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December 1, 2010

Celebrities and HSI UK Offer Tips for an Animal-Friendly Holiday Season

Humane Society International/UK

Humane Society International/UK and Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden, comedian and actor Ricky Gervais, actress and campaigner Joanna Lumley, Emmerdale actress Rokhsaneh Ghawam-Shahidi and BBC AutumnWatch presenter Chris Packham are urging people to spare a thought for animals this festive season by pledging to have an animal-friendly holiday. 
Mark Glover, Director of Humane Society International/UK, says:

“The holidays are a time for peace and compassion, yet every year millions of animals suffer around the world for our festive food and gifts. Factory farming, animal testing, fur farming and the pet trade can all represent the hidden cruelty of the holiday season, so Humane Society International is asking people to make simple ethical choices for their celebrations that can make the world of difference for our furry friends.”
HSI’s guide to having an animal-friendly holiday season:

  • Save a turkey by having a delicious veggie holiday lunch. Nearly 16 million turkeys are killed each year in the UK — around 10 million at the holidays alone. Instead why not try a meat-free meal? There are plenty of veggie turkey-style roasts available from supermarkets and health-food stores, as well as traditional nut roasts.

  • If having a turkey, make sure it’s free-range. The vast majority of British turkeys are factory-farmed in windowless sheds where overcrowding, aggression and cannibalism are common. They are selectively bred to grow faster and heavier. Choose an organic free-range turkey instead, reared in natural conditions with outdoor access and room to exercise.

  • Avoid animal testing by buying cruelty-free cosmetic and perfume gifts approved by the Leaping Bunny program [1]. Products bearing the internationally recognised Leaping Bunny logo are guaranteed cruelty-free. Shop using www.leapingbunny.org.

  • Boycott fur and fur-trim products on the high-street. More than 50 million animals each year are killed for their fur, either in factory farms or trapped in the wild. Animal fur is cruel and unnecessary, so always check garment labels, especially on fur trim items like gloves and toys, and if you aren’t sure whether the fur is real or fake, don’t buy it.

  • Don’t leave pets home alone if going away for the holidays. If they can’t be with you, arrange for a pet sitter.

  • Provide a quiet, out-of-the-way space for pets at home, away from crowds and parties. Some animals feel overwhelmed by the noise and excitement.

  • Don’t buy animals as gifts. A pet is a big, long-term responsibility and shouldn’t be bought on impulse. Most reputable pet shelters and rescue centres will stop re-homing animals near to the holidays for this reason. Don’t buy puppies and kittens from pet stores or from on-line or classified newspaper sellers now or at any time of year, as most will have been mass bred on overcrowded farms and can have serious medical problems.  

  • Give a Humane Gift that saves animals from abuse or neglect. Humane Society International offers a range of unique on-line Humane Gifts that go directly to help our front-line animal rescue, relief and campaigning.

Humane Society International/UK’s celebrity supporters are helping to spread animal compassion this holiday season. Actress and Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden, comedian and actor Ricky Gervais, actress Joanna Lumley, BBC Autumnwatch presenter Chris Packham and Emmerdale actress Rokhsaneh Ghawam-Shahidi are asking people to think about animal suffering during the holiday season.
Amanda Holden says:
"Like so many of the British public, I really love animals and I hate to see them suffer.  It's really upsetting when you see so many animals abandoned after the holidays as unwanted presents, so I'd really urge people to think twice before choosing Christmas time to bring a new pet into the family. A puppy or kitten isn't like a mobile phone or a watch, they're living creatures not disposable gifts. And if you already have a pet, please don't leave them home alone for long periods during the holiday season, they get bored and lonely just like us - not to mention hungry! We should think of animals all year round of course, but let’s make a special effort to make it an animal-friendly Christmas.”
Ricky Gervais says:
"Animal cruelty doesn't really make the ideal Christmas gift. It seems so absurd to me that someone might think they're treating a loved one to a bit of luxury by buying them real fur. Actually they're buying them what's left of an animal that's been caged its whole life and then killed by gassing or electrocution. How luxurious is that? It's the same with perfume if you don't check that it's cruelty-free you could be buying a product that's been dripped in a rabbit's eyes until they're weeping sores. It hardly says Happy Christmas to me. So the solution is simple, just think before you buy something - has an animal had to die a horrible death for this? If it has, choose something else."
Joanna Lumley says:
"At Christmas time it makes me feel happier to think that no creature has suffered just so that I can celebrate: so I shall be going for a delicious vegetarian option. If you eat meat, and can afford to, do think of buying free-range or organic; but just this once why not be a bit daring, and dance under the stars with a cruelty-free plate of fabulous vegetables, stuffings, pies and sauces. Happy Christmas, everyone... and that message is for the birds and beasts as well, who share our planet and the life we all live."
Chris Packham says:
"Fur on anything more than the creature that grew it is an outdated obscenity so please shop carefully for all your gifts this Christmas. Please also consider your pets this Christmas. Long nights under a darkened tree are not the present they want. Try to involve them in your plans and give them a merry ol' time too.”
Rokhsaneh Ghawam-Shahidi says:
“It’s shocking to think that behind the joy of Christmas, millions of animals are suffering for our celebrations. I’m supporting Humane Society International’s animal-friendly Christmas because it only takes a few minutes to check that you’re not buying real fur or that cosmetics haven’t been animal tested, but it makes a big difference to the animals. And if you have to have turkey, please only buy free-range and ideally direct from your local farmer where welfare standards will be higher. Factory-farmed turkeys are raised in appalling conditions before being killed for the table. So much animal suffering should be hard to swallow, so please make an effort to enjoy Christmas without cruelty.” 

1.    Shop cruelty-free at www.leapingbunny.org for gorgeous cosmetics without animal testing. Leaping Bunny-approved brands include Urban Decay, Kiss My Face, Barry M, Yves Rocher, L’Occitane and Hard Candy as well as high-street stores Marks & Spencer, Superdrug and Argos. All approved companies are independently audited to prove they don’t test on animals nor buy ingredients animal tested after a fixed cut-off date.