British celebs Leona Lewis, Ricky Gervais and Joanna Lumley have teamed up with Humane Society International/UK to promote an animal-friendly holiday season.
All three have taken the HSI pledge to celebrate a humane holiday by: saving turkeys by eating vegetarian holiday meals, avoiding animal-tested cosmetics and perfumes, refusing to purchase fur or animals as gifts, and giving humane gifts that support animal rescue and relief.
The HSI lists some alarming statistics on its pledge page. Did you know that more than 16 millions turkeys are killed each year in the UK, and that 10 million of those deaths occur during the holiday season? More than 50 millions animals are killed each year for their fur, both on factory farms and in traps in the wild. Hundreds of pets are abandoned after the holidays each year — the result of poorly thought out, unwanted Christmas gifts.
“Christmas and the holidays should be a time for celebrating peace and compassion, but sadly that’s not the case for so many animals who suffer unnecessarily for the festive season. It breaks my heart that millions of turkeys will be killed for the table, beautiful fur-bearing creatures will be skinned in the name of fashion and hundreds of puppies, kittens, rabbits, hamsters and others will end up abandoned as unwanted presents. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Join me in taking HSI/UK’s Cruelty-Free Christmas Pledge and show our animal friends you care,” says Lewis.
Comedian Ricky Gervais is also on board with the HSI’s mission to give cruelty-free gifts. According to Gervais, “Animal cruelty doesn’t really make the ideal Christmas gift. It seems so absurd to me that someone might think they’re treating a loved one to a bit of luxury by buying them real fur. Actually they’re buying them what’s left of an animal that’s been caged its whole life and then killed by gassing or electrocution. How luxurious is that? It’s the same with perfume if you don’t check that it’s cruelty-free you could be buying a product that’s been dripped in a rabbit’s eyes until they’re weeping sores. It hardly says Happy Christmas to me. So the solution is simple, just think before you buy something – has an animal had to die a horrible death for this? If it has, choose something else.”
When it comes to celebratory dinners this season, the HSI has a simple suggestion — follow their “Three R’s” rule: reduce consumption of animal-based foods, replace meat and animal products with plant foods and, if you do eat animal products, refine your diet to include only those produced by suppliers who adhere to standards that reduce animal abuse. (All perfectly good suggestions, although doesn’t it seem easier to implement a “One R” rule: remove animal products from your diet altogether?)
Actress Joanna Lumley plans on taking the 3R suggestion, and is encouraging others to do the same. “At Christmas time it makes me feel happier to think that no creature has suffered just so that I can celebrate: so I shall be going for a delicious vegetarian option,” she says.
“If you eat meat, and can afford to, do think of buying free-range or organic; but just this once why not be a bit daring, and dance under the stars with a cruelty-free plate of fabulous vegetables, stuffings, pies and sauces. Happy Christmas, everyone… and that message is for the birds and beasts as well, who share our planet and the life we all live.”