by Marsha Rakestraw

The ways in which we talk about and portray nonhuman animals greatly influences how we think about animals and our relationships with them.

Using she, he or it. Saying owner vs. guardian. Referring to them as things, or as savage, or as incapable of feelings and thoughts.

Animals and Media is a style guide designed “for media practitioners in the professions of journalism, entertainment media, advertising, and public relations to offer concrete guidance for how to cover and represent nonhuman animals in a fair, honest, and respectful manner in accordance with professional ethical principles.”

The website includes specific guidelines for journalism, for advertising, for public relations, and for entertainment media.

The site also includes tips to help citizens promote and support more coverage of animal issues and a more respectful, compassionate perspective on nonhuman animals; useful resources; and a link to their Facebook page with informative and action-oriented posts.

Initiatives like Animals and Media are vital for helping us think about and use communications in ways that “foster less domination and exploitation and more respect, care, and ecological responsibility.”

It’s a useful resource for humane educators and solutionaries.