As we approach December 31, many of us will reflect on 2011 while thinking of ways in which to make 2012 better. The new year is an opportunity to reevaluate our lifestyle choices and how they affect our health and also to consider the impact they have on the animals with whom we share our world.
We can help stop animal abuse with the decisions that we make every day:
- Don’t wear fur, wool, leather, or any other animal skins. Animals used in the fur, wool, and leather industries suffer tremendously. Leather usually comes from developing countries, such as India and China, where animals have their throats cut and their skins ripped off while they are still conscious. Cows have their tails broken and have chili peppers and tobacco rubbed into their eyes to induce them to walk after they collapse while travelling the long distance to slaughter. Equally grim is the cruelty inflicted on sheep used for wool. Please check out PETA U.S.’ shopping guide to compassionate clothing for more info.
- Purchase only cruelty-free products. Companies such as CoverGirl and Max Factor poison and harm animals in tests that are not even required by law. Mice, rats, guinea pigs, rabbits, and other animals are forced to swallow or inhale massive quantities of a test substance or endure the pain of having caustic chemicals applied to their sensitive eyes and skin—even though the results of animal tests are often unreliable and not applicable to humans. If a product has blinded an animal, it can still be marketed.
- Don’t support animals exploited by the entertainment industry. For animals used in circuses and other entertainment acts, there is no such thing as positive reinforcement—there are only varying degrees of punishment and deprivation. To force animals to perform meaningless and physically uncomfortable tricks, trainers use whips, tight collars, muzzles, electric prods, bullhooks, and other painful tools of the trade. Animals in zoos are denied everything that is natural and important to them.
Another way to help animals in the new year is by volunteering at your local animal shelter. There are many ways that volunteers can help out in shelters, including by dog walking, cleaning out kennels and cages, or helping to socialize animals until they’re ready for adoption.
If you see chained dogs in your neighborhood, why not ask their guardian if you can take them on a walk? This simple act of kindness can bring so much joy to a lonely and neglected dog.
Let’s not forget that the easiest way to help animals in 2012 is simply by going vegan! By not eating meat, wearing animal skins, going to events that exploit animals, or using products tested on animals, you won’t contribute to animal suffering. You’ll also save countless animals’ lives.
Posted by Samantha Pulsford