It’s true. Going vegan is the number one thing a person can do to help animals. But not everyone is willing to give up animal products. If this is you, or if you know someone who isn’t quite ready to go vegan, the following suggestions are alternative ways in which you can help make the world a better place for animals.
1.) Meatless Monday. Even if you’re not willing to ditch meat entirely, doing it one day a week can have a huge impact. All the times you choose not to nosh on animal corpses add up over time. Odds are, you’ll also be learning about new foods and trying new recipes during this time. You’ll find things you love. You’ll find things you hate. But there will be recipes that are sure to replace your old stand-bys. If you want to start slow, this is a great way to show yourself that you can do it.
2.) Volunteer At an Animal Shelter. Shelters are always looking for volunteers. Dog walkers, cage cleaners, office help. If you have a set of unique skills, let the shelter know. You might be able to help them in ways they didn’t realize they needed. Plus you get to love up puppies and cats and turtles and rabbits. There is truly no down-side to this gig.
3.) Reject Factory Farms, Buy Your Meat Locally. Factory farms are a blight on this planet and our species. The conditions in which animals are kept and slaughtered is shameful, and the cruelty of this industry can’t even be contested. If you cling to your carnist ways, try buying local meat from a farm where you can get to know the owner and laborers. Visit often to encourage animal safety standards are met, and that the animals are treated well. You’ll find that most small farms keep their animals relatively happy. Cows get to graze in pastures and see sunlight, calves aren’t stolen from their mothers as soon, animals aren’t stacked on top of each other. And while it’s not a picture-perfect life for anyone, and slaughter can never be humane, the living conditions of animals are much, much better than any factory farm.
4.) Harvest Your Own Eggs. Hens lay eggs. Some lay every day, some only a couple times a week. The eggs serve no real purpose until they’re fertilized. If they’re not, the eggs will just sit there. The hen has no use for them. So, if you feel the need to eat eggs, find yourself a rescue-hen or two (for companionship), and keep them in your yard. Only do this if you are able to take care of them, and can devote time to love them. Keep them warm in the cold months with a hen-house, and cool in the summer with plenty of shade. Level up by petitioning egg companies to adopt better animal welfare policies.
5.) Sign or Start Petitions. Believe it or not, petitions are a valid way of rallying the troops and getting people to notice your cause. Obviously, the more signatures, the greater affect the petition will have upon its targeted audience. So, sign any petition that you feel is worthy. Likewise, if there are no worthy petitions pertaining to the cause you’d like to champion, start one!
6.) Write Your Representatives. Let those we deem “in charge” know what’s expected of them. A single letter or email, written respectfully and well-reasoned, shows your representative that your investment in your cause is a serious one. And don’t be swayed by their condescending responses. If they write you back with reasons why moving a bill forward or bringing it back is the right thing to do (and you’ve argued against that), respond with unrelenting facts.
7.) Pick a Cause and Go At It. If Animal Rights is a genre, there are hundreds of sub-genres. Puppy mills. Animal euthanasia. The wool industry. Zoos. The shark fin trade. Japan’s dolphin slaughter. Rodeos. Eggs. Meat. Dairy. And on and on and on. Find the issue that speaks to you, learn all you can about it, and become an unstoppable force. Sign petitions. Start petitions. Hold rallys. Hand out leaflets. Talk to your neighbor, co-worker, friends, and family about it. And don’t give up.
8.) Hold People Accountable For Their Words and Actions. Animal abuse jokes aren’t funny. Dog-fighting isn’t a punchline. The tag “Mmmm, Bacon!” under the picture of a baby pig is sadistic as all hell. When someone says something stupid or makes a dumb joke, let them know. Educate them on why their words are in bad taste, and encourage them to be a better human being in the future.
I hope you’ve found something helpful in the suggestions above. Let me know how you stand up for animals in the comments below.