- Report Abuse When You See It
- Adopt an Animal in Need
- Foster an Animal in Your Home
- Volunteer for Animals Locally
- Spay or Neuter Your Pet
- Be a Good Animal Companion
- Speak Out
- Be a Compassionate Consumer
- ...And Consume with Compassion
Ten Easy Ways To Help:
Abused and neglected animals need YOU to stand up for them! And Bloomington advocates for animal well-being have the law on our side. In December, 2005, for example, the city passed an ordinance prohibiting prolonged tethering of an animal. So if you're sick of seeing your neighbor's dog living unhappily ever after at the end of a chain, speak up! Here is the Animal Care chapter of Bloomington's municipal code.
Each year, an unspeakable number of perfectly healthy, happy animals are euthanized because shelters and rescue groups can't accommodate the overwhelming surplus of homeless and unwanted pets. If you have the time, room, and resources to care for an animal companion, make your local shelter your first stop. When choosing a furry, feathered, or scaly pal, take time and do your homework to make sure you've found your perfect match - and consider adopting an adult animal. Puppies and kittens are undeniably adorable, but a unique and rewarding bond develops when you adopt an adult dog or cat who's been abandoned in the past. Far from being "damaged goods," adult animals are happy, resilient, and so appreciative of a loving home! (Bonus - they've often had some training!) Is your heart set on a specific breed or species? Shelters and rescue groups take in all kinds of animals, from dogs and cats (including purebreds!) to birds, reptiles, and rodents, so you're sure to find the companion of your dreams. Petfinder makes it easy by allowing you to search over 200,000 animal profiles posted by shelters and rescue groups.
If you know you're ready to make a short term commitment to an animal but are uncertain about what your long-term future holds, why not open your home and heart to a foster animal? Of course, fostering is a serious responsibility requiring the same daily level of care as that of a permanent guardian (and more if you take in a sick animal or litter). However, it is a wonderful opportunity for those who can't make a lifelong committment to make a significant impact in the life of an animal in transition. Get in touch with us if you're interested in finding an opportunity to foster a local animal.
Have a few free hours? Your local shelter, rescue group, or wildlife organization would be thrilled to have some extra assistance. There are countless ways to help out, so get in touch with one of these organizations whenever you have some free time! We have listed some organizations with whom you can volunteer in the Bloomington area.
We cannot overstate the impact this simple procedure can have on the well being of animals - as well as our economy! Shelters are forced to euthanize approximately 5 million dogs and cats annually - AND it costs taxpayers nearly $2 billion dollars a year to capture, kill, and dispose of unwanted animals. Prevention is our best option. Plus, you'll reap the benefits of a more well-adjusted animal who isn't being driven to distraction by hormones! Sterilization helps curb marking, aggression, and other unwanted behaviors that can frustrate both you and your pet. For more information about affordable ways to spay/neuter your pet in Bloomington, please visit our partners at Pets Alive.
Being a good companion to your pets means more than just providing food, shelter, and veterinary care. When making the decision to welcome an animal into your home, make sure you're prepared to meet the emotional and physical needs of that particular animal. Socializing and exercising your dog at the local dog park, making time to play with your cat every day, and ensuring that your lifestyle and finances can support a lifelong bond with your pet are essential components of being a good companion.
Passion and positivity are irresistible. The best way to encourage others to join our cause is by sharing our vision and excitement about upcoming projects. In class, at family gatherings, in political settings, at parties - ANY time is a good time to stand up and be bold in expressing our appreciation for animals. RAW is a fun, innovative organization brimming with optimism and enthusiasm. So let's get the word out! Moreover, conviction, outspokenness, and energy are admirable, effective, and contagious. Together, we can make activism viable and sexy again by giving it a new-attitude makeover.
Dispel the Myths
The myths about animal advocacy are very dangerous. The best resource we have to combat them is the power of all people concerned about animal well-being. The problem is that many people are turned off to our cause by the existing myths and stereotypes surrounding animal activism. Getting a person to see past these myths is quite possibly the most effective thing you can do as an activist. If you can empower just one person to help in the same ways you do, you've accomplished twice as much as you ever would on your own.
Buy animal-friendly clothing, cosmetics, and household products whenever possible. There are countless alternatives to wool, angora, fur, and other materials derived (often cruelly) from animals. For personal and household products manufactured without animal testing and/or ingredients, see PETA's Caring Consumer website and drugstore.com's Natural Store. Bonus: many animal-friendly products are also organic, non-toxic, and biodegradable - better for animals, consumers, and the environment!
Industrialized farming impacts humans, animals, and the environment in complex and countless ways, making it difficult to avoid having a negative impact when purchasing food - even fruits and vegetables. While this situation seems daunting, seemingly minor choices can make a major difference. We respect vegans and vegetarians - many RAW members have chosen to help animals in this way - but we think it's crucial for people to know that making a difference doesn't have to mean changing your lifestyle completely or all at once. The increasing popularity of organic and free-range meat and dairy products has provided an ethical (and healthy) alternative for many people who care about animal well-being. Incorporating these and/or some animal-product substitutes into your diet makes a difference in the lives of animals, so don't fall victim to the myth that an animal-friendly diet has to be all-or-nothing! Buying local products from trusted sources (and encouraging restaurant owners to do the same) is another way to prevent exploitative practices and support your local economy.
- We Don't Care about People
- Real Activists Eat Tofu
- We're Out of Touch
- Activism is a Drag
- We're Terrorists
- We'd Rather Save Animals than Cure Human Diseases
- We're Uptight
- We Can't Make a Difference
This myth is among the most misleading because it ignores the complex connections we share with nonhuman animals. First and foremost, we ARE animals - and proud of it! So much of what is fabulous about humans - our emotions, sensations, intuitions - has been dismissed throughout history as "animalistic," and we think it's time to celebrate these similarities. The interests of humans and animals frequently overlap, so we seek to improve the lives of both through initiatives like our alliance with Middle Way House.
Plenty of meat eaters care deeply about animal well-being! While we respect (and many of us are) vegans and vegetarians, we reject the assumption that meat eaters are ignorant and uncaring. Instead, we believe in an open-minded approach to activism - one that draws upon a variety of perspectives and recognizes that there are many different ways to act on behalf of animals. Projects like our campaign to convince IU dining services to switch to cage-free eggs are based on our belief that vegans AND meat-eaters can find a common ground that empowers us to improve animals' lives.
Clueless. Impractical. Checked out. Totally oblivious. These are just some of the adjectives used to describe animal advocates. But in fact, we are very tuned in to the complexities of balancing the needs of agriculturalists, consumers, scientists, farmers, and researchers with compassion for animals. We are motivated, educated, and empathetic citizens seeking to create viable, innovative solutions to the challenges we all face in managing our resources and treating animals with respect and dignity.
Activism doesn't have to mean griping about injustice; instead, activism can focus on celebrating and enacting positive changes. Our philosophy is that activism can - and should - be fun!
It's silly to think that the diverse range of people who advocate compassion toward other beings would ever be lumped together and labeled as terrorists, but it happens. Sadly, any political cause can attract self-righteous extremists, but animal and environmental activists are often singled out as harborers of such elements. This couldn't be further from the truth. Despite the many deaths and injuries caused by abortion clinic bombers, it would still seem insane to label all pro-life activists as terrorists. Yet due to stereotypes perpetuated by the media and special-interest groups, many find it easier to attach this label to animal activists, insane though it may be. Even the government sees us as an impending domestic threat. Despite its absurdity, this may be the most dangerous myth since it threatens to undermine the legitimacy of our concern for animals. The best way to combat it is to be outspoken about our passion for compassion and engage in thoughtful, respectful dialogue with others. In our experience, people who may have been turned off to animal advocacy by the antics of extremists find RAW members' friendliness and positivity irresistable!
While the issue of animal experimentation is often presented as a choice between a lab rat or your child, this view reduces an incredibly complex issue to a simple binary. RAW members have a wide range of views on the use of animals in medical research, but we all agree that the choice is never simply either/or. Mice, pigeons, dogs, and chimpanzees are just a few of the species who suffer in the search for cures for diseases - many of which are preventable. Due to differences in our DNA, animal research often does not yield - and can even hinder - medical progress for humans. While many health charities like the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, and March of Dimes DO fund animal experimentation, a growing number of charities, including the Cancer Treatment Research Foundation, Lown Cardiovascular Research Center, and Birth Defect Research for Children, fund only cruelty-free research. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has compiled a list of charities that do and don't fund animal experimentation, demonstrating that human and animal well-being can - and do - go hand in hand!
At RAW, we resist the stereotype that animal activists are humorless, holier-than-thou elitists. Our membership demonstrates that a shared compassion for animals can unite even the most diverse range of people. We take our common goals very seriously, but we feel just as strongly that activist well-being needs to be revitalized, too! We LOVE combining work and play in our activities because a healthy dose of goofiness rejeuvenates us, leaving us pumped and ready to tackle our next project.
Strangely, we are often more terrified by our brilliance and potential than we are by our limitations - and thus find ourselves more afraid of our own successes than of possible failures. Apathy, lethargy, ambivalence, and/or a stubborn refusal to act frequently stem from fear. Here are RAW, we understand that we actively create the world around us; that we have choices to make every day; and that we can and will make a more beautiful world by building strong communities where animals and people can thrive together.