20 Tips to Make Life Better for Animals, Our Planet and Other Humans, Too
For Wild Animals
1. Deforestation is a major problem for wild animals. As we place more and more people on the planet we create a demand for products, we need room for housing, and more room for agriculture to grow food to sustain our numbers. All of this contributes to deforestation. The number one thing we can do to help is not to contribute to human population growth on the planet. Concerned environmentalists are acting now by agreeing not to have more than one child per couple.
2. Encouraging wild animals to get close to people puts their lives in danger. If you see a wild animal, do not stop to feed it. This make them feel safe around people, and around our roads. Predator animals who have lost a fear of people soon become pests and will be killed if they cannot be taught to fear people.
3. Put out bird seed in the winter, but only if you have no outside cats. In cold climates it is harder for birds to find food, but if you set it out once they will come to expect it, so you should continue putting it out all winter.
4. Plant a tree. In some areas, people's yards look more like football fields, than areas that are inviting to nature. A few trees and shrubs will provide habitat to birds and other animals. If you plant trees that produce berries or fruit for birds, all the better.
5. Do not litter. Very simply, every piece of litter has to go somewhere; much of it blows around in the wind. This is unsightly to us, but also often deadly to wild animals. Plastic bags become death traps. Garbage that enters the water can leak toxins, or can become hazardous traps for the fish and animals living there.
6. Do not buy animals from a Pet Store. Although it may seem like you are rescuing a pet, saving its life, you are not. In fact pet stores get their animals from brokers, back yard breeders, or mills--basically places where little expense is put into the breeding program. This is to make the most profit, but means that the parent animals are generally not well cared for. Shopping for live animals at pet stores rewards cruel practices of breeding for no other reason than profit (see puppy mills).
7. Make spaying or neutering your pet (particularly cats and dogs) a priority. By reducing the numbers of animals born we can reduce the numbers euthanized (currently several million a year in the USA alone). Think of it this way--every home one of your kittens or puppies finds, means one other animal in a shelter did not find a home.
8. Donate time or cash to a local shelter. It is great to be able to donate to large organizations but sometimes the money does not reach those in need. By donating your time, or cash, to a local shelter you can really make a difference.
9. One of the worst things is when people get pets and cannot provide veterinarian care for a suffering pet. The best thing is for anyone who is considering getting a pet to either invest in pet insurance or to have a savings account set aside for emergencies.
10. Ridding pets of fleas helps them to feel better. Certainly you are not doing the fleas any favors, but by reducing fleas on our own pets will reduce the chances of them spreading to other people's pets, too. Flea collars are not very effective against fleas and have been noted to kill some pets; instead use a topical treatment, and follow through when needed. Offer to treat a neighbor's pet too if you know one has a problem with fleas.
For Farm Animals
Image by Author.
11. The biggest plight to farm animals is how they are treated. For many they are warehoused in boring, overcrowded, conditions. This is often called factory farming. In laying chickens, they are called battery hens. To alleviate some of this, one simply has to consider selecting meat from sources where the animals are not warehoused. Buying from farmers markets often finds meat that comes from animals who are treated more humanely.
12. Eat less meat. Having smaller portions of meat or fewer meals containing meat means fewer animals suffer. It might not mean much for one person to change, but many people are changing their eating habits, not only for the animals, but also for the health benefits.
13. Select true free range eggs, or better yet, get hens of your own. Hens do marvelous jobs of eating bugs, and certain breeds of chickens work well as pets while providing their keeper with eggs on a regular basis.
14. Do not support rodeo or other sport that utilizes farm animals. Although few animals die in the actual rodeo they are generally handled rather roughly as cowboys put on a show of bravado. The cruelty also lies in that the animals are in situations that are fearful and stressful for no other reason than human entertainment.
For Animals in other Nations
15. Although we recoil in horror when we hear that animals (cats and rabbits) are skinned alive in China we often fail to recognize that the products made from these animal skins often end up on our shelves. Reshaped into figures of cats, and other animals, the fur of these creatures is used to make toys and ornaments sold to European and North American markets. In short, boycott anything made of fur.
16. When on vacation in a third world country is is not unusual to see starving or neglected animals wandering the streets. Many of them have fleas, worms, and mange. Most of these areas lack animal shelters, or the resources to care for the animals. A person can try to find an organization that helps homeless pets, or better yet, they can bring one home with them.
17. Many nations sell products made from animals, endangered or otherwise. When you are on holiday never support the sale of anything made from animal parts. This includes buying seashells, where often the animal alive inside the shell was killed just so the shell could be sold as a souvenir.
For Human Animals (yes humans are animals, we are mammals)
18. Realize that we only have one limited planet, and raise your children to understand this. Resources are limited, if some people take all the resources, it leaves little for others. If we live within our means we actually leave more for everyone.
19. Do not find happiness in another's suffering. All too often people find pleasure in seeing somebody else suffer. This sends a message of the wrong kind. It means that we feel better only by seeing somebody else feel worse. Parents in particular need to be careful to avoid showing pleasure when seeing another suffer.
20. Share our excesses. There is no point in keeping the extra tomatoes that grew on our plant, only to have them rot. There is no point in keeping old movies on our shelf if we are probably not going to watch them again. There is no point in keeping a shirt that we have not worn in two years, thinking that we might wear it again sometime. It is better to set these things free so that somebody else can enjoy, or use them.