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The Rights of Animals

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated…I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by people from the cruelty of human kind” ~ Ghandi 80 Ways! COMPANION ANIMALS 1. Spay and neuter. Each year, millions of dogs and cats are put to death in animal shelters. Spaying and neutering eases the overpopulation problem and prolongs the life of your dog or cat. 2. Never buy an animal from a pet shop. Adopt your companion animals from shelters. Pet shops buy from puppy mills and large-scale breeders who contribute to the population crisis and whose over-bred animals are often very unhealthy. 3. Never give an animal as a gift. Many an animal has been abandoned because people aren't prepared to care for it. Discuss it with your friends and family first. 4. Take notice and take action. Never ignore stray animals on the street, where they can become victims of disease, starvation, and human cruelty. 5. Help lost animals find their way home. Pay attention to flyers posted in your neighborhood. If you find a lost animal with no tag, post it in the newspaper, but be vague in your description. Animal guardians should be able to describe their animals in detail. 6. Support your local animal shelter. Animal shelters and SPCAs always need help socializing cats and walking dogs, fostering animals, and cleaning cages and pens. If you cannot volunteer, send a contribution. 7. Report abuse. Call your local humane society if you witness any type of cruely or abuse. It is common knowledge that violence towards non-human animals is a precursor of violence towards human animals. 8. Keep them safe at home. Be sure to keep collars and tags on dogs and cats (even if they are indoors). In case of an emergency, they can be returned home safely. Be sure to have a secure fence for dogs in your yard. 9. Use natural cleaners. Hazardous chemicals are harmful to your animals' health. Use only non-toxic cleaners in your home, and always clean up antifreeze (which tastes sweet to animals). Contact the Environmental Protection Agency (800-424-9346) to learn how to properly dispose of hazardous chemicals. 10. Warn people about thieves. People who place "free to a good home" ads in newspapers don't realize that "bunchers" are known to scan such ads for animals they can sell to laboratories. 11. Attend a humane dog training course with your pooch. Learn to communicate with your dog, who is eager to please but isn't always clear on what you expect. 12. Provide exercise for your dogs. Dogs crave walking, running, digging, and exploring. Go for long walks if possible, and use a retractable leash. 13. Keep cats indoors. Indoor cats live longer, safer, healthier lives. Cars, pesticides, feral cats, cruel humans, rabid animals, leghold traps, storm drains, and animal thieves (who sell them to labs for a profit) are just some of the reasons to keep cats indoors. With love and shelter, cats do not feel deprived. 14. Trim your cat's claws. Don't declaw. Have your veterinarian trim the nails, or buy a good pair of nail clippers. Invest in a good scratching post that is sturdy and tall enough for your cat to stretch out fully. 15. Tattoo your dog or cat. Vets, shelters, and laboratories often check for tattoos, and many animals have returned home as a result. They are painless and permanent. 16. Educate yourself. Read books to learn to care for your companion animal properly, such as Compassion of Animals Understanding Your Dog, Dogs that Know when their Owners are Coming Home, Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, The New Natural Cat, and Stolen for Profit. ANIMALS IN ENTERTAINMENT 17. Find alternatives to zoos. Animals are fascinating to watch . . . in their natural environment. Victims of illegal trade, forced from their families, and raised in captivity, zoo animals would prefer not to be entertainment for humans. Watch National Geographic videos, read zoology books, and visit local nature centers. 18. Join wildlife protection organizations. Capturing young animals from the wild to sell them to zoos is a cruel practice both for mother and baby. Support organizations that protect these animals. 19. Attend a Cirque du Soleil performance or other human circus. Human performers who willingly entertain the public are incredibly talented and entertaining. No animals are used in this "circus." 20. Boycott marine theme parks. Unable to use their sonar, choose a mate, escape the noise of onlookers, or travel hundreds of miles with their family, captive marine mammals routinely die of pneumonia, ulcers, and other stress-related illnesses. Wild dolphins can live 40 years, and orcas can live 90, but in captivity, they rarely survive their teens. 21. Learn more about how animals suffer in rodeos. The rodeo's most popular events would not be possible if humans did not inflict pain on the animals involved. Calves and steers often incur back and neck injuries, torn ligaments and broken bones, a painful device makes broncos "buck," and animals are cramped in pens as they endure constant travel. 22. Do not patronize dog tracks. The greyhound racing industry breeds approximately 50,000 puppies each year. Of these animals, only 15,000 actually become racing dogs. The rest are "retired," used as breeding stock, or, in a more likely scenario, shot and destroyed. Greyhounds that actually become racers live life in small cages, usually no greater than three feet in diameter. 23. Boycott the Rodeo. The rodeo consists of painful and often fatal events such as roping, bucking, and steer wrestling events. While the public witnesses only the 8 seconds or so that the animals perform, there are hundreds of hours of unsupervised practice sessions. Also, the stress of constant travel, often in improperly ventilated vehicles, and poor enforcement of proper unloading, feeding, and watering of animals during travel contribute to a life of misery for these animals. 24. Learn why carriage horses have been banned in many cities. Such people as Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger are dedicated to helping carriage horses, working animals with minimal protections. Heat exhaustion, dehydration, stress, collisions with cars, fear of traffic and loud noises, incessant inhalation of exhaust fumes, lameness, hoof deterioration, improper food and water are just some of the ways they suffer. 25. Oppose bullfighting. A cruel spectacle of human dominance, the bullfight purports to be a battle to the death in which either participant, bull or matador, may die. In reality, the bull never has a chance to win. Stabbed in the side before released into the arena, the hurt animal is taunted until angry and then stabbed repeatedly until he dies a painful death. 26. Educate yourself and others. Read books and watch videos to learn more about how animals suffer in the name of entertainment, such as Beyond the Bars: The Zoo Dilemma, When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals, and The Souls of Animals. ANIMALS IN LABORATORIES 27. Buy cruelty-free products. Most consumer products, from soap to cosmetics and cleaners, have been cruelly tested on animals who are intentionally poisoned or blinded. Check the packaging and only buy products that are not tested on animals. (Also check the ingredients to be certain that animal products were not used in the manufacturing process.) 28. Obtain a list of cruelty-free companies. Such organizations as the American Anti-Vivisection Society, In Defense of Animals, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals offer (free!) updated and comprehensive lists of companies that DO NOT test on animals (as well as lists of those that DO test). Keep them in your wallet and refer to them whenever you shop. 29. Call and write companies that currently test products on animals. Let them know you will not use your money to contribute to animal suffering and that you know these tests are not required by any regulatory agencies. Most companies have 800 numbers that you can call at no cost to you! Consumer pressure is why many cosmetics companies, such as Revlon, have switched to animal-free testing. 30. Write to your congressional representatives. Ask them to support any legislation that would discourage companies from using animals for safety tests or that calls for alternatives to animal testing. Find your representatives here. 31. Do not buy products that contain animal ingredients. Animal and animal-derived ingredients are incorporated into many seemingly innocuous products. Animal Ingredients A to Z lists the source of ingredients -- especially all those "unpronouncables." 32. Before you donate to a health charity, ask if it funds animal experiments. Many people do not realize that when they donate to a health charity, they may be helping to fund disturbing experiments that have little to do with helping those in need. Support human-centered research programs that directly benefit the populations they serve. View an online guide of charities that do and do not fund animal experiments. 33. Donate your organs. By donating your own organs, you are saving lives -- human animals as well as non-human animals. Obtain an organ card that states "I request that after my death any part of my body be used for medical and scientific research." Obtain a donor card today 34. Purchase synthetic alternatives to animal-based medications. One example is Premarin, a hormone replacement therapy derived from the urine of horses kept in stalls for this purpose. (Cenastin is just one FDA-approved hormone replacement therapy derived from synthetic materials.) 35. Provide warning. People who place "free to a good home" ads in newspapers don't realize that "bunchers" scan the paper for such ads so they can sell animals to laboratories. Place an ad alongside such "free to a good home" ads to alert others. 36. Read books about Vivisection: Lethal Laws, The Human Cost of Experiments on Animals, and Animal Liberation. ANIMALS IN EDUCATION 37. Don't dissect. If you are a student, you have a legal right to refuse to dissect animals in labs. Put your feelings in writing to your teacher and principal and involve your parents if possible. Millions of animals are harmed or killed in or for elementary, middle school, high school, college, and graduate school courses every year. Cats, frogs, fetal pigs, grasshoppers, earthworms, rats, mice, dogs, pigeons, and turtles are just some of the animals used. 38. Encourage alternatives to dissection. There are thousands of amazing alternatives to dissection available for all sorts of animals. Great options are available that fit into any budget and are appropriate for students from elementary to college. Through programs such as Animalearn's, The Science Bank, students and educators can try a variety of alternatives from 3-D CD-Rom dissection simulations to videotapes, charts, and models. 39. Learn where the animals come from. Up to 90% of the animals used for dissection, including frogs, turtles, and perch, are wild caught. Some species used for dissection come from other industries that exploit animals. Fetal pigs are removed from pregnant sows slaughtered for meat. Skinned mink, fox, and rabbit bodies come from fur ranches. rabbits, Cats and dogs are often stolen from backyards, bought from pet stores, or adopted from animal shelters. 40. Make the connection. Dissection desensitizes people to animal concerns. Many people feel a natural connection to animals. They're our companions at home and in the wild. However, many educational projects and labs ignore that connection and help create a feeling that animals are objects, not living, feeling beings. Many classes refer to animals as "specimens," "subjects," or "tools," which further alienates students from the animals who lay before them. Biology is the study of life -- not death. 41. Encourage medical schools to eliminate dog labs. The majority of medical schools in the United States have abolished dog labs from their curricula. Columbia, Harvard, Stanford, and Yale all introduce physiology to their students with other, more applicable and humane methods. A significant number of medical schools, however, continue using dog labs. 42. Educate yourself and others. Read books and watch videos to learn more about dissection and vivisection: Brute Science: Dilemmas of Animal Experimentation, Animal Models of Human Psychology, Animal Liberation. Other recommendations can be found here. ANIMALS IN THE WILD 43. Provide a Wildlife Sanctuary. Leave a good part of your yard natural with bushes and ground cover. The more diverse your yard, the greater variety of birds and small mammals you will attract. 44. Keep dead wood. Hundreds of species of birds and animals live in dead trees and feed on the insects there. Top off, rather than chop down, dead trees. 45. Provide bird baths. Keep water in a birdbath and in a ground pan all year long. 46. Leave wildlife in your attic or chimney alone. If an animal has a nest in an unused part of your house, leave them alone for a few weeks until the youngsters are grown. They will probably move out on their own. "Humane" trappers aren't always such. Seal up all entry places once the family has left. 47. Avoid "pest control" companies. Don't capture and kill or relocate an animal. "Humane" pest control agencies are often a fraud. You may be separating them from loved ones as well as food and water. 48. Don't feed wildlife. Good-intentioned as it may be, feeding geese and other wildlife weakens their natural and necessary fear of humans. 49. Recycle Christmas trees. Birds and other small animals use dead wood as nests and protection. 50. Throw bird seed at weddings. Rice swells in birds' stomachs, often proving fatal. 51. Cut plastic six-pack rings. These rings are commonly found around the necks of wildlife, from turtles to waterfowl. 52. Deter ants with spices. Pour a line of cream of tartar, red chili powder, paprika, or dried peppermint at the place where ants enter the house. They won't cross it. 53. Use bay leaves to keep cockroaches and moths at bay. Spread whole bay leaves in several locations around infested rooms. 54. Use an alternative to mothballs. Place cedar chips (or bay leaves) around clothes or sachets made of dried lavender, mint, or rosemary in drawers and closets. 55. Remove spiders with a jar. Don't kill spiders. Simply remove them and place them outside. 56. Support whale watching. One solution to ending whaling is to support whale-watching, which is both educational and humane and supports local communities. 57. Read about Wild Animals & their threats: A New Way to Solve Beaver Problems, Man Kind? Our Incredible War on Wildlife, Wild Neighbors: The Humane Approach to Living with Wildlife. ANIMALS AS FOOD 58. Do not eat animals. The suffering that occurs in factory farms and slaughterhouses is such that most of us don't want to know about it. Reduce animal suffering (and environmental devastation) by eliminating animal products from your diet. 59. Do not eat eggs. Egg-laying hens and dairy cows are the most exploited of all "food" animals. Approximately 300 million egg laying hens in the U.S. are confined in battery cages -- small wire cages in which 4-6 hens are forced to live. The birds cannot stretch their wings or legs, and they cannot fulfill normal behavioral patterns or social needs. Constantly rubbing against the wire cages, they suffer from severe feather loss, and their bodies are covered with bruises and abrasions. All battery-cage hens have part of their beaks cut off to avoid damage to other birds. Debeaking is a painful procedure which involves cutting through bone, cartilage, and soft tissue. 60. Do not drink cow's milk. One of the biggest misconceptions about dairy cows is that they are just born with the ability to give milk. Like all mammals (including humans!), in order to produce milk, they first must give birth. Like humans, cows have a 9-month gestation period and form a very close bond with their offspring. But to keep milk production high, dairy cows are artificially inseminated EVERY YEAR. With genetic manipulation and intensive production technologies, it is common for modern dairy cows to produce 100 pounds of milk a day - 10 times more than they would produce in nature. 61. Boycott veal. Calves born to dairy cows are separated from their mothers immediately after birth. Male calves are raised for veal and live for up to sixteen weeks in small wooden crates where they cannot turn around, stretch their legs, or even lie down comfortably. 62. Find alternatives to animal products. Today, with the variety of soy products, there is no shortage of "alternative meat products." In supermarkets across the country, consumers are buying everything from mock turkey, ham, bacon, and turkey to mock burgers, sausage, and pepperoni. These soy products, including cheese and milk, are healthier too, as they have no cholesterol (only animal products have cholesterol) and are low in fat. 63. Learn the facts. If everyone knew how animals suffer, more people would make compassionate choices. Read books and watch videos on how animals are raised for food and cook vegetarian meals: Diet for a New America, Battered Birds, Crated Herds, Mad Cowboy: Plain Truth From the Cattle Rancher Who Won't Eat Meat, and Slaughterhouse , The Peaceful Palate: Fine Vegetarian Cuisine, The Vegan Cookbook. ANIMALS AS CLOTHING 64. Buy non-leather products. Leather accounts for 50% of the by-product value of cattle raised for meat. Many alternatives are available, such as satin/fabric dress shoes, sythetic running and hiking shoes, and canvas recreation shoes. 65. Avoid down. Live geese and ducks endure excrutiatingly painful plucking four or five times before they are killed. Choose cotton, courduroy, natural fibers, and quilts stuffed with synthetics, such as Fiberfill and Polarguard. 66. Boycott fur. Whether killed by steel-jaw leghold traps or electrocuted on fur farms, animals raised and killed for fur suffer tremendously. 67. Never buy fur from exotic animals. Reject products made from skins or furs of endangered jaguars, leopards, and tigers. 68. Do not buy ivory. Ivory comes from elephants and such marine mammals as whales and walruses. It is often carved into figurines and jewelry. 69. Avoid silk. Silkworms are immersed in scalding hot water, steamed, or electrocuted alive. 900 silkworms are killed to make one shirt. 70. Choose non-animal fabrics. Avoid eelskin, ivory, pearls, feathers, wool, and angora. Choose instead cotton, ramie, canvas, vinyl, nylong, linen, rayon, faux pearls, rubber, or hemp. 71. Buy alternatives to wool. There are alternatives to wool clothes and blankets that the many people who are allergic to wool already use, including cotton, cotton flannel, polyester fleece, and other man-made fibers. These wash easily, don't shrink, keep their bright colors, cost less, and don't contribute to cruelty. ANIMALS AS SPORT 72. Do not hunt. Millions of birds and mammals are killed every year at the hands of a hunter. (over 10 million duck and geese -- both of whom mate for life -- are killed each year alone.) 73. Don't get caught up in fishing. Fish have a neurological system like ours and the brain capacity to experience fear and pain. Most people enjoy the nature aspects of fishing anyway -- being outside on a boat breathing the fresh air. Go hiking, canoeing, snorkeling, or bird watching. 74. Stop Pigeon Shoots. Pigeon shoots are now practiced in only three states -- Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Texas -- and all three have pending litigation to halt pigeon shoots under state animal cruelty laws. Contact state representatives today and support the ban of shooting pigeons for sport. 75. Help put an end to cock fighting. Cock fights usually result in the death of one, if not both roosters. Handlers place two roosters in a pit. These roosters, armed with sharp steel projections called gaffs, then proceed to peck and maim one another with their beaks and with the weapons that have been imposed upon them. Write to your Senators and ask them to support S.345, a bill that would make cockfighting all but illegal. 76. Work your community. Develop strong anti-hunting sentiment in your community by writing letters to the editors of local newspapers, meeting with neighbors, and getting on talk shows. Post anti-hunting fliers in parks and other community areas. 77. Become educated. Learn both sides of arguments so you can inspire thinking in others. Read The American Hunting Myth, What's Wrong with Hunting. ANIMALS AND CHILDREN 78. Teach respect for animals. We instinctively grasp the natural bond between children and animals. We fill babies' cribs with stuffed animals, put floating rubber ducks in their baths, and enjoy animals as the main characters in many children's books. This natural connection, the child-animal relationship, provides a great opportunity for parents and teachers to instill the core value of leading a compassionate life. 79. Support the connection. A child's bond with a companion animal builds social competency, social sensitivity, interpersonal trust, and empathy -- all necessary qualities to building emotional intelligence and compassion. 80. Provide books about animals. Charlotte's Web, Black Beauty, Victor's Picnic, A Teen's Guide to Going Vegetarian