Every action you take below will make a difference in preventing unnecessary cruelty and misery to animals raised for food and clothing, or used in testing for cosmetics and household products. As a consumer, you have enormous power and influence over businesses and industries. You can choose to buy products that support a humane economy and do not cause the suffering of animals on any level. Shop and act with animals in mind and decline to buy products of cruelty. Here are some ways you can become a more humane consumer.
1. Stop eating meat
Most meat today comes from industrialized factory farms where animals spend a lifetime of suffering in unnatural and severely overcrowded conditions and confinement. In addition, factory farms are causing terrible environmental destruction to our land, wildlife, wild horses, waterways, oceans, natural habitats, air quality, and public and community health. Plus meat consumption has been linked to many fast-growing Western health problems including obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, auto-immune disorders and chronic and acute diseases.
2. Stop eating all forms of dairy (milk, cheese, butter, ice cream)
Dairy-eating Americans consume more dairy products than ever before, causing ever higher rates of obesity, breast and prostate cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis and chronic illnesses that medical research has consistently linked with dairy consumption. The vast majority of dairy products come from cows raised on industrial factory farms where their bodies are artificially pushed to the limits of maximum production daily; dairy cows suffer from diseases from the over production of milk, including mastitis, a painful bacterial infection; surgical mutilation of their tails is done without pain killers called tail-docking; there is forced removal of all newborn calves from the mother, and baby calves are sent to slaughter or forced into veal production; cows are forced to be pregnant most of their lives and starting at an unnaturally young age, causing their bodies to collapse in 3-4 years; cows suffer from severe arthritis and hoof disease from standing all day/night in manure; they given high levels of antibiotics, hormones and drugs to fatten them quickly and force them to produce more milk for humans; and they are housed in overcrowded, inhumane conditions. It’s a life of misery everyday.
3. Stop eating eggs
The majority of eggs today, whether cage-free or battery-caged, come from factory farms where hens live in horrific conditions; they can’t move, spread their wings, walk, or run; they are arthritic from lack of mobility; are forced to produce 5 times the number of eggs as is natural for them; live with painful physical disorders, diseases and reproductive cancers, due to producing an abnormally high egg production that is induced by drugs; and have broken bodies by the time they are one-year old (they typically live to 15 years) from producing five times the number of eggs than is normal for their bodies. Then they are slaughtered. It’s a life of misery everyday.
4. Transition to a plant-based, whole foods vegan diet
Eating a plant-based whole foods diet is much healthier than an animal-based diet—and is enormously better for the animals, for the environment, for wildlife, for rainforests and natural habitats, for the community, and for the planet. There are many medical doctors today that promote a 100% plant-based, whole foods vegan diet.
5. Buy only Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) certified if you must buy meat
There is no such thing as humane meat or dairy. It does not exist. It is marketing speak by industry and corporations to make consumers feel less guilty about hurting animals. Most of the inhumane practices such as tail docking, beak-cutting, removing pigs’ teeth, taking baby calves and goats away from their mothers at birth, and slaughtering them at an unnaturally young age—are practiced on the most humane farms. Most food certifications and labels are completely meaningless, misleading and unregulated when it comes to the humane treatment of farm animals. Of the certified labels, this is the only one that offers slightly better animal welfare standards. But know that even family-owned animal farms can be very cruel and inhumane to animals, and slaughter is extremely inhumane and causes deep suffering from transportation through the entire process. Here’s more about certified food labels.
6. Influence local grocers and restaurants
As a consumer, you can request your local markets and restaurants to stock and sell more vegan, plant-based alternatives and substitute products. You have the power to influence buying decisions. Encourage your local grocers and restaurants away from purchasing animal products that come from industrial factory farms, and request more plant-based vegan offerings.
7. Go FUR FREE! Never buy animal fur
Stand up against buying or wearing fur of any kind. Fur represents some of the worst animal cruelty and suffering imaginable. Speak out against retailers that carry and sell fur products, and that includes fur anywhere including fur cuffs, collars, finishing on coats and vests, shoes and boots. Be cautious about buying faux fur, some faux fur is misrepresented and is actually REAL fur from raccoon dogs raised in China. Here’s a list of fur-free retailers.
8. Buy only CRUELTY-FREE cosmetics and personal care products
There are many brands that have gone cruelty-free. Be sure to look for the Leaping Bunny logo that means the product is officially certified “cruelty free” and was not tested on animals.
9. Buy only CRUELTY-FREE household products
There are many great brands that offer cruelty-free household products. Look for the Leaping Bunny logo that certifies it is cruelty-free and the product was not tested on animals.
10. Learn about the factory farming and animal welfare issues
Read about the many ways animals are exploited and abused today for business and profit. Continue to do your research and share the information you’ve learned with others. Encourage others to learn about the issues too. Get active politically!
11. Get politically active and involved
The power is in your vote! You can use your power as a consumer and citizen effectively by supporting legislators at the state and federal level that vote humanely and are strong supporters of animal welfare and animal rights. Find out how your legislators voted on animal protection issues. Tell your state and federal legislators that you care about the inhumane treatment of animals, and you want to see legislation passed that maintains the most humane conditions and actions possible for animals. To get more involved you can join the ASPCA’s Advocacy Brigade. Learn how to get more involved and active politically!
12. Visit a farm animal sanctuary
One of the best ways to appreciate and learn about farm animals such as cows, chickens, goats, sheep, pigs, turkeys, and ducks, is to visit a farm animal rescue sanctuary. In these sanctuaries, you can see first hand and closeup how beautiful these animals are, experience their emotions, see them in action, and meet their special and unique personalities. Some of these sanctuaries will allow you to schedule a tour. Some offer special Thanksgiving tours and dinners. You can see a list of farm animal sanctuaries in the U.S. here.
13. Get involved in food safety
You can get better educated about food safety issues and concerns at the Center for Food Safety (CFS), a national non-profit public interest and environmental advocacy organization that is working to protect human health and the environment.
14. Attend your local farmer’s markets
Farmers markets are great for a great way to transition to a plant-based diet. Supporting your local farmer’s markets means buying from small local farmers, which is far more sustainable than buying off season products trucked in from far away. You’ll be supporting local farms and small businesses, instead of big corporate chains and supermarkets.
15. Buy from your local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
You can support local farmers and buy selected fruit and vegetable products weekly from your local CSA, by signing up for an account with your CSA. Your local CSA will send or deliver a package of fresh fruits and vegetables every week to your front door.
16. Avoid shopping in major supermarket chains
American supermarkets are notorious for buying factory farmed products, since they tend to buy in large volumes and support the cheapest products possible — those worst for the animals and our health. These stores have aisles chock full of processed, packaged, refined, unhealthy foods manufactured by the largest food corporations in the U.S., including factory farmed animal products. Try to shop at natural health food stores, local farmers and farmer’s markets instead.
17. SPREAD THE WORD! Become a Vegan Advocate!
The most powerful tool you have is your voice! SPEAK UP and tell your friends and family about how to be a more humane, compassionate, conscientious consumer. Talk about factory farming and other areas where animals are treated inhumanely. Use your Facebook, Twitter, blog or social media to spread and share your concerns with a larger audience. Remember, EVERY single person can make a BIG difference and be a positive voice for animals!
See our cruelty-free shopping guide.
See some simple and easy ways to advocate for animals!