Thanks to all who wrote in to ask me questions about how to prevent animal cruelty and to stop animal abuse. I am deeply moved and encouraged by the number of emails I received giving me positive feedback and encouragement, and offers of help and compliments pouring in. I am grateful for all the support and I've also decided to post a FAQ to give my personal opinion on some of the questions asked. This list will grow and evolve over time as the questions pour in.
Q1. What is considered animal cruelty or abuse?
Animal cruelty is when we directly or indirectly cause pain, distress, or suffering to another living creature, intentionally or otherwise.
The main possible causes of abuse and cruelty to animals are; what we eat, what we wear, and the pets we keep.
Exploiting animals for their body parts, for unnecessary luxuries, for our own pleasure; can be considered to be a form of animal abuse. In my opinion, everything and anything, when taken to wasteful excesses or mindless extremities, will sooner rather than later descend into some form of abuse.
If there is even the slightest doubt in you that a certain product could only be made possible by exploiting some animals, and you can live without it, then my suggestion is that we do not need it or want it to be a part of our lives. If we continue to contribute to the demand for it, then there will always be someone out there ready to supply and profit from it.
Personally, I am now using canvas and nylon bags and belts, and PVC shoes. All synthetic materials, I'm not missing a thing, and I'm happier than ever!
Q2. I want to help stop animal abuse and cruelty to animals, but I am not vegan as meat has been a part of my diet all my life, what should I do? Aren't human omnivores?
Well, I have asked myself this question so many times I lost count!
True, if only all human beings are vegan, the world would be a much better place, especially for animals! But while I admire vegans and aspire to be one gradually, I also believe in balance, harmony with nature, and self-moderation.
If you want to, and have the determination and will, to be a vegetarian, good on you! But it does not mean that you cannot play a part in preventing cruelty and animal abuse even if you are not a vegetarian! There are many animal lovers and activists out there who are not, or not yet, vegetarian, but they certainly are taking action in helping to stop animal abuse.
Different camps will probably give you different views on whether human are carnivores, herbivores, or omnivores by nature or design. In my opinion, human beings are closer to being natural herbivores anatomically (read this to see why), as on our own, we cannot outrun most wild animals, are not stealthy enough to surprise and catch most wild animals, and are not physically strong enough or equipped with natural weapons like huge jaws or sharp claws to overpower most wild animals. But yet, we are also opportunists and survivors who are capable and intelligent enough to set traps and fashion weapons that are able to capture and hunt animals for domestication and for food. Although I would still say that having a mainly herbivorous diet will be closer and more natural to what our body is designed for, not to mention that it is much more healthy!
Q3. I want to start right now to help prevent and stop animal abuse and cruelty to animals. What should I do?
The moment you have this desire to do so, you have already taken the first step, that is, to start the change from yourself! What you can do for a start;
i. Stop buying products made of parts of animals, especially ornamental and extravagant things like fur coats, animal skin carpets, ivory ornaments, etc.
ii. Stop eating 'Exotic' and Cruel Cuisines. Sharks Fin, Foie Gras, Dog meat, Veal, Drunken Prawns, Lobsters boiled alive ...
iii. Stop buying pets on impulse. Understand your ability to undertake a long term commitment of having a pet. If you decided to have a pet, don't buy, adopt instead.
iv. If you already have a pet, make sure that they are given regular medical checkups and proper nutrition. Neglect is one of the most common forms of cruelty.
v. Stop buying products from companies that support animal experimentation and laboratory testing. Many cosmetics and household products are guilty of being a part of this.
vi. Stop eating meat originated from factory farming. Animals from factory farms go through extreme pain and suffering throughout their short life-time before dying a painful death.
Q5. I am just one person. How can I change anything? What can I do to make any difference?
Yes, You Can. Yes, I Can. And, Yes, We Can!
I can never stress this enough. Even if you can affect just ONE person, change ONE life, or save just ONE life. You already have made a difference. It all starts with yourself. And that ONE life is YOU. If, in your mind, you tell yourself that "this is wrong, it has to stop, and I want to do something about it....", you have already started this CHANGE... and you WILL make a difference one way or another, sooner than you think. It can begin with small decisions like stop buying fur and animal hide products. Stop eating cruel cuisines, etc. The list goes on. And as friends and family notice the change and ask you about it, that is your chance to talk about it and educate them about how animals are exploited. Really, it is that simple.