Wed | Nov 14, 2018

Join the fight! Protect an animal today

Published:Friday | August 24, 2018 | 12:00 AMKatherine Chen/Contributor

The instinctual feeling that nags relentlessly at your heart when witnessing cruelty is within us all. Yet, collectively we tend to ignore it, swallowing the burning desire to help. We do it so often that most of us don't even recognise the feeling, as it is so quickly overpowered by a string of excuses of 'cant's'. But rather than focus on the 'cant's', the 'maybes' and the occasional 'wishes', let's begin with what we can do. Below is a foolproof guide to embracing that emotion and acting on your desire to make a difference. Proceed with caution, because a number of these steps are so simple that you may struggle to come up with an appropriate excuse to avoid it.

Choose your food wisely: Our relationship with food has the greatest and most direct impact on animals worldwide. There are a number of ways to make a difference, whether through the route of veganism, vegetarianism or pescetarianism. But drastic diet changes are not necessarily sensible for the common citizen. So instead, choose the companies you purchase from wisely, ensuring that the food is prepared ethically, and the animals are treated humanely. That little difference in your food choice represents your solidarity for these animals, and the support will not only have an impact on the lives of the animals, but also the people around you and the food industry on a whole. Your choice matters.

 

CRUELTY-FREE PRODUCTS

 

Think before you put it on your face: The products we use daily can have a dark history of animal experimentation or by-products. Many companies capitalise on these innocent lives, forcing them to comply with whatever cruel experimentation they desire. These experimentations include the application of toxic chemicals for human benefit. This cruelty cannot be supported and with the rise in cruelty-free companies, we now have more power than ever before. If you are unclear of the practices of some of your favourite brands, check the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals website for clarification.

Start your own club/ organisation: One of the best ways to make a difference is to inspire others to do the same. Starting your own animal rights club at your school or workplace - where you advocate for animal rights, raise money for local animal shelters and volunteer your time to help animals - can be an extremely rewarding process. Think of it as a push towards a life where you can make more ethical choices and enact change as you go. For advice on starting your own club, email me at katherinec042800@gmail.com.

Volunteer a weekend at your local animal shelter: The concept of cuddling puppies while simultaneously doing good for your community seems like best possible scenario in any situation. This could easily become your reality by volunteering a couple of hours at your local animal shelter. Providing love for those normally denied it will change your perception of humanity and inadvertently instil a drive to do even more. The few hidden treasures you may uncover during this will make the small sacrifice of time worthwhile.

 

SAVE A LIFE

 

Adopt, don't shop: This step may be the easiest one to follow. In Jamaica, we tend to choose our animals for protection purposes and gravitate towards breeders when purchasing. However, this obsession with pure breeds is illogical, for all animals have the same capability to love and protect, yet we as a society have chosen to ignore a group due to their breed. Adopting from animal clinics will give you a chance to house an animal who has been isolated from love and shelter its whole life. This cost-efficient method will not only save a small innocent life, but also your pocket! Simply take a trip to your shelter and start the process of adoption.

Neuter to make them cuter: The issue of overbreeding is so prevalent in our community, resulting in an abundance of stray animals on our streets. An important step in reducing this number is to neuter your own animals early, ensuring that they are not contributing to the problem. This process will not only help quell this issue, but improve the health of your beloved pets. It reduces the chance of prostatic and ovarian cancers, resulting in the extension of your pet's life expectancy. Make the step to protect your animals and those around you.

These simple changes to your lifestyle will initiate a domino effect of consciousness and heightened sensitivity to the issues of animal rights.