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.

Image: Paul Martin Eldridge / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


DJ M2 years ago

thanks for this article

Loni Ellsworth
Loni Ellsworth6 years ago

This had some awesome information. Thank you so much for sharing

Dan B.
Dan Brook7 years ago

Please visit (and share) Eco-Eating at www.brook.com/veg

Kay L.
KayL NOFORWARDS7 years ago

This article provides a lovely case of the specious logic in saying you can avoid wearing any clothing that would impact animals. Keegan suggests, "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." Just to let you know, Keegan, that synthetic leather is made, in part, from petroleum. So, if not your personal faux-leather bag, it was somebodies' synthetic leather bags that were paid for by the deaths of all that marine life in the Gulf of Mexico from the BP oil spill!

Basically, synthetic leather, nylon, polyester and all those other artificial materials that animals rights protestors suggest be substitued for animal products like wool and leather are actually just as bad for animals -- because of the destruction of so many animals' natural environment in the quest for the materials to make those faux materials. Do you really think it is worse for a cow to be quickly stunned to death for its meat to be eaten and its hide turned into clothing as it is for a pellican, dolphin or crab to become coated in oil and die slowly and painfully either from starvation and/or the poisoning in the quest for oil companies to provide the petroleum to make your faux-leather, faux-wool substitutes?

Kathleen W.
Kathleen W.7 years ago


Patrice D.
Patrice D7 years ago

I only ASK all before you criticize me here, to take the time to become INFORMED before you make your choice.

Patrice D.
Patrice D7 years ago

A dear friend's challenge to "Meet My Meat" last year, to become informed about factory farming, watch Peta videos, and learn just how those pretty packages of meat and seafood, along with dairy and eggs, got to my market. I saw more cruelty and torture than I ever wanted to or could have imagined. Needless to say, I made a personal choice to become vegan. I'm also a couch potato, and since 8-15-09, I've lost 50 lbs! On a side note, I was so amazed that I just joined a gym.

I'm thankful that I'm fortunate enough to be able to eat a vegan diet because some people's health situations do not allow them that luxury, even if they would like to chose veganism. Meat eaters are not "my enemies"! Veganism is a personal choice, whether dietary or also ethical, and I only ask that every person becomes informed about the cruelty involved in CAFO's before making their decision to continue to consume animal products. I respect other's decisions as I ask them to respect mine. I make no judgements. Yes, I have t-shirts, shopping bags, hats with with Peta and other org's logos and messages, but they're meant to represent my beliefs. They offer an opportunity for others to ask me about what I support, and I take that opportunity to hopefully instill in others the desire to RESEARCH factory farming and the environmental issues surrounding them. Become aware of the pain sentient "food animals" suffer for their palate's pleasure. I only ASK all before you criticize me here, to take

Pauline Cousins
Pauline Cousins7 years ago

Brilliant article, thank you. I have voted. We must all strive for a cruelty free life, doing our bit everyday will hopefully end animal cruelty.

Julianna D.
Juliana D7 years ago

I try to do as many free little things I can- one silly example is when a large amount of dust accumulated on the back window of my truck- I fingered into the dust "Adopt a shelter dog".

Sarah Lee
Sarah L7 years ago

Fantastic article. I am not ashamed to say nearly everyone at malls asked me one particular day, why i do not prefer leather wallet. And thus, the conversations flowed. :D