10 tips for a cruelty-free Christmas

22 December 2015


We sent out an “all staff” Animals Asia email – “What are your tips for a cruelty-free Christmas?” – and surveyed last year’s tips to compile a list that will satisfy your stomach and heart.

If you’re still craving some vegan tips, scroll down to see Animals Asia Vet Weng’s three favourite vegan holiday recipes!

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 Christmas 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/ Make a pledge for the New Year

Pledge to do Meatless Mondays all next year, 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 being, 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/ Avoid palm oil

Look out for products that contain palm oil, and avoid purchasing them. Vast areas of virgin tropical rain forest are being clear cut to support demand for the most widely-used vegetable oil in the world, and it’s having a catastrophic effect on wild orangutan populations in Malaysia and Indonesia. Many amazingly delicious vegan treats unfortunately include palm oil.

8/ Show your family how good vegan can be

Faux-turkey is a really tasty feel-good alternative to real turkey. TofurkyField Roast and Gardein make delicious vegan alternatives to the traditional roast. And Jamie Oliver has a whole raft of options for going vegan this festive season here.

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 nearly 400 bears 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.

Dick plays with a hammock at his enclosure 4

Bonus – Chef Weng’s top three vegan holiday dishes!

Animals Asia Vet Weng has some vegan tips for the holiday season – or all year round!

Senior Vet Weng feeds Cliff sweet potatoes as she is doing a visual check for his eyes

Vegan Gravy

“I've literally made this hundreds of times and vary it by adding herbs / spices / mushrooms / onions, depending on what I feel like. It’s great on roast veggies or mashed potatoes.”

2012-03-03 - VJF Vegan Sausage Gravy - 0006

Vegan Mac and Cheese

“I made this for the first time recently – my hubby raved about it, and [former Animals Asia Bear Manager] Sarah Dempsey said she had serious dinner envy after trying it.”

vegan mac & cheese and kale

Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup

“This is another hot favourite – the cashews give it an amazing nutty flavor – I made this for parties at my previous workplace and no one guessed it was vegan!”

Vegan mushroom soup