Cruelty-Free Consumerism

Winter HatShopping for a coat that doesn’t sport a fur lining or cosmetics that haven’t been tested on bunnies? Check out these sites for an overview of why you should—and how you can—go cruelty-free.

In Defense of Animals (IDA) includes up-to-date information about its campaign against the fur trade. Visitors will also find links to multiple resources for anti-fur advocates.

The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC) is a collaborative effort between eight cruelty-free groups that give both consumers and companies the straight dope on animal testing. Check out the CCIC’s detailed shopping guide to cruelty-free products.

The National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) provides online visitors with an easy to navigate database that reveals which companies test what products on animals.

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) gives the lowdown on the grisly realities of the fur industry. They offer steps consumers and advocates can take to end cruelty and promote more animal-friendly fashion.

Dog playing in recycling binGreen Facts and Earth-Friendly Alternatives

A recent article in Mother Jones estimates that U.S. dog guardians collectively spend $1.8 billion on toys that are often made from plastic—which is frequently non-biodegradable. Go green by treating Fido to organic cotton or hemp toys instead! (MotherJones.com)

The same article reveals that cat litter (much of which is made from non-biodegradable strip-mined clay) accounts for 3.4 million tons of solid waste that is dumped into U.S. landfills each year. A greener option is biodegradable litter, which also tends to last longer and smell better. If that solution wears too much on your wallet, some experts suggest using grain-based animal or poultry feed to line Fluffy’s box. (MotherJones.com)

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the average dog produces 274 pounds of waste annually. Composting this poop yields several environmental perks, including improved soil quality and reduction in surface- and ground-water pollution.

Carbon footprint: defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as “a measure of the greenhouse gases that are produced by the activities of [an individual] or a business that involve burning fossil fuels.” (EPA.gov)

Dog Footprint in Sandcarbon PAWprint Some experts argue that pets have a pretty significant paw print on Mother Earth, especially if you consider their consumption of meat and other products requiring land usage. Check out a few startling comparisons below, courtesy of Time to Eat the Dog: The Real Guide to Sustainable Living by Robert and Brenda Vale (as cited at RedOrbit.com).

The carbon footprint of a 4X4 car that drives 6,200 miles each year: One-half the size of the carbon pawprint of a medium-sized dog

The carbon footprint of a Volkswagen Golf: Slightly larger than the carbon pawprint of a cat

The carbon footprint of a plasma television: The same size of the carbon pawprint made by two hamsters

The carbon footprint of two mobile phones: The equivalent of the carbon pawprint made by a goldfish

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