'Kindness is a gift everybody can afford to give' - here are five simple ways to encourage more of it
At its root, veganism is a lifestyle of compassion that recognizes the sentient qualities of animals. And whilst the Conservative party voted in 2017 that animals don't have emotions, and can't feel pain - it is impossible to deny science.
Sheep can recognize up to 50 other sheep's faces and remember them for two years, cows show excitement when they discover how to open a gate leading to a food reward, and mother hens teach their chicks which foods are good to eat. In short, animals feel pain, they have emotions, and they have as much of a right to live without suffering as we do.
Going vegan not only respects the consensus on animal sentience, but it also saves them from abuse and death. Each year, a vegan saves the lives of 365 animals.
Animal sanctuaries, or charities like Blue Cross, are always in need of help. Whether it's helping to build a run for rescued chickens or taking dogs without an owner for a walk. These small acts of kindness go a long way and help improve the quality of life for those animals given a second chance.
Blue Cross state: "Every year thousands of volunteers generously give their time to help us to help pets across the country. Whether they are working directly with pets in our rehoming centres, hospitals or fostering schemes, helping us to raise money in our charity shops or through fundraising, or sharing our messages of responsible pet ownership within their communities – they all make a huge difference to our work and their time is very valuable to us."
Donating requires a privilege some people just don't have, but money isn't the only thing you can offer. Dog shelters will always welcome food donations, old toys, and even bedding.
So instead of throwing these things away - consider dropping them off at your local animal charity.
4. Adopting an animal
It's a big decision, one that comes with a lot of responsibility. But if you're wanting to bring an animal home - don't buy from a breeder.
The saying 'adopt don't shop' is more relevant now than ever; it's reported that 1.5 million per year, or more than 4,100 pets a day, are killed in America’s shelters.
Buying from a breeder not only increases those statistics but adds to the number of dogs that have been bred to look a certain way ending up with health problems.
5. Wear your message
Some forms of activism can seem a little daunting, so if you're not ready to stand outside parliament waving a sign and demanding change, something as little as what you wear can make a big difference.
Apparel with vegan messages has filtered into the mainstream, providing people with an easy way to introduce others to the lifestyle. It can spark debate, raise questions, and allows you to educate people in a less confrontational style.