As we pause to reflect on the year, it's difficult to look beyond two events that had devastating impacts on human and animal life - the Australian bushfire season of 2019-20 and the covid-19 global pandemic. Animals have suffered greatly this year. Almost 3 billion animals were killed or displaced during Australia’s bushfires. Throughout the pandemic, when everything else stopped, some of the cruelest industries continued in Australia: those of animal research, horse racing, greyhound racing and the duck shooting season in Victoria. It is hard to estimate the number of animals that have suffered worldwide during the covid-19 pandemic through the continued operation of these industries as well as the tourism industry’s standstill and animal research used in the race to find a covid-19 vaccine.
SO, WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM 2020?
We’ve learnt that we need to shift away from our reliance on animals in so many ways. Zoonotic diseases (caused by germs that spread between animals and people) cause more than one billion cases of illness annually. As our demand for animal based food, clothing and entertainment increases, so does our risk of contracting and spreading infectious diseases; as well as eating animals, factory farming, and habitat destruction leading to more human-animal interaction. Throughout the pandemic, the majority of scientists worldwide relied upon breeding and researching on animals as human models such as marmosets, rhesus monkeys, baboons, macaques, ferrets, mice and other animals (Humane Research Australia). Thankfully there are scientists who are working with animal free research for a covid-19 vaccination. Andre Menache, Scientific Advisor from HRA believes, "It is time to change the current paradigm in biomedical research if we want to preserve our health in the face of emergent diseases of the 21st century. Perhaps the covid-19 epidemic will help us question our outdated scientific practises, as well as the obsolete practises that still impose them." Through your financial support from donations and memberships, CCF was able to contribute to this vital animal free research to MAWA (Medical Advances Without Animals Trust), Animal Free Research UK and Interniche.
We’ve learnt more than ever this year, that our individual choices can and do impact other beings and the world. You supported local, Australian certified CCF businesses more than ever before. We had overwhelming responses from our brands which thrived during online sales this year. This success is thanks to consumers like you who put their money behind companies that are transparent about animal testing and go the extra mile for animals.
We’ve learnt that in the face of human adversity, we can still make positive changes for animals. The adoptions from shelters across Australia was higher than ever before, with people choosing to #adoptnotshop.
We’ve learnt that we are resourceful and that we can still stand up for injustice for animals and our world, even when we cannot physically stand together. When we couldn’t protest in 2020, we had to shift our tactics. We joined forces with different organisations and came together to act from home. You called the Prime Minister and your local MP’s, you wrote letters to the newspapers and government officials, you signed petitions, you shared stories and news on social media and you held up handmade signs from home in virtual protests. We have seen communities coming together more than ever before and this can continue. You can submit a message to your local MP here to ban cosmetics tested on animals in Australia.
The biggest lesson of this year is that we cannot control things outside ourselves - but we can choose how we respond. We can sit back, or we can choose to stand up and fight for a better world. We have never had more time to tune in to how we feel and gain perspective on what matters to us most. If you are passionate about animal testing - keep talking about it, keep taking actions, keep moving forward. Take action here.
In a year filled with a lot of sorrow for animals, we have still made progress. We wish both you and your furry friends well in the New Year. Remember, you’ve taken action this year for animals by supporting Choose Cruelty Free. Just by sharing animal welfare posts, talking to friends, having a meat free meal, or signing petitions, you help create a better world for animals - your choices matter. For those that need a reminder, you are doing great. Let’s keep creating change for the better for our animal friends in 2021!
With Kindness, Amy, Breanna, Nicole, Sue and the incredible volunteers at CCF xx