WATCH: Our Pressure Campaigns Training at the Animal Liberation Conference

WATCH: Our Pressure Campaigns Training at the Animal Liberation Conference

At this year’s Animal Liberation Conference our Campaign Specialist for Captive Animals, Brittany Michelson, represented In Defense of Animals by leading a training on Pressure Campaigns to a group of activists. Her 75-minute training was part of the conference’s break-out sessions and included a slideshow presentation. 

The annual Animal Liberation Conference in Berkeley, California, draws hundreds of activists for nearly a week of training, presentations, actions, and other animal rights activities. It also includes the Animal Liberation March through the streets of San Francisco and some measure of animal open rescue. This year, 18 chickens were liberated from Petaluma Poultry, a slaughterhouse in Sonoma County that kills around 40,000 birds per week. 

Brittany’s position involves campaigns and advocacy work for animals who are exploited for entertainment and other purposes in zoos, marine parks, the circus, the pet trade, and in industries that use animals in sporting events, such as the rodeo. Applying pressure can help stop many kinds of animal suffering.


Brittany’s workshop, Pressure Campaigns: Making Lasting Change for Animals, engaged participants in a detailed look at pressure campaigns and what elements are involved in them. It taught participants how to run pressure campaigns focusing on the three phases of the process: starting the campaign, building the campaign, and winning the campaign. It also addressed the five elements: Goal, Target, Strategy, Tactics, and Vision. 

Pressure campaigns rely on sustained efforts toward a specific outcome and involve building pressure over time. They go beyond an educational endeavor and seek to achieve both a victory and a holistic change through sustained tactics. Pressure campaigns are usually made up of multiple tactics, combined to work toward the goal.

Pressure tactics include:

  • media communications
  • protests
  • action alerts
  • legislative action
  • letter writing
  • creative demonstrations
  • civil disobedience
  • and more!

Pressure campaigns aim to inspire people to take further action, in addition to helping them understand the depth of the problem. They should be comprehensive, although there are pressure campaigns based on one form of advocacy (such as relentless protesting) which are sometimes effective on their own.

When starting a pressure campaign, it is crucial to understand the difference between strategy and tactics. It is also crucial to identify what the primary target needs to survive, as well as who becomes the secondary and tertiary targets of the campaign in order to indirectly go after the primary target. 

Brittany’s training demonstrated tactics that In Defense of Animals uses in its efforts, such as action alerts, media releases, blogs, video blogs, video content, social media posts, platform-generated messages, letter writing, speaking at city council/ board meetings, co-hosting protests with local groups, etc. Many of these tactics have been used by Brittany in the campaigns she has worked on, including:

Brittany also gave the audience examples of some of In Defense of Animals’ milestones and successful campaigns over the years, since its inception in 1983. The training concluded with a group activity where participants brainstormed their own GTSTV plans (Goal, Target, Strategy, Tactics & Vision).

This inspiring, comprehensive conference was enjoyed by many and we expect the energy and inspiration generated will continue to help animals for years to come. 

Thank you for all you do to help animals, and please consider volunteering with us.