Have a compassionate Christmas

Posted on the 12th December 2013

There are lots of ways to enjoy a compassionate Christmas and help animals at the same time … read on.


With so many wonderful veggie alternatives to the traditional Xmas turkey, there are numerous ways to make your festive dinner a real veggie treat! For instance, VBites (formerly Redwoods) produces a vegan turkey-style ‘Celebration Roast’ that comes with gravy and four ‘pigs-in-blankets’ that you can just pop in the oven. Vegusto also have a selection of cruelty-free festive roasts available to buy through their website.

All the vegetables and accompaniments can easily be made vegan with a little thought. Bisto’s original gravy, as well as its vegetable one, is suitable for vegans, as are many other brands; and lots of packet mixes for stuffing are also vegan.

Vegan Christmas puddings can be found in Tesco, Lidl and Co-op, and animal-free mince pies are available from Asda, Aldi, Lidl and Sainsbury’s.

If you’re a little more adventurous in the kitchen, you could try some of Animal Aid’s festive recipes or one of the multitude of recipes for nut roasts, roulades, pies, tarts and other meat-free Christmas centrepieces to be found online.

And don’t forget, we sell lots of gorgeous cookery books through our shop!


Some charities launch an appeal at Christmas asking people to donate money to buy chickens, goats or cows for people in poorer countries. While this looks like a terrific gift, the reality is that it means suffering for the animals involved, as well as more economic pressure on the recipients. That’s because animal farming is immensely inefficient compared with plant agriculture, in its use of land, labour and energy. Plus it is a major source of climate-changing gases.

Instead, why not help one of the many excellent charities that are supporting people living in poorer countries without harming animals in the process? See the list.

And, don’t forget, if you want to donate some money to a medical charity, please make sure you give to one that does not fund animal experiments. Read our list of health charities and their status.


This is the main time of year when many people will be pressured into buying a pet as a present, without thinking through what’s involved by way of ongoing expenses, time and commitment. Animals are not toys and many hurried ‘purchases’ end up at the local rescue centre as soon as Christmas is over.

Please don’t buy pets as gifts – and tell your friends and family likewise. Anyone seriously considering adopting an animal into their home should talk to their nearest reputable shelter.


Christmas is a time to indulge in some festive entertainment – from Santa’s grottos to a bit of rollicking pantomime. Sadly, it has become increasingly common to use live animals (reindeer, donkeys and even camels) to attract visitors.

Animals find the noise and crowds of busy shopping centres stressful and frightening. Only by staying away from such events will companies get the message – so make sure you check and, if you find an event near to you that uses animals, please spare a few minutes to write to the council or venue hosting it to let them know your views. We also have leaflets available on the use of reindeer.

There are still plenty of ways to entertain the kids at Christmas, so please opt for one that doesn’t feature live animals.


If you have some free time, then perhaps make a pledge to go a little further to help animals this festive season. Whether you build some feed stations around your garden for wildlife during the cold weather, contact your local animal rescue centre to ask if they need donations of blankets, newspapers, towels, etc (or even help with feeding the animals over Christmas), or help an elderly neighbour with dog walking – anything you can do to help really does count.

Wishing all our friends and supporters a peaceful and compassionate festive season!

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