Everyday Ways to Help Animals: Personal Activism
Many of the tactics covered in the Effective Advocacy series require a good deal of time, resources and energy to organize and achieve. Not everyone has the time or desire to be a full-blown activist, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still advocate for animals on a daily basis.
Boycotting all forms of animal abuse is the simplest thing you can do on a personal level. This means rejecting all industries that profit from the exploitation of animals, which includes meat, dairy, eggs, leather, wool, animal testing and animals used in entertainment.
That might sound daunting at first, but honestly, it’s a very simple thing to achieve. I have been living this way for over 13 years, on three different continents, without much trouble.
Making virtually every aspect of your daily life about animal advocacy is something else you can do. Take all the mundane things you do every day and look at how they can be used to advocate for animals. If you use Facebook or Myspace every day, you can post a quick note about animal issues, link to a Care2 article or other news piece, and try to create dialogue any way you can.
The clothes you wear can also be a statement. Wearing a shirt, jacket, or bag with the word ‘vegan’ or something related to animal issues that might draw attention or create a conversation, is great. I personally wear animal rights-related shirts every day, and I regularly have someone ask me about them, which provides me with an opportunity to talk to people who are interested in getting informed.
Wearing or carrying bags made out of synthetic leather and promoting the fact that no one had to die for you to have that bag is another great way of advocating. Show people they can have all their fashion sense … without hurting others.
If you drive or ride your bike to work or school every day, put animal-related stickers on your bumper or bike.
Whenever you buy food at a restaurant or market, inquire about animal-free options. Don’t be shy about these issues and inform people on why you don’t eat them.
When you are talking to people during the day, don’t hesitate to bring conversations around to animal-related topics. This might seem like an annoying thing to do to those around you, but if they are actively supporting animal abuse industries, it is a good reminder to them why they should stop.
Depending on where you work, look into the possibility of making your work place more cruelty-free. If you work in any sort of food industry, create more veg options at the store or restaurant. If you work for a larger corporation, research if your company is financially connected to animal abuse industries and consider ways to change it.
If it is possible to have a donation jar at your work to raise money for an animal cause, do that as well.
Try to be a positive force for change with your personality. Show people that being vegan and engaged in animal advocacy doesn’t have to be drudgery. Try to be as healthy as you possibly can be — this is good for yourself of course, but is also important because as a member of a minority, you will be viewed as a spokesperson for veganism and/or the issues you care about, so you always want to look your best.
“Team Green” is a group of athletes, from cyclists, runners and swimmers to weight-lifters and body builders, who make it a point to show that a cruelty-free lifestyle is not only good for the animals, but also great for you.
The bottom line is, no matter what you do on a daily basis, almost any aspect can be turned into a form of personal activism. Think about what you do every day and how you can make it work for others’ well being.