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If you want to help animals, travel!

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness”- Mark Twain

AFE Co founder preparing food for elephants at Wildlife SOS in India

Recently, I got into a heated debate on Facebook (I know, I know, but some things just really push my buttons).

A very passionate person is constantly posting single sentence memes such as “Boycott China for Animal Cruelty” or “Don’t Visit Thailand, They Abuse Animals”.

Such sentences are designed to provoke readers, enrage them, you see something about China and every single photo of the dog meat trade enters your brain, instantly you are enraged, and rightfully so.

But before you try to convince the rest of humanity to stay the heck out of China, (or any place) take a few seconds and look at your own country.

There is not one single country on earth that isn’t cruel to animals, or if there is, I’ve never heard of it.

Canada? Live plucking geese for down, fur trapping, bear hunting:

Europe? Fur farms, foie gras, bullfights.

The U.S? Puppy mills, factory farms, dog racing.

The list goes on and on and never ends. The human history of exploiting animals is long, sordid, and transcends all cultures, nationalities, ethnicities, economic backgrounds and pretty much everything else.

In general, man is horrible to animals.

So what do we do? Move into space? (don’t even get me started on the innocent chimps and dogs that were shot into space during the space race of the 1960’s).

See what I mean?

The key, in my opinion, is not to hide under the covers, but to get your animal lovin’ butt out there in the world and MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

Instead of boycotting Thailand, boycott inhumane attractions, visit, or better yet, volunteer, at humane sanctuaries.

Animals in nature! What a great idea!

Europe? Spend your hard earned tourist dollars dining at a restaurant in the emerging vegan scene. Do you really need a leather coat from Italy? How’s about supporting a group that cares for the feral cats of Rome instead? Our U.S visitors can steer clear of petting zoos and visit farm sanctuaries, or go whale watching on the ocean, rather than visiting an amusement park with whales in tanks.

All over the world, there are people working, often against incredible odds, to create humane, sustainable, non-exploitative futures for animals.

The one thing these humane operations desperately need is support! If people stop eating at vegan restaurants, supporting humane sanctuaries and attractions, or visiting all together, many of these struggling, emerging new places will crumble and fold, and then we’ll be back to the same old abuse.

Does it take research? You bet. You need to be sure that some lousy zoo didn’t slap the word “sanctuary” on their name to lure caring people in. Thankfully, there are enough animal lovers out there who post honest reviews and there are easy to find guidelines all over the place.

Ultimately, I believe that every human on earth has the ability to work towards a better future for animals! It’s truly wonderful to see so many budding humane alternatives popping up around the globe. From mechanical temple elephants in India, to vegan dining in Paris, change is coming, it’s slow, slower than anyone wishes, but it’s happening.

Little humane seeds are popping up all over the world, but they need us, all of us, to be sure they survive.

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