“It is high time we closed the chapter on animal cruelty.
A totally unacceptable human trait that should be finally consigned to the history books.
I believe in the years to come, we will look back at history
and the way we treat our fellow earth dwellers,
with the very deepest of shame”.
The intention of this discussion is to show everyone how to help animals.
So sit back, pour yourself a vegan wine and buckle up, because it’s gonna be a bumpy ride but I think you’ll like the destination!
Almost everybody loves animals and wants to stop animal cruelty but some people are not exactly sure how to help. That’s what this ‘how to help animals’ essay aims to do.
From an elderly person of reduced mobility to a full time professional. From a retired or part time worker, to the fully employed and even students. We can all do our bit.
The Older Demographic
Children are, of course, our future and we can develop exciting strategies for kids to help animals. However, there’s an increasing amount of us oldies doddering around. Many have held quite senior positions, are not short of a bob or two, and yet still relish a challenge.
There is a wealth of knowledge and life experience out there just waiting to be utilised. Wouldn’t it be great if we can show these golden oldies how to help animals.
Some people may say that they simply haven’t got time to help animals but there are some
quick-fire things that even ultra-busy people can do, including signing a petition or retweeting a post – while you’re messing about on your phone anyway.
There was a TV advert a few years ago and their tag line was faultless; ‘Nobody is ever too busy to receive blood!’
I’m not one to be too dramatic, but stopping animal cruelty is inextricably connected with saving our planet, and that can’t wait because we ain’t got nowhere else to live. Poor grammar, perfect logic.
Me! Me! Me!
Human nature being what it is, will always tend to prioritise anything that enhances our own lives in some way, and I think we should acknowledge that, and tailor some of our strategies to align our campaigns to this fact.
I of course acknowledge, that the findings of undercover animal cruelty is still the vital driving force of all our activism but as I said before, should we not present our message in a more easily consumable (less graphic), manner?
We need to be more like slick salespeople, not angry bulldozer drivers.
We still have the underlying evidence in readiness to back up our assertions but we need to carefully sales-funnel our critical message. This course of action, I believe, will achieve an even faster elimination of animal cruelty.
Understandably, the stop animal cruelty movement has not been historically perceived as having fun. Let’s change this! People naturally want to feel good and will do anything not to feel sad, so let’s help them feel good.
Let’s get psychology on our side!
So let’s talk more about the human benefits of stopping animal cruelty. Better health, a sustainable planet and a plethora of side benefits, including a tangible feel good factor.
Let’s also talk about money – a significant motivational factor in any endeavour! Every passing day that sees a reduction of animal cruelty is presenting a wealth of opportunity for visionary business people. Vegan and cruelty free businesses will thrive. A self-fulfilling prophecy if you will.
Save Our NHS
We all know that our fantastic NHS is under severe pressure. Transitioning to a vegan diet will surely save the NHS billions of pounds. These savings could be reinvested in new hospitals and better pay for all the heroes who work there.
Also, if we are to gain added traction, we need to fully investigate and proactively publicise every causal link between animal cruelty and human problems and then highlight the solution to these problems.
This is a win-win scenario because humans will have then been provided with a remedy or benefit and as a direct result, there should no longer be any need to commit that related animal cruelty.
We can then capitalise on the cruelty-free solutions together with our core values of love and compassion for all our fellow earth dwellers.
The Importance of Causal Links
Unfortunately there is a deeply-entrenched perceived human benefit to animal cruelty and it is our job as animal rights activists to try and create a causal link for every form of animal cruelty, and highlight the link to the corresponding negative effect on humans.
We may have to dig a little deeper in some cases and consider some of the more tenuous causal links, but isn’t that what some advertising experts are really good at anyway?
A Shift in Public Perception
Where these links are just too difficult to connect, even for the marketing geniuses out there, then we might have to investigate how we can also leverage powerful legal or moral arguments to create a socially unacceptable environment whereby the perpetrators of such cruelty cannot operate any more.
Animal cruelty should not be a side issue consigned to a tiny section of page 20 of a newspaper. It should be the main issue, alongside the climate change imperative.
Don’t forget that the media needs scandal and controversy to flourish. So let’s feed them the scandals we are uncovering. After all, animal cruelty is scandalous and the humans that cause it should be in the spotlight to answer for their legal or moral wrong-doing.
Back To The Classroom!
Have you seen the The Happy Eggs adverts? They are brilliant (even though I find them highly offensive). These adverts encapsulate all the elements of a happy environment and would be very difficult to challenge because the word ‘happy’ has such a fluid connotation.
The ‘Laughing Cow’ adverts follow a similar theme. These are all multi-million pound protected brand names with powerful legal teams. Let’s not waste time by getting into a fight with them but more importantly, let’s try and learn some of their ‘feel good’ techniques.
The most obvious causal link to animal cruelty is probably heart disease caused by the consumption of meat. OK. red meat, but why can’t we ‘advertise’ our way around the ‘red’ definition by utilising similar ambiguous techniques as the ‘Happy’ adverts?
So the prevention/cure of heart disease is to stop eating products derived from animals and start eating vegan food. Can’t face boiled cabbage after a hard day at work? Then why not take a look at the many delicious plant based foods available that would make transitioning to a vegan diet easy.
Indeed, there are already quite a few vegan food brands who are subtly utilising innovative advertising techniques. In particular, Oatly are really good at eye-catching advertising methods.
We are currently experiencing a sort of ‘cancel culture’, ably assisted by the media, which can be quite judgemental; ‘Eww. That person smokes. How offensive’
We now find it deeply offensive when someone wears a fur coat and that is a successful result of animal activism. We need to fully exploit this phenomenon ourselves and take it to the next level – where anything that has an animal cruelty link is offensive.
‘Don’t look, but that person over there is wearing a woolly jumper. How could he be so cruel!’
The reason that poor individual was derided, is because they were not sufficiently aware of the awful cruelty behind the scenes to provide them with that woolly jumper. So we need to make sure that everybody is aware of the cruelty connection.
If we take a moment to look at the ‘stop smoking’ campaign, we can see the subsequent meteoric rise of the vaping industry in its wake. This explosive demand was inevitable!
What parallels can the vegan industry draw from this scenario, and what are the key takeaways that would help our how to help animals cause, bearing in mind the developing commercial vacuum. Especially if we consider the inevitable NHS campaign to radically cut our consumption of animal-related products.
Should we not be readying ourselves to similarly fully exploit the opportunity with vegan products?
Is there also a side helping of increased animal cruelty awareness to go with each product sold? Are there any commercial synergies that we could build upon that would benefit the charity side of our efforts?
Stopping Other Forms of Animal Cruelty
So we have looked at just one of the many causal links that could provide a serious reduction in animal cruelty in the food industry but what about other more less obvious causal links with animal cruelty?
We’ve discussed the fact that humans beings obviously want to enjoy better health but people also desperately want to feel good.
Feeling good (or better), is such a blanket term for a whole myriad of human emotions and conditions, that I’m sure there is a treasure trove of human – animal cruelty causal links to be explored and capitalised upon.
For instance, I’m sure that you’ve seen all the adverts that use this powerful the desire to feel good, as a result of buying their product. ‘Buy the all new Go-Faster XG4 fully electric vehicle, and all your wishes will come true!’ (Don’t worry about the nickel mines ravaging our planet).
Can You Hear Me?
Whilst I have huge admiration for all the activists out there doing a fantastic job, I wonder if we could have a central resource available to help all these separate groups to empower them to have an even more powerful voice?
Let me explain. A future project is to investigate and help the campaigns of all the many Hunt Saboteur heroes out there. They surely have an exceptional news-worthy story to tell about so much wrong-doing, and yet these issues don’t seem to be creating the national furore that it should. Why is that?
“Snowflakes are one of natures most fragile things,
but just look at what they can do when they stick together!”
There are three main aspects on how to help animals
- The first aspect is investigation and evidence gathering. This is a very challenging job and probably best left to appropriately trained investigators.
- The second aspect is to organise and collate the evidence. This means being directly exposed to the evidence gathered during investigations and can be highly distressing.
- The third aspect is where I think most of us will want to be involved in. This aspect is the publicity, fundraising or business aspects of helping animals. That said, you still might benefit from reading my coping techniques if you inadvertently come across any distressing material.
So, when deciding to actively pursue your own personal goal of how to help animals, it is strongly advised to choose where your skill set and emotional makeup lie, because not many people feel able to work even within the first two aspects.
I certainly couldn’t (knowing what I know now), and I have huge resect for all these heroes.
So before we go any further, we are going to discuss some coping techniques, so you are prepared, whatever aspect you decide you want to get involved in.
Mental Health And Coping Techniques
Animal activism can delve into a subject that can, at times, be deeply disturbing and it could impact your own personal mental health if you’re not prepared. Everybody deals with the unseen horror in their own way.
To put this into some sort of perspective, my personal experience was; I needed to know exactly what the cruelty issues were, and if the cruelty-causing organisations were being economical with the truth.
Which, as it transpires, is an emphatic yes, they are being very acrobatic with the truth. (any use of the word ‘lie’ is potentially litigious – so we definitely won’t be using that word here!)
Anyway, this led me into the unseen world of utter real life blood and guts and screaming horror. Far worse than you’ve ever seen in any X-rated movie.
I’m not ashamed to say that I didn’t deal with it very well, and I suffered from awful and frequent flashback memories about what I’d seen and read, and I also suffered from many sleepless nights (which in itself is also harmful for many reasons).
My Flashback Memories
One can be getting along with life in any normal setting, then without warning, you can get an instant vivid recollection of something upsetting you’ve seen or read. This flashback is so powerful that it grabs all your attention, and initially, it is very hard to ignore. The debilitating negative after effects can also linger for some time.
Fortunately, I’ve not found it necessary to seek professional help because I’ve found an effective way to deal with this. If I had sought help, I guess my flashbacks would be diagnosed as a form of PTSD.
I think the worse thing for me in the how to help animals campaign, is that I just couldn’t comprehend the total absence of any form of compassion to living sentient beings.
For my own mental health, I now purposely never view images of animal cruelty or read graphic descriptions. I’m not a prolific user of social media now and I’ve unfollowed or blocked posters of such images – even though they may be well-meaning.
Occasionally, a few posts catch me by surprise but I protect myself by scanning the post whilst simultaneously covering up any images. In fact,
I remember going to a vegan market a few years ago and I thought that it was a disaster and we couldn’t wait to leave. It was a great opportunity squandered. There were images of animal cruelty at every turn and all my family found it too distressing.
It was drab and ridiculously overpriced. Why could they not have created a vegan version of a traditional farmer’s market? Look at how popular these still are. Aren’t we missing a big opportunity here?
Flashback Eraser Technique
So, to summarise, I’ve learned a technique to never dwell on the horrible flashbacks that enter my mind. Although it’s a simple technique, it does take practice to become effective but it does work.
Here’s my technique…
So if a horrible thought or image enters your mind, IMMEDIATELY stop the thought in it’s tracks and then immediately have a ‘go to’ image, thought or scenario to replace it. Some people call it their happy place.
I accompanied this with pressing the tip of my index finger against the tip of my thumb (on the same hand). This, I believe is called ‘motor reinforcement’ (but I might be incorrect).
My technique is just like taking hold of the TV remote and immediately changing the channel to something pleasant. It also really helps if the replacement thought, image or scenario has a pleasant emotional connotation.
Your ‘go to’ image, thought or scenario, can be anything. I had a small selection of well-practised scenarios that I could easily recall. As I said, you do need to practice this technique and not allow the upsetting image to propagate in your mind.
Inaction Is Not An Option
Note that if you do allow the flashback to propagate then you are inadvertently prioritising brain power and creating new neural pathways for it to try and process the upsetting image.
Perhaps more importantly, you are allowing the image to latch onto a negative emotional attachment. Kill it like a weed – instantly. Then replace it instantly, before it can grow back.
If you are struggling, PLEASE do get professional help by contacting your GP.
Also please discontinue any negative aspects of animal activism.
This is vitally important because you run the risk of being dragged down by the core issues we touch upon. When you get to the section later on about fundraising, you’ll see that you can have a lot of fun and also be positively motivated to do even more helpful activities.
If you don’t allow yourself to be positively motivated, you run the risk of burnout and have to give up, That doesn’t help animals (which is an additional guilt trigger you certainly don’t want).
Also, there’s a wealth of research to encourage us to try and find time to keep as physically and mentally fit as possible – it takes more muscles to frown than to smile! Us animal soldiers need to stay on top of our game!
OK. Back to our ‘how to help animals’ discussion…
A Nation Of Animal Lovers
Yes, we are a nation of animal lovers in the UK, so what is the problem?
Most of us abhor animal cruelty, so why does animal cruelty even exist? I believe the statement below sums up the issue.
‘I wasn’t aware of the terrible cruelty behind the scenes…’
Out of Sight – Out of Mind
Consider this statement for a moment. Cruelty causing operations spend a great deal of money and effort on public relations, advertising and security, with the intention that you don’t see the real problem.
Sir Paul McCartney put it very well when he said; “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian,” (I’d like to think he mean’t vegan).
Incidentally, there’s a great program on TV called Inside the factory but I don’t think there’s a meat processing factory on the programme schedules. It would cause outrage for showing the horrific violence meted out to sentient creatures every day.
Even if it were to be made, it would probably be banned by the Censors. So it it all hush-hushed and the problem fades away – perfect conditions for the continuation of the cruelty.
Most of us know that something awful goes on in the livestock industry, particularly in slaughterhouses but it’s easier to not know exactly what happens.
This issue highlights our personal complicity in the cruelty and it is a very uncomfortable feeling, so we naturally default to cognitive dissonance. So there’s another causal link; you’ll do your best to not feel bad.
It is all done humanely anyway isn’t it? If that’s what you truly believe, there’s plenty of ‘stuff’ on the internet about undercover slaughterhouse cruelty. I’ll warn you now – you will be shocked to the core.
The ‘Manliness’ Myth
I’m an engineer by trade and I have worked with some rough tough guys. Apparently one of the guys used to call me a **** behind my back for being vegan. I can only assume he didn’t want to risk his pearly whites by insulting me to my face.
Anyway, one day I was in the site canteen and found out that Steve (name changed), was also vegan. This surprised me because Steve was a big tough guy who didn’t take sh*t off anybody.
We started chatting and it transpired that Steve used to work in a slaughterhouse. Basically he was so sickened by what happened there, that he left and became vegan and is now an animal advocate.
Actually I’ve had many conversations with co-workers throughout my career about veganism – very few went well!
One of the guys (let’s call him Fred), said he could never be vegan because he loved the taste of meat so much. Fred used to give me a lift to work. I asked him about his wheezy chest (Fred didn’t smoke) and he said he’s had it all his life but now he’s getting older the congestion is getting worse.
I suggested to Fred that he experiment with some plant based milks as there is evidence that his snotty condition can be alleviated with dairy free. He wasn’t at all keen on the idea (printable version!) and I didn’t push it. A few weeks later I noticed that he wasn’t coughing or clearing his throat but I didn’t say anything.
Eventually I did ask him and it transpired that he was chatting with Mrs Fred and mentioned what I’d said, so she bought him some soya milk. He didn’t like the taste at first but he did get used to it very quickly. In fact he now prefers it, and now finds dairy milk to be rather cloying.
I didn’t want to sound like a smart ar** but Fred did sort of thank me. In fact, he went on to try some of the vegan meats available and actually enjoys them. His dad used to work in a slaughterhouse so animal welfare was not particularly an issue in their family.
Don’t get me wrong but Fred’s family were fantastic and very welcoming, and we became good friends.
Fred will no doubt tell his mates what he’s done and therefore the whole vegan movement gains exponential traction in the wider community.
My point here, is to just sow the seed of the benefits of a cruelty free lifestyle and the rest will take care of itself. Please don’t be one of those preachy vegans – it often backfires.
The animal cruelty issue is not exclusively the sole domain of animal rights activists or vegans. It is every single person’s issue, for a myriad of reasons. The main reasons are; your personal ethical compass, (the one that comes calling in the dead of night), your health considerations and climate change, to name but a few.
Here the conundrum. Most people don’t know, (that they don’t know), that there is a looming problem. All these issues are inextricably connected.
Let’s talk about food.
This is arguably the biggest cause of animal cruelty.
This article was written in 2023 and Tyson Foods (one of the largest slaughterhouse operations in the USA), is now investing in plant based alternatives.
There are many other global food companies tasking their R&D departments with investigating the feasibility of plant based food as an additional profit centre. Let’s hope that the increase of the plant based trend corresponds with a decrease (and eventual elimination), of the livestock-for-food use.
Indeed, leading University research departments together with specialist independent development centres around the world are also studying different plant ingredients and processing methods to effectively mimic different types of meats.
I seem to recall the grandfather of a plant based food company CEO, once said to his grandson, something on the lines of; ‘If it’s tastes as good as the animal version and is cheaper, then I’m in! If it’s not – forget it”. I believe we are getting closer every day.
Subsidising The Wrong Industry
It’s even more interesting to bear in mind the favourable trend of the nascent plant based food industry if you bear in mind the heavy government subsidies given to the livestock industry.
You might like to read Meatonomics Be prepared to be shocked by the absurdity of government fiscal policies – especially in the light of their own climate change pledges.
Please enlighten me as to where the logic is, of perpetuating an industry that has been proven to contribute to global warming? Talk about governments shooting themselves in the foot.
Indeed, governments are giving huge incentives to companies involved in clean energy – so why not clean food? Greta Thungren CHK was right all along!
Ironically, transferring these subsidies and tax advantages to the plant based food industry would allow us to reach these climate commitments much quicker, together with the benefits of feeding more of the population.
We could save millions on healthcare budgets in our creaking NHS by not having to treat preventable illnesses attributed to eating animal-derived products.
There’s plenty of Stop Smoking campaigns but the absence of Stop Eating Animal Derived Products is sadly lacking. I do wonder if there is a conflict of interest within the ‘corridors of power’?
Smoking Is Good For You (WTAF!!)
Can you believe that it wasn’t all that long ago that smoking was not only considered a social asset but some quarters actually believed that it enhanced health and cleared your airways!
Obviously nowadays the NHS spend a great deal of money on stopping smoking campaigns because treating smoking-related illnesses costs billions. It is therefore cost-effective for them to run these campaigns.
It is encouraging that evidence is already starting to trickle through the system that consuming animal-derived products is equally as bad as smoking. At the time of writing, the NHS doesn’t seem to be making this as much as a priority as their stopping smoking campaigns. You do have to wonder why?
One of the most innovative companies is US food company; Beyond Meat. They have successfully brought to market a range of plant based meats (burgers, chicken and pork), which have been very well received for their taste.
At the time of writing, the financial health of the company is under the spotlight, possibly due to their massive research and development budget impacting key financial indicators. I’m not an analyst but I hope these issues are resolved quickly and favourably.
Interestingly such slick operations like McDonald’s use the Beyond Burger in their McPlant range. Don’t forget that a business must be profitable or they will cease to exist. Companies acknowledge that there is a growing trend in consumer buying towards vegan and cruelty free and they can see the profit potential of this trend.
A slight note of caution with the plant based trend is that the upward curve is not linear and data has become skewed by the Covid 19 lockdowns, although the curve seems to have less noise now and is still on an upward trajectory.
The ultimate aim for me personally, is to close all slaughterhouses. That’s a tough call in my remaining years but I’ll keep fighting.
Maybe you enjoy the glitz and glamour of horse racing events but are you aware of the lorries taking those horses that don’t make the grade to European slaughterhouses? Or in the unlikely event that you are aware, is the glitz and glamour still an overriding factor?
I’m not sure about the sport of kings but it definitely is the sport of animal cruelty.
Going on an exotic holiday? What could be more exciting than a ride on an elephant? Many people who do this are totally unaware of the barbaric cruelty involved in forcing these majestic creatures to do something totally unnatural.
If these tourists actually saw the terrible beatings that these gentle creatures are subjected to, then I’m sure they wouldn’t want to ride them. As I’ve said again and again, stop the money and the cruelty will stop.
Regrettably, some holiday makers don’t realise they are perpetuating the cruelty by effectively paying for the poor elephants to be beaten.
Horse Drawn Carriages
You will find that many tourist cities throughout the world have horse drawn carriages waiting to give you a tour. On the face of it, the horses look reasonably well cared for.
However, I have many reasons that I would implore you not to use them. The initial reason is that the horses are often kept standing in the blazing sun for many hours each day.
They are frequently used in very busy and dangerous cities, like New York. I think among all the negatives the worst one is; what happens to the horse if its ill or when its old. Apparently when they are unable to work, they are sent to a horse slaughterhouse.
Instead, may I suggest that you jump on one of the colourful ‘Hop On – Hop Off’ tours. It’s great fun (especially if you get an open deck), they visit more places, have running commentary, and the buses are a lot less polluting than they used to be.
I have the same argument with Camel tours and donkey rides, (that you used to find on nearly every British beach), has almost disappeared for similar reasons I discussed above.
Aquariums and Dolphin Shows
Taking the grandchildren to Florida or somewhere sunny? What could be more exciting than seeing killer whales performing tricks?
If you knew the unnatural conditions that these amazing (but captured), creatures had to live in and the anxiety and destructive behaviour they exhibited due to their totally unsuitable environment, then you wouldn’t pay money to have these intelligent creatures abused.
This brings me to one of the better known successes of the worldwide stop animal cruelty mission.
There is a film called Blackfish which explains the situation very well. I recommend you watch it.
It is heartening to know that we activists are getting the message out to the wider public with increasing success.
Let’s consider some cruelty causing practices that are so embedded in centuries old culture and religion that are now (at last), being successfully challenged. For example bullfighting (or more accurately bull torturing for perverted entertainment), has been banned in the Spanish region of Catalonia thanks to all the dedicated work by our animal activist friends in Spain.
This is fantastic news but wouldn’t it be better if nobody bought tickets for any of these outdated and barbaric events in the rest of Spain and elsewhere?
Personally I can’t help but wonder about the moral compass of the type of people who actually pay to watch such barbarity.
We need to be openly discussing less about the mis-held notion of the ‘heroism’ of the matador and more about the reality of how cowardly & weak he/she is, whilst highlighting the barbaric cruelty involved.
It seems that whilst the older generation are very hard to reason with, the younger generation can be more open-minded. Social media seems to be one of the most effective mediums to reach this powerful younger demographic.
Theories, beliefs and practices usually die one generation at a time.
The ultimate goal is to get less gate receipts for these barbaric events, so they become uneconomic and therefore close. Also, the EU would then have to stop wasting taxpayers money for the funding of provision of bulls for this horrific spectacle and find better uses for hard-working taxpayer’s money.
Interestingly, climate change is now (rightly), hot on the government agenda. There are powerful organisations like The World Health Authority calling for a plant based future, due to the harm done to the environment by the livestock industry – proven by leading scientists to be a significant emitter of greenhouse gasses.
This might annoy some shouty vegans but generally speaking, we should acknowledge that many people actually prefer the taste and texture of meat and dairy products. If you go to a UK country pub for a Sunday lunch, you’ll probably find tasty vegan options severely limited.
Go to a posh Michelin-starred restaurant and it will be heavily meat biased. Perhaps a cold vegan beetroot salad just doesn’t quite hit the spot for some people – although personal taste is as individual as you are.
However, for many people, the new range of plant based meats are very tasty. I personally know some hard-core meat eaters, who grudgingly (but with good humour), admit, that they actually enjoy the taste and they are now buying more for health reasons.
However, there is a majority who are unashamed meat eaters and simply will not change.
For this vociferous uncompromising bunch, animal cruelty, world hunger, climate change and spiralling health care costs can be argued away with political-style word play and a generous helping of dismissive attitude. It’s a clear case of ;
“My mind is made up, don’t confuse me with the facts”.
However, these facts are real and it is imperative they are addressed – and without further delay!
The Problem With Seafood
Scientists have calculated that at least 94 percent of life on earth inhabits our oceans.
So, how can we justify indiscriminately scraping & vacuuming up the sea for food on an industrial scale?
Everything gets caught up within these destructive devices, including fragile eco systems, decimating the ecological balance of the sea.
Yes, but what about the sustainable sea ‘harvesting’ methods? Can customers really trust all the checks and self-certifications carried out by the very organisations that represent these fishing operations?
Could it be more of a marketing ploy? Forgetting ethical concerns for just a moment; Should we not also be worried about the health implications of consuming seafood being contaminated by the vast (and increasing), amount of toxic waste being dumped and finding its way into our oceans?
The following food marketing labels are of serious concern to all animal lovers because they imply animals have happy lives, when in fact this has been proven to be very far from what you would expect. It does make you wonder how far the Advertising Standards Authority rules can be stretched.
In addition, should we not be asking if the cruelty-causing organisations themselves, are the best judge of a cruelty free definition? It just goes to show the powerful effect on customers, of an official looking approval stamp on packaging.
- Red Tractor
- RSPCA Freedom Food (yes unfortunately!)
- Grass Fed
- Corn Fed
- Pasture Fed
- Grain Fed
- Happy Eggs
- Laughing Cows
- Free Range
- Cruelty Free*
- Not tested on animals*
*Please see our article explaining how to make ethical makeup and perfume purchases here
Governments should be giving extra thought to food security policies, especially in the wake of rogue countries invading their neighbours. Just look at what’s happened to our energy supplies – it was an issue just waiting to happen!
In addition, it’s high time our leaders took a root and branch look at the way we actually produce our food and start to look seriously at plant based and cellular agriculture initiatives. Let’s get our government ‘Think Tanks’ thinking about some really pressing issues.
The statistics are frightening. What will the environmental impact be when we don’t have any more land to feed our increasing planet population?
Moreover, is it ethically permissible to allow the destruction of other parts of the world for our own meat eating preferences? In particular, the destruction of the Amazon rainforest for beef?
Another myth that raises questions is with the argument that human intervention is critical to a natural balance. ‘We have to have a cull to keep the [select animal] from becoming unmanageable’.
Take a moment to visualise a 12 hour clock face. Humans have been on the planet for less than 5 minutes. Who are we to think we can do a better job than nature?
How can the human race justify the unequal distribution of food to some people, yet in other parts of the world we spend millions of pounds in the weight loss industry?
The old system of livestock-for-food production is no longer viable in our rapidly changing world.
Where is the logic of feeding livestock a large amount of grain to get a small amount of beef?
Changing Our View of Food.
How can we change our deeply-ingrained view of food? Well there’s good news!
Apart from the continuous innovations in plant based food technology, we also have another weapon (saviour?) in our ‘stop animal cruelty’ armoury.
Introducing cellular meat/seafood, or lab grown meat/seafood. It tastes exactly like the unethical equivalent because it is essentially the same molecular structure – but without the the animal cruelty.
There are many companies throughout the world, led by leading bio scientists who are reverse engineering meat and successfully recreating different cuts of meat.
Obviously research and development costs are significant but eventually economies of scale should make cell-based products cheaper that the cruel equivalent – even considering the effect of meat subsidies.
Progress has been swift and there are already products that are being assessed by the US Food and Drug Administration. Once authorised, these products should be available for purchase by American people.
Such US approvals should make it easier for our UK Food Standards Agency to analyse and compare data to speed progress. Worldwide collaboration is vital because climate change is now such a time-sensitive issue.
Interestingly, the big money in Wall Street is flooding into these burgeoning food tech research centres. That’s implies that there’s a consensus that future profits could be high. Potential profits drives innovation and innovation solves problems.
Animal Cruelty In Other Areas
If we look at the list below (which unfortunately isn’t exhaustive), we can see a recurring theme.
Where humans use animals for something, there is usually animal cruelty involved.
Such organisations need the support of certain sections of society and they all need money to continue. So starve the money supply and the cruelty should stop.
Unfortunately, this isn’t 100% true in some isolated cases, especially with so-called country sports. These cruel events are frequently attended by wealthy individuals who often have some ‘standing’ in the community and seem to consider some laws as ‘malleable’.
Additionally they have a well-funded an active PR machine in the Countryside Alliance. I do wonder where their funding comes from?
In the case of fox hunting (which is still illegal), there have been reports of numerous breaches of the law and a seeming lack of available resources for the police to investigate. I’ll leave you to ponder why this could be.
Even if prosecutions are successful, any sentences handed down seem to be woefully inadequate and does not seem commensurate with the convicted person’s net worth and as such are unlikely to dissuade other individuals from committing such offences.
A quick search on most hunt saboteurs websites and social media accounts will reveal incidents that are highly likely to raise eyebrows.
All we can do is support the brave activists that highlight such law breaking. If you are an animal loving legal expert, any help that you could give would be very welcome.
There are many areas of serious concern;
- Cruelty and the Beauty and fashion Industry.
- Animal Cruelty in entertainment
- Fox Hunting and other blood sports
- Grouse shooting
- Horse Racing
- Greyhound Racing
- Dog fighting
- Dog thefts/Dog Breeding
- Trophy hunting
- Far East Medicinal cures
- Etc, etc
Once again, we return to informed individual consumer choice, as the prime mover in the fight against animal cruelty.
Your Power as a Consumer!
OK. So we’re passionate about stopping animal cruelty, what is the most powerful weapon in the world at our disposal?
Knives? guns? bombs? No. None of these – as we know, violence breeds violence.
Information & Money as a Weapon
Weapon? Yes this is a war against animal cruelty. The collateral damage is loss of profits for the perpetrators of such cruelty.
As ethical consumers, we hold the ace card and we can use our spending power to demand change.
Now we’re not so naive to believe that one person is going to make a significant change.
The Five Percent
However, what if just 5% of the population voted with their money to say ‘no’ to animal cruelty? That equates to many millions of pounds in monetary terms.
It is inevitable then, that cruelty-causing organisations would notice this significant transfer of revenue towards cruelty free products and thanks to these conscious shoppers (or ethical shoppers), that is exactly what is already happening.
Note that this arbitrary 5% figure is for illustrative purposes, however the actual figure is growing exponentially every year – but why will cruelty causing organisations react?
Simply because they will see their income being impacted. As a consequence they may look for more profitable opportunities in the cruelty free business model (this transition is unlikely to be linear but the trend has been firmly established).
Such organisations will test the feasibility of these new business variations alongside their historic cruelty-causing operations but progress is being made. So let’s ALL show them that cruelty free is more profitable!
History has shown us that cruelty causing operations are not going to take any threat to their profits without a fight. There are very powerful and well-established forces that will do their best to denounce our cruelty free movement.
For instance, in the case of food, such methods can range from headline-grabbing publications from highly-educated scientists that have questioned the safety of some plant based ingredients – allegations that have subsequently been found to be inaccurate.
There is little doubt that the original intention of such publications, is to create a negative perception of the health implications of plant based food to the public. Indeed, there is an element of success in such endeavours – as they say; throw enough mud and some of it will stick.
However, it is important to note that such mud-slinging ‘research’ is eventually fact-checked and sometimes traced back, to the research in question being funded by the cruelty-causing organisations themselves. Hardly independent research is it?
Why is ethical shopping growing?
We believe a lot of this growth can be attributed to the free speech and the joining together of people using the internet – in particular social media.
The conversation and battle is already well under way, so jump on the growing ‘Fight Animal Cruelty’ bandwagon and be a proud participant in an ethical army moulding a better future for our fellow earth dwellers.
There are many ground-breaking initiatives like the massively successful Veganuary, as just one of many examples gaining traction. On a personal note, I set up Vegan Supermarket UK is to make cruelty free shopping much easier You can read more about my cruelty free mission here
What is being discussed on social media?
Well, it’s the sharing of the horrific realities of such cruelty, particularly in food production – where profitability seems to be inversely proportional to compassion.
I’m also really pleased to see that animal rights and climate change activists seem to have joined forces into one powerful narrative.
If we think about it, these campaigns for change have many common goals and their combined voice adds an extra gravitas to all these human existential issues – issues that affect every one of us!
There seems to be a powerful demographic, particularly in the under 40s that are so appalled by the hidden horror, that they have vowed to change their ways and perhaps more importantly, their spending power.
Generally speaking, the older generation have been subject to a lifetime of deeply ingrained mis-information, so that it is very difficult to shift these lifelong perceptions, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary on the many facets of the argument.
Theories, beliefs and practices usually die one generation at a time.
Social Media Trolls
Social media can be a horrible place. It is par-for-the-course to get negative comments from animal-abuser sympathisers, or from people who think animal cruelty is a ‘lesser issue’ than some other issues.
However, unbelievably, abuse and negativity can come from people who are supposedly on our side. Indeed, it is not unknown for serious animal welfare issues to be hijacked by agendas from both ends of the political spectrum.
There is a simple solution; Don’t engage with them and then immediately block these people and if you feel your mental health is being affected then immediately discontinue your use of social media. Please never be afraid to ask for help if you are feeling overwhelmed.
It is sometimes difficult to comprehend why progress seems slow on the animal rights issue, especially when you consider the overwhelming amount of scientific evidence to support the absolutely obvious reality of animal sentience – particularly when you consider the way farm animals are mistreated.
Maybe we should spread the word more about the Cambridge University Declaration of Animal Sentience.
Animal Rights Activists
Let us not forget how far we have come in our struggle to stop animal cruelty and the debt of gratitude we owe to animal rights activists.. These trailblazers take great risks to gather the shocking evidence at source and then share these appalling truths.
Animal cruelty that is often carried out by organisations that go to great lengths to keep their abhorrent practices from public view for fear of public outcry.
These activists are the driving force behind the awakening of the general public to the terrible cruelty humans inflict on animals. These unsung heroes constantly risk prosecution from our society’s archaic legal system.
A system which is set up in such a way that sentient creatures are afforded minimal protection, on a par with an inanimate object.
Some of these activist heroes are often agency staff – turned whistle-blowers. Formerly employed by slaughterhouses. Many workers are the most economically and socially disadvantaged in society.
Their brave decision to report animal cruelty must be made even more difficult due to the fact they may find future employment an uphill struggle. That just highlights the gravity of what they must have seen.
Let’s not also forget the price these brave warriors pay in terms of debilitating mental health conditions caused by the terrible events they bear witness to. Sadly, cases of PTSD are not uncommon amongst animal activists.
Is it so inconceivable that animals (our fellow earth dwellers), actually have rights?
Similarly, it is still very difficult to comprehend that it is only in relatively recent history, that we finally came to the conclusion that slavery was utterly wrong.
Fortunately we now realise the terrible legacy that we must burden but it is important to remember that positive change only came about because of the many brave souls that tirelessly championed for their human rights in the face of terrible adversity and oppression.
The ruling governance at the time held a very different view. A view that was enforced with draconian laws that history has shown to be undefendable. Such parallels can again be seen with the abominable injustice humans mete out to our fellow earth dwellers, even in these more ‘enlightened’ times.
Friend or Foe Government
It is unsurprising that there seems to be minimal support for animal activist victims – activists that are trying to do good. One may wonder if there are dark forces at work that seek to punish these whistle-blowers.
Could it be because these activists are exposing an industry that seems to have such an entrenched and powerful political lobbying network, that members of our political system could be financially or morally impacted?
If you have had any form of religious education, you will be well aware of how one man’s mission to do the right thing didn’t go down well with the (then), establishment. Yet we still celebrate his life and activism over 2000 years later.
Even today, there are still some activists labelled as terrorists by some government agencies. If trying to protect life can be labelled as terrorism by governments, then we need to be questioning why, and considering where our votes go next time.
Maybe it’s time for us to get together and actually do something tangible to help these animal activists.
Contact Your MP
How do you think a request for a cruelty free future would be received by your local MP? You will probably get all the usual nice platitudes and promises but have we really achieved any meaningful progress for stopping animal cruelty by pursuing the political route?
There are of course, caring MPs who genuinely have animal welfare at heart but do you think they would risk their political career, which they had worked so hard for, when a chief whip tells them not to ‘rock the boat’?
They know which side their bread is buttered. Ultimately their best efforts seem to evaporate in the mists of time.
Regarding Government policy, are we so naïve to believe any conflict of interest with the livestock industry couldn’t happen because democracy is safeguarded by a Parliamentary Standards Committee? Let’s be clear, An MP is not going to risk their career or financial well-being unless there is a significant public shift towards cruelty free.
Are You An Animal Activist?
What is perceived as ‘activism’?
Firstly, I don’t support or condone any animal activism where anybody has the potential to be hurt. Nor do I support or condone any form of abuse whether it is online or otherwise. Not only is is clearly wrong but it also gives activists a bad name.
We are better than that. We need educated activism with a clear vision that can see through the fog of the status quo. Remember we discussed earlier about the slick PR that cruelty-causing organisations use? Don’t give them any ammunition to use against our worthy cause.
I remember years ago I contacted a couple of well-known charities and asked if I could use their logo on my website, to enable me to describe their work.
The reply I received shocked me but basically it was an emphatic NO and any unauthorised use of the logo and charity resources would result in robust legal action against me.
Excuse me, but I thought we ALL wanted to help animals. I have to say, this quasi-corporate threatening mentality doesn’t help our cause.
So, How Can We Help Animals?
That’s enough about all the mountain us animal activists must climb. Let’s get to the interesting part about how to help animals in your community or further afield!
There is a huge range of activism activities you can take part in. This can be from a simple ‘like’ or ‘share’ in response to an another activist’s social media post.
Please be careful not to post, like or share anything that is illegal or litigious, or you might get Mr Plod smashing your door down at 3am. Yes, you can be traced by your IP address and proxies & firewalls can be tracked down! You’ll also probably be banned by the social media platform.
You might want to leave the more radical (effective?), activities to well-run animal rights organisations that have good legal advice and an effective PR team – unless of course you want to join them!
Don’t forget, that if you join forces with other like-minded activists, your message can be exponentially more effective. Here’s some maths; The effectiveness of an action taken by 10 activists acting individually, can be small but an action by 10 activists acting as a group, are more likely to be noticeable, and so on.
Let’s try and create an environment that relishes the spine-tingling excitement of innovative fundraising possibilities, so everyone will want to get on board and join us. Let’s also ramp up the FOMO with the younger generation. I.E; Where were you when ‘Animal Aid’ happened?
Speaking of which, maybe you or someone you know, loves music and has some influence in the music business?
Remember the phenomenal success of Live Aid many years ago?
Why not have a mega charity fundraiser for animals!
Do you know the next Sir Bob?
“Snowflakes are one of natures most fragile things,
but just look at what they can do when they stick together!”
It is up to your own personal motivation, but my experiences have shown that posting images of animal cruelty has the opposite to the desired effect, because people will be so appalled they will click away instantly. Then you have lost your window of opportunity to get an important message across.
I would suggest you write your social media post in an effective eloquent way, and then maybe link to the post with the upsetting image – with a clear warning where clicking your link will take the viewer.
That way you have had enough opportunity to get your message across and also given the viewer the choice of whether to click through or not. I personally don’t have links pointing to upsetting images.
How To Help Animals.
- Don’t buy things that cause animal cruelty.
- If you really, really want a pet for it’s whole life, then please consider adopting, don’t buy.
- Always report & document, suspected, or actual animal cruelty (dial 999 anonymously if necessary). The only thing necessary for evil to triumph, is to do nothing.
- Use social media to post anything that will help animals and stop them being harmed.
- Give to an animal charity if you can afford to, (money, clothes etc)
- Volunteer at a local animal charity. All skills are needed
- Start a blog or set up a website to help animals.
- Highlight the benefits of a vegan and cruelty free lifestyle in any way you can.
- Launch a vegan cruelty free business.
- Fundraise for animal charities.
- Hold a charity auction
- Offer your skills for free (trade and professional)
- Sign (or start your own), petition (Google; charity platforms).
- … and lots more (limited only by your imagination)
Fundraising can be a fantastic way to find out how can we protect and care for animals and there are often fun (sometimes weird and wacky), events that you can take part in, (or even organise). It is a great idea to contact you local paper or radio station if you are running such an event – they love a good story! This helps even more to get our message out there.
Fundraising for animals can also have a great side benefit, in that it can be a great way to meet like-minded people, and can also help to alleviate two terrible social ills – loneliness and mental health issues.
If you are not particularly mobile, you can still help by a bit of ‘crafty crafting’ at home. People love pet artwork, or you could knit pet coats and beds and blankets.
Disaster Relief For Animals
Behind every human headline there is an animal story that desperately needs to be told.
People often ask how can we save animals at home but don’t forget that there are also fantastic organisations desperate for assistance in helping animals in war-torn and disaster hit areas throughout the world. Please contact them and do what you possibly can. You can even find out how to help animals get adopted. It’s not always about money!
Can we find inspiration from very successful charity campaigns in other very worthy areas. Probably one of the best known is Cancer Research UK. For instance ‘Race For Life’ or ‘Coffee Mornings’ etc.
Some other major fundraising initiatives include Comic Relief, Sports Relief and Stand Up To Cancer. Can we learn something from these much-loved institutions?
Hands up anybody who doesn’t love cakes? Fancy organising a Great British Bake Off style competition? Could we make it into a traditional vegan cake off? That would make great TV! Could we get the local Women’s’ Institute or Round Table or other fine organisations on board?
Children In Need
Children In Need is another fantastic fundraiser for a very worthy cause and has raised millions of pounds for much-needed projects. Can we adopt a similar model to help animals. Maybe you have contacts in the media who could kickstart such a venture!
We live in the age of celebrity and just one tweet or comment or special guest appearance can give a massive boost to any animal charity fundraising efforts. As the saying goes… ‘It’s not what you know, It’s who you know!’
So, who do you know? Why not step out of your comfort zone and just ask them. You’d be surprised at who would be happy to help!
All celebs love animals and I’m sure they’d jump at the chance to help them because it gives them extra exposure and helping animals would really boost their public profile. A shining example is the late great Paul O’Grady MBE
I’m not familiar with the inner workings of an animal charity but I do hope trustees have investigated and availed their charities to all the possible sources of funding and grants (especially if you are a small charity).
Is it also worth highlighting the benefits to humans of your charity, to qualify for an additional pool of potential funding? Maybe you provide some sort of outreach activities to the more vulnerable members of our society.
Is it also worth spending a little extra time investigating how other, non-animal charities avail themselves of funding?
Our ACE card
The idea is to set up a specific charity who’s sole purpose is to help all the hundreds of smaller animal charities out there, who haven’t got the publicity resources to fight their corner. Perhaps we could call it the Animal Cruelty Eliminators, to provide a free central resource for everyone who wants to help animals.
ACE (or whatever we think the charity should be called), would get these smaller charity’s message out there, by the sheer size and power of one concerted voice. A sort of centralised campaigning machine, where ideas and resources could be shared for the benefit of ALL animal charities.
All resources would be available free of charge to any animal charity who needs them. We would develop additional publicity resources and strategies influenced by all the successful charities (not just animal charities), to create best practices that are efficient and cost-effective for the benefit of all our members.
If we could get volunteer psychologists and advertising professionals, (who also love animals), on board to help, that would provide a significant boost to our promotional campaigns.
I’m also thinking of the creation of TV-type adverts for you tube etc. Also website creation and digital marketing skills. These resources would be made freely available to any animal charity who needs them.
Maybe we can introduce extra skill sets and resources to our charity by asking local college and university students if they’d like to hone their skills by assisting us. Most animal charities are extremely busy with the essential job of looking after animals and the practical side of stopping animal cruelty.
Membership would be free to any person or organisation who helps animals. Income could be generated by public/corporate donations, lotteries and vegan and cruelty free advertising partnerships.
Maybe we can have an annual ACE conference. Possibly on the lines of a Trades Union Congress (TUC) conference. That would be great at creating publicity for animal rights.
What is stopping these charities’ stories being headline-worthy? Why are they not on the telly or popular media?
We must be careful to make ACE a safe place, where people could come without fear of being confronted with graphic images. We would of course provide links to support our case but we would warn people that they may be taken to evidence of the cruelty we are discussing, if they click on a link.
My suggestion is to also have a specialist PR capability exclusively for spreading awareness of our stop animal cruelty mission to the public domain. This will be a voice for all charities, particularly the smaller, less well-funded charities.
Before we get cries of; ‘I’m not giving my heard earned money to a PR company who’s MD earns thousands of pounds a year’, please hear me out!
The reason these successful PR companies are so well paid, is because they are very good at what they do, are cost effective and they have influential contacts. Their clients are paying their expensive fees for a very good reason, simply because clients know they are creating great publicity opportunities.
As an example, we could task our retained PR company to get the Hunt Saboteurs’ message into the media. Surely if there’s a whiff of controversy, a timely communication with a influential reporter is all that is needed to make the subject blow up. As they say, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
These are only my ideas. Somebody out there has links to a PR company (or runs a PR company), and knows the intricacies of how these things work and how we can leverage our message.
So how are we going to pay for this PR machine? I don’t think it makes sense to levy a charge for animal charities to join because that affects smaller charities disproportionately.
Here’s some thoughts
- Is it logical to crowdfund the initial set up costs of making ACE a legitimate charity?
- The management and compliance professionals would ideally be animal activist volunteers.
- Then when the structure of the charity is set up, we could run a series 2 crowdfunding round.
- These funders (in addition to the original funders), would be registered as founders of our non-profit charity, in addition to the volunteers.
- This next round of funding would be to pay for the initial costs of engaging a professional animal charity fundraising company (like the ones that the larger charities already use).
- Then task that company to start fundraising.
- As far as I understand, for every £1 spent, the charity raises in the region of £4.
- Therefore our charity has a positive cash flow.
- Build up a reserve of funds to run the charity and to pay for a PR company on say, a 3 month trial.
- Engage the PR company and task with the first priority animal cruelty campaign.
It’s important to note this is my totally unresearched idea at this stage but I think it has potential.
When I have a bit more time and a few extra quid, my intention is to thoroughly research this idea and come up with some sort of action plan. Unless of course someone is keen to take my idea and run with it!?
Here’s a list of animal activists that you may want to support (in alphabetical order). Please contact me here if I have missed you or your organisation and I’ll include it.
- Direct action everywhere
- Extinction rebellion (the animal one)
- League Against Cruel Sports
- Animal Aid
- Scotland For Animals
Here’s some speakers whose assertions are vital to the animal rights movement and are highly recommended. Please contact me here if I have missed your favourite speaker and I’ll include it.
- Peter Singer
- and many more
Time For Action!
I’m afraid I’m nowhere near as intelligent or as eloquent as Peter Singer etc, but everybody must be given the opportunity to put forward their view of how to stop animal cruelty and these are my personal observations.
I also encourage you to put forward your views because the more people that get involved and speak out against animal cruelty, the better our world will be for all it’s inhabitants.
I acknowledge that this has turned out to be quite a lengthy article and it probably raises as many questions as it answers. However, that is the point.
I hope I’ve stirred you into some sort of discussion and thought processes which hopefully will lead to some effective action, whether it’s big or small – it all helps. We want everyone to ask questions about animal cruelty – and demand solutions to completely eradicating it.
If you’d like to contact me about any of the initiatives I’ve proposed, you can contact me here.
We’ve come a long way, with many successes under our belt. Let’s keep the momentum going towards a cruelty free future.
I’ve sprinkled this quote throughout this discussion for good reason;
“Snowflakes are one of natures most fragile things,
but just look at what they can do when they stick together!”
Founder: Vegan Supermarket UK