Most consumer products, from soap to cosmetics and cleaners, have been cruelly tested on animals who are intentionally poisoned or blinded. But many products are available that are not tested on animals. You can set an example for your friends and family by buying cruelty-free products. Usually the packaging will tell you that a product was not tested on animals. Because some products which were not tested on animals may contain products of slaughter, be sure to check the list of ingredients to be certain that animal products were not used in the manufacturing process.

The suffering that occurs in factory farms and slaughterhouses is beyond description. As if that were not bad enough, animal agriculture erodes topsoil, devastates rain forests and causes massive pollution. If you are not already a vegetarian, you can help reduce animal suffering and environmental damage by observing a meat-free Tuesday every week. On that day, avoid the meat of all animals and fish. You can buy vegetarian cookbooks and/or Vegetarian Times magazine and start to learn recipes that are free of meat, fowl and fish. When you're ready, add another meat-free day and keep adding days until you are eating a vegetarian diet. In time, you may decide to become a vegan by also eliminating eggs and dairy products from your diet. A vegan diet is a great way to reduce your intake of fat and cholesterol. Remember that every vegetarian meal you eat saves the environment and helps save animals from pain, suffering and death.

Leather, fur, ivory, reptile skins, goose downs and musk scent are among the products available only as a result of the cruel treatment of animals. In addition, dangerous toxins are often used in the process of turning animal parts into consumer products. But you can buy cruelty-free alternatives. Magazines such as Vegetarian Times & Animals' Agenda carry advertisements for products free of animal ingredients, including shoes. Cruelty-free alternatives are readily available in department stores, usually at a much lower price, both monetarily and ethically.

Each year millions of dogs and cats are put to death in animal shelters. But you can spay or neuter your own companion animals, thus making sure that they never contribute to that suffering. By spaying or neutering your companion animals, you not only help ease the overpopulation problem, but also often prolong the life of your cat or dog. See your veterinarian for details, or call a local humane society for referral to low-cost spay or neuter services. Adopt your companion animals from shelters; never buy them at pet shops. Pet shops buy from puppy mills and large-scale breeders who contribute to the population crisis, and whose over-bred animals are often unhealthy.

You can learn about the way our society treats non-human species and the activities of the animal rights movement by reading magazines such as:
The Animals' Voice
6433 Topanga Canyon Blvd.,
Suite 405,
Canoga Park, CA 91303
Tel: (310) 659-8801
The Animals' Agenda
3201 Elliot St.
Baltimore, MD 21224
Tel: (410) 675-4566

You can also educate yourself with wonderful books such as:
Animal Liberation by Peter Singer
Diet for a New America by John Robbins
In Defense of Animals edited by Peter Singer
Slaughter of the Innocent by Hans Ruesch
The Case for Animal Rights by Tom Regan.


Newspapers frequently print articles which encourage the abuse of animals by, for example, glorifying hunting, promoting rodeos and circuses and encouraging medical experimentation on animals. You can write letters to the editors of newspapers in response to articles and editorials that show contempt for the rights of other species. You can also write letters to the editors about animal-related problems even if the publication has not printed an article or editorial on the issue. Remember to make your letters polite and informative.

Many animal rights organizations are dependent on volunteers to raise consciousness and fight cruelty. Consider volunteering some time at a local animal rights group or becoming a local contact person for IDA. The few hours that you can offer each week could significantly assist the fight for animal rights in your community. If there is no animal rights group in your area, consider starting your own organization with a few friends.

Most people have no idea how fur and ivory are obtained or what happens in places like animal experimentation laboratories or factory farms. You can help educate them by setting up an information table in a well-traveled public place. IDA can send you pamphlets, posters and fact sheets. Don't forget to check with the local authorities to make sure your plans comply with local time and place restrictions.

Most universities use animals for research and education in ways that cause enormous pain and death, although alternatives are available. Whether students are dissecting frogs in biology classes or administrating shocks to mice in psychology classes, there is no excuse for teaching animal abuse. Both universities and charities which raise funds for "medical research," like the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and the March of Dimes, also abuse animals in unnecessary, unproductive and horribly cruel experiments that waste charitable contributions. You can help stop this cruelty the next time you are solicited by a university or charity. Instead of sending a gift to those institutions, you can write letters that express your opposition to the use of animals in research and education and demand they switch to the non-animal alternatives.

Lobby Your LegislatorsEach year numerous bills affecting animals are introduced in the U.S. Congress and state legislatures. Often legislation that could help diminsh cruelty does not become law because many legislators represent established economic interests which profit from animal abuse. You can write to your state and national legislators to encourage pro-animal, anti-cruelty votes on important legislation. Let them know that your vote depends on their support for legislation that will end the abuse of animals. Animal rights groups in your state and the offices of your state representatives can tell you what bills are pending and to whom you should write. Contact IDA for information and national legislation.

Avoid Animal "Entertainment"Animals used in "entertainment" are never entertained by their abuse. Circus and rodeo animals spend most of their lives in cramped cages while being transported from one location to another. Circus animals are trained by starvation and beatings and rodeo animals are cruelly abused during every "show." Dolphins and whales kept in swimming pools at aquatic parks live only for several years instead of their natural 50-year life spans. Zoos often mistreat and deprive animals of their most basic social and environmental needs and breed animals for sale to canned hunt farms or others who treat the offspring no better. You can fight for the animals by boycotting animal entertainment and by writing to the sponsors and facilities that host such events to express your disapproval.

Support the Animal Rights MovementIn order to be successful, the animal rights movement must keep animal issues in the public eye. And that costs money. Literature must be printed, animal abusers investigated and lawsuits funded. You can help by donating to the animal rights groups of your choice. Your donation will help the animal rights movement change the way our society and its institutions treat non-human species. And don't forget to remember the group of your choice in your will. In addition, you can help keep animal issues in the public eye by attending demonstrations in your community.