Every December, many people turn their attention to helping the homeless and hungry people they ignore the rest of the year.
However, it’s not just our fellow humans who could use our support. Many animals—of the nonhuman variety—are vulnerable and suffering, and could benefit from our assistance at this time of year.
Here’s 10 ways that you can help the animals this holiday season.
1. Sponsor a rescued animal
Taking care of all those abandoned and neglected animals costs sanctuaries money that’s often in short supply. At Mission’s Hearts on Noses sanctuary, you can sponsor a pig for $25 a month.
2. Buy cruelty-free presents
Gift ideas include non-leather shoes, wool-free sweaters, and plant-based cosmetics that haven’t been animal tested. Vancouver’s Nice Shoes stocks footwear, Bambii Clothing designs streetwear, and Whistler Naturals has skin-care products that fit the bill.
3. Skip the turkey at Christmas dinner
Your dinner centrepiece doesn’t have to be a carcass. Try Field Roast’s hazelnut cranberry roast en croute, Tofurky’s vegetarian feast, or Gardein’s holiday roast for a delicious change. Or, buy a copy of What to Feed That Effing Vegan: The Holiday Edition, the latest e-cookbook from The Vegan Project, and make a veggie-lentil loaf.
4. Volunteer at an animal sanctuary
It’s a lot of work to provide sanctuary to dozens—or even hundreds—of animals. In B.C.’s Lower Mainland, the Senior Animals in Need Today Society, Greyhaven Exotic Bird Sanctuary, and Richmond Animal Protection Society are always looking for volunteers (and donations).
5. Give someone a vegan cookbook
The best way to help animals is to not eat them or products derived from them. Having a solid collection of vegan cookbooks at home can help in this regard. Titles by Vancouver-area authors include Carla Kelly’s Quick and Easy Vegan Slow Cooking, Dreena Burton’s Let Them Eat Vegan!, and Vesanto Melina’s Cooking Vegetarian.
6. Donate to an animal welfare group
Animal-welfare organizations such as the Vancouver Humane Society and B.C. SPCA work tirelessly to reduce the suffering of animals. Both charities accept donations of money and securities. Meanwhile, advocacy groups such as Liberation B.C., Mercy for Animals Canada, and the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals can’t issue tax receipts for donations, but their work is vital to the cause.
7. Eat at a vegan restaurant
Fully vegan eateries, by definition, don’t serve animal products. Vancouver is home to several of these joints, including Eternal Abundance, Gorilla Food, Graze, Indigo Food Café, Panz Veggie Restaurant, and Vegan Pizza House. There’s also Paradise Vegetarian Noodle House in Burnaby and Chomp Vegan Eatery in Port Moody.
8. Don’t use animals as gifts
Unwanted pets often end up being abandoned or neglected, and this keeps organizations like Rabbitats and the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association busy. However, if you’re serious about taking on a new family member, adopting an animal may be right for you.
9. Leave vegan cookies and plant milk for Santa
Surely, Santa Claus would appreciate something different than the usual plate of chocolate-chip cookies and glass of cow’s milk. Vancouver bakeries Edible Flours and Fairy Cakes both make excellent vegan cookies. If you’re no fan of soy milk, give almond, flax, hemp, oat, rice, or sunflower milk a try.
10. Make Meatless Monday a New Year’s resolution
Every Monday, people around the world go meatless for animals, health, and the environment. Earthsave Canada’s Metro Vancouver Veg Directory can help you find a place to eat. If you’re already observing Meatless Monday, how about going vegan or vegetarian?
How else can we help the animals this holiday season? Please let us know in the comments!