We’ve all seen the uber depressing commercials… “In the arms of an angel…” You know the one. But you don’t have to shed a tear or donate your money or adopt an animal in order to help. Those are probably the most obvious ways in which you can help animals, and they are all great things to do. But there are more, possibly less-obvious ways in which you can help in your day to day life!
Here are just a few things you can do/changes you can make in your life that will make a huge difference!
Do your research on zoos, circuses, and other entertainment featuring animals.
Not all zoos and circuses are bad. Not all treat their animals poorly. Many zoos are actually positive environments, helping animals that may not be able to survive on their own in the wild, or protecting them from more harmful outside environments. They spoil their animals and love them and create bonds with them. But, unfortunately, not all zoos are like that. I encourage you to do your research before you support your local zoo. Read up on the zoo, ask questions, find out how the animals are being treated, what their habitats are like, what the animals need and if they’re be provided for. If all questions come back positive, then definitely go show your support. But, if not, skip out on the zoo and find something else to do instead. The same goes for circuses that mistreat their animals, or horse carriage rides in the city, or sea world exhibits. Just always do your research ahead of time and learn exactly what you’re supporting before you support it. Knowledge is power. And it’s with knowledge and power that we can bring about change and better lives for these animals that are not receiving the care they deserve.
Report any instances of animal abuse or neglect you see.
I can tell you that in NYC, it’s as easy as calling 311, or going HERE online. A quick google search for “your area” + “report animal abuse” will quickly give you the results you need to report any mistreatment or neglect of animals that you see or suspect. Don’t ignore animal abuse. It is a crime. Be sure to report it.
Don’t buy leather products. Don’t buy fur products. Don’t buy ivory products (seriously, it’s illegal). Don’t buy crocodile products.
A lot of people argue that it’s fashionable to wear leather or fur. But let me tell you, it’s fashionable to be caring toward animals. You can buy faux fur, vegan Doc Martins, pleather couches… it’s so easy (and much more affordable) to get mock products that are just as cute, without any animals paying for your “style” with their lives.
Check your beauty products for the “not tested on animals” seal of approval.
Shampoo, soap, perfume, makeup, etc. Both female and male beauty/bath products can be tested on animals. Next time you’re at the store, just quickly glance at the back of the bottle/container for those four magic words. It’s as easy as that. Don’t support brands that rely on animal testing.
Check your movies and tv shows for the “no animals were harmed in the making of this movie/show” seal of approval.
We see it in horror movies all the time… the dog is always the first to go. We see it in medieval shows and movies like Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, etc… the hero rides his horse into battle. Animals are so prevalent in tv and movie history. So, before you head to the theater, just do a quick check online. Have any of the animals been harmed in the making of the movie? Yes? Don’t go to the movie. It’s as easy as that. Support those films and tv shows that follow the rules and safety regulations put forth to keep animals on set safe. They deserve to be rewarded for their care. Don’t reward the rule-breakers.
If you feel like going really extreme and are super dedicated to the cause, go vegetarian (or pescetarian, like me. Or even vegan)!
I became vegetarian/pescetarian at the age of 11. Basically, my new lifestyle began when I became old enough to fully comprehend that what I was eating was once a living creature. And I will be completely honest, the first three months or so are hard. You’ll have cravings and it will be hard figuring out what your new diet will consist of and where you should get your protein and certain vitamins from, but it is completely doable. I have never had any health problems because of my diet, and I’m able to find loads of protein in nuts, hummus, Morning Star “fake meat” products (that are actually REALLY yummy), and vitamins from different fruits and veggies. I also eat fish for more protein, but that is a personal decision for my own diet. In my own experience, you will feel better about yourself, have less health problems, never/rarely get food poisoning, and live a healthy life! And the cherry on top is that no animals will die to fuel your diet. (A word of advice- if you try out vegetarianism, then go back to eating meat, as many of my friends have done, ease back into it. If you dive right back into eating meat, you will often get very sick…. and what should that tell you???).
Do you have more ways to protect animals? Do you know of organizations/lifestyle choices that help animals in need? Comment below with your ways you contribute to the animals in your life! We’re all living on this planet together. Let’s help one another out!