Live Cruelty-Free

Dedicate Your Life to "Least Harm"

Harmless vs. Least Harm

If we are honest with ourselves we will realize no one who lives on this planet can be 100% harmless. As the cynics like to point out, countless insects are killed every time a wheat field is plowed.

Therefore, our goal must be the philosophy of

"Do the least harm."

With this standard in mind, we offer the following suggestions and resources for cruelty-free (least harm) living.

Important steps towards a

Cruelty-Free Lifestyle

Adding a new non-human family member

Never buy a pet of any type from a breeder or a pet store. (Here is what happens to the animals sold by PetSmart, Petco, and Petland.) Whether you're looking for a dog, cat, bird, bunny, or some other animal, there are always adoption options. Municipal animal control centers, community shelters, and species- and breed-specific rescues are the way to go. As residents of Missouri we are most familiar with puppy mills, but for every species used as a pet, there exist mills - callous breeders cranking out countless birds, rabbits, mice, lizards, gerbils, and other defenseless animals like machine parts.

Here is a list of some of the area shelters and rescues, including those that help birds, small animals, and other pets in need of homes. (Before you buy a fish, please read this brochure - Respect For Fish.)

On a related note, be sure you know what you might be getting yourself into before you choose a particular pet. Some dog breeds are higher maintenance than others, for example; and, while every animal has his or her own personality, each breed has a distinct set of tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses. Likewise, being an experienced caregiver of a dog or cat does not mean you automatically know how to properly care for a parrot or hamster. Do your research before obtaining an animal.

If he or she is not already, be sure to have your new pet spayed or neutered - dog, cat, or rabbit. If you need assistance look into OpSPOT or the Carol House Quick Fix Pet Clinic for dog and cats.

Think twice before buying supplies from a chain pet store

PetSmart and Petco are convenient, inexpensive places to purchase food, collars, dishes, toys, and other pet care products. But, at what price? While it is laudable they no longer sell dogs and cats, remember they still sell animals, like hamsters, fish, small birds, and other critters with fewer vocal advocates. Just because these stores stopped selling the most popular and largest pet species does not make their continued exploitation of small animals defensible. For years PETA has been exposing one ghastly supplier situation after another. The breeding, warehousing, and shipping of these poor animals to PetSmart, Petco, and Petland stores are characteristically filthy, cruel, and deadly. The stores themselves do not employ experienced caretakers, so these animals continue to suffer. They are further exploited when purchased on impulse, or simply because they are cheap. Please, don't just avoid these chains when acquiring a pet, but steer clear when shopping for supplies. Instead, choose stores and suppliers that don't sell animals. The following retailers sell pet needs, including vegan pet foods:

Amazon (all pets)

Entirely Pets (all pets)

Krisers (dogs and cats)

Pet Flow (dogs and cats)

Pet Mountain (all pets)

Petocart (all pets, especially birds)

Sunset Pet Supply (dogs and cats)

Target (dogs, cats, rabbits)

Vegan Essentials (dogs and cats)

Vitacost (dogs and cats)

V-dog (dogs)

Cut out dissection

Dissection is a cruel, outdated mode of teaching science. It is wasteful and environmentally damaging, and considering the range of superior alternatives, its continued practice is unjustifiable. If you need help for your child, teacher, or yourself, look into these resources. In addition to detailed information, there are sources for borrowing or purchasing alternatives. Animalearn Humane Learning InterNICHE NAVS Animals in Education NEAVS Ethical Science Education Campaign PCRM (advanced medical and trauma training)

Transition your pets to a vegan diet

Some animals are by nature herbivores and must be fed a vegan diet. Rabbits, most birds, and guinea pigs should only eat plant-based foods. Unfortunately, some companies add egg to bird foods, and yogurt to small animal treats. By reading ingredients you can easily avoid these troublesome and unhealthy products. Other small animals, like hamsters, rats, and gerbils, are technically omnivores but thrive on a plant-based diet. But, again, you may find treats containing yogurt. Despite being omnivorous, these animals would never eat yogurt on their own. Alleged "experts" will argue dogs require meat to be healthy. This is false. Dogs are omnivores, and while they would certainly eat meat out in the wild, our dogs do not live in the wild. There is nothing beneficial (or natural) about the meat found in commercial pet food. Most nutrients - including the oft-touted taurine - are destroyed during processing and must be supplemented. All store-bought pet food is fortified, whether meat-based or plant-based. (The animal products used in pet foods are of the lowest grade, containing even more contaminants than human-grade usually does.) As a result dogs do very well on a vegan diet. The following pages offer helpful information on vegan dogs: PETA Guide to Vegan Dogs Thrive Cuisine VegePets Vegan Pet Food Companies

Ami Foods (for dogs and cats)

AvoDerm (for dogs)

Evanger’s (for dogs and cats)

Evolution Diet (for dogs and cats)

Halo (for dogs)

Natural Balance (for dogs)

Nature’s Recipe (for dogs)

PetGuard Organics (for dogs)

Roudybush (for birds - because many pelleted bird foods contain egg)

V-dog (for dogs)

VegePets supplements for homemade pet food

Zupreem (for birds - because many pelleted bird foods contain egg)

NOTE: These brands can be purchased at the retailers listed in the previous category, "Think twice before buying supplies from a chain pet store."

Be careful where your charitable dollars go

Before you donate to that charity claiming to help babies, or boasting about its life-saving cancer research, find out exactly how they use your donations. Most of the health charities receiving the bulk of the attention (and money) fund animal experiments. Not only are these studies unimaginably cruel, they are also unnecessary and often lead researchers in the wrong direction. In the case of drug testing, animal models are no more predictive than flipping a coin, meaning dangerous medications are approved, while potentially valuable treatments never make it beyond the first step. Sadly, scientists don't seem to care, as medical journals are filled with redundant research. To see exactly how specious animal experimentation is, look over the websites under Animals Used in Research and Education, on our Resources page. You can find guidance for which charities do and do not use animals on PETA's Charity Fact Sheet. PCRM may also be useful. But, you should always ask an organization where its funding is spent. Wildlife and conservation groups are another area of concern. Many, like the National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society, support hunting and trapping as a means of protecting native species, or keeping certain populations in check. Discover which ones are not true animal champions.

Purchase products from companies that do not test on animals

Big corporations (like Procter & Gamble, SC Johnson, L'Oreal) continue to torture animals for household and personal care products. (You can learn about these tests on our Resources page, under the heading Animals Used in Research and Education.) But, the tide has turned. A variety of excellent companies either no longer use animal testing, or they never did. Plus, they are easy to come by and affordable. No more searching obscure websites or taking out a loan just to put on make-up! You will find lists on the following sites:

HSUS Be Cruelty-Free

Leaping Bunny Program

NAVS Live Cruelty-Free

PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies Program Ultimate Guide to Cruelty-Free Shopping

Be respectful of wildlife and their habitat

Local Help for Wildlife in Trouble

Bi-State Wildlife Hotline 636-492-1610 1-800-945-3435 GeesePeace St. Louis PO Box 6246 Chesterfield, MO 63006 314-567-2081 Wild Bird Rehabilitation (sick or injured songbirds only) Note: WBR no longer accepts starlings 9624 Midland Blvd. Overland, MO 63114 314-426-6400 Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic 1864 Little Brennan Road High Ridge, MO 63049 636-677-3670 Wildlife Rescue Center of Missouri 1128 New Ballwin Road Ballwin, MO 63021 636-394-1880 World Bird Sanctuary (sick or injured birds of prey only) 125 Bald Eagle Ridge Road Valley Park, MO 63088 636-225-4390 Humane Wildlife Solutions, LLC (humane wildlife removal and deterrent solutions) 314-567-2060 HSUS Answers to Wildlife Problems “What to do if you find a baby bird” “What to do if you find a baby mammal”

Global Wildlife Issues

Animals Asia

Avian Welfare Coalition

Born Free Foundation

Born Free USA

Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee

Performing Animal Welfare Society

Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, UK

Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, US

Wildlife SOS

Wildlife Organizations to Avoid

Choose entertainment that does not exploit other species

Looking back at some of society's amusement choices is enough to make you cringe. Traveling "freak shows," where those with disfigurements earned a living the only way they could - by displaying themselves to gawking audiences. The "tar baby" game, the goal of which was to throw a ball at little replicas of black babies, trying to make them spin. Singing minstrels in black-face.

While many unethical types of entertainment have gone by the wayside, we still exploit other species for our own pleasure. Sometimes we even rationalize it as good for the animals (i.e., zoos suddenly claim they are a vital asset in the conservation of endangered species). Many animal lovers who would gasp at the idea of attending a bullfight or dog fight might not realize swimming with the dolphins programs and petting zoos are inhumane, too. (Wild dolphins kept in confinement...Imagine what happens when those baby animals grow up and are no longer pettable.)

The following groups will give you all the information you need to see that exploitation of animals has no place in entertainment.

Animal Defenders International

Born Free USA

Freedom for Animals

Fight Against Animal Cruelty in Europe

Humane Society of the United States

In Defense of Animals – Elephants

Performing Animal Welfare Society



Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, UK

Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, US

Make sure you aren't wearing someone else's skin

Whether it's fur, leather, wool, silk, down, mohair, angora, feathers, cashmere, snakeskin, or some other animal-based material, it all belongs on its original owner. You may think some of these fibers don't kill the animal - wool, feathers, down, for example. But, no one raises sheep just for shearing. No one keeps ducks and geese so they can collect their surplus down. Milk and eggs do not in and of themselves kill the animals, yet these businesses depend on the eventual deaths of the animals. So, too, are animal-based "fabrics" just one part of a larger industry. Additionally, the methods used when raising the animals and harvesting their fibers are barbaric. One facet of fur and skin manufacturing rarely discussed is the environmental harm. The chemicals employed in their processing are highly toxic for groundwater, the workers themselves, and those living nearby. Information on Fur, Wool, Skins, and Feathers

Animals Australia (wool)

Association for Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals

Born Free USA (trapping)

Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade

Died in the Wool

Environmental Impact of Animal-based Clothing

Fur Free Alliance

HSUS Fur-Free Campaign

PETA (fur, leather, wool, down, angora, silk, cashmere, and others)

Respect For Animals (extensive facts and statistics on fur worldwide)

United Poultry Concerns (down)

Go vegan

This is probably the biggest contribution you can make to combat animal cruelty and environmental damage. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, approximately 72-billion land animals worldwide are slaughtered for human consumption every year. This does not take into account fish and sea life. Animals used for food suffer from start to finish, from the castration of male animals and repeated rape of female animals, to the deprivation of transport and horrors of slaughter. Make no mistake, cruelty is not an anomaly here or there; it is built into the animal agriculture system. Unfortunately, this industry has taken advantage of people who want to be kind and created a self-sustaining lie - the Humane Myth. There is no such thing as humane animal agriculture. Check out these other links to learn how you can go vegan, whether overnight or over a longer period of transition.

A Well-Fed World

Choose Veg

Food Empowerment Project

How Do I Go Vegan?

How to Go Vegan

International Vegan Association

Try Veg

Vegan Outreach

Vegetarian Resource Group

VegFund (activist resources)


Veganize Your Recipes Respect For Fish (much-needed, yet rarely seen, information on fish)