10 tips for a cruelty free festive period

09 December 2014

We sent out an "all staff" Animals Asia email – "What are your tips for a cruelty free Christmas?"

We're delighted to share the response…

1/ Choose a vegan-friendly Christmas pudding

The most amazing vegan Christmas puddings can easily be found in supermarkets and vegan shops – and you really can't tell the difference between these and the traditional Xmas puds that contain animal fats. Animals Asia founder and CEO, Jill Robinson says, "these are even yummier if you add lashings of Alpro's vegan-friendly cream. Soak it in Cointreau for the full festive feel."

Christmas pudding for one! #vegan #glutenfree #healthy #vegansofig #veganfoodshare #vegansgreetings #food #holidays

2/ Give an animal a gift

Animals Asia Senior Bear Manager Heidi Quine suggests that this festive season you turn the tables and give an animal a gift. "Pledge to do meat-free Mondays all next year or vow to switch to free range eggs, or sponsor a rescued animal – there are countless ways you can give a little, but make a big difference in the lives of animals."

3/ Research your ethical gifts thoroughly

Ethical gifts are a great idea for loved ones during the festive season, but make sure you research the gift thoroughly. Gifting animals isn't as straightforward as it sounds. There is increased opposition to giving livestock to poor communities in developing countries. Research your gift well, and make sure your contribution makes a difference.

4/ Support those who support animals

Vegantown in the UK sell the most amazing vegan chocolate online – including Italian truffle chocolate, gourmet French pralines, rum truffles and a whole host of amazing sweets - AND they deliver abroad, AND they give a percentage of profits to two charities, one of which is Animals Asia!

Vegan Cake

5/ Animals are for life, not just for Christmas

An oldie but a goodie. Whether it is a dog, cat, rabbit or any other sentient animal, please, please, please think twice before giving an animal as a present. If you're not sure that the recipient can care for the animal for the rest of its natural life, then there are better presents out there for your loved one.

The Best Gift

6/ Don't assume fur is fake

You'd think you'd be safe buying fake fur but think again. Even fur labelled as fake can prove to be the real thing, with fur being sourced from dogs and cats. Best off avoiding fur altogether – fake or otherwise – it looks best on animals.

Furry Glenz FX

7/ Buy with the bunny logo

Cosmetics are great gifts, but not all of them are cruelty-free. If you don't want to give gifts that were tested on animals, make sure your cosmetics have the leaping bunny logo indicating that they were made without cruelty.

8/ Swap turkey for faux-turkey

Faux-turkey is a really tasty feel-good alternative to real turkey. Tofurky, Field Roast, Vegan Whole Turkey, and Gardein make delicious vegan alternatives to the traditional roast.

Faux Turkey Breast with Rosemary Mushroom Gravy

9/ Stuff yourself – not an animal

There are loads of vegetarian stuffings out there and many of the most common are also vegan. The ever-present Paxo versions for example will go down well with vegan guests and can even be spiced up with fried onions, mushrooms or cranberries. These stuffings are super festive, yummy and won't harm a soul. A bonus tip – some Bisto gravy granules are actually vegan too.

10/ Buy a virtual gift for the bears as a present for your nearest and dearest

Animals Asia cares for over 300 bears at their three sanctuaries in China and Vietnam. These animals have been rescued from the barbaric bile trade and many suffer from long-term physical and mental conditions. Having endured years of cruelty at the hands of humans, these beautiful animals absolutely deserve some love during the holiday season. From fruit baskets to a new swing there are a number of gifts available that will help enrich these animals' lives.

Dung and James