There’s no denying the cruelty in animal agriculture. Of course, going vegan is the best course of action so the demand for those products is reduced. However, that’s easier said than done. The world is designed for omnivores. Even SALT AND VINEGAR PRINGLES have milk powder in them FFS. And even with the best will in the world, some people have medical issues or lifestyle set-up that makes a plant-based diet impossible for them.
After my Veganuary article, someone commented saying she liked that I’d included other ways to help animals for those who can’t or don’t want to go vegan. And it made me realise that actually, there are plenty of other things you can do. So if you have a medical condition that means that veganism isn’t possible for you, you just hate vegan food, or you’re a vegan looking for other ways to support the cause, here are 10 other ways you can support animals.
1. Become A Reduce-Tarian
Some people tend to have an all-or-nothing approach when it comes to vegetarianism or veganism. However, this isn’t the case. Even altering your diet part-time can have a positive effect on supply and demand. So if you can’t or don’t want to go all the way, you could try Meat Free Mondays, going vegan at home, cutting down to eating meat once a week, or making some swaps for Quorn or plant-based milk.
2. Shop Cruelty-Free
Despite advances in technology leading to better options, there are plenty of companies out there that continue to test on animals, or sell in markets where animal testing is legally required, so make sure you use your dosh to fund companies with ethics. Cruelty-Free Kitty is a good resource for finding brands to shop from, and Cruelty Cutter is a handy app I’ve found where you can scan in a product to check whether it’s cruelty-free. My favourite brands at the moment include The Body Shop (a lot of their ingredients are Community Trade too), NYX (good quality makeup at affordable prices), Avalon Organics (this stuff saved my hair), and Method (eco-friendly bathroom products).
3. Clear Out Your Closet
There’s a lot of focus on animal agriculture, but some of the ways in which animals are used for fashion are arguably worse. Most people now are in agreement that the fur trade is bad and most of the stuff in the shops now is fake- but make sure to check the label as some brands such as Canada Goose are still using real fur. Contrary to popular belief leather is not just a by-product of the meat industry, down and silk are also the products of animal slaughter. There’s no benefit in throwing away good quality clothes you already own (although feel free to take them to the charity shop), but make sure you check the label when buying new stuff so you’re not supporting cruel industries.
4. Adopt A Rescue Pet
Thanks to irresponsible owners and difficult life circumstances, we have a huge surplus of companion animals that desperately need a loving home. There’s not denying the allure of a cute puppy or kitten, but there’s no shortage of demand for baby animals, and each animal purchased from a breeder means another one left to languish in a shelter. A rescue pet can be just as much fun, so if you have the means to adopt one make sure to check out somewhere like Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, who have experience in helping finding potential owners the perfect match.
5. Avoid Abusive Animal Entertainment
In addition to food and fashion, animals are also abused for entertainment purposes. Avoid the big ones like zoos, circuses, and SeaWorld, but also make sure to research any animal animal entertainment of volunteering before you go to make sure it isn’t cruel, particularly abroad. For example, elephant riding seems harmless enough- they’re big animals right? But they actually have weak spines so it’s harmful to carry weight on their backs, and to train them to be ridden they’re beaten into submission when they’re babies. And I read about one girl who did what appeared to be an innocent lion volunteering project, but found out afterwards the lion cubs were being raised for canned hunting.
6. Donate To Animal Charities
Not contributing to industries that harm animals is great, but you can go one step further by supporting charities that help them. Great charities to donate to include the RSPCA (the UK’s largest animal welfare charity that works on investigating animal cruelty, rehabilitating animals, and campaigning for animal welfare), Blue Cross (works on rehoming unwanted pets and providing veterinary care for animals whose families can’t afford it- you can even sponsor a pet!), and WWF (an international charity supporting animal conservation and the environment- you can also sponsor an animal).
7. Volunteer With Animals
In addition to money, you could also donate your time to the cause. The RSPCA have a variety of volunteer roles available, and FRIEND Animal Rescue need volunteers to help take care of their rescued farm and companion animals- you could even volunteer for just one day, so it’s perfect for corporate volunteering. If you have the means to take a gap year or a more exotic vacation, there are also some great animal volunteering projects abroad, including Elephant Nature Park in Thailand (an ethical alternative to elephant riding) and La Tortuga Feliz in Costa Rica (a turtle conservation programme).
8. Attend A Protest
You might get tarred with the extremist brush, but attending a protest could be a great way to support animal rights and meet other animal lovers. Signing up to the PETA action team will keep you updated with any demonstrations happening in your area.
9. Rescue A Battery Chicken
If you have the garden space, perhaps consider an alternative pet. The British Hen Welfare Trust run a scheme where you can rescue a retired battery hen otherwise headed for the slaughter. Bonus- they still lay eggs, so you can enjoy an ethical omelette rather than purchasing battery farmed eggs.
10. Tweet About It
Exercise this one with caution- arguing with proud meat eaters all day on Twitter will get you nowhere. Some people just aren’t interested. But if you tweet a vegan recipe, cruelty-free recommendations, or an animal rights petition, there may be some who are curious who you can inspire to get involved.
Interested in animals rights? Have any other suggestions? Let me know in the comments!