How one puppy changed the way I shop.

The first time my new puppy curled up in my lap my perception of animals changed. I could see the depth of her emotion in everything she did.  Her tail would wag uncontrollably when we’d go on a walk. She’d stare blankly at me when I was spending too much time on the computer and not enough time playing fetch. When I was upset, she’d slowly crawl over and delicately lay her head upon my lap. It wasn’t difficult to imagine how she’d feel if anyone ever intentionally caused her pain.

As my need to protect her expanded, so did my awareness of other animals and how they directly and indirectly impacted my environment. I had spent years turning away whenever a gloomy ad about abused animals came on the TV or an article about testing practices popped into my newsfeed. But now with my little spaniel mix gently snoring on my lap, it was time to start learning more about the impact my consumption has on animals.

It was overwhelming at first. Animals play a massive role in every area of our economy and unfortunately, often they have not been treated humanely. After weeks of research, I decided to focus on three areas where I could make better choices that would result in happier animals and a healthier planet.

Animal Testing

Animal testing is often utilized to test ingredients for personal care products like cosmetics and for medications. Any scientific experiment on a live animal is considered animal testing. According to Cruelty Free International, animal testing on personal care products is no longer needed because there are many non-animal testing methods available and most ingredients have already been deemed safe.

Unfortunately many cosmetic companies continue to test on animals because it is required to sell their products in China. That’s right. Most cosmetics companies don’t test on animals for safety reasons. They do it to make more money.

If you want to avoid using products tested on animals, be careful to check that a company is Leaping Bunny Certified, the leader in certifying cruelty free products. If a company says that they are cruelty-free unless required by law, they usually do test on animals in order to sell their products in other countries. The best way to encourage companies to stop practicing unnecessary animal testing is to only purchase cruelty-free products.

The best way to encourage companies to stop practicing unnecessary animal testing is to only purchase cruelty-free products.

Veganism

Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products. This includes food and clothing. While practicing veganism can feel overwhelming to some, there are many ways to lower your consumption of animal derived products. The Flexitarian Diet allows you to consciously move towards a more plant based lifestyle without any hard and fast rules.

Flexitarian’s may choose to eat plant based more often or a few days a week, seek out leather alternatives when possible and/or cut out certain animal based products such as diary or red meat. This can be a great way to transition into veganism or just limit the impact your consumption has on animals. But veganism does even more than help our furry friends.

Recent studies have shown that decreasing our consumption of animals is the single biggest way to decrease your environmental impact. This is because of the amount of food, water and, ahem, gas emissions that mass livestock need and produce.

It comes down to this – you could eat a plant and drink water OR you could feed a lot of plants and water to an animal over their lifetime.  Meanwhile they are releasing a lot of methane gas into the air as they burp and pass gas, are transported to a meat packing plant for processing, get packaged in plastics and then get transported to your grocery store where you purchase them and eat their meat. Guess which one is better for the environment? Oxford University found that cutting meat and dairy from your diet could reduce your personal carbon footprint as much as 73%!

Whether you are ready to take the plunge into veganism or not, it’s a fact that lowering your consumption of animal products results in less inhumane treatment of animals and is the number one thing you can do to help our environment.

Entertainment

I can’t tell you how many times my dog scratches at the door during the day. I get most of my exercise letting her in and out of the house. I can’t imagine how’d she feel if she was confined to a small cage or abusive training. That’s why I have chosen not to attend circuses or other performances that feature animals. How do we get companies to stop treating animals inhumanely? We stop supporting the ones who do.

Who knew one puppy could make such an impact?! Just as she has changed the way I consume, I know that the choices I am making every day will create a ripple effect and inspire others along the way. If you are interested in supporting more cruelty-free companies, get our browser extension, Consciously and get alerted when you’re about to buy from a company that tests on animals. We will be adding a vegan label soon!

Source: Independent

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