Helping animals in the new year
Category : Uncategorized
With the new year almost upon us, many of us are thinking about plans and resolutions for 2010. Among them will hopefully be ways to help animals.
Here are some suggestions for ways you can help animals in 2010:
Go vegan. Adopting a vegan lifestyle is quite simply the most effective thing you can do to help animals. By going vegan you are reducing the demand for animal products and potentially saving hundreds of animal lives. The I Quit Eating Meat blog is one person’s story of his path from meat-eater to vegan, and all of the challenges he faces. Great reading if you are thinking of making the switch. We have a list of resources available on our website as well.
Request that vegan options be added to the menu at regular restaurants. I’ve recently become aware of just how significant this can be. There are many non-vegans out there who will choose the vegan option if one is available, but won’t ask for something to be made vegan if it’s not on the menu. If it’s easy for people to eat vegan at their favorite restaurant, then they are much more likely to choose those options. You also never know what effect it might have. A pizza shop in LA recently went all-vegan after someone asked them to add a vegan pizza to their menu.
Once a month, go out to eat at a regular restaurant and ask for vegan food. Call ahead and request vegan food and make a point of reviewing your meal on yelp.com, dinehere.ca, foodvancouver.com, martiniboys.com, and any others you think people might read. The idea here is to build up the demand for vegan food across all sorts of restaurants, which will make it easier for anyone to choose vegan foods.
Bring vegan cupcakes or cookies to your coworkers, friends, or family to show them how delicious vegan food is. My favorite recipes are by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, author of Veganomicon, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and a few other books. I bring her cupcakes to work sometimes and my co-workers love them. Best cupcakes ever.
Give away copies of significant books or DVDs to people you know. People are more likely to listen to people they know, and if you hand them a copy of Earthlings they might just watch it. Check out Operation Meat Market: one activist, one mission, and a whole lot of books for a story of one person’s project of handing out copies of Erik Marcus’s Meat Market.
Share links and videos on facebook, twitter, myspace, and any other online social networking site you use. The more voices in the stream of information presenting information about animals the better.
Start a blog about your experiences. Share your stories with others. You may not think that anyone wants to read about you, but if you can tell your story about transitioning to a vegan diet, learning more about animals, or living as a vegan, people will be able to gain inspiration for their own lives from your stories. If you like to cook you could write about cooking and share recipes. If you work out you could write about that. The I Quit Eating Meat blog I mentioned earlier has inspired many other people to make the same transition. Starting a blog is free on WordPress and who knows what impact you could have?
Volunteer with a local animal rescue or sanctuary. Being with animals first hand can really help to remind us why we are trying to help them in the first place. You’ll also be armed with personal stories about animals for the times when you are talking to people. Some friends of mine made a trip to Rest.Q Sanctuary to volunteer for an afternoon and posted a video about Kevin the turkey, and now people can see how sociable and friendly turkeys are. You’ll also be helping those individual animals. Some other local places to volunteer include Hearts on Noses, Vancouver Rabbit Rescue and Advocacy, Small Animal Rescue Society, and Richmond Animal Protection Society.
These are just a few ideas, and quite obviously I’m focused on food animals (since they account for something like 95% of the exploited animals on Earth) and outreach. Other people might have other ideas about how to help animals, but the more we all do, the more likely we are to succeed.
What other ideas do you have? Leave a comment and share your thoughts. And happy New Year!