Are You Unknowingly Contributing To Animal Torture?

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The most effective way to help end cruelty to animals is to avoid funding any area of it. This page looks at many ways people unwittingly fund animal torture whilst going about their lives.

We can choose not to fund animal torture in many areas of our lives. As consumers, we send a strong message to the different industries involved when we close our wallets to animal cruelty. Remember: Money talks!

Image: Vegan Wallet


Click on the headings in the purple page contents box, or scroll down, to see how to avoid causing animal cruelty in different areas of your life.

Travel & Tourism

When people go on holiday, they can inadvertently fund animal torture and death due to the places they go and the way they travel.

How Does The Country Treat Animals?

Many people do not look in to how the country they intend to visit treats animals. By supporting the tourist trade of a country that has a poor animal welfare record, people are condoning such treatment of animals. They are rewarding the country with money. This gives them no reason to stop their barbaric treatment of animals.

Countries wish to project a certain image, which is attractive to tourists. However, if people dig a little deeper, they can find out the truth about how the country treats animals. For instance, see here.

Activities Whilst On Holiday

What people do while they are on holiday also matters. Many tourist attractions use animals to encourage tourists to part with money. People do not realise that the animals are often treated with heart breaking cruelty and kept in terrible conditions. Tourists fund the continuation of that cruelty by paying for the activity.

People sometimes even think that by giving money to people who are offering animal entertainment, they are helping the animal be looked after.

Restaurants sometimes keep wild animals in small cages as attractions for diners.

Image: Tomi was kept in a small cage at an Albanian mountain restaurant. He has thankfully now been rescued, but charity Four Paws says there are many more bears in similar situations in Albania and other countries. Source

Albania, Fier | 2016 04 30 | A bear at Restaurant SAFARI PARK ZOO in Fier, Albania.

Dancing bears are often used to entertain tourists in certain countries. They are treated cruelly, beaten, neglected, and kept in tiny cages when not performing.

Elephant Rides

Taking elephant rides supports elephant abuse. The spirits of these wild animals are broken in the most cruel of ways. Their spirits have to be broken for them to allow tourists on their backs. They are beaten and kept in terrible conditions. See more details here.

Airlines Or Ferry Companies

When people travel to their destination, they do not usually consider whether they are funding an airline / ferry company that supports animal torture and death. This may be because they transport animals for the animal experimentation industry, or transporting killed trophy hunted animals.


By giving their money to companies who do this, people are condoning and rewarding the company responsible. They are encouraging them to continue with their cruel practices. If people protested by closing their wallets to these companies, the cruelty would soon be stopped.  You can find information on travel companies at the bottom of the Ethical Shopping For Animal Lovers page.

You can see more about all these issues on the Support Cruelty Free Travel & Tourism page.

Personal Care & Household Products

Many of the most well known brands are owned by companies that put millions of animals through excruciating pain in completely unnecessary lab tests.

By buying these products, people are funding this animal torture and death, and encouraging the companies to continue it.

Image: Astonish are proud to make cruelty free household products


To see what kind of torture animals are forced to endure in laboratory tests before being killed, see animal experimentation.

To find out the companies who use the money people spend with them to fund animal torture, see the Ethical Shopping for Animal Lovers page. There is also information about where to find products that have not been tested on animals.

Image: This symbol of a leaping bunny on the back of a product means it is not tested on animals


Leisure Activities

There are many leisure activities that involve animals. The involvement of animal cruelty in some of them is not obvious.

It is important to look in to whether leisure activities are involved in animal abuse or not before deciding whether to fund them.

Zoos, Animal Parks And Safari Parks

For example, Knowsley Safari Park, Merseyside, UK, was exposed by a whistleblower employee as killing animals when they were surplus to requirements.

The shootings were sometimes carried out by staff not trained in the procedure. This meant the animals suffered terribly, needing to be shot again & again before finally dying.

Image: The body of an endangered Pere David’s deer, covered in a sheet. It was killed because of being surplus to requirements at Knowsley Safari Park, UK. Source

Another Pere David carcass, but not one that was necessarily left for a long period

Rodeo’s, Greyhound Racing And Horse Racing

Many leisure activities involving animals do not, on the surface, appear cruel. However, there are shocking levels of cruelty on a huge scale behind the scenes of some. These include rodeo’s, greyhound racing, and horse racing.

Animal Circuses

Circuses with animals are known for their behind-the-scenes animal torture. To find out what happens to circus animals, see circus animal cruelty. For instance, in between being trained, they are chained, barely able to move.

People often go to circuses involving animals, not realising the animal cruelty they are funding by doing so.

Below: Ringling Bros Circus training baby elephants with the vicious bullhook and ropes. Credit: PetaLatino



If people do not want to be responsible for any animal torture and death, it is necessary for them not have any animal produce in their diet.

Meat, dairy and eggs are not a necessary part of the human diet, they are eaten by choice.

People who are against animal torture, and do not wish to fund animal torture, eat the many cruelty free alternatives there are available.

To find out what kind of animal abuse people who buy / eat meat are funding, see slaughter house.

The suffering to animals that the dairy and egg industries cause may be less obvious to some people than that of the meat industry. However, it can often be even worse. Suffering funded by consumers of animal products can be learned of here.

Image: A vet talking about the animal torture he witnesses in slaughter houses.


Clothing And Footwear

By purchasing only clothes that have not caused animal suffering in their production, you are sending a clear message to the fashion industry. You are saying that you refuse to fund animal torture.


There are a number of materials used in clothing a footwear where animal suffering has been caused in their production. Some are more obviously involved in animal torture than others.


Fur is a well known cause of animal torture. Animals are kept in small cages on fur farms, or are caught in traps. They are treated particularly badly in Countries such as China, where they are routinely beaten and completely skinned alive. After this unimaginable agony, they are thrown onto a pile of other skinned animals, some of which are still alive and suffering. Because people are turning away from real fur, real fur is now being purposely mislabelled as faux fur in order to sell it.



Another obvious cause of animal suffering is leather. Often thought of as a by-product, leather is in fact a co-product. Leather produced in other countries, such as China,  and then exported to your country, can often be made from the skins of cats and dogs, including those who have been skinned alive. Cat and dog skins are often mislabelled as cow skin, as that is more acceptable to many people. The softer the leather, the younger the animal.

Why Is Silk Cruel?

Silk is also cruel, as it involves boiling silk worms alive inside their cocoons. Silk worms have brains and central nervous systems like us. It takes the torturous death of 3,000 of these animals to make one pound of silk. For more information, see here.

Image Source

There are a number of other fabrics and materials used in clothing and footwear that involve animal torture and suffering. With some of them, you may not have realised how they involve animal suffering. For more information, see here.

Interior Soft Furnishings

Down is soft feathers used inside some cushions and duvets. They are ripped out of birds in big clumps, every time they grow again. It is very painful.



Many people thoughtlessly buy pets without first checking at local animal rescues and shelters to see if they can save the life of a homeless animal first.


Millions of animals, especially cats and dogs, are put to death every year at shelters because people buy and breed dogs and cats instead of saving the lives of ones that have been abandoned by irresponsible owners.

Buying pets encourages people to make money out of breeding pets. While there are innocent, loving, adoptable animals being put to death because there are not enough homes for them, buying new ones is surely morally wrong.

When people buy a pet, they take away a home from an abandoned pet that could have been used to save its life.

Many people who breed pets are dishonest, disreputable breeders. Their priority is profit at any cost. This can often result in pain & heartache for both the pets and their owners, because of the health and/or behavioural problems their pet ends up with. See how to spot a bad breeder, here.

Most pet shops get their supply of puppies from incredibly cruel puppy mills. People who buy puppies from sellers supplied by puppy mills are funding horrendous cruelty.

The dogs used for breeding are abused, starved & over-used for breeding until it does their health irreversible harm. They are then no longer of use so are routinely and inhumanely killed, having never received any veterinary intervention to relieve their suffering.

Image: A rescued mother from a puppy farm Source: SAAWInternational


Pet Shops You Shop At

After reading this, if you are like me, you will vow never to shop in a pet store that sells live animals again:

Pet shops have been known to cause enormous amounts of animal suffering to pets, all unseen by the public.

Veterinary Treatment Is Not Worth It For Pet Stores

For example, Peta exposed immense cruelty At the PetSmart store in Manchester, Connecticut. An undercover investigation documented more than 100 animals—including hamsters, domestic rats, lizards, chinchillas, and birds—who lay hopelessly, just waiting to die, in the store’s “sick room”. They were deprived of desperately needed veterinary care and were wasting away out of customers’ sight.

Veterinary treatment is not worth the money for pet stores, because it will cost far more than they would gain from selling the pet. Their aim is to make a profit, not a loss by treating animals.

Images: Just two of the animals found suffering out of sight of customers at PetSmart, with no veterinary treatment given.

Video: Peta’s video by undercover investigator at PetSmart pet shop. Source

What Happens To Unsold Animals?

In pet shops, what happens to the animals that are not sold while they are still young enough to appeal to buyers? In many pet shops they are sadly killed and disposed of, or abandoned.

This was just one store, and a store that boasted of having an “exceptional pet care record,”. The numbers of animals suffering at pet shops everywhere are so large they are incomprehensible.

Sadly, these animals suffering so much because of pet shops is not the exception, it is the rule.

Horrific Cruelty In The Supply Chain

If you think that is bad, there is also a huge amount of horrific cruelty involved in the supply chain. There is a problem with inbreeding, so many animals do not turn out perfect enough for pet shops to accept them. They are also rejected if they are unwell. They are then left to die without any veterinary care, or killed by drowning, asphyxiation, beating on a hard surface, freezing to death,  gassed, or other methods.

At PetCo, (a supplier to PetSmart), an undercover investigator from Peta found that the workers did not even check to see if the animals were dead after being gassed, and just threw them into bins for those still alive to be crushed or suffocated to death by the bodies of the others. Workers had piled dozens of animals—ranging from rats and gerbils to guinea pigs and even a rabbit—at a time into a faeces-smeared cooler and crudely gassed them with carbon dioxide. Their screams could be heard across the room.

PetCo were also found to have frozen animals to death. Live rats were stuffed into plastic zipper bags or tossed onto plastic lids and put in a freezer, slowly freezing to death even as some frantically tried to claw their way out. Many of these animals were later sold as food for snakes and other carnivorous reptiles.

Video: Peta’s undercover footage of the cruelty to animals at Petco, a PetSmart pet store supplier.  Source

Dying En Route And Attacked In The Warehouse

The animals had been shipped overseas to the warehouse, and some had died en route. Cats were allowed to roam throughout the warehouse, jumping into the open boxes and killing the rodents. Some animals were left to die in agony after being attacked. No effort was made to protect or help them. Water was not provided for hundreds of animals, and filthy contaminated water was given to others. Animals had only tiny spaces, about six square inches each. Many showed signs of stress an illness. Sick and emaciated animals languished for days, left to die.

To learn of the full horror, see Peta’s article, here.

Peta has exposed at least four other large scale pet shop suppliers who caused similarly cruel suffering to innocent animals.

Tragically, there are countless instances of pet shops and their suppliers causing horrifying cruelty to animals. Here is another one. You just need to look to the internet to find that such cases of suffering are sadly abundant. What I have written here is only the tip of the iceberg. It is not even the worst of the cruelty.

Image: The suffering found at another pet store supplier Source

Shop At Pet Stores Who Do Not Sell Animals

To help stop this cruelty and suffering happening you can refuse to shop at pet shops and stores that sell animals and support the stores who do not.

You may think “this wouldn’t be allowed to happen with the pet store I go to”. In reality, it happens behind the scenes and in the supply chain of every pet store. There is no way that even the most seemingly ethical pet store could be 100% sure that there was no animal suffering in the supply chain of its pets. A truly ethical store simply would not sell live animals.

Most pet stores who sell animals do not make much of a profit on the animals themselves, but use them to bring in the customers. These customers then buy accessories and supplies for the pets there. Unless you want to support the continuation of such suffering, only buy pet supplies from pet shops that do not sell any live pets.

Please share this information with others. Most people do not know about it.

Which Charities You Support

Without realising it, many people support charities that fund the torture of animals. This is because many charities fund animal experimentation, or exploit and harm animals in other ways.

Many medical research charities, such as Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and the British Heart Foundation, use donated money to fund horrifically cruel tests on animals. There are, however, many lesser known medical research charities who choose to do humane research instead. Find more here.

Image: Animal Aid’s  UK Billboard exposing some of the charities who fund testing on animals.


Even some animal charities can support animal cruelty. Animal conservation charity WWF has expressed support for trophy hunting, as it brings in money for animal conservation. They, the RSPCB, and others, also use “wildlife management” methods, which means the culling of animals.

Other charities, such as Heifer International and Oxfam, use donated funds to purchase animals, such as cows or goats, and send them to poor families who cannot afford veterinary treatment for them. Too often the family then subject the animal to a horrific slaughter with a blunt knife for its meat. These gifting of animals programs are very poorly thought through, economically disastrous, and causes terrible animal suffering.

Image: Read Free From Harm’s 10 reasons to say NO to gifting animals here.


Lantern and Balloon Releases

Lantern or balloon releases are done for a wide number of reasons. They can be done as celebrations, they can be used by charities to draw attention to their cause, or they can be used to mark or highlight many other occasions. It is also very popular to release balloons or lanterns in memory of people who have passed away.

Tragic Consequences

Sadly, the releasing of balloons and lanterns have tragic consequences for  wildlife.

Birds get tangled up, trapped in the frames of the lanterns, and tragically die.

Image: Owl that died because of getting tangled in a released lantern.

Balloons can also cause birds to die due to getting entangled in their debris. They can also end up being eaten by land wildlife and  aquatic animals.  Because they are not able to digest them or get the nutrients they need from them, the balloons stay in the their stomach and the animal endures a horrible end, slowly starving to death.

Image: An endangered bird  became entangled in the debris of a balloons that had been released. Source.

Pay Tribute In A Way Where Animals Won’t Be Hurt

When paying tribute to a person who has passed away, there are animal friendly ways of doing so, such as by laying flowers,  a memorial bench, or creating living memorials such as memorial garden for friends to congregate in to remember, or planting a tree in honour of the person, or planting a flower planter. Other ways include painting pebbles and rocks to honour the person (without using plastic or foam stick on shapes, which do harm wildlife), a pebble mosaic or a natural sculpture as a tribute, or a candlelight vigil.

Would The Person Want Animals Hurt In Their Memory?

Unless the person  really hated animals, they would probably be horrified at animals being harmed in their name. On the other hand, if they liked animals, some of the ways of paying tribute are actually benefiting the environment, and providing food and habitat for animals.

Charities “Raising Awareness”

It is a bad idea for charities to let balloons and lanterns off into the sky to raise awareness of their cause. The negative publicity about the environmental and wildlife damage could easily lose them support.

Biodegradable Balloons?

Balloons that claim to be biodegradable do not take as long as traditional balloons to break down, but they still take long enough to cause harm to wildlife.

Image: Plastic bags, other plastic pollution, and balloons released into the air are all killing our wildlife.

Are You Supporting Animal Exploitation Through Your Investments?

Many of us invest money, but can we be sure than we are not supporting animal cruelty and suffering through those investments? There are ways to make sure we are not supporting cruelty, and still make money.

Here are articles on the subject for more information:

Image Source

Learn More About Animal Cruelty And The Many Other Ways To Help Stop it

On this site there are many varied ways you can help stop animal cruelty, and there are ways  that will suit everyone, no matter what their personality.

If you would like to learn more about why we so urgently need to help stop animal suffering, please have a look at this Types Of Animal Cruelty site. It will allow you to broaden your knowledge of many different types of animal abuse that happens in the world.

Help animals further by sharing the ways to stop animal cruelty you learn with other people. Doing this could mean more people help stop the cruelty, and therefore you are responsible for more animals being saved from suffering.

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