While we've been focused on social distancing and mask wearing, hundreds of thousands of animals are in need of our care. Let’s get back to supporting our nation’s creatures, starting with these 7 ways to save the animals.
Remember the blazing bushfires which ravaged more than 12.6 million hectares and killed 3 billion Australian animals last summer?
Feels like an age ago, doesn’t it? Especially since Covid-19 nudged its way into the centre of our worlds, turning our attention away from bushfire recovery efforts and instead towards a daily struggle for our own safety.
But as the coronavirus numbers drop in Australia, and we edge closer to another bushfire season and the Melbourne Cup, the spotlight is slowly returning to the welfare of our nation’s animals. World Animal Day (4 October) and Australian Wildlife Week (5-11 October) also serve as important reminders of the need to protect all living creatures.
While many of us have been focused on social distancing and mask wearing, scores of organisations and their volunteers have maintained a strong focus on caring for animals. In support of their efforts, we want to highlight some of the ways in which you too can help support the welfare of animals.
Cocktail of cruelty
According to WIRES, the past 12 months have been the most devastating in terms of lost Australian wildlife, with a deadly cocktail of fires, drought and extreme weather taking a tragic toll.
More than 20% of Australian forests were lost in the fires, while WWF has confirmed that almost 3 billion animals were killed or displaced by the bushfire crisis, including 143 million mammals, 2.46 billion reptiles, 180 million birds and 51 million frogs. Species thought to be common may need to be reclassified and there are hundreds of species at risk of extinction.
Meanwhile, cruelty to farm animals, abuses of animal agriculture, animal racing, and abandonment and neglect of pets still continues across the country at an alarming rate.
So what can you do to help rescue, rehabilitate and recover animals having suffered cruelty at the hands of humans or fallen victim to unprecedented natural disasters?
7 Ways You Can Support Animal Welfare
Information is power! Be informed and take the welfare of animals into consideration when you make decisions and take action in your day to day life. There are hordes of resources and organisations both in Australia and overseas to connect with and learn from, in broadening your knowledge on how best to support animals, such as WWF, WIRES, RSPCA, Animal Welfare League and World Animal Protection.
Donate or fundraise
A little goes a long way to saving animals of all shapes and sizes, and there are plenty of charities and organisations supporting animal welfare which are always in need of funds. To give an idea of how your donation could help:
$17 pays for bedding and blankets for abandoned dogs in shelters
$20 helps prepare a koala to be released back into the wild
$50 helps keep an Animal Ambulance on the road rescuing animals
$90 covers the cost of an annual dental file and check up for a horse
$100 buys enough straw to keep farm animals warm in their shelters for a whole month
You can donate as a one off or set up a regular donation on a monthly basis. Why not have some fun with your donating and organise a fundraising picnic with friends and family? Or you can buy a cute t-shirt to support a cause - like Zimmerman’s Help The Koala tee with 100% of proceeds donated to The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital. If you’re a forward planner, you could even think well ahead and give to a charity in your will. And don’t forget, donations are tax deductible.
Become a volunteer
Volunteers are the backbone of many animal welfare groups. From January to August 2020, WIRES volunteers accepted more than 21,600 wildlife rescues, and they continue to assist sick, injured and orphaned native animals every day. There are more ways than one to volunteer, and each organisation offers different opportunities with varying training and certification requirements. The best way to know how you can help is to contact an organisation directly to understand their needs and how you can support.
Support a sanctuary
A quick Google will turn up hundreds of active animal sanctuaries around the country, each doing their bit to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome animals in need - such as Where Pigs Fly, Moo to Ewe, Little Oak Animal Sanctuary and Horse Rescue Australia. Some sanctuaries are set up to welcome visitors, offering sanctuary tours where you can meet the animals and hear their stories. You can also support through volunteering, buying merchandise, donating, sponsoring or adopting an animal.
According to the Human Society International, more than 500,000 animals suffer and die for cosmetics testing each year. Be informed in your purchases and opt only to buy and consume products which are produced without harming animals. Always read the labels and quiz the manufacturer to understand how a product was made. You can also access a list of cruelty-free and vegan products and businesses via Choose Cruelty Free, a not-for-profit organisation which certifies cosmetics, personal care and household care items that have not been tested on animals.
Look for alternatives
For those of us who aren’t supportive of the Melbourne Cup and horse racing in general, rather than calling off the opportunity to connect with friends and family, why not look for ways to gather together in support of animals, such as a fundraising lunch or dinner to raise awareness and funds for your chosen organisation. In normal circumstances, we would invite you to join us at Bodhi's annual Nup The Cup lunch with proceeds going to Horse Rescue Australia (half the horses they take in were bred for the racing industry) but we’ve had to put the event on hold this year due to Covid. But don't let that deter you from doing your own thing!
Spread the word
Show your support by living a cruelty-free lifestyle and raising awareness of animal welfare issues among your networks. Only you can decide what you’re most passionate about and how best to get behind it - whether it’s donating to rebuild koala habitats, sharing insights into domestic animal abuse, or actively avoiding occasions which celebrate the use of animals for sport. But whatever you decide, it’s important to be supportive in a positive, peaceful and productive way. Show your support through encouraging kindness, compassion and love for all living things.
RSPCA - www.rspca.org.au
WIRES - www.wires.org.au
Horse Rescue Australia - www.horserescueaustralia.org.au
Animal Welfare League - www.awlnsw.com.au
Animal Justice Party - animaljusticeparty.org
Animal Liberation - www.al.org.au
The Coalition Against Duck Shooting - www.duck.org.au
Choose Cruelty-Free - www.choosecrueltyfree.org.au
Bodhi's blog on saving the bees - here