Cluck cluck folks! I'm Joe (the) Cocker-el. How d'ya like ma style? When I'm not out in the yard selling corn to my bros, I'm strutting my stuff to impress the chicks - they totally dig me, keekerekeee! Have you noticed that we cockerels or roosters are a rare sight these days?
I'm all for feminism and empowering females but in the poultry world, it's sadly not a positive development. My sisters are usually kept in pretty awful environments to lay eggs all day every day for their entire life and my baby brothers, for the most part, don't even get to live longer than a few hours, simply because they are males and have no use for the egg or meat business. So they are just discarded...
My hope is that one day ALL unnecessary animal cruelty will be history. Each and every one of you can make this happen by gradually removing animal products or activities from your life and making kindness a priority for everything you buy or do.
What is a vegan lifestyle?
People who become vegan or plant-based for ethical or animal rights reasons are likely to gradually seek an animal cruelty-free approach in all other parts of life, not just food. It's astounding once you realise how many of our clothes, everyday essentials and common habits often involve unnecessary animal suffering. Think of wool, fur, silk and leather for clothes, bags and shoes; feathers for down jackets, pillows and blankets; animal testing for cosmetics, toiletries and household products; a life of captivity and an unnatural environment for animals in zoos, circuses, pet shops and animal theme parks such as Sea World.
Animal components are also prevalent in products you would never suspect them in and the names also wouldn't indicate that they're animal derived. For instance Glycerin or Panthenol, which are used in toothpaste, shampoos and many other toiletries. These can be either from animal or plant source and often companies have removed the word 'animal' to avoid putting consumers off. To familiarize yourself with the most common animal-derived substances check out PETA's animal-derived ingredients list. Luckily with many vegan brands available nowadays for most types of products, it has never been easier to find alternatives to animal-derived products. That way you can be sure that you are supporting cruelty-free.
What are the main issues?
PETA's website is a great resource to learn more about the issues facing so many species of animals all over the world. Their slogan is simple: "Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any way."
Below is a short summary of the issues we've come across in our everyday lives. We consciously make an effort to change our behaviours/ adapt our choices to stop supporting the needless suffering and killing of sentient beings, simply for human pleasure, convenience or tradition. Like with our dietary transition to veganism, once we became aware of these issues there was really no question that we needed to make changes in other areas too. We consider ourselves to be animal lovers and in order to truly live up to that claim, we continually strive to align our actions with our core values, step by step. It means challenging the norm and questioning what is considered 'normal' but that's what we need to do to make change happen.
Animals used for entertainment & hobbies
Going to the circus, the zoo or an animal theme park is a popular family activity for young and old. Most people feel happy when they can connect with animals, observe and learn about their behaviours or watch them perform "fun tricks". We might feel closer to animals when we see them in these environments and it may strengthen the belief that we are animal lovers. The problem with these forms of entertainment is that we are using the animals simply for our own pleasure and very often their needs and well-being are not respected at all.
The animals in these man-made enclosures are often denied everything that is natural and important to them, and what's worse, they are in many cases physically abused, beaten, chained up and exploited to perform as we humans expect them to. The best thing we can do is avoid going to a place or paying for an activity which uses animals commercially for entertainment altogether. Beyond zoos, circuses and animal theme parks this includes: bull fights, horse or dog races, pony (or other animal) rides, horse-drawn carriages, animal-encounter experiences and many more! The best places to observe animals is when they are free in their natural habitat or at an animal sanctuary, where the needs of the animals come before those of human visitors. Ask yourself what's it like to be you? Really pause for a moment and put yourself in their world and think deeply about the life they have to endure dominated by humans. How much happier would they and we be if we allowed them to be free to live in their own natural habitat. We can observe their beauty from afar in awe.
Unfortunately still today, millions of products used by billions of people around the world are cruelly tested on animals. Make up, face and body care, toiletries, cleaning products, medication, just to name a few.
Although the EU and some other countries have banned the sale of animal tested cosmetics, these laws do not cover other commonly used products household cleaning products and laws internationally are primitive at best. The methods used on animals are totally barbaric and belong in the history books. It's easy to switch off and look away but how can we, we must look at our own lives and eradicate animal suffering by looking at the things we own, buy and support with our money. It takes effort and heart to confront the realities but we have to, to stop the suffering. There are no excuses in todays world we have the information and alternatives to live an animal cruelty free life.
There are millions of mice, rats, rabbits, primates, cats, dogs, and other animals used for experimentation that are locked inside barren cages in laboratories across the world and in your own country right now. They suffer unnecessary and inexplicable pain, loneliness, and all they can do is wait in fear of the next painful procedure. Peta.org
Clothing & Accessories
In this day and age it is absolutely unnecessary to wear any animal based products for clothing. The fashion industry has a lot to answer for massive environmental damage and supporting animal cruelty.
Animals used for clothing are predominantly, Leather, fur, silk, wool, exotic skins and feathers. Millions of animals go through a lifetime of unthinkable suffering - no daylight, stuck in cages, wounds/self mutilation and psychological break down. The details of which are harrowing, so please let us stop using animals for clothing today.
We all have the choice to choose animal free cloth wear. Organic cotton, hemp materials for example are much more sustainable and animal free. With so much choice, this is a great time to choose plant based sustainable clothing wear.
Animal companions/Pet-trade industry
"For every lucky dog or cat who has a comfortable home, nutritious food, and loving guardians, countless other dogs and cats are suffering at the hands of incompetent or abusive people, are struggling to survive on the streets, or are waiting in animal shelters for a good home". Peta.org
Puppy farming, pet shops with unnatural environments
A common wish for young kids is to own a pet - ranging from a fish to a hamster to a dog or even a horse. Already at a young age we feel drawn to animals and want to take care of them. Often parents give in to the wish. Have to be aware that this isnt the pet’s natural environment and also its a big responsibility that should be taken for the lifetime of a pet. Will be a significant time and financial commitment for the long run.
Maybe when going into a pet shop you think you’re doing the animal a favour by ‘rescuing’ it. Yet like with other unethical forms of trade, consumer demand needs to diminish for them to stop (unless a policy is put in place at govt level).
Aweful conditions, often breeders driven by desire to make as much money as possible. Mother dogs kept like milking cows, impregnated over and over. Often no care taken for the pups - will develop problem behaviours that shape their entire life
Adopt dont shop! So many rescue animals needing loving homes
Cruel wildlife control
First confronted by the absurd topic of 'pest control' when we were in New Zealand and seeing the countries campaign of Predator Free New Zealand by 2050. Te government launched a 'War on Pests' costing over $9b over a 30 year period and 25 million Hectares of land. The aim is to eradicate the island of millions of rats, stoats, possums, foxes, all of which are classified as 'pests'. So ironic that just because these animals hunt and kill other animals like birds just because they need to survive and yet we kill billions of animals every year just to eat them for nothing other than pleasure (taste). In the case of New Zealand, it was our fault in the first place for bringing these species over from other countries such as Australia and England through trade and for hunting pleasure. Why on earth are we not doing the obvious, asking ourselves why this all started in the first place, and taking responsibility to humanely clean up our act before we call other animals 'pests'. Every year millions of possums are deliberately run over on road in New Zealand as part of a brutal government backed campaign to get rid of approx 30million possums. This involves poison traps, and even encouraging children that if they see them, kill them. What kind of world are we living in? This barbaric and archaic view, needs to end! Compassion and love for all animals .. The over simplification of the problems without the context of the greater issues... etc
Animal poaching & trading
Other animal derived products
As hard as it might be to think about this cruelty happening to millions of sentient beings all over the world, every day, we can’t stop the suffering if we simply look the other way and pretend it isn’t happening. Animals are counting on compassionate people like YOU to give them a voice and be their heroes, by learning about the issues they face and taking action. Each of us has the power to save animals from nightmarish suffering and best of all, it’s easier than you might think. If you’re ready to join the millions of other compassionate people who are working to create a kinder, better world for animals