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SAMPLE LETTER TO THE NEWSPAPER

An enormous amount of exposure can be gained through the pages of your local newspapers. Local and weekly papers are read by lots of people - particularly the Letters to the Editor section. The following letter is a suggestion for you to copy, but feel free to compose your own. Please remember to keep to the paper’s suggested word limit (which is usually about 250 words) and include the date, your name, address, and a daytime phone number. Sometimes newspapers like to call and verify you wrote the letter. Don’t worry: The paper won't print your address or phone.

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Dear Editor:

When summer brings hot temperatures to our area, many of us just want to head to the water. It's frustrating when we can't refresh ourselves with a quick dip because of work or traffic. That's why it's sad to imagine that birds with a great love of water are deprived of it on today’s factory farms.

Most farmed ducks are close relatives of Mallards, ducks commonly seen on every pond. Like wild birds, factory-farmed ducks have evolved to eat, swim, dive, clean, and play in water. Water is the basis for their life. But on today's factory farms, where thousands of birds are kept in one shed, these waterfowl never see water, except in nipple drinkers – literally a pipe with holes that dribble water.

Most have the tips of their bills cut to prevent feather pulling – a behavior caused by intensive confinement – and many can barely walk because of leg deformities. Life ends viciously for these gentle birds after seven weeks. Many will be fully conscious when their throats are cut. Additionally, thousands of ducks are boiled alive each year; the FSIS estimates that almost 6,000 were boiled alive in 1998.

Luckily, this is something consumers can help stop! You can refuse to buy duck meat and complain to any store that sells it. Please support Viva!USA's 'Ducks Out of Water' campaign. They can be contacted at P.O. Box 4398, Davis, CA 95617, 530/759-8482 or via e-mail at info@vivausa.org.

Yours sincerely,

(239 words)