Wildlife | Deter Insects Humanely| Companion Animals | Make Your Closet Cruelty-free | Laboritory Animals |Save Premarin Horses |Stop Dissection in Your Schools |Avoid The Circus |
Coat with fur, hat with feathers, lobster broiled alive.
Shoes and bags in sundry leathers of animals whoíve died.
Hunted, trapped and torn apart for me to satisfy.
And who am I? And what my rank? That I may live and they must die?
"Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight."
~ Albert Schweitzer ~
Most people go about their daily lives without much thought about the suffering required to provide them with the things they want. Many of these people are animal lovers who donít know, or would rather not know the misery and suffering caused to countless animals in order to meet their needs. From the toothpaste and other personal products they use that have been tested on animals, to the bacon on their breakfast plate that was once a thinking, feeling being, humans cause a great deal of animal suffering. From the fur-trimmed parkas and fur-lined gloves people don without a second thought, to their leather shoes and bags and briefcases, their woolen suits and silk scarves, thought is rarely given to the suffering of the animals used to provide these things. Also, little thought is given to the animals that are forced to perform for us in circuses and rodeos or held captive in zoos and aquariums until they become surplus and sold off to face perhaps an even worse fate. Not many stop to think of the torture of the glue mousetraps or rat poison that result in slow, painful death. And, although people can more easily relate to the feelings of our companion animals, many of those poor creatures wander the streets homeless and friendless, chased whenever they stop to catch their breath. Five million are killed each year because people continue to thoughtlessly breed them and many fail to take their responsibility and commitment to these loving companions seriously and carelessly discard them when they become inconvenient to have around. If the screams and moans of the animals used to provide for us could be heard, the sound would be deafening. If their misery and suffering could be felt by us, it would be unbearable.
Hopefully, most people are compassionate and humane and do not want animals to suffer needlessly on their account. Perhaps you are among this number and are willing to make some lifestyle changes that will not inconvenience you greatly but will make a world of difference to our animal friends. Below are some suggestions for you to consider. You might not be able to do all of them at once, but perhaps you can find something on the list to get you started on the road to living a compassionate, cruelty-free life. Review the list from time to time to remind yourself that your thoughtless actions can cause much misery, while your thoughtful actions can relieve much suffering. Take "compassionate action."
Wildlife | Deter Insects Humanely| Companion Animals | Make Your Closet Cruelty-free | Laboritory Animals |Save Premarin Horses |Stop Dissection in Your Schools |
Provide wildlife sanctuary. Leave a good part of your yard natural, with bushes and ground cover. The more diverse your bushes, seeds and berries, the greater variety of birds and small mammals you will attract.
Keep dead wood. Dead wood is crucial to kicking our pesticide habit. More than 150 species of birds and animals live in dead trees and feed on the insects there. Top off rather than chop down dead trees 12 inches or more in diameter. Fat dead logs, woody debris and underbrush are also precious to wildlife. Before cutting any wood, check for nests and dens.
Provide birdbaths. Keep water in a birdbath and in a ground pan all year long. Use heating elements to keep them unfrozen in cold weather. Be sure neither is too close to a bush or other cover where a cat might hide.
Install a Martin house. Mosquitoes will disappear from your woodsy yard as elegant swifts, swallows and purple martins sweep through the air.
Seal up your house. Seal all entry places and cap your chimney AFTER making sure no animals are inside. A mother will (justifiably) tear your roof apart if you seal her young inside.
Avoid "pest control" companies. Donít capture, kill or relocate an animal by calling in "pest control agents" whose promises of humane destruction or relocation can be a fraud. You may be separating the animal from loved ones or food and water sources. Check out the Peaceful Coexistence section of this website for advice on sharing the planet with urban wildlife.
Build a bat house. A bat consumes 3000 or more mosquitoes and other insects nightly. Bats wonít get in your hair and the chances of them being rabid are miniscule Ė less than that of your dog. Bats are responsible for up to 95% of the seed dispersal essential to the regeneration of tropical rain forests. For more information about bats, contact Bat Conservation International, P.O. Box 162503, Austin, TX 78716 or click on the Peaceful Coexistence section of this website.
Use humane mousetraps. If you must use a moustrap, use the plastic "smart" mousetrap available from PETA (1-800-483-4366, or http://www.petamall.com/). When using these, be sure to check them every few hours as frightened rodents, with their high rate of metabolism, quickly become stressed, thirsty and hungry. Complain to stores that sell glue traps, explaining how inhumane the traps are. Recommend that they sell humane box traps instead. If you encounter an animal stuck to a glue trap, pour a small amount of cooking or baby oil onto the stuck areas and gently work them free.
Tear up containers. Tear open one side of tough plastic and cardboard containers so that squirrels and other small animals cannot get caught in them. Many have died, unable to back out of inverted pyramid yogurt cups.
Cut rings apart. Snip apart 6-pack rings including the inner diamond. The rings are commonly found around the necks of wildlife ranging from turtles to waterfowl.
Patrol beaches and parks. Join, create or consider yourself the sole member of a beach brigade or park patrol. Pick up string, fishing line and all plastic litter (bags, bottles, 6-pack rings, lids and disposable diapers) near streams and woods. Birds, turtles, dolphins and even whales and otters can get tangled up or swallow such items. For info on where and when a beach clean-up may be held near you, write Coastal States Organization, c/o Margie Fleming, 444 N. Capitol St. N.W., Suite 322, Washington DC 20001, or Center for Environmental Education, 1725 DeSales Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036.
Clean-up anti-freeze. Take care to clean up anti-freeze spills carefully (and rinse out the rags you use to do so). It is toxic and animals are attracted to its sweet taste. Do not wash anti-freeze down storm water grates.
Donít use poisons. Never use poison or sticky repellent caulk to control pigeons, starlings or other birds. A stretched out slinky, nailed to a board and placed on a window ledge or roof, will keep birds from roosting. If your city or town poisons birds, urge them to substitute humane forms of control.
Provide an escape from backyard swimming pools. Each year countless animals drown in backyard swimming pools. Secure and hang a small towel over the side of the pool into the water to allow animals a way to escape since it is impossible for them to climb out otherwise.
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DETER INSECT INVASIONS HUMANELY
Use spices. Pour a line of cream of tartar, red chili powder, paprika or dried peppermint at the place where ants enter the house. They wonít cross it. You can also try washing countertops, cabinets and floors with equal parts of vinegar and water or a citrus-based cleaner.
Try bay leaves. If cockroaches have moved in, simply place whole bay leaves in several locations around the infested rooms, including inside kitchen cabinets. Bay leaves smell like dirty socks to cockroaches.
Get Gentrol. Gentrol, an insect growth regulator, eliminates the reproductive potential of cockroaches without killing them.
Use a jar. If you must move spiders, carefully trap them in an inverted jar and release them outside.
Close holes. Prevent insects from entering your home in the first place by filling holes and cracks in walls with white glue (its less toxic than caulk).
Keep clean. Donít give insects a food supply; keep living areas clean. Be careful to sweep up crumbs, wash dishes immediately, store food in tightly sealed containers and empty garbage frequently. Often this will be enough to make bugs move on in search of more fertile ground.
Use Citronella. Deter flying insects gently with citronella candles or other incense. Forget bug zappers. They kill insects who are essential for pollination of night-flowering plants and for peopleís aesthetic senses Ė fireflies and moths are priceless flying jewels.
Donít dispose of insects in the toilet. This can be a slow death for an insect. Release captured bugs outside.
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Spay and neuter your pets. Besides reducing the overpopulation problem, it reduces health problems in the animals by eliminating diseases of the ovaries, uterus and testicles and drastically reduces the risk of prostate and mammary cancers. Check this site for more information on low-cost spay/neuter programs or call 10-800-248-SPAY.
Support your local animal shelter. Never buy an animal from a pet shop or breeder Ė they contribute to dog and cat overpopulation.
Donít buy while they die. Adopt rather than purchase a companion animals. Shelters are filled with wonderful animals awaiting new homes who face death unless they are adopted. You can search for the animal of your choice through Petfinder (www.petfinder.org).
Donít adopt an animal on impulse. Before adopting an animal make sure you understand the commitment involved. Dogs and cats can live for more than 15 years. Animals such as turtles and parrots can outlive you!
Support pet supply stores. Buy leashes, toys and other supplies for companion animals only at stores that donít sell animals.
Be considerate. Think of your companion animalís needs for exercise, companionship and stimulation. Donít leave him or her alone for long periods of time. Donít expect them to hold "it" all day Ė how many times do you visit the bathroom in 24 hours? When you walk your dog, give him a chance to sniff. Itís one of his greatest pleasures and he waits all day for the opportunity. Set aside time each day for interaction. Provide a second companion of the same species to help alleviate loneliness and boredom.
Pay attention. Never ignore stray animals on the street where they can become victims of disease, starvation, cars and the cruelty of humans Ė as well as being able to reproduce and add to the overpopulation problem.
Help them get home. When you find lost animals, try to reunite them with their families without alerting unscrupulous people to their plight. If you place an ad, donít give a full description Ė the person looking for a lost animal should be able to describe it in detail.
Warn people. Call people who place "Free to a good home" ads in newspapers, warning them that "bunchers" are known to scan such ads for animals they can sell to laboratories. Place an ad in the classified section of your newspaper that says: "PET THEFT ALERT: Donít let your companion animal end up in a research experiment. Donít leave animals alone outdoors. Check out new homes thoroughly before you give an animal away."
Give advice to people who might not know better. Whether you talk to them in person, send an anonymous letter or contact the humane society, let guardians of neglected animals know exactly what needs to be done. Sometimes this is all it takes.
Report cruelty and be persistent. Donít stand by and watch an animal suffer abuse. Call the humane society as often as needed to report cruelty and get action.
Bring your dog inside. Unless you or other dogs are out there to share it with them, living outside is dull and lonely. Dogs are social beings and need companionship. Animals left alone outside are also at risk of being stolen.
Donít declaw your cat. Declawing is cruel and unnecessary. The procedure removes not just the claws but the first section of the toe. It is painful and can even cause personality changes. Provide your cat with a sturdy scratching post and trim his claws frequently.
Put collars and ID on your animals. Make sure your animals have up-to-date identification tags Ė even cats that do not go outside. Consider tattoos or microchipping which are permanent forms of identification that canít be lost or removed. A good number of the animals euthanized in shelters had no tags or had tags that could not be traced.
Make it fun for your fish. Clean the fish tank regularly. Donít keep single fish; most like companionship. Donít buy fish but if you have a single fish, check with friends and neighbors to find one for adoption. Donít support the fish trade by going to a dealer. Give your fish plants which provide oxygen, shelter and hiding places. Create places for your fish to hide and explore.
Donít buy birds. Birds were born to fly and, being flock animals, live with others of their species. Wild birds make sad, lonely and sometimes dangerous "pets." Captive-bred birds are more docile, but breeders must constantly introduce new genes from wild-caught birds, so even buying only captive-bred birds supports the wild-caught bird trade. If you already have a bird, provide special time with you every day, provide baths and mistings, allow him 8-12 hours of sleep a night, provide regular nail and beak trims, give bird-safe toys and classical music during the day.
Hug your bunny. Rabbits need lots of love and attention. Tame rabbits are social beings who are happiest living indoors with you. Isolated rabbits become bored, withdrawn and depressed. Groom your rabbit at least twice a week. Keep the hutch clean and give plenty of nutritious food and fresh water.
Donít keep exotics as pets. Regardless of their size, exotic animals should never be kept in captivity. If you want to share your home with an animal companion, visit your local shelter.
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MAKE YOUR CLOSET CRUELTY- FREE
Donít use fur. More than 40 million animals are killed each year because people want to wear their skin. In the wild, they suffer horribly in steel-jaw, leg-hold traps. Others are raised under terrible conditions on fur ranches and are killed in the most horrible manner so that people can wear fur. Some countries even raise dogs and cats for their skin and fur that is used to make coats, gloves and even kidsí toys. Donate the furs you purchased before you realized the actual "cost" to the Humane Society. They recycle the furs to wildlife rehabilitators who use them to comfort orphaned and injured animals.
Write or call. Write or call the producers of TV shows, especially soap operas and tell them that if a character must wear fur, it should be an obvious fake fur and be announced in the credits.
Complain, stay current and talk loud. Complain if mall managers include fur in fashion shows. Keep your eyes open for sweepstakes ad beauty pageants that still offer fur prizes and charities that feature fur in fund-raising. Write and call the promoters of such events and ask them to join the 21st century. Strike up a conversation within hearing distance of a fur-wearer about the gruesome facts of fur.
Buy non-leather products. Today there are many comfortable, well-made and fashionable non-leather alternatives such as satin dress shoes, synthetic running shoes and canvas recreation shoes. (You can get a current list of companies that make non-leather clothing and accessories from PETA (www.petamall.com/). Remember ~ leather is not a fabric ~ it is somebodyís skin.
Avoid down. Feathers are ripped from the birdsí bodies and then allowed to grow back 4 or 5 times before they are slaughtered. Choose cotton, cotton corduroy, natural fibers, parkas, quilts and pillows stuffed with cruelty- free synthetics like Fiberfill II, Polarguard and Thinsulate.
Never buy ivory. Ivory comes from elephants and from marine mammals such as whales, walruses and narwhals. It is often carved into figurines, curios or jewelry.
Avoid Tortoiseshell Products. Donít buy tortoiseshell jewelry or combs, leather, eggs or food products from turtles, or creams and cosmetics made from turtle flesh extract. 20,000 endangered sea turtles are slaughtered every year in Mexico, many as they are crawling back to sea, exhausted after laying their eggs.
Protect birds. Donít wear feathers or buy mounted birds. Up to 70% of "exotic" birds imported into the U.S. die during capture, transit and the required 30-day quarantine.
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Clean house. Rid your household of animal-tested and animal-ingredient products. Almost 600 companies now test their products without the use of animals. You can search for companies that do not test on animals at this link (http://search.caringconsumer.com/) Use cruelty- free and natural cleaners that donít pollute rivers or poison the earth. Write to companies and ask them to use a "not tested on animals" logo. Ask local store managers to stock products with the logo. Use 800 numbers to express your feelings about animals free of charge. These numbers are usually given right on the packaging, or you can call (in the U.S.) 1-800-555-1212 to get the number. To find out who is and who isn't testing on animals please click here
Save receipts. Save your receipts from purchases of cruelty-free products and send them to Unilever, 800 Sylvan Avenue, Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632 (one of the companies still testing on animals) with a note saying "See what youíre missing!" or "If youíd stop testing on animals, my business could be yours." Call them at 1-800-598-1223 and tell them to stop testing their products on animals.
Be a donor. If you are at least 18 years old, obtain and fill out a human research donor card from the United Network for Organ Sharing (1-800-243-6667) to keep with your driverís license or ID card.
Fill out cards. Pick up consumer request cards at your supermarket or local drugstore and have friends join you in requesting brand-name, cruelty-free products. If possible, speak to the store manager.
Donít use personal products that were tested on animals. Check the label on the personal products that you buy to make sure that they werenít tested on animals and that they donít contain animal products. Animal testing is not required by law, but some companies continue to do it to protect themselves from possible future lawsuits. These tests are incredibly cruel; donít be a party to it.
Be careful where you donate. Find out how your charitable donations will be spent before you donate and give only to those whose resources go to direct client care or non-animal research. More than 200 charities carry the Humane Charity Seal of Approval. For example, the March of Dimes funds animal experiments while Easter Seals does not. For more information visit www.pcrm.org.
Find out. If you live near a medical or veterinary school, find out if animals are used in classroom training. If they are, approach the administration about modernizing their curriculum to exclude animal labs. Most of the major medical schools have already done this.Back to the top
SAVE PREMARIN HORSES AND FOALS
Switch from Premarin or Prempak-C to synthetic and plant-based estrogen drugs to manage menopause symptoms naturally. These drugs are made from the urine of pregnant mares. The mares suffer terribly in the process and their babies are sold off for meat. Call Wyeth-Ayerst, maker of Premarin, toll-free at 1-800-999-9384. Let the company know what you think of its treatment of horses and foals.
STOP DISSECTION IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOL
When you think about it, it makes no sense that so many frogs are destroyed simply so that someone can observe where these little animalsí hearts lie in their bodies. Looking at a diagram, a 3-dimensional model, or a computer software program would serve the purpose just as well. Contact your local school administrator to find out their policy on dissection. Make them aware of the available alternatives to dissection.
AVOID THE CIRCUS
The website http://www.circuses.com is a superb source of information on circus cruelty. Warning! Some of their pages may be very upsetting to look at.