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‘Framing’: How animal advocates can package messages for maximum impact

An ever-present danger in animal advocacy is excluding groups of individuals through excessive polarization or esoteric language.

KOPAL JHA: ‘Language is one of the most powerful tools in an animal advocate’s arsenal. Presented appropriately, conservation becomes a compelling goal for those who are not necessarily considering animal welfare in their daily lives… Frames are how people organize their reality. They consist of related bits of information – characters, places, feelings, emotions, etc. – that may be invoked by the use of a particular word or image… Sequencing is another factor that influences the reception of a message. As a general rule, the beginning of your sentence or argument carries more weight than the end…

Framing involves manipulating the language of arguments to agree with positive mental structures in other people. This technique fits neatly with the goals of conservationists. An ever-present danger in animal advocacy is excluding groups of individuals through excessive polarization or esoteric language… A secondary concern for animal advocates is presenting nature in a way that is compelling but not undermining…

Animal advocates should steer clear of frames that invoke associations to commerce, productivity, or transaction… Advocates should instead employ frames that reference the intrinsic worth of wildlife… Overemphasizing words such as “threat”, “dramatic decline”, and “catastrophe” may evoke strong emotions in the audience, but not necessarily the emotions that will stir them to action. Conservation should be motivated by hope and optimism, which is better achieved through inspiring and uplifting language…

The report goes on to emphasize that framing is not only a matter of language. Imagery can also be selected to invoke appropriate frames… Engaging with dialogue appropriately will be important in the coming years, as both support for, and resistance to, wildlife conservation is mounting. In this climate of increased polarization, it will take creativity, sensitivity, and persuasive skills through techniques like framing in order to reinvigorate public enthusiasm for nature’. SOURCE…

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