A baby koala clings to the back of their mother, as she walks across eucalyptus leaves on the bush floor

How to help animals in 2022 – let’s make it the kindest year so far.

Passionate about helping animals? Here are some simple and powerful ways you can create change for them in 2022 and beyond.

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated January 11, 2022

By learning, sharing, and making small changes today, we can each do our part to ensure a kinder tomorrow for all animals.

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Little brown dog laying beside a woman who is reading a book

1. Nurture your understanding of animals, both wild and farmed

Learning more is a great place to start – and there is a lot to learn about our furry, feathery, and scaly friends. The more we know about the issues faced by wild animals and animals who are used for food, clothing, testing, and entertainment, the better we can speak up and take action for them.

There are countless great books and documentaries you can dive right into. Available as books or audiobooks, Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer and Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows by Melanie Joy are must-reads (or must-listens) for anyone interested in living more compassionately.

If documentaries are more your thing, we’ve put together a list of our favourite insightful and powerful films here. You can also sign up to streaming service Films for Change (with an obligation-free trial!) – the platform’s diverse catalogue is constantly growing with thought-provoking documentaries to inspire change for animals (and humans and the planet, too).

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A cockatoo sits on the edge of a ceramic water dish, looking into the camera.

2. Leave water out during hot weather

Sweltering summer days can be extremely tough for animals who have no way of escaping the heat. By simply providing animals with safe access to water, you can spare them from suffering heat stress or even death.

Leave shallow dishes of water in the shade, and if possible, put some high up or in trees to help keep wildlife safe from predators. Ideally, bowls should be shallow, and not made from metal which can get very hot in the sun. Cat litter trays, which are often available in discount stores, can make for excellent water trays. If only larger bowls or buckets are available, placing some large twigs or rocks inside can allow smaller animals to make their way out safely.

If you are up to it, you can build a DIY water station for wildlife in your local area. Simple instructions are available with this step-by-step tutorial video here.

Covering your pool can also help our wildlife. It might sound counterintuitive, but drinking pool water can make animals very sick, and those looking to cool down are at risk of drowning. Ensuring they have access to safe and fresh drinking water in your yard is best. You can learn more about how to help our wildlife here.

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A spread of vibrant plant-based dishes. People surround the table, enjoying the feast.

3. Explore plant-based living to protect wildlife and farmed animals

Factory farming is the number one cause of animal cruelty today, impacting millions upon millions of sensitive, gentle animals each year. On top of this, clearing land to graze cattle is a key driver of habitat loss, destroying the homes of our precious koalas and other native animals. The fastest way we can reduce animal suffering is to leave animals off our plates, and reduce the demand for meat, eggs, and dairy that is driving these practices.

By exploring the delicious world of plant-based food you can take a powerful stance against factory farm and slaughterhouse cruelty, and help spare our wildlife. And each and every plant-based meal you opt for makes a difference. It’s not too late to join Veganuary – and for inspiration throughout the year, explore VegKit.com and order your FREE Veg Starter Kit, full of recipes, nutritional advice, tips on eating out and more.

Sharing delicious animal-friendly food is another positive way to help animals, by opening the minds of friends and family to eating differently. With some simple changes to the way we eat, we can create a world where compassion and kindness extend to all animals.

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A calf in a coat gently licks a person's hand.
Image credit: Edgar's Mission

4. Visit a farmed animal sanctuary near you

Visiting a sanctuary is a wonderful way to help farmed animals – and guaranteed to bring a big, beaming smile to your face. Supporting sanctuaries through tour tickets, merchandise, donations, or volunteering contributes to the rescue, rehabilitation and life-long care of the animals.

By bringing along friends and family, you can help others see the side of these animals that we don’t often get to see – personalities as varied and unique as those of the companion animals we share our homes with. Spending time with the animals we fight for, who are living life as all animals deserve, can serve as an inspiring reminder that the world is full of compassion and hope.

There are sanctuaries in most states across Australia – check out Where Pigs Fly (NSW), Edgar’s Mission (VIC), Brightside (TAS), Freedom Hill (SA) and Greener Pastures (WA).

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A lamb with a little smile is standing in a field of grass, looking at the camera.

5. Bank and invest your super ethically

Take the time to look into your bank’s policy and ensure your hard-earned dollars are supporting ethical and sustainable initiatives. If your bank is propping up industries that cause animal suffering, get in touch with customer support and encourage your bank to implement an animal welfare policy, or switch to a bank that already has one in place.

Banks use your money as a sort of ‘piggy bank’ to lend to other clients. While many banks have policies on investing in industries such as tobacco and coal, most don’t take animal welfare into account in any meaningful way when giving out financial support. This means banks can lend to cruel animal industries, like live export, using your money.

As switched-on consumers, we demand ethical products and transparency from the brands we support – and for animals and the planet, we should hold our banks to the very same standard.

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A woman is typing on a laptop, with a little black and tan dog on her lap who is looking at the screen attentively.

6. Petition, pledge and lobby – speak out for animals

Add your voice to active petitions, pledges, and letter campaigns – and share them with people in your network who also want to bring about positive change for animals.

There are very limited protections for animals within Australia, and legislative reform is desperately needed in a range of areas. If there is a cause that you are particularly interested in – protecting animals from live export, factory farming, wildlife slaughter – contact your MP and the relevant industry bodies.

Writing letters to the editor of your favourite media sources or calling radio stations are also helpful ways to raise awareness within the wider community. A genuine and polite piece in the paper or on-air can have an influential ripple effect, educating many who may not have heard about the issues animals face today.

Never underestimate your power as one passionate change-maker. By adding your individual voice, you are helping to strengthen our collective voice for animals, and the addition of your call could be the catalyst for change.

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Two joeys are wrapped in blankets in a fabric pouch.

7. Use your strengths and be kind to yourself

We all have strengths that we can use to help create a kinder world. Our community is diverse – and together we are powerful.

Some of us love interacting with others through public outreach — handing out leaflets or collecting petition signatures. Some of us prefer reaching out to decision-makers, or local businesses that can make changes to help animals. Some of us help animals by volunteering with, or supporting, our favourite animal protection organisations. And some of us love inspiring others by cooking up delicious, animal-friendly food to share.

At the end of the day, simply being the kind, compassionate and empathetic person that you are is a form of advocacy, inspiring others and helping to change the world for animals.

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A happy dog on the shoulder of a male person

8. Adopt or foster a companion

You might not be able to save all the dogs and cats in the world, but you can change the world for a lucky individual. Every year, hundreds of thousands of healthy animals are killed because they don’t have homes. Meanwhile, pet stores and local sellers continue to support the breeding of more, with many coming from horrific conditions (such as those on Australian puppy farms).

Besides finding your new best friend, there are numerous reasons to adopt – by choosing not to buy online or from a pet store, you can help end the killing of healthy companion animals or puppy factory cruelty.

If you are unable to share your home for the entirety of an animal’s life span, why not consider fostering instead? Foster care offers a shorter-term commitment with more flexibility – and at the same time, you are still helping to save a life.

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A rescue sheep leans lovingly on a young boy who is patting them., as they lay on a dry grassy paddock.
Image credit: Doug Gimsey

9. Join the evolution: pledge to create a kinder world for all animals

Become a part of a global community that is committed to being the change we wish to see. We’ll send your free guide to a kinder world your way, to keep you inspired through the year ahead.

We know that all animals, just like the dogs and cats in our lives, live, breathe, feel, and befriend – yet outdated laws and practices deny many of a life worth living and any human kindness. For the animals who are bred to be used for food, clothing, testing, and entertainment, it’s lockdown for life, trapped by generational thinking that sees them differently.

The positive news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Our choices can change their world. You already share our vision of a kinder world for all animals, so why not join the evolution today?

Join the evolution