Going vegan is one way of helping out our furry friends, but their skin, flesh and by-products are not the only things they are used for.
People get pets for many reasons – companionship, status, security, emotional or to fill a family role. The view of some vegans is that all animal ownership is wrong, but there are undeniable rewards that it can give to many people.
Pets can be extremely affectionate, loyal and give unconditional love. The close contact through stroking is believed to be extremely beneficial for relieving stress, is used in therapy with the ederly and autistic and the responsibility of looking after another living creature can teach children compassion.
If you want a pet go to an animal shelter, these are full of abandoned and unwanted animals in need of loving homes. Pet shops are a big no no with the shadow of puppy farms, animal cruelty and neglect looming over them. If you are set on buying a particular breed sites such as Dogsblog.com, can help you find an existing animal that is waiting to be rehomed (there are also similar websites for other animals too). But even before this, make sure you reasearch the breed and ensure you, your life style and your potential pet are compatible with each other. All to often people rush in to buying without thinking because they like a particular ‘look’, or because it’s a cute puppy or kitten, when you buy a pet you could be committing yourself for the next 10+ years.
- Battery Hen Welfare Trust
- Rabbit Rehome
- Dogs Trust
- Battersea Dogs & Cats Home
- RSPCA (all animals)
- Pets4Homes (cats and dogs)
- Retired Grey Hounds
- Bluecross (all pets incl horses, ponies and donkeys)
- Wood Green Animal Shelters
- Cavy Rescue (specialising in small animals and rodents)
What Can You Do?
Rehoming a pet is just one way of showing your love for animals. There are so many charities around that need help and support, of course you can donate but you could take a more active role.
Volunteering is a great way to help, guaranteed most if not all of the charities listed above will also be looking for volunteers to do fund raising, fostering, even dog walking. Charity Guide has a really good section on how to make a difference to an animals life in 15 mins or a few hours and also information on volunteering vacations.
There are ranges of vegan pet care available and even organic and vegan pet food. With growing concern for the diets of people, pet owners are now turning their attention to what goes into the food they are giving their animals. With rumours of slaughterhouse waste, dead animals from shelters and even road kill being used in commercial pet food its no wonder.
- Food Pets Die for by Shawn Messonnier (find it in our Book Section under [intlink id="3" type="category"]Food[/intlink])
- The Vegan Society
- Mad Cowboy
Pet Care Websites:
- Veggie Pets
- Healthy Paws
- Pero Foods
- Animal Pure (eco friendly pet accessories)
- Lushpuppi (contact them for vegan suitability)
- Ethical Pets (veggie dog food and eco bowls)
The issue of animals in captivity is greatly debated whether for food (livestock,) pets or in zoos and aquaria. Many zoos now run conservation schemes and captive breeding programs, but could all this funding be put to better use protecting the natural environment of these animals? Unlike a hundred years ago when you wanted to see exotic creatures there was no where else to see them but a zoo, now we have amazing technology which makes it possible to see these animals in the wild behaving naturally on our tv screens. Alternatively visit animal sanctuaries where you can see rescued animals, and also help fund these places so that the can continue to rescue and rehabilitate mistreated or endangered animals.
You can read more about zoos as well as circuses and marine parks where animals are trained to perform tricks below. For information on sanctuaries see the links under Employment.
With hunting or bull fighting the cruelty aspect is quite apparent. For other sports such as horse or grey hound racing where the animals appear willing and even enjoying it there is also a darker side. The issues among many cover injury, preformance drugs and breeding.
In the UK dogs are widely used for many services; guide dogs, sheep dogs, police dogs are just some of the rolls they can take on. In poorer countries animals may perform more manual labour, such as elephants and donkies, the lucky ones will benefit from the charities and sanctuaries set up around the world.