A fellow animal lover recently provided me with one of the most valuable resources for gift giving that I have ever received! She gave me a link to a list of charities that do not support or utilize animals in their research.
When we are each out and about looking for meaningful gifts or just choosing between brands at the grocery store, it is quite natural for the sensitive individual to opt for a brand that supports a cause over one that does not. This is typically indicated by a colored ribbon of some sort on the packaging.
While I am all for companies taking part in bigger-picture issues, I am aware that these efforts are also in the service of boosting product sales- which is certainly fair.
That said, I wonder how many of us read the small print or really know what the donation is in fact going towards.
The good news is that we have choices when it comes to what our dollars support. I strongly believe that we each 'vote with our dollar.' So I much prefer to vote for things in keeping with my ethics if possible. But that is not always an easy task as it involves staying informed and asking questions that we may not even know to ask.
The list of Humane Charities makes it super easy to get answers quickly. This informs our choices and makes the products we buy and the gifts we give, a true reflection of what we mean them to convey. It doesn't get much better than that!
The list is searchable in many ways as well. One can look for charities to support based on type of ailment being researched, geographic region, etc. I recall one time when a friend asked me to donate to support a walk she was doing to raise funds for breast cancer research. I wanted to honor the recent loss of her mother and support her efforts- but I wished to do so in a manner that did not go against my own beliefs.
A search of the Humane Charities List revealed names of companies/charities that engage in progressive and humane research for this dreaded disease. This gave me an easy way to stay aligned with my wish to reduce the suffering of animals- something that I know is near and dear to many of us. By making a donation to a humane charity, I was able to help those I wished to help and avoid hurting those I do not wish to hurt.
Whatever one's beliefs are about certain issues, it is nice to have choices and to be aware of them before taking action. This empowers each of us respectively, in our efforts to contribute to the 'greater good' we each wish to help manifest.
Wishing you all a happy, healthy and humane holiday season.
Dr. Pia Salk
Some additional resources for humane gifting:
P.S. This post is dedicated to my dear friend Cheryl Murphy who, refusing to dissect a cat in her physical therapy training program, instead researched other methods of learning the material. In turn, she educated her entire class on equally effective but humane methods of learning. Go Cheryl!