Animal Writes
From 8 December 2002 Issue

Holiday Gift Ideas for Animal Rights Activists and the People They Love
by [email protected] & [email protected]
Updated by [email protected] 

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.

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, The Food Revolution 

* 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 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 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 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 -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.

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:

Catalogs of Cruelty-Free Products
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. 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.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. 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.

13. 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 give them a subscription 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.

14. 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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