Creature Comforts

From reducing or cutting out your meat intake to choosing cruelty-free products, adopting a stray pet or volunteering at a sanctuary, there are so many ways you can support animal rights.
1. CHOOSE CRUELTY-FREE COSMETICS AND TOILETRIES While cosmetic testing on animals has been banned in Europe for several years, many mainstream American products (re-labelled and sold in South Africa) continue to perform cruel and unnecessary tests on bunnies, guinea pigs and rats. The concept of playing a role in animal testing is uncomfortable for most, but the reality is, anyone buying an eyeliner or foundation tested on animals, is inadvertently funding and supporting the practice. There are so many brands that don't test on animals and researching your brand before buying is the best way to support cruelty-free. If you are unsure if your brand of choice is tested on animals, call the help line or google the supplier. If they don't specifically say they're cruelty-free, chances are they aren't. 2. REDUCE YOUR MEAT CONSUMPTION We often don't realise or have no idea where the meat we eat actually comes from and how the animals have been raised. Factory farming has horrendous stories attached to the 'manufacture' of animals. There are enough YouTube clips to convert a hardened meat eater into a vegetarian after a few minutes of watching. *Opt for Cruelty-Free Pet Food Commonly, people buy their cat or dog food based on packaging claims. Slogans like, 'packed with protein' or 'filled with natural nutrients' can be very misleading. Commercial dog and cat food may legally contain 4-D meat. This means meat from dead, dying, diseased and disabled animals. Add a little roadkill, mill floor sweepings labeled as grain, and corn contaminated with high levels of pesticide (yes, really) and you have a recipe for ill health. Cheap pet food is likely to be lacking in nutrition and create disease conditions in your animal. Rather choose cruelty-free pet food or simply cook your pet's food at home, using the same wholefood ingredients you use for your own family. Foods like pulses, legumes, barley, freerange chicken, beef, lamb, ostrich, organic olive oils, herbs, even coconut oil and spirulina are healthy additions your animal will thrive on. If you don't have time to prepare it yourself, find a conscious, organic and sustainable source to buy from. Vondis Holistic Pet Nutrition is a recommended option that makes all their food from scratch using natural, whole foods. 3. BE AWARE OF SELECTIVE BREEDING Selective breeding especially among dogs and cats is an animal rights abuse many people aren't aware of. You may want a pedigree bull dog or pure-bred Egyptian Sphinx cat because of their aesthetic appeal but scratch the surface and you'll see that many of the breeds have weakened immunity or some type of defect or weakening from pedigree breeding. After years of inbreeding, at least a third of all King Charles spaniels suffer from syringomyelia ' a condition where the dog's brain is too big for the skull, resulting in a nonstop, crippling headache. Many genetic deformities exist in purebred dogs. Breeders around the globe are guilty of spreading these painful defects contributing to what Dr. James Serpell, associate professor of humane ethics and animal welfare at the University of Pennsylvania, deems 'institutionalized animal cruelty.' People who continue to buy purebred companion animals are at fault for supporting pedigree breeding. A better alternative is to adopt an animal from a shelter. Animal shelters take in millions of stray, abused and lost animals every year. By adopting an animal, you are helping support the shelters. 4. GIVE WILDLIFE A CHANCE Many people don't think of helping injured or abandoned wildlife. In the Western Cape we sometimes see injured Egyptian ducklings near the highways. There are many licensed wildlife rehabilitation centres you can take an injured animal to be looked after. Some may specialise in owls, while others will take anything from a tortoise to a snake. Find one nearby, they are usually very helpful and will offer advice about moving the injured animal. 5. VISIT SANCTUARIES, INSTEAD OF ZOOS OR CIRCUSES While most people consider looking at exotic animals entertaining and educational, in many cases, the animals are exploited or are uncomfortable in the environment provided. In circuses, the animals are forced to perform unnatural ' and sometimes dangerous ' acts just for entertainment. The Mclaren Circus in South Africa has been under scrutiny by animal activists for this reason. Animals in zoos live in unnatural settings, and families are often broken up during animal trading. To connect with unusual, special and exotic animals, find a sanctuary for rescued animals or volunteer at one. HOW YOU CAN HELP Vondis Holistic Pet Nutrition recently launched a Charity Outreach Programme, where animal lovers can buy food for their preferred animal shelter at significantly reduced prices, including free delivery. Vondis have a number of animal charities and welfare places listed and service Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. Vondi's Holistic Pet Nutrition pride thmselves on being actively involved in educating the public on animal welfare issues and believe every cat and dog has the right to a loving home, good health and excellent nutrition. Their head office is in 59 Regent Road, Sea Point. Tel: (021) 439 1784.

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