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How you can help animals?

* Skip eating meat, fish or poultry on some days. There are plenty of delicious and healthy alternatives that don't involve animal suffering.

* If you do want to eat meat, then go for meat from free-ranging animals or meat from biological farming. In Holland over 400 million animals are kept in factory farming. Factory farms aim to have minimal production costs and maximum profit. Pigs, cows, chickens, turkeys, ostriches, rabbits, etc. are crammed together in stuffy pens. They're fattened as quickly as possible, so that they can hardly stand on their legs because of their weight. Then they are transported to the slaughterhouse over great distances and under bad circumstances. Alternatives for this animal suffering are free-range products or eco-products, which are recognizable by the CPE-mark for poultry, the PVE/IKB-mark with the curl, or the EKO-mark for biological cattle farming.

* If you want to eat fish, choose 'stress-free fish'. These fish are killed immediately after capture. Whatever you do, don't buy bio-fish, that are raised closely together in underwater cages. This is done with eels, catfish, salmon, carp and trout. Crustaceans are subject to another form of animal suffering. Lobsters, snails, clams, cockles, shrimp and oysters are boiled alive. Sea turtles are cut from their shells alive to make turtle-soup. Enjoy?

* Skip all animal products on some days. Pay attention to what you eat or wear.

* If you want to eat dairy products or eggs, buy biological dairy products and free-range eggs instead of battery eggs. Also be careful when you buy products that have these eggs as ingredients. Billions of chickens live in battery cages, and they each get a space of one A4 sheet of paper. There are plenty of eggs available from chickens that have more space or that can go outside.

* Don't eat horrible delicacies, such as frog's legs or goose liver. Frog's legs are cut off live frogs, and to make goose liver pate millions of geese are force-fed with great quantities of grain.

* Buy products that haven't been tested on animals. This not only goes for cosmetics (make-up, toothpaste and shampoo), but also for detergents and cleaning-up liquid.

* Don't have fun at the expense of animals. Be critical when you visit a circus, zoo or dolphinarium. On no account go see the bullfights when you're on holiday. Don't fish. Fish have feelings too and can experience pain and fear. Of all the fish that are freed after capture, at least 10% dies. Don't hunt. Pleasure hunters kill around 2 million animals each year in Holland alone. If you want to shoot, shoot pictures with your camera.

* If you want to keep a pet, get one from a shelter. But consider carefully which animal would best suit you. Pets take a lot of time, energy and money.

* Take care of your pets. Make sure they get plenty of food, space and attention.

* Report animal abuse or neglect.

* Don't buy fur. Holland still has 200 fur farms, where millions of fur animals are kept crammed together in wire cages.

* Don't buy souvenirs made from animal material, such as ivory statuettes, ashtrays made of elephant's feet, crocodile bags, etc. Rare animals are killed especially for the purpose of making these things.

* Respect the lives of little creatures as well. Ask animal interest groups for tips on how to remove 'pests' the animal-friendly way.

* Keep the pets in your house healthy. Make a hole in the ice on your pond in wintertime. Hang up birdseed balls during vicious winters. Make your garden a friendly place for butterflies, bees, hedgehogs, frogs, toads, etc.

* Don't overfeed the ducks in the park.

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