Yesterday was World Animal Day, a day for the whole world to unite and appreciate animals for one day...one day? How pitiful, in my eyes animals should be appreciated and celebrated every day of the year but the reality is very different. Every single day animals are used and abused all over the world, for food, entertainment, tourism, their skins, their organs are used for ingredients, cosmetics and household products are tested on animals - there is no end to what we use animals for these days.
A few years ago I called myself an animal lover but still thought it was perfectly fine to eat them, use products tested on animals and products with animal ingredients in. The truth is I hadn't even sparred a thought for what I was actually doing, I just didn't think about it - I just took it all for granted. I suppose I trusted the companies that I was buying from too (stupid mistake), I expected there would be a certain standard of welfare with the 'free range' eggs, the British assured beef, the cosmetic and make-up companies - everything. How wrong I was, the truth is there is nothing humane about using animals for food, they cannot be killed in a humane way. From a fish to a cow, they all suffer horrendously in their life and in their death.
I remember when I first heard about animal testing for cosmetic and household products - I couldn't believe it. I thought there was NO WAY this kind of archaic and ridiculous practice still went on, but it does. I started to research and it didn't take me long to find out that some of the biggest and most popular companies still allow animal testing to take place for their products, I was shocked and disgusted. Even though I loved animals I clearly didn't have a big enough appreciation for them, how could I and still eat them or use anything that has been tested on one? Looking back on how I was I feel ashamed at myself, never questioning anything, never thinking of the life that had been taken for my lunch or the animal that had been in searing pain for my make-up or household spray.
Once I started to dig into all the things animals are used for in this world I was appalled by the human race. I found 'Blackfish', a documentary that changed my life, this opened my eyes to animals in the entertainment industry. It's a sad, lonely and dismal life for animals in captivity and I say that as a person who used to love the zoo as a child. I remember frequently going to visit London zoo with my mum and it was one of my favourite trips, I loved seeing the animals close up and I'm sure it's where my affinity for them started. But as I got older I lost the childish excitement, instead I started to be filled with overwhelming sadness and heartache knowing what was the reality for these animals. When I was a child I saw amazing, fluffy, colourful creatures, as an adult I saw miserable beings that would never know what their life should be like. All they would know is a life of spectators banging on the glass, flash photography, humans deciding when it's their meal times, having no rights and only knowing the four walls they would forever be encased in.
Animal issues effect me so much, animals are completely innocent and have no voice or say in anything. Any abuse I see or hear towards them brings a tear to my eye every time. I decided a few years ago I didn't want to contribute to their suffering with my diet, I went vegetarian and then pretty soon after that, vegan. It felt the right thing to do and I will never look back. The same goes for all my household products and cosmetics, I would have been a complete hypocrite saying I'm an animal lover and carrying on the way I was. Knowing what I knew now and seeing what I'd seen, there was no other path to take.
This world is spiralling out of control, the life is being sucked out of the planet and species are going extinct faster now than any other point in history. There has never been a more urgent time to start appreciating and thinking about the world around us and this includes animals. Think about what you're doing before you do it, the burger you're about to order, the milk you're just about to pour into the glass, the donkey or elephant ride you're considering on your holiday or the marine park ticket you're about to buy. Animals are intelligent sentient beings that do not deserve a life of misery, it is not essential that you have that leather jacket, those wool lined boots, that beef burger or dairy milkshake. These things aren't essential in life and there are SO MANY alternatives to EVERYTHING there is no need for an animal to suffer or die.
Please try and respect and appreciate all animals every day, not just one day a year