Many people feel great compassion towards animals, but are unsure where to start in preventing cruelty towards them. There are a variety of ways you can help in the fight against animal cruelty, and some of those options are reviewed below. Remember that education, awareness, and direct action all come into play when stopping cruelty towards animals.
Method 1 Method 1 of 4:Choosing the Right Products Download Article
Avoid products that are tested on animals. A variety of products, from cosmetics to pharmaceutical drugs, are tested on animals. Animal rights advocates disagree with the use of such products for a variety of reasons. Testing causes painful physical side effects for animals, lab conditions are often cramped and unpleasant, and animals are often killed or die unintentionally during the process. Know what products are likely to be tested on animals and avoid such products.
- Olay, one of the world’s largest skin care companies, carries out 400,000 skin care safety tests each year, many of which are likely conducted on animals.
- Avon, a cosmetics company, does not conduct tests on animals as a company but many of their ingredients come from outside facilities known for animal testing.
- Garnier, known for shampoo and make-up, is one of the most well-known users of animal testing for their products.
- Neutrogena, a skin care company, claims they do not test their products on animals. However, their parent company Johnson and Johnson claims to minimize animal testing but acknowledges that they do sometimes engage in the practice.
- M.A.C cosmetics resumed animal testing in 2012 after previously having sworn off the practice.
Do not buy products made from animals. Many products we buy at the local supermarket or department store contain ingredients that come from animals. It’s not just the obvious culprits, like leather and fur, that you must avoid to end cruelty. Look for the following ingredients, which are frequently found in every day products like toothpaste, nail polish, perfume, shampoo, and conditioner. If you see one of the following listed on a label, you might want to reconsider your purchase.
- Albumin, the protein component of egg whites, is found in many processed foods.
- Carmine, the red coloring made from a ground up insect, is found in packaged cookies and crackers, refried beans, tortillas, and ready made pie crusts.
- Casein, a milk protein, is found in many soy cheeses.
- Wood glue is the specific glue made from horses, and found in musical instruments and furniture.
- Keratin is protein from hooves, horns, and animal hairs and often found in shampoos.
- Plywood, used in a variety of wood-based products, uses a glue made from animal blood.
Look for the Leaping Bunny. The Leaping Bunny Program is an initiative lead by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC). It provides the best possible assurance that a product is free of animal testing.
- The Leaping Bunny does extensive investigation of cosmetic, skin care, household products, and hair care companies to assure no animal testing is used. They often find companies that claim to be “testing free” that use ingredients from facilities that test on animals.
- The CCIC’s website provides an ethical shopping guide, with listings of companies that do not animal test.
- The Leaping Bunny symbol is a black line drawing of a rabbit enveloped with two blue steaks and a couple of stars. Look for it on products to assure yourself they’re animal safe.
Method 2 Method 2 of 4:Changing Your Diet Download Article
Buy from local farmer’s markets. Buying local can help curb animal cruelty. Animals raised on local farms were likely subjected to more ethical conditions than animals on factory farms. If you can find a local farmer’s market or grocery store, make that your first option when it comes to grocery shopping.
- Locally raised meat is usually free from the antibiotics and growth hormones animals are force fed at factories. Animals raised on an organic diet are significantly healthier than factory raised animals.
- In factory farms, animals are kept in tight pens and cannot move more than a few feet. Local farms usually allow animals to be free range, meaning they can spend more time outside and are not confined to pens.
- When you buy meat, eggs, or cheese from a local farm, your money goes straight to supporting that farm. At a grocery store, you are more likely to be supporting a multinational food conglomerate than individual farmers. Allowing these farms the money they need to sustain themselves gives happy homes to a variety of animals.
Shop from ethical grocery stores. If farmer’s markets aren’t available in your area, try to find a grocery store that supports local markets and adheres to ethical guidelines when it comes to the buying and selling of meat.
- Whole Foods, one of the biggest grocery shopping chains, buys from local markets and only stock meat products purchased from farmers that meet strict standards for animal welfare.
- Earth Fare, similar to Whole Foods, follows strict ethical standards when it comes to the animal products bought and sold.
- If you look around, you might find a local grocery store in your area that buys local.
- Learn to hunt deer for venison. Deer meat is very beneficial for human consumption, and animals that are hunted in their natural habitat have lived much happier and healthier lives.
Go vegetarian or vegan. Many people believe the best way to curb animals cruelty is by not eating meat or by not eating animals products at all. This is called vegetarianism/veganism and if you are dedicated to the cause it’s something you can consider.
- Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, and poultry. It’s possible to meet all nutritional needs while maintaining a vegetarian diet.
- Vegetarians find alternative sources of protein in beans, lentils, tofu, nuts, seeds, tempeh, and peas.
- Vegans, in addition to not eating meat, do not eat anything with animal byproducts. This includes dairy and honey. Vegans can easily meet protein requirements as almost all foods have some protein. Chickpeas, tofu, peas, peanut butter, almonds, and other nuts are great sources of protein on a vegan diet.
- The vitamin B12, often found in meats and other animal-based products, is very important to maintain a healthy diet. Vegetarians and vegans can find B12 in soy meats, some cereals, soy milk, and nutritional yeast. You can also talk to your doctor about B12 supplements.
Make your meals at home. You don’t always know what you’re getting eating out, and by cooking your own meals at home you can assure yourself you’re eating ethically.
- Use food you bought locally, or food that contains no hidden animals products.
- If you eat meat, buy locally raised grass-fed meat from local markets.
- By making meals at home, you can make sure the products you’re using are cruelty free. Even when eating vegetarian options at restaurants, you never know what hidden animals products could be used in the food.
- In addition to reducing animal cruelty, eating at home is also better for your health as your food is generally lower in calories and less stocked with hidden sugars and fats.
Method 3 Method 3 of 4:Getting Politically Involved Download Article
Join or donate to anti-animal cruelty organizations. There are a litany of organizations available you can join or donate to that are dedicated to reducing cruelty towards animals worldwide. Do some research and find which organization appeals to your views.
- The Humane Society of America is one of the world’s largest animal advocacy organizations. They target puppy mills, animal fighting, factory farming, seal slaughter, horse cruelty, and the slaughterhouse trade. The organization works through both large-scale political initiatives and hands-on efforts to rescue and care for unwanted animals.
- The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is another one of the better known animal advocacy organizations. Much like the Humane Society of America, they oppose most forms of cruelty like slaughterhouses and puppy mills and also help curb animal population by encouraging spaying and neutering of house pets. They also encourage the development of no-kill shelters and provide practical assistance such as transporting adopted animals to new homes.
- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is a well-known but somewhat controversial animal rights organization. PETA focuses primarily on factory farms, the clothing trade, laboratory testing of animals, and use of animals in the entertainment industry. PETA often conducts investigations of companies and labs and encourages direct political action in the form of protests, petitioning, and boycotts. PETA, however, has met criticism for being more dedicated to publicity stunts than actually reducing cruelty to animals. In 2013, allegations surfaced that PETA had euthanized many of the rescued animals at their Virginia headquarters.
- You can also find a local animal shelter in your area and volunteer there.
Start a neighborhood watch. If no existing organization appeals to you personally, you can always start a neighborhood watch in your area. Invite your friends and neighbors to get to know the animals in your area and keep an eye out for suspicious behavior.
- Be aware of the animals in your area. By being vigilant, and encouraging others to do the same, you’ll be likely to notice potential problems, such as a formerly friendly dog suddenly becoming aggressive or skittish around people.
- There are many signs of animal abuse. Physical signs include collars that are too tight, open wounds or signs of recently healed wounds, fur infested with fleas or ticks, patches of missing skin or rashes, and extreme thinness.
- Pay attention to the animal’s environment. Are they tied up alone frequently? Are they kept outside despite poor weather conditions, like intense heat or cold? Is an animal kept in a small kennel, or one crowded with many other animals, for extended periods?
- Encourage all members of your watch to stay vigilant, and if you notice any of the above signs of cruelty report it to your group and decide as a group how to proceed.
Report animal cruelty. Animal cruelty is a crime, and if you see abuse happening do not hesitate to report it to the proper authorities.
- Where to report cruelty depends on your state. Contacting the local humane society is a good first step, as the workers there usually know what law agency to contact. You can also visit a local police station and ask for help.
- When you know who to contact, provide concise written statements that includes the dates of the incident or incidents, and any other witnesses besides yourself.
- If possible, get photographic evidence of the abuse.
Be a model for others. One of the most important things you can do to endorse animal welfare is being a model for friends, family members, and co-workers.
- Share your views. Do not be shy about explaining your opinions on animal cruelty and welfare. Many people are not informed about the conditions of slaughterhouses, animal testing facilities, and puppy mills. If animals come up in conversation, take this as an opportunity to keep others informed.
- Use social media to your advantage. Post lists of animal-based ingredients hidden in many products, links to petitions to end animal testing, and local listings from your animal shelter of dogs at-risk for euthanasia.
- If you have kids, talk to them about treating animals with kindness and respect. Young children often do not differentiate between a living dog and a plush dog. Explain to them animals have feelings and thoughts similar to our own, and need to be treated with compassion and care.
Method 4 Method 4 of 4:Working With Shelters Download Article
Volunteer at a shelter in your area. Whether you live in a small town or a major metropolitan area, there is probably an animal shelter near you. Directories of animal shelters are available online. Find a shelter close to you, whose values you agree with, and look into volunteering.
- Most shelters have some form of training or certification program you must undergo before beginning to volunteer. Make sure you know what you need to do before you can start, and work time for training into your schedule.
- Not all shelters share the same values. For example, some shelters are no-kill while some euthanize animals if they’re not adopted within specific time frames. Make sure you agree with the values of the shelter you choose.
- A lot of shelters have restrictions, often regarding age, for volunteers. Look into such restrictions when looking for volunteer programs.
Donate to a local shelter. When you give money to a local shelter, the money goes to getting animals veterinary care, toys, blankets, beds, food, treats, and a variety of new supplies.
- You do not necessarily have to donate to a shelter in your area. If, for example, your local shelter does not have a no-kill policy and you disagree with this, you can send your money elsewhere. Many shelters take donations online.
- A monetary donation is not the only way to give back to a shelter. You can donate any amount of pet supplies. Just ask about any restrictions beforehand. Some shelters have bans on particular brands of food, litter, and toys.
- If you’re getting married or throwing a big party, you can donate part of your gift registry. You can request that guests donate to a particular shelter rather than buying you a present.
Foster a pet. If you’re unable adopt an animal of your own, many shelters have programs where you can foster an animal until they find a permanent home.
- There are a variety of reasons animal shelters seek fosters. The shelter is sometimes not big enough to house all the animals. An animal may be recovering from surgery or sickness and cannot be around other animals. Some animals do not do well in shelters and show signs of stress and need extra socialization.
- Many people worry about getting attached to their foster pet. This is a risk. Most shelters allow foster homes to adopt their pets if they meet all the requirements. However, if you cannot adopt your foster pet the experience is still rewarding. Fostering frees up space for other animals and allows the shelter to learn more about the foster pet’s personality, upping that pet’s chances at finding a permanent home. Reminding yourself of these benefits can help with some of the emotional difficulty.
Adopt an animal. If you have the time and space, consider adopting a pet from the shelter. This is a direct way to improve the life of animal that’s suffering.
- Adopting can save a life, as 2.7 million shelter pets are euthanized each year. Because of limited space, pets are sometimes euthanized if they cannot find homes.
- Adoption takes business away from puppy mills. Puppy mills are factory style breeding facilities where house dogs in poor conditions, keeping them in very small cages and breeding them over and over again. When dogs are no longer able to breed, they are often abandon or killed.
- If you see animal abuse happening, do not try to intervene yourself. Many people who abuse animals have longstanding mental health and anger management issues, and you do not want to put yourself at risk by engaging with them. Thanks! Helpful 39 Not Helpful 10
- Any major changes in your diet should be discussed with your doctor. While many people transition easily in vegetarian or veganism, some people experience health issues along the way and certain medical conditions can make the transition riskier. You should talk to your doctor so you know any health risks associated with changing your diet. Thanks! Helpful 28 Not Helpful 10