The recent 60 minutes exposé on the live export trade left many Australians feeling deep remorse over the country’s neglect for animals. Companies which use animals for their products are often not transparent about what occurs within their practices. It is more cost effective to be barbaric than it is to be humane, but consumers are not given the whole picture so as not to deter them. This is unacceptable. Yet what we can do to combat animal cruelty is sometimes unclear, despite our good intentions. People’s lives are consumed by work and other responsibilities, with the clock eating away at our ability to spend time doing good. So how can we embrace animal welfare in our day to day lives?
Here are 5 things you can do to help stop animal cruelty:
1. Switch to free range
Photo by Haley Hamilton on Unsplash
Free range eggs have been gaining popularity for some time now, with more and more companies moving away from caged farming. Yet what you may not realise is that up until recently companies manipulated their branding in order to appear more ethical than they truly are. Fortunately, from April this year the regulations have changed. In order to be considered free range, a maximum threshold of 10,000 hens per hectare has been introduced. Egg producers must also clearly list how many hens per hectare they run on their egg packaging. Companies will have to adhere to stricter rules to avoid penalties. Hence, certain companies who once claimed their eggs were free-range may not do so anymore. If you do want to eat eggs (cutting them out completely is even better!), double check your go to brands and ensure they are still okay to buy from.
2. Minimise your meat intake
Becoming vegetarian or vegan is the most sure-fire way to send a message to the meat industry. However, for some there may be legitimate reasons preventing the switch from seeming viable. Before you are ready to completely eradicate meat and animal products from your diet, why not start by cutting some of it out. A primarily plant-based diet can be a creative and refreshing way to approach your meals. And with modern technology as advanced as it is, ‘mock meat’ is beginning to taste as good as the real thing, sans the lingering taste of guilt.
3. Adopt a pet
Photo by Yuki Dog on Unsplash
Been thinking about bringing an adorable kitten or puppy into your household? Why not choose to adopt a pet instead of buying one! Giving a home to a homeless animal saves it from the likelihood of being killed. Hundreds of thousands of once pets die each year in Australia because not enough people want to adopt the countless animals which wind up in shelters. Adoption also diverts your money from breeders, who turn animals into objects by stripping them of their identities and prioritising profit over welfare. If you do adopt a pet, de-sex it in order to reduce the number of unwanted animals in Australia.
4. Choose not to support animal racing
Photo by Filipe Dos Santos Mendes on Unsplash
Many Australians revel in the chance to frequent horse racing; its existence historically linked to social status and prestige. It’s hard not to feel encouraged to support horse racing when its advertising is plastered all over the media, and the Melbourne Cup is even given its own public holiday in Victoria. Yet despite the glamour, horse racing survives off the maltreatment of animals. Psychologically and physically, the effects of racing on horses runs deep. This is evidenced in the sheer number of horses which are killed as a result of racing every year. Thousands are sent for slaughter once the industry is done with them, and on average one horse dies on the racetrack every 2.6 days.
5. Give what you can
If you have the money to spare, donate to an organisation or charity which combats animal cruelty. If you’re running short of money but have surplus time, volunteer with a local organisation or group.
We all deserve the right to live. It is deplorable that we so readily exploit those who do not have the voice to express that right. Accepting animals into your heart can bring more fulfilment into your life. If we all focus on making seemingly small changes, we will see a greater transformation in the world at large.