Consider that 20 years ago, vegetarian options were only available at health food stores. Today, not only are they prolific in mainstream stores, but
some chains have made animal-friendly products a priority - not because everyone has "gone veggie," but because consumers are demanding healthier, animal-friendly options.
While leading a vegan lifestyle is a paramount goal in reducing the suffering of animals, you don't have to go the distance to make an impact. By considering animals' welfare in your daily choices, you are still making a difference.
It's similar to buying a hybrid vehicle. The car still runs on gas and still has an impact, but uses less gas than a non-hybrid of the same size. It is a more eco-friendly choice. Similarly, you can make humane choices that are better for you, earth-friendly, and help animals.
Sometimes they read like a foreign language, but reading labels empowers you to buy more humanely. Are those beans made with lard? Is the fur on that collar faux? Was that shampoo tested on animals? There are many products out there today to choose from that don't use animal ingredients, that taste great, feel good and look fabulous!
If you don't understand a label or if you need more information, ask the supermarket, the manufacturer, or the farmer. Do the animals have access to space, fresh air, others of their kind? How are the young animals treated? If the product is local, visit the farm in person and see for yourself.
Buy organic or local
If you buy products that are produced without chemicals, or that were produced locally therefore using less resources to ship, you help preserve the environment, which benefits people and animals, especially wildlife.
Pledge to "veg" once a week
Introduce yourself, your family and friends to vegetarian cooking this holiday season and throughout the year. Make a pledge to go "veg" at least once a week. Try a new vegetarian restaurant (search HappyCow.net), or make one of your favorite recipes with a veggie meat substitute. You now have at least 52 chances to expand your horizons and benefit animals throughout the year!
As more consumers demand it, farmers are fi nding ways to provide a better life for the animals they raise. Here chickens roam freely in a grass pasture with the option of foraging in the shade.