Being an animal rights activist can seem daunting at first–especially in a world where getting your voice out there means you’re either a Kardashian, a rapper, or a politician. Its hard to think you’ll actually be able to make a difference in the long run, but even small actions have large results.
As an animal rights activist myself, I’ve compiled a list of easy things to do in your daily life to support animal rights (and animal welfare, although they are different) without spending tons of money, having to travel, or being involved with a large organization (although these are all pretty awesome ways as well!).
Understand what animal rights means
I think the best way to differentiate between animal rights and animal welfare (both noble causes) is to know that animal rights means animals are all equal, including humans, and not to be used, owned, or as property for food, fur, testing, or entertainment. While animal welfare says that these uses are okay, as long as its ethical and humane.
I think I’m lucky in that I get to take classes specifically revolving around these key issues in animal rights and wildlife especially, but you can always learn even without being in school for it. Go to the library, go online, or go volunteer at an animal shelter. I think it will really change your views on animal rights and possibly create a positive change as a result.
If you’re looking for a place to start, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is the largest animal rights organization in the world, with more than 6.5 million members and supporters) and APSCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® was the first humane society to be established in North America and is, today, one of the largest in the world) are large and well-known organizations in this field.
Watch what you eat
The best ways to help, like becoming a vegan or vegetarian, are sometimes the hardest. But if you love a good cheeseburger every now and then (like me), I would recommend participating in Meatless Mondays (which you can read all about in one of my previous blog posts here). You can also watch documentaries, read books, or research animal abuse in factory farms which are some of the reasons to participate in Meatless Mondays or only eat meat on one certain day of the week.
Practice cruelty-free consumerism
Here is a list of animals that DO test on animals produced by PETA, something that you can keep in mind when you’re (not) buying from brands like Acuvue, Axe, Chapstick, Febreze, L’Oreal, M.A.C., or Prada. And buy from companies that DON’T test: Bath and Body Works, E.L.F., Lush, wet’n’wild, and many more!
There are also many companies that contribute support and money to animal and wildlife organizations as well, and promote these ideas on their clothes. You can check out Wholesome Culture or SandCloud if you’re interested!
You can also research about the animal rights in petting zoo’s, public zoo’s, animal sanctuaries, aquaculture (an important one!), dolphin swims, elephant rides, and circuses, among other animal education/entertainment venues for yourself (there’s just too many to explain here, and many are controversial).
Whether this means contacting people who can make the kind of changes you’re looking for, making others aware of the issues through word of mouth, or signing petitions (which I’ve done a bit of!), all are ways to give your support to organizations who have the same views you do. Beyond that, write editorials in to newspapers or post on Facebook about it. As long as you are weighing in on the issues and want to share your views, you can do it however you choose (for me, blogging!).
This isn’t hard to do, especially in an online setting. But you can also find donation boxes at local stores, humane societies, or even run 5K’s supporting animal rights. If you believe in an organization and they are resulting in the positive action you want to see, look into their website, subscribe to their magazine, or even go as far to as adopt (not shop) an animal of your own through them!
Participate in a campaign or join an organization
Find one near you by searching at your local library, online, or contacting your local wildlife agency. Or, if you are able to, many schools have organizations for these types of events. For me, ROAR (Rams Organizing For Animal Rights) is just one of the many clubs and organizations I am able to participate in, if I so choose, with likeminded individuals who want to make a difference in the community.
I hope this helps you realize how you can be an animal rights activist in your daily life just by doing many of the things you already are, watching what you buy, and educating yourself on the subject. What are other ways you show your animal rights activism?