Christmas without Cruelty

Let’s make this a Christmas that the animals can enjoy with us! Here are some top tips on how to keep your Christmas animal-friendly and cruelty-free.

1. Leave the Turkey off your Table! Go veggie or vegan this year. There are more options than ever before for a meat-free Christmas dinner. The shops are full of vegan alternatives, and you can easily find recipes online. Local independent shops such as Purple Carrot and Balance offer a dizzying choice of tasty animal-free food.

2. You can have Style Without Suffering! Don’t buy products with real fur on. There are plenty of ‘faux fur’ alternatives out there. Be careful when buying Christmas bobble hats and check to see what they’re made of. Why buy fur for your family when they can look just as good without? Check out the Coalition To Abolish The Fur Trade and Fur Free Alliance websites for more information.

Arctic Fox rescued from a Polish Fur farm just before Christmas. Credit: boredpanda

3. Don’t buy Pets as Presents! Remember – a dog is for life, not for just for Christmas. An animal can live for many years and requires a long-term commitment from the person it lives with, which may include expensive veterinary care. Re-homing is often stressful for the animal and should not be done on impulse or without consideration. Why not support your local animal rescue instead and give them a donation to help cover the costs of looking after the numbers of unwanted animals that always arrive on their doorsteps after Christmas? If you and your family are really ready to look after an animal, rescues have many requiring homes and will give you all the information that you will need to take care of them, which you probably won’t get from a breeder or pet shop. Some rescues offer fostering schemes for animals that have been waiting a long time for their forever home and need some extra love and care. Check out local rescues Garston Animal Rescue, Rescue Me, Freshfields and Animals in Need.

4. Have an X-mas without X-ploitation! Don’t support events which feature live reindeer or other animals. These are always inappropriate and extremely stressful for the animal, which will be exposed to large crowds, loud noise and bright lights, as reported in this article in the Liverpool Echo. There are so many Christmas events to choose from so choose wisely.

Reindeer belong in the wild! Photo by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen

5. Ditch the Dairy! Your Christmas chocolate doesn’t need to have milk in. Animal Equality explain why here. There are now a huge range of dairy-free chocs and cheeses to choose from so this doesn’t mean missing out!

6. Forget the Foie Gras! This ‘luxurious’ food involves appalling cruelty to the geese and there are plenty of entirely animal free pates to choose from now instead.

7. Donations without Death! If you are thinking of giving a donation to charity this Christmas, please consider helping one that doesn’t involve cruel and unnecessary animal experiments. Many of the bigger charities such as British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research will use your money to fund animal testing, but there are several alternatives which concentrate on ethical research, which is more scientific and much more likely to produce results. Animal Free Research and The Humane Research Trust both fund animal-free research. Merseyside Animal Rights has a page dedicated to this issue while Animal Aid produce a guide of charities that do and don’t test on animals.

8. Sponsor a Sanctuary! Sanctuaries like Hillside Animal Sanctuary have dozens of horses, ponies, donkeys and other animals which can be ‘adopted’ – by yourself or for a loved one – in return for regular reports and photos of your chosen animal. Alternatively, you can gift someone a bale of hay to feed the animals at the sanctuary.

Dancer and Prancer are just two of the animals you can adopt at Hillside

9. Don’t give a Goat as a Gift! Many charities give you the option of gifting things to people in poverty on behalf of a loved one in lieu of a traditional present. Animals use up scarce food and water, can create environmental problems; and these schemes do not operate in the interests of the animals concerned. There are lots of such charity gifts that don’t involve animals such as seeds, safe water, education for girls, school bags and pencils and first aid kits, so go for one of these animal-free options when helping those in need.

10. Be Alcohol Aware – and not just in terms of your own health and well-being – some alcohol is processed using animal products, so if you’re enjoying a tipple check out Barnivore: your vegan wine, beer, and liquor guide to be wise over wine and compassionate with cocktails!

Finally, you can enjoy your Christmas without Cruelty! You know it makes sense!

Here’s to a very Merry Midwinter Season for one and all!