6 Simple Steps To Take For a Cruelty Free Home

Tuesday, 15 January 2019
For generations, we responsible householders have been obsessed with cost. After all, a financially healthy household needs a carefully planned budget. Only when you know the cost of everything that’s coming out can you measure it against the money that’s coming in and plan your finances accordingly. However, in recent years we’ve begun to think about household costs outside of the monetary. More and more of us are thinking about the ethical cost of everything we eat, use and consume in the home and how the decisions that we make as consumers can help to make for a healthier, happier and more harmonious planet.

In a consumer capitalist society one of the most powerful and decisive ways in which we can affect change is through the products we buy, use and eat. If your new year’s resolutions for 2019 have involved leading a more ethical, sustainable or cruelty free lifestyle here are some tips that will help you to reduce the moral price tag of your lifestyle...

Something’s got to give!

One thing’s for sure, things can’t go on like this. For generations we (as a society) have pretty much done whatever we’ve liked without thinking too hard about the ethical cost. We’ve eaten what we liked without thinking about what it’s packaged in. We’ve thrown our waste into landfills where it’s become someone else’s problem. We’ve enriched our lifestyle at the expense of the habitat and wellbeing of other species. Over the decades, though, the planet has been totalling up the ethical cost of our lifestyle and the bill is now due. Will we pay it now or leave it for our kids and their kids to pick up the tab?

Indeed, no less a personage than the late Stephen Hawking theorised that unless we change our lifestyles we could render the planet uninhabitable within a century. If we all pull together and do our bit to lead a cruelty free and sustainable lifestyle, we can literally save the world for future generations. The great news is that any home can become cruelty free without having to live in misery or austerity. It’s simply a matter of making better choices.

Eat more plants and less of everything else

A growing number of scientists maintain that the best thing you can do for the planet and the creatures on it is to switch to a wholefoods plant based diet. It goes without saying that slaughtering animals for human consumption has an ethical cost. Even those rare and lucky animals who have been farmed ethically and given a free range lifestyle endure great stress, panic and fear when they are led to the slaughterhouse.

While one may assume that vegetarianism is enough to lead a cruelty free lifestyle, there is still a lot of suffering in egg and dairy farming. For example, even free range eggs have an ethical price tag. While egg-laying females are kept in good conditions all but a few male chicks are euthanized at birth as they do not lay eggs and therefore have no value. The dairy industry is also fairly reliant on animal suffering. Dairy cows have their calves taken away from them after just one day in order to get the milk from them that should be going to the calf. This causes them enormous upset and distress. Cows, just like humans, have maternal instincts.

What’s more, animal husbandry is one of the world’s leading causes of deforestation, animal habitat loss and ocean “dead zones” caused by overfishing.

While you don’t necessarily have to join the hundreds of thousands joining the Veganuary movement this month to make a different to the planet, you can rethink your food and dairy consumption. Human beings can have all of their nutritional needs met on a wholefoods plant based diet and the more plants you pile on your plate the more you reduce the ethical cost of your family’s diet.

It’s worth noting that while a plant based diet is nutritionally complete, it is hard to get all of the nutrients you need from diet alone whether you enjoy a plant based or omnivorous diet and so a good multivitamin and iron supplement are strongly recommended whether you eat animal products or not.

Buy cruelty free pet food and toys

Even feeding your pets can help you to lead a more ethical and cruelty free lifestyle. Just like humans, dogs can live perfectly well on a plant based diet (although, like their owners, they may need to rely on dietary supplements to get the nutrition that they need which is harder to glean from plants alone). There are a wide range of nutritionally balanced plant based foods on the market. While dogs love to play and clean their teeth with animal bones and rawhide there are lots of cruelty free alternatives like Ace Antlers. These are real stag antlers which dogs love to chew on and are rich in vitamins and minerals. And since the stags shed them naturally they are completely cruelty free!

Consider more ethical toys for your kids

Many kids toys are made of non-recyclable plastics. This means that they go into landfill waste when they are broken or outgrown. There they sit for decades, leaching dangerous compounds called microplastics into the water which can have a harmful effect on the plants, fish, birds and sea mammals in the area.

Microplastics harm marine life and there’s a good chance that they could be harmful to humans, too. Instead of buying your kids plastic toys,. Opt for more ethical wooden alternatives like this Brio farm tractor set. They’re fun to play with, harmless for kids and better for the environment.

Weigh up the cost of cleaning

We all want to keep a clean and tidy home that’s the envy of visitors and guests. However, the cleaning products that we use to achieve it can have a harmful effect on our environment, endangering local plant and wildlife.

Harsh chemical cleaners and bleaches have no place in a cruelty free home. Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives that will keep your home just as clean without the harmful side effects. Plus, if you’re all about saving money you can just as easily eschew ready made cleaning products altogether and make your own. There’s hardly anything in the home that can’t be cleaned with white vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice (and some essential oils for a pleasant aroma).

Make recycling your last line of defense

Most households assume that they should be recycling more… But there are some who argue that they should be recycling less. Recycling is a very energy intensive process and the sad truth is that  Bea Johnson, author of Zero Waste Home argues that households can thrive without producing any landfill waste and argues that recycling should be your last line of defense. She advocates for the 5Rs stating that;

“The zero in “zero waste” makes it sound scary and hard to achieve. It is actually not as as hard as it seems, and it is as simple as following these Five R’s, in order:
  • Refuse what you do not need.
  • Reduce what you do need.
  • Reuse by using reusables.
  • Recycle what you cannot refuse, reduce, or reuse.
  • Rot (compost) the rest”

Declare war on single use plastics

As the cost of single use plastic bags continues to rise, it looks as though we’re finally getting the point about single use plastics. However, plastic bags are not the only single use plastics of which we should be wary. Everything from the plastic lid on your takeaway coffee to the little plastic fork with your fish and chips can be damaging to local plants, birds and wildlife. The WWF has some great tips on reducing your plastic footprint.

As you can see, if you’re serious about making your home cruelty free it’s simply a matter of making more responsible consumer choices and being prepared to sacrifice convenience for responsibility every once in a while.

Please Note: This is a collaborative post. 

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