Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter
From 28 March 2001 Issue:
Pawprints, Footprints and Animal Chatter
by Judith Marie Gansen
Top Ten Simple Things Any Caring Animal Person Can Do:
1. Purchase pro-animal books (true stories of animals helping us, books that teach empathy, written by pro-animal authors, etc.) at book outlets (Edward R. Hamilton Bookseller-Falls Village, CT, 06031-5000 is great), book sales (I always check clearance racks!), etc. and donate to your library, school library or humane society. The people who stock the libraries sometimes may not be animal lovers or may not have the funds. I was shocked to see how little was in our own library. I just found a wonderful classic, Black Beauty, on clearance at a book store for $5 and it is on it's way to the library. Can't have too many copies of that one! Also religious books relating to animals and their worth are springing up--it's also good to explain to the library why it's good to keep these books in circulation (not in their book sale)--because teaching compassion helps to stop violence in our society. I actually had books I was donating handed back to me (I live in a very conservative community) and was told they didn't "need them," even for their book sale. I was livid! I wrote and complained to the head of the library and those books are now in circulation. A library in a free society should be a place where all ideas are discussed.
2. Donate Pro-Animal Videos--Disney has some great pro-animal videos: The Fox and the Hound, 101 Dalmations (all versions), Lady and the Tramp; another excellent series is the Secret of Nimh and the Secret of Nimh2. I have even found some of these at garage sales for a few dollars. Kids love to watch videos over and over--what a great way to teach them compassion!
3. Be on the Lookout -- for animal related items when you go shopping. Humane societies and rescue groups are usually always looking for dishes, leashes, kennel cabs, etc. I found a great kennel cab at a garage sale for $5, scrubbed it with some bleach and detergent just to be safe and our humane society was so happy to get it. Check out dollar stores and outlets and you can find nice nylon leashes for $1 each!
4. Like to do crafts? - Our own humane society didn't do craft sales so I have tracked down a humane society or rescue group one hour away and donated an entire small carload. I tell people to give me their old craft items, partially finished items, etc. Do you have a bunch of small items that you don't need anymore that are new--you have a gift basket to make! Pick a theme--baby, student at college, shut in, holiday, etc. If you itemize on your taxes it often helps there too! You can sell crafts at places like Ebay too to donate to any animal group.
5. Have an Animal Charity Garage Sale--spring is here and now is the time to clear out clutter (remember the more stuff we have, the more we have to clean!)--donate the money to your favorite animal charity.
6. Make a Phone Call--we are all so busy these days and sometimes don't have time to write. People don't reallize how little one long distance phone call on behalf of animals costs. If I don't have time to write, then pick an issue off any reliable animal helping website and make one little phone call. A few minutes of your time and under a $1--how can you go wrong? A long distance company called Working Assets even allows some free calls you can make plus 1% of their profits go to many good causes including helping animals.
7. Write a Letter to the Editor--take a few minutes (this can often be done through email now) and raise awareness about an issue. Remind people they can have fun without exploiting animals, about the link between violence against animals that often leads to violence against people, etc. If you are married and prefer to not have your name in print, it is fine to use your maiden name. I think as we educate ourselves we forget that the general public often doesn't know about these issues.
8. High Tech to the Rescue! Animal organizations often need things like cameras and video cameras to photograph cruelty and do undercover work. They can often use printers, computers, faxes or other office items. Check their wish lists or call them. Before anything leaves our house I say to myself--"Can an animal organization use this?" Even old comforters and blankets find a home!
9. Scan Your Newspaper - some animal organizations need to know about animal issues in your community. The Animals' Legal Defense Fund has a cruelty action hotline and wants to know about any person charged with animal cruelty. They can help the prosecutor's office with case law background, etc. Or maybe someone came up with a unique idea on solving an animal problem. Many animal organizations keep these ideas on file to pass on to others who need them. I keep these articles myself to pass on to anyone who can use them.
10. Use Your Own Mind! You don't really have to belong to any organization to do something. I read in our paper some time ago that they were going to open a petting zoo for farm and exotic animals at a park that was owned by the county. I copied articles about exotic animals attacking kids and people (including where lawsuits happened) and the fear of liability scared the county away from using the exotics. I didn't stop the petting zoo but I believe my letter stopped the use of the "wild" animals as well as maybe stopped some violence against children by animals that don't belong in captivity and can therefore attack. Total time I spent: about 20 minutes.
I do very little in comparison to what many others do--but imagine if each person did just one thing off this list! Don't ever think that one person can't change the world--because we can!!
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