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Things That Kids Can Do To Help Animals



     Did you know that over 40 million animals are being killed each year because people want to wear their skin?  In the wild, they suffer horribly in steel-jaw leg-hold traps.  Animals sometimes remain in traps for a long time before the trapper comes to kill them.  While they’re in the traps, they can’t get any food or water; they can’t hide, and they can’t get out of the rain or snow either.  Some animals actually chew off their own foot to escape the trap!  Some of the animals have babies waiting for them back home who die slow deaths when they lose their mom.   Even though trappers only want to catch certain kinds of animals, like foxes, raccoons and beavers, other animals such as dogs, cats and eagles get caught too.  Trappers call these "trash animals" because the traps were not intended for them.

     Some animals are raised under terrible conditions on fur ranches and are killed in the most horrible manner so that people can wear fur.  Some countries are even raising dogs and cats for their skin and fur that is used to make coats, gloves and even kids’ toys!

     Avoid all products made from the skins of animals.  You might not think you would ever buy fur, but fur sneaks into clothes when you don’t expect to see it.  For example, gloves are sometimes lined with fur, and jackets are sometimes trimmed with it.  You might find fur on a hat or on ear muffs.  Let your family know if you don’t want any presents which have fur in them.

     If you get something with fur on it for a gift, you can still say "thank you."  You might want to very politely tell the person how you feel about fur though so they know not to buy it for you any more.  If you’re nice about it, they’ll probably be very understanding, and they’ll learn about fur just like you have.

     If you see furs being bought, sold or given away in contests, write letters or make phone calls to protest.

     You can check toy stores and look for stuffed animals made of fur or trimmed in fur.  If you write to the manager of the store to say how you feel about fur toys, he or she might decide not to sell real fur any more.

     Lots of people in the Congress of the United States are trying to make the leg-hold traps illegal.  You can write to your senators and representatives and ask them to vote against cruel traps.   Ask your parents the names of your senators and representative in Congress, or click here to look it up yourself.  Mail to senators can be directed to: (Name of Senator), United States Senate, Washington, DC 20510.  Mail to representatives can be sent to: (Name of Representative), House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515.

     If you or someone in your family already has a fur coat, you can donate it to an animal rights group.  They use them in protests or they mark them and donate them to the homeless.  You can also check with your local wildlife refuge – sometimes they use them for orphaned baby animals to snuggle in.



     Wool is sheep fur, but it’s different from mink fur or fox fur because you don’t have to kill the sheep to get it.  Because you don’t have to kill the sheep, people think there’s no cruelty involved, but this is not true.

     Most wool comes from sheep who live on big, crowded farms in Australia.  Sheep’s wool can get really dirty and sometimes buggy.  On a lot of the big sheep farms, people cut off the skin around the sheep’s rear ends so that wool won’t grow there anymore.  It’s very painful to the sheep.

     Sheep from Australia are often sent to other countries on crowded ships.  They are treated badly and many die during these trips.

     Some sheep have their fur cut off when it’s still cold out and suffer terribly in the cold weather.

     Sheep are often injured when they get their wool coats cut off because people are in a hurry, aren’t careful and handle them very roughly.

If you decide you’d rather not wear wool, you can ask your parents to buy you clothes made from cotton, flannel, corduroy and other materials.  If you do get a wool sweater as a gift, remember that not everyone knows what happens to sheep.   You can let them know, which is a great way to help animals.

Down (feathers):

     The soft feathers of geese and ducks are called down.   Down is warm and light and people like to use it to make jackets as well as to stuff pillows, comforters and sleeping bags.  Some down comes from geese and ducks who are killed for their meat.  Some is pulled right out of the geese while they’re still alive.  This is a painful process.

     If you need a jacket or sleeping bag, you can ask your parents to choose one stuffed with fiberfill or some other warm, synthetic material that isn’t from animals.

     If you have feather pillows and comforters at home, make sure that they last a long time.



     Leather is the skin of animals, usually cows, pigs and sheep.   Some people think it’s OK to use leather because it comes from animals who are killed for their meat.  They figure the leather is just a by-product of the meat industry.  But food animals like cows, pigs and sheep suffer terribly on factory farms.  Their lives are sheer misery and their deaths are too.  There’s no reason to use leather when there are plenty of substitutes for it.  Why would you want to wear someone else’s skin?

     Did you know that sometimes even dog and cat skin is used to make leather products?  Lots of things may be made out of leather including jackets, pocketbooks, shoes, belts, wallets, watchbands, etc.

     In order to turn animal skin into leather, people have to clean it and put chemicals on it.  This process is called tanning and tanning can cause a lot of pollution and it really hurts the environment.

     Many people think that leather is fashionable, but it’s cruel because it hurts animals and the environment.

     You can let your family know that you’d rather not use leather.  You can get rubber or canvas shoes, or shoes made out of "man-made" materials.  If you do have leather shoes, take good care of them so they last a long time and you won’t need another pair too soon.


Keep an eye out for dead animal parts:

     Dead animals show up everywhere.  There are beads made out of sea creatures, sculptures made out of elephant tusks and earrings made from animal bones or horns.  Doesn’t it seem silly and unnecessary to kill an animal to make some jewelry?

     Some stores sell raccoon, fox or squirrel tails for people to hang from a hat or their car or some other place.  Some sell rabbit’s feet for good luck.  The poor rabbits weren’t too lucky!!!  Sometimes whole animal heads are sold for decoration.

     Animal parts which are sold for decoration don’t come from animals who have died naturally.  People killed them.

     If you don’t want to contribute to the death of animals for trinkets or decorations, be careful that you don’t accidentally buy a part of a dead animal.

     You can visit stores in a mall or shopping center and check for dead animal parts.  If you see any, you can write to the store manager about how it makes you feel to see animal parts for sale.

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