Monday, December 31, 2007

Tips: Make 2008 a year to help animals and create a more humane world!

The Humane Society of the United States has a great article to start 2008 off right!
The start of a new year—its promise of new beginnings fills us with aspirations and hope. It's a fresh opportunity to remake ourselves into better people, a shot at a real-life makeover.

Unfortunately, New Year's resolutions all too often fall by the wayside. So, we've decided to help make this year's resolutions easy to keep and worth your while. Our ready-made list of New Year's resolutions will help millions of animals, and leave you feeling good year-round. By choosing just a few of these to add to your list, you'll be resolving to help create a more humane world.

1. Eat well, shop smart. Not everyone chooses to be a full-time vegetarian, but even reducing the amount of meat, eggs, and dairy products you eat will help animals who suffer on factory farms. Given the many humane alternatives now on the market, finding a few favorite substitutes for animal products is easy. When you do choose to eat meat, eggs, and dairy products, know what's going into your cart with our guides to egg cartons labels and meat and dairy labels. While shopping for dinner, ask your favorite local grocery store to go cage-free, and only sell eggs from hens who are not confined to cruel battery cages. And while you are watching what you eat, you can also save baby seals from slaughter, just by boycotting Canadian seafood.

2. Build a kit, make a plan. If 2005 taught us anything, it is that people and pets all need disaster plans in place before disasters hit. Build a disaster kit for your whole family, including your pets. Then make a disaster plan, so that when an emergency or the call to evacuate comes, you can grab your disaster kit, your pets, and go. Also, ask Congress to support the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act (PETS Act), which will require state and local authorities to address the issue of evacuating people with pets from disaster areas.

3. Participate in your political process. You know that any democracy calls for vibrant public participation, but you may not realize that the little things you do—such as making one phone call or writing a letter to your lawmakers—can make a big difference when it comes to passing a law that protects animals. Resolve to stay informed by signing up to receive the free online newsletter, HumaneLines, and take action at least one time a month on behalf of animals. Register to vote so you can participate in one of the HSUS ballot initiatives in 2006.

4. Bring your pet inside. If you leave your dog or cat outside all the time, make a change for the better: Bring your pet indoors. Free-roaming cats are at risk of contracting feline leukemia, injuring or being injured by wildlife, and being hit by cars. Dogs who spend their lives chained outdoors can be victims of bad weather and bad people; the isolated pooches can develop behavioral problems like incessant barking. Take the high road this year and work out a way for your pets to stay safely inside your home.

5. Dress better by pledging to be Fur Free. Put compassion in your fashion by taking the pledge, and then avoiding the purchase of real fur and fur trim. When shopping, make sure to check the label to be sure that the fur or fur trim on clothing and accessories is synthetic. Animal pelts dyed bright colors, sheared, or woven can look deceptively like fabric or faux fur, and labeling loopholes allow many inexpensive and moderately priced garments with fur to go unlabeled. You can donate any fur or fur trim item you have previously purchased or inherited to our Coats for Cubs program. All of the furs received by The HSUS are sent to wildlife rehabilitators, who use the furs to warm and comfort orphaned and injured wildlife.

6. Help Your Wild Neighbors. If you're having problems with local wildlife, try a humane solution to your problem before you call the exterminator. Instead of trapping mice who invade your home, find out how they're getting in, and seal the entry off. If local deer are browsing your prized shrubs, support humane solutions like deer-resistant plants as alternatives to killing. There probably isn't a problem that The HSUS's urban wildlife experts haven't already encountered and developed a humane solution to address.

7. Teach peace. Kids are impressionable, so make sure you impress upon them the humane treatment of animals. Keep your kids away from entertainment that's harmful to animals and exploitive venues like swim-with-dolphin parks. Instead, treat them to an afternoon at an animal-free circus, or visit a farm sanctuary where they can get a different view of animals. What's more, lobby your child's teachers and your state legislature to win your child's right to choose an alternative to classroom dissection. You can even adopt a classroom by sponsoring a subscription to KIND News™.

8. Lend a hand at the shelter. How often do you hear yourself say that you love animals? This year, instead of just talking the talk, try walking the walk. Walk into your nearest shelter and lend a hand. Volunteering at your local animal shelter is a great way to help animals in the most direct way possible. You'll learn about problems shelters confront every day by seeing them firsthand. But more important, you'll be part of the solution.

9. Banish toxic chemicals for your home and health. If the pursuit of a stunning complexion or a more inviting yard is leading you to use dangerous chemicals, rethink the practice. When you shop for cosmetics and household products, find an alternative that isn't tested on animals. In the yard, strong herbicides and pesticides may be deadly to wildlife and pets, and commercial fertilizers can migrate into streams and ponds and endanger aquatic life. Instead of trying for that perfect, emerald lawn, go "green" in another way by choosing organic, environmentally responsible products, and minimize the threats to your hard work by gardening with wildlife in mind.

10. Give generously. Donations to local shelters and The HSUS help keep positive changes for animals coming. Not only does The HSUS do hands-on work for animals (such as disaster relief, spaying and neutering, and housing animals on sanctuaries), it is the nation's leading advocacy voice for animals, working to change laws, to enforce the laws, and to prompt corporations to pursue animal-friendly practices. The animals of our country and of the world need The HSUS, and we need you to help us do this vital work. Click here to support The HSUS's work.

Most of all, remind yourself that every resolution you make and keep will make a concrete difference in the lives of animals worldwide. There's no better way to keep the spirit of new beginnings alive all year long.

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