5 ways to show you LOVE animals this Valentine’s Day
(a.k.a how to have a cruelty-free Valentine’s)
On February 14th, it’s of course Valentine’s Day and we wanted to give a little guidance to those who want to celebrate but also care whether the gifts they are buying cause animals to suffer unnecessarily. In order not to forget the love for animals on this special day, FOUR PAWS has put together a list of 5 tips that should help you navigate the holiday and show that you really do care. So, go ahead, proclaim your love (for animals) on Sunday, February 14th with these handy tips:
1. Avoid chocolate with palm oil
Chocolate is a classic for Valentine’s Day. But be careful! Lots of products unfortunately contain palm oil. The production of palm oil needs vast space for plantations. This has led directly to deforestation of the rain forest causing a huge ecological crisis. The rainforests in Asia are home to orangutans, many of whom have lost their habitat or are orphaned or injured in the clearcutting process. FOUR PAWS runs an academy at the Samboja Lestari rescue station in Indonesian Borneo alongside the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF), where we offer rehabilitation to traumatised orangutan orphans. Our orphan school teaches the young apes how to survive in the wild so they are prepared for a free life in protected forests. Find out more here: http://www.four-paws.org.uk/projects/apes
The solution: Look for chocolate that does not contain Palm Oil or that is made from a company that follows sustainable farming practices! Then, you can share this sweet treat with minimal guilt.
2. Do not give a pet as a present!
Unfortunately, it has become more popular to give pets to a loved one as a present for Valentine’s Day. Puppies, kittens, rabbits and chicks are stuffed in boxes with red bows. In the beginning, the new owners are usually very happy, but eventually, some pets turn out to be a burden. Looking after a pet is a big responsibility and every year thousands of animals end up in shelters or even on the streets. Some shelters see a drastic hike in surrenders just days and weeks after holidays like Christmas, Easter and Valentine’s Day.
Therefore, our recommendation is to instead surprise your sweetheart with an animal sponsorship. For example, you can sponsor a bear or lion at one of FOUR PAWS sanctuaries. This way, you’ll make Valentine’s Day not only special for the person receiving the gift but also for the animals. http://www.four-paws.org.uk/sponsor-an-animal/
3. Avoid cosmetics that are tested on animals
Gifts such as perfume, along with beauty and skin care products are often given to loved ones around Valentine’s Day. These make great gifts but do your homework! A number of companies have been testing their products on animals for years. FOUR PAWS recommends that you stick to labels that guarantee a cruelty-free production.
For example, look out for the Leaping Bunny logo on products. Shampoos, conditioners and other beauty products and cosmetics will often say on the label, “Never Tested On Animals”. This is a small change in your life but a great big one in the life of a lab animal!
4. Don’t buy Fur... Even the trim on coats!
Even though we don’t see the classical fur coat that much anymore, there’s still a lot of fur showing up as trimmings or pompoms on outerwear. And animals still suffer and die under the cruellest conditions for these accessories!
For years, FOUR PAWS has been campaigning worldwide for a ban on keeping fur-bearing animals. FOUR PAWS is a representative of the Fur Free Retailer Programme, a consumer guide to brands that have committed to not using real fur. When buying fashion, FOUR PAWS recommends the retailers from this programme: http://www.furfreeretailer.com/
Also, by simply by checking the tag on your next apparel purchase, or asking the company directly, you can make sure you are avoiding real fur (faux is a great alternative) and not supporting this cruel industry.
5. Skip the meat!
Yes, yes, you hear this all the time. But, it is true. Just by skipping the meat of one meal, you can significantly alter the planet through the reduction of water and power usage, greenhouse gas emissions, and considerable animal suffering. If only for one meal, show your love for all animals by avoiding eating them. Because to us, nothing says “I Love You” more than a plate where nothing lost its life!