If you want to help animals and the planet but don’t know where to start, remember to “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has” as Margaret Mead said. Animal Defenders International share their top ten things that you can do to make the world a better place, for you and the animals you share it with;
1. Go Veggie
The recent horse meat scandal has made many people question what goes into the food they eat. Has it made you think twice about eating meat? Billions of farm animals are killed for meat every year and adopting a vegan diet has many ethical, environmental and dietary benefits. To fuel global demand for meat, animals are kept in terrible conditions on factory farms and brutally killed. As former Beatle and Meat-Free Monday campaigner Paul McCartney once said: “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.” Take the plunge, go veg today.
2. Commit to Buying Cruelty-Free
Information about the number of animals used for testing household products in the USA is scarce but at least a million animals are used each year, with the true figure likely to be much, much higher when birds and rodents, as well as some farm animals – which are not included in official figures – are factored in! By committing to buy products that are cruelty-free, you are withdrawing financial support of companies who still test on animals. Fortunately, with recent bans in Europe and the UK, cruelty-free cosmetics and household products are available in all price ranges and quality levels.
3. Pledge Not to Wear Fur
The use of fur in the name of fashion cannot be justified. ADI’s undercover investigations of the fur industry revealed horrific conditions at fur farms in Finland, one of the world’s biggest suppliers. Animals had untreated and infected wounds; deformed limbs; animals suffering from gum disease, unable to eat; dilapidated cages and widespread neglect. With so many fashionable alternatives to fur, it makes absolutely no sense to wear it. Make a pledge to make it fake and never wear fur. Click here to learn more about ADI’s undercover investigation of the fur industry.
4. Avoid Animal Circuses, Shows and Rides
Years of studies, ADI undercover investigations and scientific research have shown that the traveling circus is a totally inappropriate setting for wild animals. The constant travel, the need for accommodation to be small, lightweight and collapsible so that it can fit on a trailer or truck, leaves these animals in barren, deprived environments that cause both physical and psychological suffering. This deprivation results in abnormal behaviors like pacing, nodding, rocking and swaying, showing the animal is distressed and not coping with its environment. The evidence of abuse is overwhelming – these animals are commonly kicked, punched, beaten and even given electric shocks with prods and stun guns to make the animals obey. By refusing to attend animal circuses, shows and rides, and telling your friends and family why, you are taking a stand against abusive animal trainers and hitting them where it hurts – their wallets. Find out more about ADI’s campaign against animals in entertainment.
5. Adopt a Pet from an Animal Shelter
Every year, millions of companion animals enter animal shelters; more than half are euthanized. These loving and loyal pets are in desperate need of homes. With so many in need, there’s no reason to buy from an animal breeder or pet shop. Stop by your local animal shelter and open your heart and home to a grateful new family member! By adopting from a shelter, you will be saving an innocent animal’s life.
6. Donate to an Animal Organization
Organizations that campaign for animals primarily fund their activities through public donations. In the case of ADI, every penny goes towards helping animals in distress, whether it is undercover investigations (like the evidence of elephant abuse in ADI’s Have Trunk Will Travel investigation), education, or rescue of animals from the circus or the lab. Making a donation is one of the greatest ways you can help animal rights advocates; every dollar you donate counts.
7. Do not support charities that fund animal research
The American Cancer Society, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, Locks of Love, Lymphoma Research Foundation, March of Dimes, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association are just a few of the many charities who use donations to pay for research involving animals. And it is unnecessary, there are advanced methods without using animals. Before you make a donation, be sure to ask where your money is going, and confirm that it won’t be used to fund animal research. Learn more about The Lord Dowding Fund, which awards grants to scientists for advanced medical and scientific research that does not use animals.
8. Tell one other person
Talk to one other person about animal suffering – hand them a leaflet, put up a poster at work, or college or school, ask them to display materials. Make a convert for the animals!
9. Write a Letter to a Decision-Maker
As effective as petitions can be, a thoughtful, well-written letter has an even greater impact; legislators like to hear directly from you! Don’t hesitate to speak from the heart and if using a template letter, try to put it into your own words for greater effect. And remember, polite messages tend to encourage the most cooperation. Learn ADI’s letter-writing tips.
Can you spare a few hours during the day? Whatever your expertise, animal groups and rescue centers would be happy for your assistance. Whether you volunteer on a regular basis or less often, your help will be welcomed and greatly appreciated!
Jan Creamer and Tim Phillips are the co-founders of Animal Defenders International (ADI), two fearless, compassionate individuals who fight for those who cannot fight for themselves: the abused and neglected animals of the world. Creamer and Phillips are a tenacious husband-and-wife team committed to ADI, an organization that champions for oppressed animals across the globe. The renowned group stops animal abuse, rescues animals in distress, and secures legislation that protects animals from harm in laboratories, farms, and the entertainment industry. They use false identities, hidden cameras, elaborate cover stories, and covert surveillance techniques to capture footage in circuses, slaughterhouses, and laboratories. The two leaders have endured death threats and violent attacks in their mission to take hurt animals away from people who do not want to give them up. The couple publishes technical reports, educates communities, and drafts legislation documents for animals worldwide—including bans on animal circuses in 20 countries and a ban on cosmetics testing on animals in Europe. In recent years, ADI exposed the cruel treatment of circus animals in Bolivia, going undercover to rescue and relocate 29 circus lions via airlift to safer homes in the United States. Now, the film “Lion Ark” captures the behind-the-scenes plight of the animal rescue, the heartache, and the joyful flight to freedom.
Tags: Animal Defenders International, how to make the world a better place, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, Jan Creamer, Locks of Love, Lymphoma Research Foundation, make the world a better place, March of Dimes, Muscular Dystrophy Association, The American Cancer Society, The Lord Dowding Fund, Tim Phillips