Introduction to Animal Activism 101
By Guest Contributor: Shenita Etwaroo
So, you’ve heard about them before. The crazy people who allegedly throw paint on women in nice fur coats and picket and riot for the rights of animals who are used to test things like cosmetics. What’s so wrong with smearing a little lipstick on a monkey, right?
This is the exact type of attitude that animal rights activists want to educate people against and change. The truth is that the monkey being experimented on with cosmetics is still a living, breathing creature. He feels pain and fear, and most certainly does in the unspeakable conditions that he lives in. Every day, he is subjected to tests that confuse and frighten him, and his human handlers likely leave very much to be wanted. While our monkey friend likely needs comforting and soothing, he is simply shoved into a numbered cage to await his next hour of torture and fright.
This is the dirty truth behind why it is wrong to test on animals, even something as seemingly innocuous as lipstick. The animal, while being a sentient creature, cannot consent to such treatment, and protests it by acting out and crying for help. The fact that we are larger and capable of caging our monkey friend does not make it right to do so.
This is the world of animal activism, the noble fight to end the suffering of animals such as the sweet monkey at the cosmetics factory. This is why people take time out of their day to strive for better treatment for animals.
If you’re interested in helping animals, but do not know exactly where to start, there are tons of small steps you can take in your everyday life to ensure a better world for our fellow earthlings. For instance, something as small and easy as recycling plastics and other resources has huge impact not only on the environment, but on animal welfare. Litter destroys the natural habitats of animals and endangers their lives.
Another way that you can help animals is to simply refuse to patronize product lines that use animals in their creation or test on animals. More and more companies are going cruelty-free, and such products are labeled. Supporting companies that don’t use animal products or test on animals encourages other companies to cease their inhumane experimentation and testing on animals. If you are a college or high school student, you can write a letter and perhaps start a petition with your peers to have vegan or vegetarian options added to the school menus.
You don’t necessarily have to be on the front lines to fight for the rights of animals, you simply have to be a conscious, caring individual. Call your local animal shelter and see if they take donations of food for the animals that live there. See about adopting a pet from the shelter for you and your family to love and enjoy. Every little bit helps.