support any amendment to improve the Act’s enforcement, in order to prevent cruelty from returning to the countryside.