What can I do?
Adopting a fully vegan diet is probably the best thing you can do for the animals, the environment and your health but, for a lot of people, this is a step too far. The good news is that you can make a huge difference by making some relatively simple changes.
Meat Free Mondays is a campaign that Paul McCartney started in 2009 and suggests that people avoid eating animals on Mondays. You can read more about the surprising benefits of cutting out meat for just one day a week here. Meat free Mondays
Or you could become a vegan weekender and give up meat and dairy on weekends. As time goes by you might want to reverse this and only eat meat and dairy on the weekends.
Another idea is to try and eat one plant based meal every day. It might be breakfast one day, lunch another and dinner the next.
There's a group called 'One Step for Animals' and they suggest that one of the best things that you can do to help animals is to just stop eating chickens. Their reasoning is that not only are chickens kept in terrible factory farm conditions but that they are also killed in such huge numbers. It takes about 200 chickens to provide the same amount of food as one cow. Eat less chickens and save more lives.
I'm sure that we're all agreed, whether we eat meat or not, that factory farming is just horrific and we'd all like to see an end to it. If you're going to eat animals how about we avoid anything that comes out of a factory farm? Buy your meat from farmers markets or ask your local butcher if he stocks naturally reared meat. Free range doesn't actually mean free range but if you look for organic or soil association certification then you're on the right track. Cows and sheep are not usually factory farmed but pigs, fish and chickens suffer terribly in these 'Gulags of despair.'
Some people might find themselves in a position where they want to do more to help animals but don't want to engage in more radical approaches such as protests or demonstrations. There's lots of things that you can do and I've listed a few here.
1 - Write letters or emails to supermarkets, food companies, cosmetic companies, politicians, shops, the council etc You could ask them for more veggie options, to replace animal ingredients with plant based ingredients, to stop testing on animals, to stop supporting cruelty etc
2 - Raise funds for sanctuaries and animal shelters or to fund activism that seeks to end animal suffering (leaflets, billboards, vegan cookouts etc)
3 - You could volunteer at sanctuaries, shelters etc
4 - Cook some food or bake some cakes for a vegan cookout. A vegan cookout is where vegan food (burgers, curries, stew, cakes etc) is offered to the public for free so they can see for themselves just how easy and tasty plant based food is
5 - Deliver leaflets which help people to reduce or eliminate animal products from their diet. You could deliver leaflets to homes on your own estate or street. I can provide you with leaflets for free.
6 - Adopt some animals. There always loads of cats and dogs in need of a home but there are also lots of rescue chickens (ex laying hens which will otherwise go the slaughterhouse) which are looking for a home.
7 - You could join a group such as Compassion in World Farming, which seeks to end factory farming, or Greenpeace, which campaigns to preserve the oceans. There are lots of groups listed in the resources section.
8 - You could talk to others about the benefits of reducing or eliminating animal products from their diet.