I know that these practical ways to support animal rights are not going to find favor with everyone but, the actions listed here are not extreme and do not involve violence or abuse. They are, exactly as titled, practical ways to support animal rights that animal lovers can action on an individual basis without causing offence to anyone else’s views.
1. Adopt an Animal
You may not consider this one of the productive ways to support animal rights. After all--how can getting a new pet really help support animal rights? We all know that thousands of pets are bought from stores and given up within a few months, so wouldn’t it be better to stop the problem at the source, instead of just clearing up the mess afterwards? Yes--it would be good if pet shops had very selective protocols over whom they sold pets to, and it would be great if we could teach people about the responsibilities of pet ownership prior to buying.
Adopting an animal supports animal rights when you actually visit a sanctuary. The organization does not have the resources to let every bunny run around free, nor have the dogs out of the cages for more than an hour per day. If you visited a sanctuary and saw rooms full of helpless caged animals, you may change your mind about how much adopting an animal supports their rights.
Supporting animal sanctuaries by adopting their pets also helps to keep them open and running. It also stops them having to instigate a euthanasia program. Believe it or not--the pets at animal sanctuaries are the lucky ones, as they would be neglected if they had not been given up. Without animal sanctuaries those animals would still be being neglected.
2. 100% Forestry Commission Certified
When you buy coffee and tea, do you check to see if it has the forestry commission certificate? If it does not then you are funding the destruction of international forests, and the deaths of thousands of forest creatures. Some companies only have a certain percentage of their produce arrive from sustained areas. You can show concern for animal rights by buying products from the companies who have 100% of their produce come from sustained areas, because they have to pay higher overheads to remain ethical. If people do not buy from them, then they may as well farm from the floors of cleared forests.
3. Avoid Animal Entertainment
This involves circuses, bullfights, rodeos, even hunting. Any money or physical support that you give these entertainments will keep them going. Any money that you spend will help to keep those industries turning over and perpetuating the torture of animals. Even if you do not spend money but you physically attend, you are still supporting the events. The more people that attend, then the more corporate sponsorship that the events gain, and again, this perpetuates the events. Do not call such events “sports” because it is a soft and inaccurate description. Genuine sports are healthy and ethical, and things such as hunting, bullfights and rodeos have allied themselves with the “sport” name to try to soak up some of the goodwill behind it. Try calling it “torture sport” or “blood sport” if you must call it a sport.
4. Wear Cosmetics and Toiletries Not Tested on Animals
Look for a company that has never tested on animals. Chemical science is now so advanced that any cosmetic ingredient, and mixture of ingredients, can be tested chemically to see if it is harmful to people. The companies that test on animals are doing so because it is cheaper. You must avoid them at all costs and make it clear that you will not purchase the goods of any company that “Has” tested on animals, or “Does” test on animals.
5. Buy Free Range and Organic Meat, Dairy and Eggs
Things such as cow meat are often free range, but cows for milking are sometimes locked up for months on end. The legal requirement for a caged chicken is a cage the size of a shoebox, and when you eat lamb, you should be aware that you are eating an animal that has only been able to walk for the last six months. If you are going to eat meat and dairy then it is your moral obligation to make sure it is ethically farmed.
Not everyone is a bad guy. Some free-range chicken farms treat their chickens better than most domestic pet rabbits and turtles are treated. Some restaurants have a new (and expensive) shock chamber which kills shell fish before putting it in boiling water, as it was proved that shellfish experience up to two minutes of excruciating pain when they are thrown in hot water because they are unable to go into shock in the same way that mammals are. It is up to you to find out how your food is farmed if you want to support animal welfare.
6. Report Animal Abuse
Do it anonymously--but always do it. We all overhear people arranging dogfights or cock fights. We all see how our neighbors starve their pets and kick their dogs. You should report the abuse and find out what you can do to help. Every time you ignore such abuses--you inadvertently support them and fail to show your concern for the rights of animals.
7. Support Neutering Charities over Euthanasia Charities
There are a few charities that pay for animals to be neutered so that they do not breed and create more unwanted pets. Do not support PETA, because even though they support animal rights, their core beliefs are that nobody should own pets. This means they favor euthanasia over re-homing and neutering. PETA supported/instituted animal sanctuaries have the highest rate of euthanasia in America. Work with charities to show your support for animal rights, even if it just means sending out a few emails per week, or mentioning the charity on your Facebook page.
8. Be a Vegetarian
A lot of animal abuse comes through animal farming. The people who work to stop this abuse are doing a good job, but they cannot protect all animals all the time. Just recently a large abattoir was fined for cutting the ears off of live cows to remove the plastic tags on their ears, and leaving half-slaughtered animals on the floor to bleed out for hours (which ironically is how Halal meat is made). However, the people who expose these places are often met with defeat because it is hard to prove that one abattoir or farm is breaking the rules. In many cases, if video is taken of a staff member abusing animals, the staff member is fired by court order and that is the end of the matter. This is why becoming a vegetarian will support animal welfare and will help put a stop to the industry, or wait until it cleans up its act. Many people would eat meat and seafood if they thought it was ethically slaughtered. You can become a vegetarian until it is.
I hope I’ve shown you there are ways to support animal rights without being extremist or even overly-political. Do you think you can still be a meat eater and wear leather shoes and still support the call for animal rights without being a hypocrite?