“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
Americans have tremendous affection for their “other species family members” – we will spend over 55 Billion on our pets this year according to the Animal Health Foundation, with Boomers leading the way, literally: according to the AHF we were the first generation to normalize pet ownership (who knew?!)
But, many folks who adore their dogs, cats, iguanas, fish, hamsters, or (fill in the blank) aren’t the total-package animal lovers they think they are.
That’s because these same folks will, without a second thought, inadvertently do a host of things that harm animals.
Worse yet, many will do the fingers-in-the-ears-“la la la I don’t want to hear that!” when the topic of animal mistreatment/cruelty is raised.
So, how can so many profess to love all animals so much yet do so little within their power to protect them?
Many say it’s too painful to think about, or believe there’s no way around some forms of abuse (like in medical research). Lots (like to) think the animals in entertainment venues are well cared for so no harm done.
All are excellent excuses. None are good reasons.
If you fit the above bill, it’s past time to take a critical look at the breadth of your love for animals.
If you love only animals living in your home, be honest with yourself and others – admit that your love of animals is conditional.
But, if after some consideration you believe you really are a lover of all animals everywhere, then you have a bit of work to do…
So, to make this a bit easier for anyone ready and willing to show their love for all animals, here’s an easy reference short list of ways to show it:
training a baby elephant for the circus
Don’t go to roadside “zoos,” Sea World, dog/horse races, swim with the dolphins activities, or any other venue using animals for our entertainment; other species were not put on the planet to be captured and “trained” for our entertainment, and as we’ve learned from the closing of Ringling Brothers and SeaWorld’s woes, they are in fact greatly harmed by these venues/activities.
Buy meat that is humanely raised – it is a bit more expensive, but doing so both shows care for food animals and gets you meat that tastes better. Also, far easier to find these days.
Don’t get pets from commercial animal breeders or pet stores, aka “puppy
mills“ – their animals are often poorly treated in order to improve profits; you local shelter has plenty of critters anxiously awaiting a good home, and btw, shelter animals make much better family members; probably because they really appreciate the home and your love. Petfinder.com is an excellent resource.
Always take a few extra minutes when purchasing any product to ensure it was not tested on animals (those that don’t will proudly state so on the label) – to get you started, Johnson & Johnson refuses to end its use of animals to test its products; here’s a more complete list of companies that still use animals
Join one of the numerous organizations/groups that work tirelessly to stop animal abuse and take a few minutes each day to sign their petitions; donate to them when you can (why not take the money you would’ve spent on an extra toy for Fido and make the donation from him?! I’ve provided a starter list below)
Insist that medical research on animals be discontinued: research has come a long way from last millennia techniques – researchers no longer need to use animals but do so only because it’s been “standard practice” (hasn’t changed since Aristotle’s time) and is cheaper; more importantly, outcomes on animal research often do not correlate to outcomes with humans… in other words, such research is far too ineffective compared to other options (computer models, for instance)
Stop buying anything made in South Korea until they end their horrendous dog/cat meat trade (the details would sicken you). Short list: LG; Samsung; Kia; Hyundai.
Forward this article to all you know who consider themselves animal lovers.
Do these things, and all creatures all around the world will love you back for it.
Links to the top animal welfare organizations:
The Humane Society of the United States (USHS)
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)
World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) – helps species at risk of extinction
International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) – helps animals in need throughout the world
The Non Human Rights Project (NhRP) – defends the rights of non human species
The Animal Rescue site – one click a day provides help to animals in need – do it every day…it’s free!