If you’re a dedicated animal advocate, it can be tough to understand how others can look away or fail to take action on behalf of our fellow creatures. Frankly, it’s disappointing to recognize that even the kindest, most compassionate of people are often complicit in the abuse and exploitation of animals. And sometimes, these are the most important people in our lives – our spouses, our parents, our best friends.

But pointing fingers isn’t the answer. Above all, education is key to changing minds and hearts. Being non-judgmental helps too, because no one likes to be attacked.

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So, if you have people in your life that are in need of some behavior modification when it comes to protecting our furry (and feathered! and scaled!) friends, here are some effective talking points to help change their minds about meat eating, animal testing and animal products in general.

On Factory Farming and Meat Eating

Talking Points:

  • Animal agriculture is destroying the environment. It’s the number one cause of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Grass-fed beef isn’t necessarily more environmentally friendly or animal-friendly. Grass-fed beef still contributes to climate change, loss of natural resources, and even wild horse roundups (which are cruel and often end in death or trauma for the horses involved).
  • Animals are often horribly abused in factory farms. Undercover investigations have demonstrated this time and time again.
  • We wouldn’t eat a dog or cat. Why should we eat pigs, cows or chickens, who are equally sentient?
  • Animals in factory farms are often pumped with hormones and antibiotics. So much so, that antibiotic resistance is becoming a serious issue.
  • A meat-heavy diet can be as bad for you as smoking.
  • Research suggests a plant-based diet can help reverse heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes and many other chronic illnesses, as well as provide protection from aging.

Alternatives/Suggestions:

  • Experts suggest that cutting down on consumption of animal products (meat, dairy, and eggs) is the best way to reduce your carbon footprint. It’s easier than ever to eat plant-based, and there are countless meat substitutes on the market.
  • Start by making small changes. Adopt Meatless Monday and slowly cut back.
  • Learn more about what’s really going on in the world of animal agriculture. The documentaries Food Inc. and Cowspiracy are good places to start.

Leather/Animal Products

Talking Points:

  • Animals are exploited in horrible ways for the sake of fashion. Cows are sometimes skinned alive, mink and chinchillas are electrocuted for their fur, and roosters are slaughtered for their feathers.
  • Animal

Alternatives/Suggestions:

  • Go faux. There are plenty of faux fur, faux leather and other products that are almost indistinguishable from the real thing.
  • Support companies that are cruelty-free and vegan. There are more and more popping up all the time, from Olsen Haus shoes to Not Your Daughters Jeans.

Animal Testing

Talking Points:

  • Surprising (and unnecessary) products are often tested on animals, including contact lenses and Splenda.
  • Hazardous chemicals are dropped into the eyes, placed on the skin or injected into bunnies and rats for the sake of Botox and mascara. Undercover investigations have found appalling abuses.
  • Animal physiology is an imperfect substitute. It doesn’t make sense to test on animals.
  • There are many alternative methods of testing available, from stem-cell technology to 3D printing.

Alternatives/Suggestions:

Do you have any more suggestions Green Monsters? Tell us in the comments!

Image source: Barb Henry/Flickr

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