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5 minute guide to compassionate living.

Many of the things we consider 'normal', we inherited from those around us and those before us, without even noticing. If ever five minutes of your time could empower you to make choices that align with your own values and help change the world, it's right now!

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated February 8, 2024

How would you feel if you were forced to wear clothes chosen by your mother … for your entire life? What if you also inherited your career? Taste in music, movies, books? Your political views? Not sounding likely?

Personal choice helps define us. It empowers us to live our values. So it may come as a surprise to realise that there are some simple choices with profound consequences that most of us inherited, without noticing, from our parents, communities and cultures. These are the same choices our parents unwittingly inherited from their parents — who inherited them from theirs …

Categorising some animals as ‘friends’ and others as ‘food’ or ‘entertainment’ was not something most of us consciously chose to do. These categories became an unquestioned norm; but every day, more people are starting to question this. The great news is that it’s never too late to make a difference. You’re about to discover how to take back your power, and make truly informed choices that are in line with your own values.

1. Choosing food that is kinder for all

With the use of animals categorised as ‘food’ going relatively unquestioned for far too long, animal industries have been able to use this to their advantage — so much so that industrialised animal abuse hidden away in factory farms and slaughterhouses has become the single greatest cause of animal cruelty today. No one asked our permission – we weren’t even told there was a choice to be made.

Thankfully, the humble act of grocery shopping is our most powerful opportunity to vote against animal cruelty.

  • Factory farms still exist because profit-driven industries are trying to meet and increase consumer demand for animal products. If you disagree with confining sensitive and inquisitive pigs in crates so small they can’t turn around, or performing painful surgical procedures on animals without pain relief, then the best way to help is to join the growing number of compassionate people who are exploring plant-based eating.
  • Opt for plant-based milk. Most people are surprised to learn that cows don’t automatically produce milk. Cows bred into the dairy industry are impregnated each year, and their newborn calves are taken so milk can be used for human consumption. Hundreds of thousands of unwanted Australian dairy calves are slaughtered each year as ‘waste products’ of the dairy industry. So it’s not surprising that oat milks, soy milks, rice milks and other delicious dairy alternatives are rapidly gaining popularity among caring consumers.
  • Think twice about eggs. Regardless of the egg system (cage, barn-laid, or free-range), layer hens are killed when their egg production wanes — years before their natural life expectancy. And because only female chicks will grow to produce eggs, millions of unwanted male chicks are gassed or ground up alive each year by an industry that deems them ‘worthless’. This is why many animal lovers are choosing to go egg-free!
  • Every single animal-free meal (and drink) makes a difference. Whether you choose to be meat-free for a week, a month, or a lifetime — you have the power to be a force for kindness and fairness in the world. Get your FREE Veg Starter Kit full of tips and simple recipes today!

2. Shopping for clothes, toiletries and home products

Animal-friendly clothes? Toiletries? Home products? When it comes to some of the other items we purchase, beyond food, the impacts on animals may be less obvious.

  • Cruelty-free clothing is always in fashion! The animals who are farmed to produce materials for human clothing are forced to endure practices that would be deemed unacceptable if performed on a dog or a cat. Sheep and cattle in Australia, used for wool and leather, are routinely subjected to painful procedures without pain relief, and most birds used for ‘down’ endure factory farm conditions overseas and even live-plucking. Opting for kinder, animal-free materials like cotton, linen, hemp, or plant-bathes ‘leathers’ means less suffering for animals.
  • Pledge to be fur-free. Despite its horrific cruelty, the fur industry continues to exist, relying on people remaining unaware of how animals – including cats, dogs, rabbits, minks and foxes – are reared and killed, and on people unknowingly buying real fur instead of faux.
  • Choose cruelty-free toiletries, makeup, and cleaning products. Millions of animals suffer immensely in needless product testing and experiments. Next time a product in your house needs replacing, find a replacement that is tested on animals.

3. Helping to protect wildlife

It’s no secret that, both globally and right here in Australia, wildlife is struggling – with land being destroyed for farming and urban development and disasters like fires and floods devastating their habitats, native animals need all the help they can get.

  • Save the contact details of your local wildlife rescue groups or those in the areas you are travelling to, and keep these handy in case you encounter injured wildlife. If you find a dead or injured kangaroo, wombat, possum or wallaby by the roadside, remember to check if there is a joey in their pouch.
  • Help better share the land that is home to us all by pledging to make your yard wildlife-friendly
  • Help spread awareness about the biggest slaughter of land-based native wildlife in the world – each night in Australia, kangaroo families flee in terror as they’re shot by a commercial industry for their meat and skin. Share this information and pledge with friends and family to help spare these sensitive native animals.
  • If you’re looking for a hands-on way to help native animals, becoming a wildlife carer could be the answer – there are always animals who desperately need a second chance with someone who can give them the time and care they need to recover.

4. Opting for compassionate travel and entertainment

If you love entertainment and travel as much as you love animals, it’s easy to enjoy your city, or the globe, in ways that are kind to all.

  • Pick family-friendly activities that inspire a love for nature and animals, without animals being ‘used’ for profit. Avoid supporting events such as rodeos, animal circuseshorse races and greyhound races — as these industries force animals into lives of deprivation and suffering. Instead, visit animal sanctuaries, enjoy national parks or the coast, or take a trip to the museum!
  • When exploring other countries, ensure your hard-earned holiday money isn’t unwittingly supporting cruelty, hidden or otherwise. These simple tips will help you see the world the kind way!

5. Considering companion animals

Every year in Australia hundreds of thousands of healthy cats, dogs and other companion animals are killed – simply because there aren’t enough homes for them.

  • Help end puppy farm cruelty by pledging to adopt, not buy, your next best friend. You can save a life by rescuing an animal from your local animal shelter rather than buying one from a pet store or online. Investigations have revealed just how awful – and sneaky – puppy ‘factory farms’ can be.
  • Always ensure your companion animal is desexed. This important procedure can help spare many lives by reducing the number of dogs and cats born, as there are already hundreds of thousands considered ‘unwanted’ who desperately need homes.
  • If you’d love to welcome a four-legged friend into your family, but are unable to make a lifetime commitment, foster caring for a rescue group could be a win-win solution.

6. Helping animals at your school or uni

Animals need more heroes – and it’s never too early to start being a voice for them!

  • When you are able, choose project topics that allow you to write about animal issues that are important to you. This is a powerful way to raise awareness and spread compassion among your network of teachers and peers. Check out our campaigns for ideas.
  • Ask your canteen or cafeteria to provide a variety of healthy animal-friendly options, and encourage them to adopt a policy against purchasing any products that come from animals who are factory-farmed.
  • Object to participating in animal dissection and request an effective alternative instead. Animals used for dissection suffer greatly, and it is your right not to support this cruel and outdated practice.

Keen to do even more?

  • Join the Evolution today – we’ll send you your free guide to a kinder world via post or email.
  • Share this page with friends and family to help empower others to make decisions in line with their own values, too!

This image contains content which some may find confronting

A calf in a coat gently licks a person's hand.
Thank you for helping to pave the way to a kinder future for everyone!
Image credit: Edgar's Mission