In 1991, Animal Rights Awareness Week was created by the organization called In Defense of Animals (IDA) as a way to honor animals around the world and to raise awareness about their rights, needs, and wants. To be honest, even to this day I believe that animals in general are woefully unprotected when it comes to their rights. There are lots of great organizations workings to change this though, and there are also a few easy ways that you can help animals too!
1. Buy cruelty-free products – there are a surprising number of products out there that still test on animals, when there are non-animal methods that can gather the same safety and efficacy information! A great resource for more info about cruelty-free, or to check out products with the leaping bunny seal of approval visit https://crueltyfreeinternational.org/ for more info!
2. Get involved in the animal rights movement – there are LOTS of organizations who are doing good work to raise awareness and to help animals. From groups trying to change the laws, like Cruelty Free International, to worldwide organizations, like Humane Society International, who are fighting to end the horrific dog meat trade, and many more. All of these organizations have petitions, and easy ways to donate, and so much more!!
3. Help out animals in need locally – every community has shelters and rescue organizations who are fighting to help animals in need every day! These groups need your help too! You can volunteer to walk dogs a local shelter, or help at events with a rescue group, or become a foster home. There are tons of ways to help these groups too, and every pet adopted is one less in the shelter, and one less animal at risk of euthanasia on our shelters.
4. Speaking of adoption – instead of purchasing your next pet, try adoption! – There are lots of great ways to adopt – shelters and rescue groups can help you find nearly any type of pet! There are German Shepherd rescues, and Himalayan cat rescues, and Guinea Pig rescues, and everything in between! Check out www.petfinder.com where you can search by so many different criteria, that you are sure to find your next best friend!
5. If you decide to purchase a pet – do so responsibly! Do your research and be sure you are being a responsible citizen. Not all breeders are created equally – there is a large population right here in our state of ‘legal, state-approved’ breeding organizations where dogs spend their whole lives in a tiny cage. But since they are technically provided food, water, and shelter to the legal requirements, it’s ok. It’s ok that their feet never touch the grass, and that they are bred over and over, and that their fur is matted with urine and feces, and that they don’t receive vaccines or proper vet care – they meet the legal requirements, so it’s ok. Please – do your research.
6. And finally, spread the word! – The more we talk about proper care of animals, and fighting for them to have more rights, the more people will care and get involved! We can only make a change if we all work together.
This topic is definitely one that is near and dear to my heart. I have dedicated my life to helping pets and their people through veterinary medicine, but there are so many other ways to help too like those listed above! Help be a part of the movement – help us #bethechange to make a brighter future for the animals of this world!