Cownose rays migrate to the Chesapeake Bay in May to give birth to their pups and mate almost immediately afterwards. Tragically, cruel killing contests happen at this same time. Participants head out in boats on the Bay to kill rays for prizes and entertainment — many of the rays killed are pregnant.
The Hatcher Group teamed up with the Save the Rays Coalition — a broad coalition of animal rights and environmental organizations — on a campaign to pass legislation sponsored by Delegate Shane Robinson and Senator Ronald Young to ban the contests.
The Hatcher Group worked with the Coalition, local elected officials, state agencies as well as relevant scientists and academics to develop messaging and spread the word about the importance of passing the bill.
The Hatcher Group designed a new logo for the coalition and put together a fact sheet to educate citizens and legislators. An op-ed from Delegate Robinson ran in the Baltimore Sun in December prior to the bill’s introduction, which led to more legislators co-sponsoring the bill.
The digital media portion of the campaign is a key component that is just getting started. The Hatcher Group produced a short video using footage from a coalition member and the Phoenix Zoo to highlight the atrocity that coalition members can share via social media. We created a new website that allows interested citizens to get more information or contact their legislators. We also provided coalition members with a social media toolkit, including impactful memes, to spread awareness about the campaign.
The bill has not yet been introduced, but the coalition is prepared well in advance to mobilize Marylanders and save the cownose rays!