There are many problems in our world today—unnecessary suffering is going on all over the place, in countless ways. It can be hard to know how to put an end to archaic practices, and some problems are easier to tackle than others. The good news is, when it comes to animal cruelty, there’s actually a lot that you can do.
The following will explore some of the things you can do to help reduce animal cruelty in the world. Of course, nothing will ever replace policy reform. If you are able, educate yourself on the issues and draft letters to your local governing bodies. This process takes a lot of time to have an effect, but it can bring about positive change in the world. You can also keep your eyes and ears open for petitions and speaking events where local politicians take questions from the audience.
EVERY DOLLAR IS A VOTE
More broadly, this article is going to focus on the role of us as consumers and how we can use this position to bring about positive change in the world. Many people have issues with capitalism and consumerism, but another way to think about it is to look at every dollar spent as a vote. Spending money on any product or service is a form of direct communication with corporations. If you don’t think they’re paying close attention to the data, think again.
Corporations are quick to adapt when they’re losing money, so conscious purchasing can actually make a big difference. It is estimated that 90% of purchasing decisions are done instinctively. It’s time to make our buying decisions consciously. Every person who switches over to cruelty-free products is tipping the scale.
UNDERSTAND THAT A LOT OF PRODUCTS AREN’T VEGAN
Countless everyday items actually involve animal products. You probably know that suede, leather, wool, and down products aren’t vegan, but you might be surprised to learn that chewing gum, candies like starburst, condoms, some brands of beer, tattoo ink, paintballs, sodas, sugar, dryer sheets, plastic bags, and Altoids use animal products. The majority of birth control pill brands aren’t vegan.
When shopping for your everyday products, not only do you want to check that they weren’t tested on animals, you also want to figure out whether or not they use animal products unnecessarily. Vegan and cruelty-free shopping take a bit of time to get into the flow of, but it can have a massive impact on what products corporations are taking to market. In many instances, there’s no need for these products to contain animal-derived substances.
RESEARCH THE PRODUCTS YOU USE FOR ANIMAL TESTING
Part of being a conscious consumer is understanding what goes into the production of the items you use every day. There are countless articles and resources about the products we use every day online, and some of them might shock you.
Things like condoms, diapers, Windex, contact lenses, sticky notes, cleaning products, and beauty products are often tested on animals or brutally use animals at some point in the process. Be especially wary of products labeled “green” or “eco-friendly.” Just because they have this label doesn’t mean they’re not harming animals in the process of making them.
BE WARY OF FILMS STARRING ANIMALS
Who doesn’t love a good dog movie? Or a horse film? Some masterpieces will break our hearts and build us back up afterward. This being said, standards for animal rights in the making of films vary drastically depending on where the movie was shot. Before you go to the movies or decide to buy a DVD (or digital copy of a film, because it’s 2021), have a little read up on the production.
Don’t give your money to films that mistreated their animal stars. Boycotting movies is highly effective as production decisions are made almost exclusively on the profit expected. Some studio executive sits down and calculates: “Okay, Brad Pitt will bring in this much money. Jennifer Lawrence will bring in this much. This director brings in this much, etc.” That’s how they decide whether or not to make a movie. We’re not joking; that’s how it’s done.
The above information should get you started on the path towards reducing animal-cruelty worldwide. Don’t let anyone tell you that your choices don’t have an impact. They do. As more and more people get on board with these changes, the market will readjust to reflect consumers’ wants and needs. When we work together and stand up for what we believe in when we make purchasing decisions, we are sending a message to those who design and market products.