Being an animal lover is a title worthy of praise.
We adore our dogs and cats, but rarely do we recognize how our daily choices impact the lives of so many other species.
If we looked closely, the animal-human bond appears more like an abusive relationship. Animals are often at the mercy of humans. They are forcibly confined, their habitats destroyed, and their right to life according to their own needs and desires are stolen. Extending our circle of compassion to embrace all species expands our hearts and tears down old faulty belief systems about how we treat animals.
With compassionate action we can deconstruct exploitative systems and live according to our deepest values.
1. Go Vegan
Animals used for food are some of the most abused and mistreated animals on the planet. They are often confined in spaces not large enough to stretch, mutilated without anesthesia, pumped with hormones and antibiotics and slaughtered (sometimes while conscious).
Eating a vegan plant-based diet not only spares lives, but is found to prevent and reverse diseases like heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Being compassionate can actually make us healthier!
2. Cut Out Disposable Plastics
Eighty percent of marine litter originates on land. Plastic pollution can be detrimental to seabirds, whales, sea turtles and other marine life, causing strangulation, intestinal blockages and starvation.
Instead, use reusable bags for shopping and reusable containers for food, drinks and left-over meals from restaurants.
3. Cut Out Unsustainable Palm Oil
Palm oil is a common ingredient in processed foods. Palm oil production is a major contributor to deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia, clearing more than the equivalent of 300 football fields in one hour. Orangutans and Sumatran tigers are on the brink of extinction due to palm oil production with another 300,000 types of other animals who are injured, killed and displaced during deforestation.
Try to find ways to reduce your consumption of conflict-palm oil and try more DIY recipes at home.
4. Observe Animals In Their Natural Habitat
Animals used for entertainment are forced to abide by rules and regulations and often punished for acting out natural behaviors. Elephants, tigers and bears are often trained with bull hooks, electric prods and other devices to incite fear to perform.
Instead, take a hike at your local state park. Watching animals in their natural habitats can spark a feeling of awe in us. They are wild and free to roam the land, fly without boundaries and swim with the current. Imagine that sense of freedom.
As humans wish to not suffer, so do all species. Being a more humane animal lover asks that we consider the needs of others before mindlessly acting on our own desires. Choosing to make more humane choices for animals will naturally lead us to live more peacefully and sustainably on the planet while instilling in us a deep sense of unadulterated joy.
Author: Margie Pacher
Editor: Catherine Monkman