Information and Products for
Socially Responsible Consumers
Why the concern with animal rights and welfare? In a word, compassion. The lives of most animals raised for food are indescribably, indecently cruel. Most are not raised on the pastoral lands we see driving through countryside. For one example, see this article on the lives of dairy animals and poultry raised on factory farms. The most merciful thing that ever happens to them is death. The conditions in which most pigs and other animals live are no better. Every time we spend on products based on factory-farmed animals we contribute to this misery. Unless you go vegan, avoiding factory farm products is very difficult, but this article has some suggestions: Avoiding Factory Farm Foods: An Eater's Guide.
Here are some quotes from famous people: Vegetarian Quotes
Here is a thoughtful article on animal ingredients in products, and how far people concerned about animals can or should go to avoid them: realistic ways to help animals.
Sources of B12. Vitamin B12 is the only essential nutritional need that is not available in sufficient quantities in a vegan diet. Lack of B12 causes pernicious anemia, a deficiency in red blood cells that can cause severe problems. Here is advice on how to fill the need for B12.
Altweb: Alternatives to Animal Testing
Altweb is a collaboration between scientific, business, and animal welfare interests. It provides a wealth of information from scientific and government sources on regulation of animal use in scientific research and a directory of resources for alternative methods.
American Humane Association
Founded 1877. Works to prevent cruelty to both children and animals. Several articles document link between violence toward humans and abuse of other animals. Regulates treatment of animals in television and movies. Supports many shelter programs, trains shelter professionals. Performs animal rescue operations.
American Anti-Vivisection Society
The AAVS works to end experimenting on animals. Site contains information about vivisection, alternative research methods, student rights to choose alternative methods in lab work, humane education, and where to write about specific issues.
An AAVS compassionate shopping guide: Leaping Bunny "cruelty-free certification provides the best assurance that no new animal testing is used in any phase of product development by the company, its laboratories, or suppliers"
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Links to pages on animals available for adoption, Poison Control Center with toll free number, news alerts, ways to lobby for animals, animal cruelty and rescue, etc.
Unfortunately, the children's area seems to be no longer on the website. It had brightly colored cartoon drawings and links to a pet care guide, a career section, issues, games, and a very articulate macaw that answers questions about animals. Children from 1 to 101 taking a tour of this area would find it a visual delight and memorable education.
Animal Legal Defense Fund
The ALDF works to provide greater U.S. legal rights to animals, stronger law enforcement, and better treatment of millions of animals. The home page links to news stories, ways to take action, programs, etc.
Animals Asia Foundation
Website says "Animals Asia is a Hong Kong-based charity, dedicated to ending cruelty and restoring respect for all animals in Asia." Projects include ending bear farming, dog and cat eating, a dog therapy program, and addressing issues of "live wild animal markets, emergency relief and usage of animals in Traditional Medicine." Includes lots of heartwarming pictures and anecdotes.
A People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals site that provides information about companies that do vs. companies that do not test on animals, charities that test vs. do not test, a list of product ingredients that are of animal origin, and alternatives to animal ingredients and animal testing. Also links to descriptions of what is involved in some of the tests that are performed on millions of animals. Publishes recipes and a Shopping Guide for Caring Consumers.
Environment News Service
Not strictly speaking an animal welfare organization, but many of the articles contain important information about animal welfare, as well as other facets of environmental concerns.
Ethologists for the
Ethical Treatment of Animals/Citizens for Responsible Animal Behavior
Coalition of scientists and non-scientists advocates for more humane, ethical conditions for animals in studies, both in the field and in laboratories. Raises awareness of scientific evidence of emotions and cognition in animals. Features books by Jane Goodall and Mark Bekoff, co-founders of the group.
International Fund for Animal Welfare
Based in Yarmouthport, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, U.S., with offices in twelve other locations around the world. Site provides news about animal welfare, campaigns, and legislation. Based on conviction that human and animal fates are intertwined. Promotes scientific research and education, habitat preservation, partnership with other organizations.
Humane Society of the United States
According to its website, "The HSUS is the nation's largest and most powerful animal protection organization, working in the United States and abroad to defend the interests of animals." The organization celebrates the bond between humans and animals and provides information on solving conflicts between them humanely. It was a major player in rescuing pets affected by Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
This controversial organization has mounted many effective campaigns against cruelty to animals, but offends many with its methods for getting publicity. Whether you love PETA or hate it or have mixed feelings about it, it is a force to be reckoned with in the animal welfare movement.
One of the most useful things PETA does for compassionate consumers is publish lists of companies that do and do not test their products on animals, charities that do and do not test, and ingredients that originate from animals. Links to these lists are on PETA's Caring Consumer website. You would be amazed at some of the products that are tested on animals. For example, PETA organized a sustained campaign against General Motors until that company stopped using animals in crash tests of its cars.
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which worked with PETA for human rights and animal welfare in medicine, may have succumbed to its critics. All the recent links ResponsibleConsumer.net followed led to page not found errors.
Unitarian Universalist Animal Ministry "is a group of concerned Unitarian Universalists and UU friends who desire to grow and express their faith as compassion towards all beings", based on the UU principles of "The inherent worth and dignity of every person" [in this case, every being] and "Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part".
The Animal Ministry has a program called Reverence for Life that supports congregations in "becoming advocates for all life". The program produces a manual that looks at institutionalized cruelty to animals and suggests ways for all ages to explore what to do about it. The program also offers online courses.