Four Easy Things You Can Do to Reduce Animal Suffering
Many people want to make a difference in the lives of animals, but are often lost as to what to do.
There are literally thousands of things a person can do, but these are the top things, the easiest things, that anyone can do.
Many people assume that any wandering pet they see is a stray, and unwanted, or abandoned pet. Sometimes strays are animals who were dumped by an uncaring owner, other times they have been lost by their original owner. Many are the victims of crime – having been picked up by a neighbor of their owner, and dumped in an other area.
Strays suffer in many ways. They often have to cope with finding food and water. Many suffer from poor nutrition, and some are poisoned. Stray pets are at risk for diseases and parasites (worms, fleas, ticks, and mange, for example). They are targeted by healthy animals and wildlife.
In some areas it is legal to shoot stray pets on a persons property, and even when not legal many people take the law into their own hands and have ways of dealing with unwanted Strays.
If you care, you will report all strays to your local animal shelter in case an owner is looking for a lost pet. To go further you will try to catch any stray animal and take it to the shelter or into your care (only after reporting you have found it). If you start feeding a stray, in some areas, you are considered to be its owner and as such it is also your responsibility to provide that animal with shelter and health care.
Proper Care for your Own Pets
Sadly many people unknowingly contribute to suffering by not caring for their own pets. If you allow your own pet to breed (without taking it to shows and so forth to prove it is worth breeding) you contribute to the numbers of pets, already at a surplus. Think of it this way, in the USA over 2 million pets are euthanized every year because there are more born than there are homes for. If your pet has a litter, and they all find homes, it means some other pets will not find homes, and will be killed (or abandoned as above). For those lacking money to spay or neuter their pets they can keep those animals indoors, or adopt one that is already fixed rather than getting one that is not, also there are some low cost programs.
Remember every kitten born takes a home away from another one who may not find a home.
Other issues of poor care for pets include not training your dog, making it a problem pet. Many dogs are surrendered to the animal shelter because owners fail to train them or to provide proper mental stimulation. Once the dog becomes unruly it is no longer wanted.
Generally owner error, everything from not researching a pet before getting it, to loss of interest, to neglecting vet care, are responsible for much animal suffering.
Watch What you Eat
While not saying you need to become a vegetarian, you should be aware of where your protein comes from. This includes dairy, eggs, and fish. Dairy cattle are not always living a sweet life out on the pasture, some are kept in the barn day and night. Battery hens have horrid, short, lives, kept in cramped cages, ducks and geese are abused to grow grotesquely fat. Please click the links to learn more.
You can lessen animal suffering simply by selecting where your protein comes from, or by eating slightly smaller portions. Most people eat far more meat than they need. The correct serving size for meat is about the size of a persons palm, or a deck of playing cards. Meat does not have to be a part of every meal.
Support your Local Shelter
Photo source for a dog in the San Francisco SPCA
It is easy to get drawn into global animal welfare concerns, however charity starts at home, and chances are more of your money goes directly to the care of the animals when you donate to your local animal shelter, SPCA, or humane society. If you cannot donate money there are other things you can donate, including your time as a volunteer.