Christmas is a time to celebrate. A time for food, fun and family, but often our enjoyment is at the expense of animals, though it doesn’t have to be. Christmas meals can be animal-free, gifts can be ethical and with a few small changes, we can minimise the stress and potential harm to our pets.
Finding festive vegan food
Millions of turkeys are slaughtered for Christmas in Britain every year. They are raised in factory farms and killed after only the briefest glimpse of adult life. But, it isn’t just turkeys, numerous other animals suffer for our Christmas tables, whether to provide meat alternatives or dairy products.
If you like the sound of a vegetarian or vegan Christmas, but think scrummy food is too hard to find, think again! In fact, shops are catering to increasing demand and up’ing their game. Tesco, for example, has doubled its vegan/vegetarian festive food range this year. But, if you prefer to make your own, there are loads of great Christmas recipes online at BBC Food, including a vegan Christmas wreath that looks absolutely scrumptious.
Shopping for cruelty-free gifts
When it comes to Christmas, it isn’t just about the food. Gifts are a huge part of the celebrations, but animals needn’t suffer here either. While animal products such as leather and fur often make their way under the Christmas tree, there are many alternatives that look great but don’t contribute to the cruelty industries that affect millions of animals across the globe every year.
A puppy is not just for Christmas…
Talking of gifts, while puppies may be at the top of many children’s Christmas lists this year, remember they are living creatures that are not just for Christmas; they require love and attention year-round, as do kittens, rabbits and any other animals that seem like the perfect Christmas surprise.
Impulse buy a puppy, and you risk getting one that has been bred in abject conditions in a ‘puppy farm’, and may well have been smuggled into the UK for the Christmas rush. So, instead why not make your children part of the experience and give the gift of pet shopping? Take them with you the shelters and pounds in January and spend time looking for your perfect pet; your new companion will thank you and your children will learn responsibility and what is really involved in bringing a new pet home.
Keeping your pets safe this Christmas
For those of you who already have a special furry member of the family, Christmas can be a tricky time. When you’re busy entertaining, it can be easy to forget that your dog still needs to be walked, and that your cat might feel stressed or anxious with lots of new people around.
Remember to look after your pets needs as well as your own, and importantly, no matter how much your dog begs, remember not to succumb to feeding them scraps from the Christmas table! Obesity is a serious issue for animals across the UK, and alarmingly, surveys have shown that 90% of owners don’t even know what the correct amount of calories to feed their pets are. For more hazards and things to look out for, check out our recent blog post.
Hopefully, you are now feeling even better equipped to have a cruelty free Christmas – we wish you and your animal companions all the best for a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.