Guest Blogger, Hindy Pearson (caringforaseniordog.com)
You’re probably hearing a lot about compassionate living these days, but aren’t quite sure what it means.
To put it simply, it’s about being mindful of how your choices affect animals, our world, and others.
This Guest Blog will focus on things you can do to help animals, starting right now. It doesn’t matter how much time or money you do or don’t have, there is something for everyone.
Here are 12 ways you can make a difference in an animals’ life:
Stay far away from any event that features animals, unless they are adoptable animals from rescue groups. There is too much suffering at zoos, circuses and seaquariums, and these places should be boycotted.
Animals in advertisements
Whenever I see animals being used in commercials or print ads, my first reaction is one of disgust. My second – they weren’t creative enough to come up with something clever, so they threw an animal into the mix.
Express your disapproval (outrage?) by contacting the company and letting them know what you think. Using social media puts it out there on a public forum, making them more inclined to respond. When other voices are added to your own, their concern about a backlash will grow, increasing the likelihood they will refrain from exploiting animals in the future.
What happened to that New Year’s resolution?
You know, when you promised you would start going to the gym? A much better way to get into shape, is to head down to your local shelter and become a volunteer dog walker. It will give the dogs a much needed break, and you will feel better on so many levels.
Addicted to your computer?
Perfect! There are lots of petitions that need signing, and every signature makes a difference. Type in “animal welfare petitions” (or any other cause you support) and start signing. It takes a second, and believe me, they do end suffering.
Love to write?
If you love putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard I should say!), then type the phrase “animal action alerts” into your search engine, and you’ll find organisations that need help. They post a brief explanation about the cause or issue they’re campaigning for, provide you with sample letters and contact details. It’s simple and so very helpful. You don’t have to be a published author to write, you just need passion.
Go cruelty free
The next time you buy cosmetics, beauty or household products, take a moment to read the label. If there’s no “leaping bunny” logo on it, put it back on the shelf. The suffering of animals in laboratories is horrific, and unnecessary, all so you can wear a new shade of lipstick.
Alternatives to the use of animals exist, but most companies prefer to stick with the status quo. Plenty of companies do not engage in animal testing, so the argument that there’s no choice is a lie. To get you started, check out this Cruelty Free Guide.
Write to the companies whose products you no longer buy, and tell them you’ll be back when they go cruelty free. They hear when you speak with your pocketbook.
Get on your soapbox
Offer to give a talk about animal welfare at your child’s school, or any area school. Check with your local humane society to see if they have materials you can use.
Faux is better
Could you give up leather, or at least cut down on the amount of leather goods you buy? There are many fashionable alternatives, and it’s as easy as searching for “vegan accessories” to make your fashion purchases more compassionate. Spending thousands on a bag made from the skin ripped off an animal? Ugh.
If you love your meat, chicken and dairy and can’t imagine giving them up, could you imagine trying a free range alternative? More and more shops are carrying free range and organic products. The animals these products come from do have a better quality of life, but yes, they do end up being slaughtered in the same horrific manner.
It is a start, and grocers and producers will notice the increased demand for more humanely raised food products. Who knows, you may even be okay reducing your intake and experimenting with substitutes. There are plenty on the market to choose from!
My personal feelings aside, I understand not everyone is willing to give up meat. Would you consider replacing one meat meal a week with a vegan or vegetarian alternative? There are so many meat free alternatives available, you’re bound to find something you like. I am partial to Quorn products, as they don’t contain soy, and my husband makes the most delicious spaghetti bolognese from their mince alternative. Surely you can give it a try!
Help a stray
If a stray cat or dog seems to have adopted you, how about caring for him? I know you’re allergic, have a full house or just don’t want a pet, but he can live outside if you give him what he needs. Take him to check if he’s fixed, and if not, fix him. There are low cost spay/neuter clinics around, just do an internet search for one in your area.
Provide fresh water and food every day, and make sure he has some kind of shelter. You’ll be helping tackle the pet overpopulation problem, and saving an animal in need. All the information you need about caring for ferals can be found online.
Leave exotics where they belong
There are so many reasons not to adopt an exotic animal, where do I begin? The ever growing demand for them is responsible for the illegal trade in wildlife, and the cruelty and suffering that goes along with it. Animals shoved into socks, tiny containers and ever increasingly clever concealments, shipped thousands of miles with no air, food or water. Many die in transit, and those that don’t, suffer horribly. If they are intercepted at customs they are often euthanized, because they pose too much of a risk to native species.
Individuals can never properly care for them in their homes, no matter what anyone tells you. Trust me on that.
Geckos, snakes and other exotics should not have to spend their lives in a tank or small enclosure, and no, there is no cage big enough.
How easy was that!!
Surprised by how easy it is to make a difference? These are just a few ideas to help you start. Once you get used to thinking about things differently, you’ll come up with your own unique way of helping save animals’ lives.
I almost forgot! You know one more way you can help? Pass this around to everyone you know, and help get them started on the road to a more humane and compassionate lifestyle.
– Hindy Pearson
Hindy is a long time shelter volunteer, animal rights supporter, dog trainer and runs the Saffy Pearson Resource Centre – a mobile centre offering free advice for people who share their lives with cats and dogs. She has a website called Caring For a Senior Dog (sorry kitties!!), and thinks the pet stroller is the greatest invention (she loves how much it has helped her and her dogs). Yes, it’s great for cats as well.
Connect with Hindy on Twitter!