Newsletter - Animal Writes sm
3 December 2000 Issue

By Michele A. Rivera

1. Animal Rights and Vegetarian magazine subscriptions are a great gift to give this holiday season. Just take the December issue(s) of whatever magazine you want to give, and wrap it up in a beautiful package. Write a gift card that says that the magazine has been subscribed to and you are done! What a superb way of educating family and friends on how to live a cruelty free lifestyle.

* There are several Vegetarian magazines out such as "Vegetarian Times." You can find these magazines in large bookstores and just about any healthfood store.

* A great Animal Rights magazine is Kim Stallwood's "The Animals Agenda". For more information, write: PO Box 3083, Langhorne, PA 19047-9294. The subscription runs $24/year for 6 issues or $48/year for 12 issues.

* Or make a donation to any of the animal-friendly organizations, such as PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), the HSUS (Humane Society of the United States), AHA (American Humane Association), or any other organization that has publications for its members. The HSUS puts out a quarterly magazine, "Animal Sheltering", for those who may be interested in working to make our nation's animal shelters better, and AHA has the "CHAIN" letter, for those tracking cruelty cases and their outcomes. "CATNIP" is another great new newsletter about feline behavior, distributed by Tuft's University Veterinary School (800-829.0926).

* If the object of your gift-giving is a lawyer or paralegal, consider a membership in the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Membership entitles members to periodic publications of interest to lawyers. (

* If your recipient is in the medical field, consider a gift membership with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Their quarterly publication, "Good Medicine," is of interest to anyone in the medical or nutritional community. ( Medical/nutritional types will also enjoy Foods That Fight Pain, by Dr. Neal Bernard.

* A gift for that special teacher in your childs' life is a subscription to KindNews, the humane newspaper for schoolchildren. The HSUS has a whole educational branch called NAHEE ( Send in a small donation and your teacher-friend will become a member for a year. This is a great resource for teachers who are looking to help raise a more compassionate society. For more information, contact KindNews at 690 434-9666, or write to them at Kind News, P.O. Box 362, East Haddam, CT 06432. E-mail is [email protected], website is

As a Humane Educator in my own area (I am avoiding telling you that I live in Palm Beach County), I have found KindNews to be a wonderful resource for me as well, and there are different materials for differing ages, meeting all age requirements and relating to different ages of children.

2. I don't know about all of you, but I first became involved in animal rights due to some literature that was mailed to my house. If it wasn't for the text that I read, I may not be such the animal advocate that I am today. I still find it very important to continue to educate myself on animal rights and the travesties that occur daily in this world. Whether the person on your list is already an activist or is almost there, but just needs a little push, consider buying them some of the following books:

* Diet for a New America, by John Robbins (the book that changed my life forever) is a great gift. This book covers all the benefits of the vegetarian diet including health, religion, and ethical reasons. John has another book out now called, Reclaiming Our Health - Exploding the Medical Myth and Embracing the Source of True Healing.

* Vegetarian Cook Books, such as Moosewoods selections or Linda McCartney's vegetarian cookbooks are always a delight, and so much fun to cook from with all the little illustrations!

* The National Anti-Vivisection Society announces the release of its 8th edition of Personal Care for People Who Care. A well-researched, 200-page reference manual for shoppers, this work is considered one of the most comprehensive guides available for choosing cruelty-free cosmetics, household products, and personal care items. Costing only $4.95, the paperback is well worth the investment for the armchair animal advocate. It's also an easy way for anyone to start their own cruelty-free lifestyle revolution.

* Jane Goodall's newest offering, Reason for Hope, is a great read and speaks to the heart. Jane tells the story of how she became involved in the animal advocacy world and why. I found she was speaking from experiences that I shared as a young child.

* For the children on your list, any of the children's books by the late James Herriott would be a terrific way to introduce children to animals and may bring about a love for animals that will last them a lifetime. My favorite children's book from James Herriott is Only One Woof. Other children's books can be found by visiting PETA's website.

* Another great book for children is Dear Socks, Dear Buddy, by First Lady Hillary Clinton. This is a heartwarming book of letters written by children all over the country to the "first pets." Mrs. Clinton is an advocate of early sterilization and says so in her book.

* Dog owners would do well to have in their library the Complete Guide To Dog Care, by Marion S. Lane and the Humane Society of the United States. This book explains a great deal about canine behavior and medical treatments. Or, for a fun gift, try any of the Dummies or Idiot's guides to raising dogs and/or cats!

* Got some friends that aren't quite "there" yet when it comes to animals? Marilu Henner has a great new book out, Total Makeover. SSHHH! It's a vegan treatise disguised as a mainstream, self-help book.

* Robin Cook, author of such medical mysteries as COMA, has a book out called Toxin. It will make even the most ardent burger-lover think twice and Nicholas Sparks, "The Loop" will break even the coldest heart of steel. While none of these books are "animal rights" books, their messages are loud and clear.......leave the animals ALONE.

3. There are many animal lovers who cannot have a pet of their own due to medical reasons or work and personal schedules that are too hectic to devote the time and attention necessary to care for a pet. However, there are many no-kill shelters that conduct "sponsor a pet" programs. By giving the gift of a sponsored pet, you can help a friend or family member fulfill the desire to help save animals without directly housing one of their own.

Contact one of your local no-kill shelters to see if they have any sort of programs intact. Better yet, there is a very reliable, amazing organization, the "Pet Action League," which has a website where you can sponsor a pet via an online transaction. For only $20, you can help ensure that an unwanted cat or dog has enough food, maintenance, and medical attention to last for a year!

There's truly no greater gift for the animal lover than the gift of knowing that they helped to save a life. Visit the link below and help create a Christmas to remember...for you, the gift recipient, and the animal whose life you've helped save.

4. Perhaps the best source for cruelty-free, animal rights paraphernalia is the PETA catalog. In the latest Fall edition you will find many of the old favorites, plus some new, very interesting items.

In addition to books (animal rights materials, cook books, and children's books), you will find stickers, pins, coffee mugs, calendars, cards, magnets, tote bags, pet toys and foods, and many, many more products ~ all totally cruelty-free and they help sponsor one of the most productive animal rights organizations out there. To access the catalog online, visit

5. You may know someone who is simply dying to have a pet. However, Christmas is a very hectic time of year and does not provide for the right atmosphere to bring a new animal into a home.

Instead of giving animals as gifts this Christmas, why not put together a basket of animal supplies: pet food, toys, bedding, and other accessories. Get some pamphlets from your local animal shelters on such subjects as the pet overpopulation crisis, puppy mills, and any other information you can find to encourage the pet seeker to adopt a pet from a rescue organization, rather than a pet store or a breeder, and place these pamphlets in with the supplies. Perhaps you can even provide the receiver with an IOU that says, once the holidays are over and the individual is fully prepared to house a new roommate, you will personally accompany them to the shelter of their choice and pay for the adoption fees of the animal of their choosing. Whatever you do, please wait until the holidays are over before you invest in a pet.

6. There are numerous stores out there dedicated to animals and their rights. They offer every product under the sun. The difference between them and other companies is that we can buy their products with a clear conscious, knowing that no animals suffered for anything they market. These stores include Bath and Body Works, Victoria's Secret, and Origins. There's also a few online stores that aren't as well known. That's about to change. For any and every cruelty free product under the sun, (the gift doesn't even have to be for an activist) visit some of the following sites:
The Enviroshop:
You can also purchase "Origins" products online at:

7. Just about everyone knows at least one person who has a pet at home that is not yet spayed or neutered but is of an age where reproduction is highly possible. A perfect gift for this person on our lists is a spay or neuter gift certificate! You will not only be helping your friend or family member to do what is right, but you will be preventing more lives from entering this cold, uncaring world. Remember, millions of dogs and cats are being killed each year because there are just not enough homes for them.

8. Most everyone enjoys watching wildlife. Not only would a birdfeeder and/or birdbath be a great gift and source of entertainment for the receiver, but it would help ensure that those little critters outside have a daily source of food and clean long as your friend or family member remembers to feed them and keep the bath clean! :) To help ensure the feeders are kept full, you can also pick up a large sack of bird seed.

9. Cecie McCaffery is a fellow vegetarian/animal advocate who creates beautiful animal rights cards. "PINX" cards feature whimsical, die cut watercolor designs, which showcase animals and children interacting peacefully in numerous vignettes. An even closer look reveals them using recycling bins, wearing "fake furs", or decorating artificial Christmas trees. Most cards have a statement on the back which Cecie uses as a forum to express her thoughts, ranging from those of a spiritual and philosophic nature, to issues revolving around animals, the environment, dreams, and hopes for a noble future. For more information, contact:
Pinx A Card Company, Inc
P O Box 1168,
Studio City, CA 91604
Tel: 800-544-7469 or 805-498-7521
Fax: (800) 443-4441 or 805-498-8620

10. You know those little stands that pop up in the malls around this time of year; the ones that sell the personalized license plates? Why not get the animal rights advocate or the vegetarian on your list one of these plates with a pro-animal message on it? One of our staff members has such a plate with, "Eat Your Veggies, Not Your Friends" on theirs and a picture of a cow. You can have any message you want engraved on it. The plates are most often made of a very sturdy material that stands up well to adverse weather conditions. The average cost is $18. A proud gift for a proud advocate of animal rights. You can display the message everywhere you go.

11. For those people on your list with a real concern for the environment and all the creatures on this Earth, a donation in their name to an organization whose cause they support is a great gift idea. You can keep the receipt and include it in a Christmas card. Not only will you feel good knowing that you contributed to a good cause, but the receiver will feel wonderful as well, knowing there is no greater gift on Earth than that of helping another being to a better life.

12. You really can't go wrong with gift certificates. Get that special someone a gift certificate to their favorite veggie restaurant or to a store, like those mentioned earlier, that support animal rights and don't test their products on animals or use animal ingredients.

13. I don't know about all of you, but my animal rights mindset has landed me many requests for pet sitting. A wonderful gift idea that will cost you virtually nothing is to give your friends, family, and neighbors who have pets, gift certificates for free pet sitting or walking.

14. Maybe there is someone on your Christmas list who is interested in being involved in animal rights activism but does not know where to begin or does not have the supplies. Why not subscribe them up for an action alert newsletter, such as the "Legislative Action Alert" distributed by the ASPCA (contact [email protected] for more information) and buy them some stationary, pens, stamps, envelopes, and an address book. A little bit of money for a gift with a whole lot of heart.

15. There are numerous organizations that conduct "adopt a wild animal" programs. Your contribution could help save a certain wildlife species, like a whale, manatee, or wolf. There's no better gift for the animal rights advocate then the knowledge that they've helped save a life. For more information on organizations with such programs, please contact [email protected]

16. Perhaps you feel that none of the ideas we presented for you will appeal to that certain someone on your list. Well, we've found a solution for you! If you enjoy shopping online and avoiding the hustle and bustle of the malls, you can do so while supporting SPEAK (Supporting and Promoting Ethics for the Animal Kingdom). Speak is a national humane education speakers' bureau and activist organization. They teach about animal rights and environmental issues in universities, colleges, high schools and elementary schools.

Simply visit and click on the "Shop at SPEAK" button and then on the "Shop2Give" logo. Every purchase you make will generate a donation for this wonderful organization with NO additional cost to you. Shop2Give is composed of 80 participating stores, such as JC Penney, Office Max, ESPN, Borders, and the Disney Store. In addition, 100 additional stores, including Spiegel and Old Navy, offer gift certificates.

17. And one more thing ~ Cookies for your hound! Here's a great cruelty-free recipe for you to make up gift baskets for your own bow-wow and all his friends! Better yet, make a couple extra batches and take some down to share with the animals at the shelters.

Vegan Dog Biscuit Recipe

9 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. garlic powder

Mix dry ingredients. Add approximately 3 cups water. Knead into a pliable dough. Roll out to 1/8" thickness. Cut into desired shapes. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 350F. (Important: After turning off oven, leave biscuits in the oven overnight or for an 8-hour period so they become hard and crunchy.) (reprinted from PETA's Companion Animals Factsheet #14)


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