The 2011 holiday shopping season is a time for consumers to make ethical purchasing decisions that can have a greater impact for animals, and the environment.
According to Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA, “People get caught up in the gift giving and generosity of the season, and it is the optimal time of year to remind them to keep an eye on the big picture and the major impact holiday shopping can have on wildlife. Purchases can either save animals or kill them – – literally. And the holidays are an opportunity for people to think about how their buying habits can have a positive global impact. Every purchase can really make a substantial difference.”
Born Free USA offers these simple tips for compassionate holiday shopping that makes a world of difference:
Live animals are not gifts. There are many “novelty” gift items that involve live animals being sold as educational and green products. Such items include various “grow your own frog” kits. Frogs floating aimlessly in a tiny tank with some gravel and a stalk of bamboo, is cruelty.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, African dwarf frogs, often part of these kits, have been implicated as the source of dangerous transmissions of salmonella infections to children in the past.
There is no such thing as “ethical” fur. Some people are saying that fur is “green” because it is “natural.” There is nothing natural about wearing fur. More than 50 million animals are violently killed for fashion every year.
For one single mink coat, 60 to 80 animals are killed; 20 animals for a fox coat; and 12 to 15 of a lynx coat. The fur industry is a threat to our environment, contributing to higher energy costs, pollution, land destruction, and reductions in populations of wild animals, including endangered and threatened species who may be accidentally trapped and killed.
A little fur trim is not fashionable. It is a myth that fur, or fur trim, is a byproduct of the meat industry. The fur trim market is an equal, if not greater, threat to animals than is the making of fur coats. Fur trim is not what is “left over” from making full-length fur coats.
Thousands of animals are killed simply to provide trim for fashion, home décor, toys and other merchandise. Even purchasing the tiniest bit of trim supports cruelty. From cuffs, collars and the lining of gloves, to accessories for dolls, beware of fur trim.
Avoid ivory. It is never okay to wear ivory. Widespread poaching continues to threaten elephants in the wild. Thousands of African and Asian elephants are slaughtered annually, to fuel the ivory trade. Only elephants should wear ivory.
Check out eco-fibers: When buying clothing look for organic cotton or other eco-fabrics. Cotton is one of the world’s most chemically-dependent crops, and the pesticides used on cotton are classified as among the most toxic, by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Bamboo, soy, and hemp fibers are good choices, because their production requires less herbicides and pesticides than non-organic cotton, and they bio-degrade faster than petroleum-based fibers.
Steer clear of feathers. Feathers on clothing and fashion accessories, from headbands to earrings, are very popular this year, and consumers should ask themselves where the feathers came from — how were they collected, how were the birds who produced them treated, and whether the feathers come from a threatened or endangered species. Only birds should wear feathers.
Shop for a cause. Many companies offer products from which a percentage of sales are donated to a charitable organization. There are also compassionate gift ideas that directly support animals, like Born Free USA’s “Adopt-a-Primate” program. For $52 ($1 a week), the gift helps provide food, care, and rehabilitation to residents at the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary in Dilley, Texas.
Pets can be fashionable too. When buying gifts and accessories for animal companions, be sure to only purchase items from compassionate pet supply stores — stores where they do not sell live animals of any kind. Born Free USA’s Pet Supply Locator database makes it easy.
This article reprinted with permission from Born Free USA