AR-FAQ - #95

#95 What can I do in my daily life to help animals?

Indeed, the buck must first stop here in our own daily lives with the elimination or reduction of actions that contribute to the abuse and exploitation of animals. Probably the single most important thing you can do to save animals, help the ecology of the planet, and even improve your own health, is to BECOME A VEGETARIAN. It is said that "we are what we eat". More accurately, "we are what we do" and what we do in order to eat has a profound consequence on our self-definition as a compassionate person. As long as we eat meat, we share complicity in the intentional slaughter of countless animals and destruction of the environment for clearly trivial purposes. Why trivial? No human has died from want of satisfying a so-called "Mac Attack", but countless cows have died in order to satisfy our palates. On a more positive note, vegetarians report that one's taste and enjoyment of food is actually enhanced by eliminating animal products. Indeed, a vegetarian diet is not a diet of deprivation; far from it. Vegetarians actually eat a GREATER variety of foods than do meat-eaters. Maybe the best kept culinary secret is that the really "boring" diet actually turns out to be the traditional meat-centered diet. Next, STOP BUYING ANIMAL PRODUCTS LIKE FUR OR LEATHER. There are plenty of good plant and synthetic materials that serve as excellent materials for fabrics and shoes. Indeed, all the major brands of high-quality running shoes are now turning to the use of human-made materials. (Why? Because they are lighter than leather and don't warp or get stiff after getting wet.) There are many less obvious animal products that are being used in many of our everyday household and personal products. After first attending to those obvious and most visible products like leather and fur, then consider what you can do to reduce or eliminate your dependency on products that may contain needless animal ingredients or were brought to market using animal testing. Two very good product guides are:

Shopping Guide for the Caring Consumer, PETA, 1994. A Shopper's Guide to Cruelty-Free Products, Lori Cook, 1991.

Then GET INFORMED AND READ AS MUCH AS YOU CAN ON THE ISSUE OF ANIMAL RIGHTS. Besides reading about animal rights from the major theorists, also read practical guides and periodicals. Question #92 lists many appropriate books and periodicals. Finally, you can GET INVOLVED IN A LOCAL ANIMAL RIGHTS OR ANIMAL WELFARE ORGANIZATION. Alternatively, if you lack the time, consider giving donations to those organizations whose good work on behalf of animals is something you appreciate and wish to materially support. TA

SEE ALSO: #87, #92-#93