Educating others about the abuse connection isn't as hard as you might think. You don't have to stand up on a soapbox and preach to get people to listen - in fact, there are other ways to get people's attention that will often be more effective.
Because of people's varying views (and tolerance) on animal welfare and animal rights issues, yelling about an issue at the top of your lungs will often turn more people OFF to listening to you than it will make you heard. As the saying goes "You get more flies with honey than vinegar". This can often prove true with animal-related issues, especially when you are trying to reach the broader public (i.e. - people who would not normally be active in animal issues.)
Sometimes just wearing a t-shirt or button with an interesting expression on it will cause people to come up to YOU and ask what it means. This situation is ideal, because people do not feel like you're preaching to them, since they were the ones who asked you in the first place. You may be surprised how conversations can start that provide you with a great way to educate others, simply by wearing something related to the grocery store, the beach, waiting for your car to get serviced - anywhere. In fact, we at Pet-Abuse.Com wear our Pet-Abuse.Com sweatshirt every Sunday to our local Dog Beach, and at least once that day - without fail - someone will come up to us and ask us about it.
And yes - we realize that our statement above may come off sounding like some cheesy self-promotional schpeil to get you to buy a t-shirt - but its not. No one was more surprised than we were when we began to see how many people would walk up to us and talk to us about it. Sometimes it was the Martin Luthur King quote on the back that got their attention, and other times it was was photo or the text on the front. (One woman actually made us hold still while she photographed it!)
If you've used this more subtle way of educating the public, we'd love to hear your stories. Send us an email at email@example.com and tell us about it!