Do you want to help animals but you’re not sure where to start? Here is a list of easy steps you can take to positively impact animals, the environment, and your health. Consider checking off each item as you complete it. Even if you complete half of these steps, it will be a huge accomplishment. Thank you for caring and making a difference!
Day 1 _____
Make a commitment never to attend a circus, zoo, rodeo, dog/horse track, or a seaquarium or to pay to see any show that exploits, confines, transports, and uses animals for profit.
Day 2 _____
Stop buying items made of leather, wool, fur, and down. Don’t worry about being perfect. Do your best. Avoid the obvious (i.e. leather purse/shoes, fur hat, wool sweater, and down pillow).
Day 3 _____
Find a “Veg Buddy.” A “Veg Buddy” is someone who has already given up eating animals and can provide advice and answer questions. It might be a relative, friend, or co-worker.
Day 4 _____
Search online for veg recipes and veg food blogs. Select one meal that looks irresistibly delicious and try making it for yourself.
Day 5 _____
Visit your grocery store. Look for food with the “vegan” or “dairy-free” or “egg-free” label. Start trying some different options. Remember which food you enjoyed so you can eat it again.
Day 6 _____
Start reading labels. Only buy shampoo, hair gel, sun blocks, cosmetics, deodorant, detergents, and other household items with the “cruelty-free” or “no animal testing” label. If you can’t find them in your store, consider ordering them online.
Day 7 ____
Take a break. Think about how good you feel for making these decisions. Share your experience with others. Be proud of yourself.
Day 8 _____
Support a charity that helps animals. Consider writing a thank you letter to show them how much they’re appreciated or offer to volunteer.
Day 9 _____
Consider buying a vegan cookbook or subscribe to a free vegan recipe blog. Try one new recipe every few weeks.
Day 10 ____
Stop eating pork and bacon.
Day 11 _____
Find an organization online that helps animals. Maybe they’re trying to end bullfighting, the use of horse-drawn carriages, the exotic animal trade, dog fighting, seal hunting, factory farming, greyhound racing, vivisection, or fur farming. Consider donating $10 to your favorite non-profit organization.
Day 12 _____
Recycle and reuse household items as often as possible. The less you use, the longer we can sustain animals’ natural habitats.
Day 13 _____
Search for a Vegetarian Festival or any veg event in your area. Sign up for a veg cooking class if available in your area.
Day 14 _____
Pick up a copy of The Food Revolution by John Robbins and read it in your leisure time.
Day 15 _____
Search for vegan restaurants in your town. If you can’t find any, consider talking to the manager at your favorite restaurant about adding some veg options.
Day 16 _____
Connect with like-minded people on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media to form bonds and learn more about animals, the environment, and your health.
Day 17 _____
Consider volunteering at your local rescue or animal shelter.
Day 18 _____
Stop eating hamburgers and steak. Try some meat substitutes if you crave the taste or texture of meat. If you have trouble, gradually reduce your consumption.
Day 19 _____
Pledge to boycott fireworks on the 4th of July. Consider sending a letter to your local government officials asking them to outlaw fireworks in light of their negative impact on domestic and wild animals.
Day 20 _____
Make a commitment to reduce your consumption of eggs, cheese, and milk. Explore other options such as almond milk, hemp milk, and dairy-free cheese.
Day 21 _____
Take a break. Review everything you’ve accomplished. Reflect on your progress. What makes you most proud? What is your biggest challenge? How will you overcome it?
Day 22 _____
Read about the “humane” and “free-range” myth online. Talk to friends and family about eating more plant-based foods.
Day 23 _____
Reduce your consumption of chicken and fish. If you crave the taste, try other food options that replicate the texture and taste.
Day 24 _____
Spay or neuter your pet. If you don’t have a pet, advocate for others to spay and neuter to control the pet population. Never buy an animal from a pet shop, breeder, or puppy mill. Rescue or adopt.
Day 25 _____
Write a letter or call your member of Congress and ask him or her to stop subsidizing the factory farming industry. Ask him or her to provide support to plant-based farmers who use sustainable farming methods.
Day 26 _____
Join an animal rights or environmental organization. Get involved.
Day 27 _____
Share your success with a friend. Tell him or her how about your experiences. Share something that has worked for you that helps animals. Encourage him or her to give it a try.
Day 28 _____
Watch a video online about animals that you used to eat — turkeys, chickens, fish, cows, or pigs. Think about how good it feels to not contribute to the confinement, suffering, and death of these animals.
Day 29 _____
Google “Companies that test on animals” and consider emailing or calling one company to ask management to stop testing on animals.
Day 30 _____
Do your best to stop eating all animals and animal byproducts. Enjoy living a compassionate life. May it bring you fulfillment, good health, and peace.
*You have permission to print, share, and distribute this checklist for any purpose that benefits animals, the environment, and human health.
Andrew Kirschner, Ed.D., is a grassroots vegan animal rights activist. He writes a zero-profit blog, Kirschner’s Korner, to help raise awareness about issues affecting the global community to make the world a more humane place. To receive new articles via email, enter your email in the “Follow Blog Via Email” link at the top right of the blog.