Erin is an author and longtime animal protection advocate. Her book, Why Animals Matter: The Case for Animal Protection, is a must read for everyone--from the die hard vegan to the BBQ eating, dog lover. In Erin's own words, here are some simple things each of us can easily do to help the welfare and lives of animals in our country:
1. Try Meatless Mondays
Reducing your meat consumption is one of the most effective and enjoyable ways to help animals, improve your health, and protect the environment. Join the worldwide Meatless Monday campaign—it’s never been easier. Fast-food restaurants, upscale establishments, and family-owned eateries everywhere offer a tremendous variety of meat-free foods every day of the week. Vegetarian foods are plentiful—and available for every budget and taste.
2. Give a cluck about chickens
Chickens are the most-abused animals on factory farms. Billions are slaughtered for meat every year, and they have virtually no protection from the worst abuses. Hundreds of millions of egg-laying hens are packed into cages so small, they can barely move their entire lives. It’s super easy to help these animals: switch your egg purchases to cage-free, free-range, or organic—or try any of the versatile egg replacers available at your grocery. And you can easily substitute a wide range of meat-free chicken products in your favorite chicken dishes.
3. Choose cruelty-free cosmetic and household products
Rather unbelievably, some companies still test personal care and household products on animals. Simply check the packaging for a “cruelty-free” or “not tested on animals” label—or look for the leaping bunny.
4. Adopt a friend for life
If you’re interested in bringing home a companion animal, visit an animal shelter, rescue group, or local humane society. Millions of adoptable and healthy—many even purebred—dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, and other animals are waiting to become part of someone’s family.
5. Get involved
It’s remarkably easy to get active for animals, whether you have time or money to donate, or if you’re an armchair activist. Volunteer at your local animal shelter or wildlife rehab center. Ask your legislators to support animal-friendly laws. Donate to animal charities. Or join online communities where you can learn specific ways to take action.
So, I just love Erin's advice--it is easy and not overwhelming; small ways that we can each make a big difference in the lives of animals. Maddox, pictured above, is my cat who was adopted from the SPCA here in San Francisco. He too likes Erin's advice. His sister, Zahara, being a typical cat, refused to pose for this blog!
But in all seriousness, even if each of us tried just one of the 5 suggestions above, we'd make a huge impact. Thanks everyone for taking the time to read this and a BIG thanks to Erin for such smart ideas!