It’s a Cruelty-Free Summer. So, Here’s What Yours Can Look Like!

Hot summer streets are paving the way for heavy and dry days here in Melbourne this week. While we’re in the middle of a scorching summer, we’re midway through Veganuary and it got me thinking. Why can’t we have a cruelty-free summer? Why can’t we channel that warm summer vibe and send it outward into our world with the same velocity as the bold sun in the sky does at this time of year?

It’s so easy to do, and what better time than to start now. Let’s use the momentum of Veganuary to emulate all that is good and cruelty-free in our world? So, how can we do this? Here are some ways that are by no means too hot to handle.

Firstly, make every month of the year Veganuary

The month of January starts the New Year off on the perfect cruelty-free footing, and prompts you to start afresh and go vegan for the first 31 day of their new year. So, why not make Veganuary every month on the calendar? If you can go 31 days by eating lush fruits and vegetables, crunchy nuts and protein-packed legumes (trust me, it’s simple to do), then why not keep the energy flowing all-year round? Build on your vegan resources and knowledge, choose new and exciting recipes to try, and stock your cupboard and fridge with the freshest season-specific foods. Your body – not to mention the animals – will love you for it.

Next, learn about the non-human beings who inhabit your local area

It’s easy to rush around in our urbanised lives without thinking about the creatures we share our immediate environment with. I was working offsite in The Dandenong Ranges this week, and I learned about a local inhabitant called the Powerful Owl. I learned that the Powerful Owl is Australia’s largest native owl species who happens to call my backyard home. They feed on possums, particularly ringtail possums, and they live and nest in the hollows of old eucalypt trees. How lucky am I to have such a prolific species, endemic to my part of Australia, populate my local area?

The knowledge we can all learn about our local habitats is fascinating. We can then understand more about our co-inhabitants, understand the threats they’re experiencing and, in turn, help us understand how we can care for them more. We can empathise for our non-human animal friends and we can start to take notice when and where they need our attention.

Then, we can be proactive in our cruelty-free approach….

Our backyards are perfect place to start caring for the beings around us. During the summer months, put out shallow bowls of water in shady spots. Include a rock or branch so that smaller animals can access the water. Remember to clean the containers and refresh each one with clean water regularly. You will know when animals, birdlife in particular, desperately need a drink because they hold their mouths open.

I arrived home yesterday to a couple of Australian magpies on my front lawn. They were searching everywhere for water, which prompted me to refill my containers. One magpie even stood a short distance away and watched me as I filled each container. After I moved away quietly, he or she raced to a container to take a drink. Never underestimate the power of such a small cruelty-free act. You are making a difference in someone’s life.

Photo credit: Birdlife Australia
Consider adopting a new family member from a sanctuary or rescue shelter

As I emphasised above, summer is such a stressful time for non-human beings. Imagine the amount of lives who are waiting for their forever homes across our cities; in particular, dogs, cats and rabbits. Can you welcome a new family member into your home? Are you working from home with a cool climate, comfortable bed – a safe haven – for someone special? Or, perhaps you can foster someone for a short period of time, particularly when it’s hot? Make sure you research into adoption and ensure your home and family life is compatible. Adoption is forever, so take special consideration and the time to think about it. Research reputable animal rescues or sanctuaries in your area, and avoid buying an animal from a pet store or online marketplace. Nothing says I love you more to a rescue animal than to give him or her a new life in a loving forever home.

So, how are you spending your cruelty-free summer or how can you make your summer more cruelty-free? Remember, summer is the perfect time to enact real lasting change in your life, and in the lives of beings in your community.  

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