GUIDELINES FOR EFFAISTS
A collection of 10 guidelines for anyone who believes in our philosophy, and for anyone else who wants to improve the way we interact with the rest of the animal world.
1. Respect all animals, and act to help them. Not everyone comes to the realization that other animals, just like humans, are living beings that should be treated with respect, not as toys, commodities, food, or entertainment. The fact that you have come to this realization makes you special. But being special, being aware about the way things are is not enough. You have to act on your principles in order to give them power. The current way we interact with other animals is just plain wrong. It's up to us as individuals to do all we can to try to change the state of things as much as we can. If you don't know where to start, we have an online resource called "What you can do to help an animal today", which you should print and keep for reference.
2. Don't think it's naive to believe in change. Many of us hear phrases such as "what you're doing is just a drop in the ocean", or "things will never change". In fact, things do change. Take a look at the past 100 years. Sure, we don't live in a perfect world, but there have been positive changes in the way we interact with one another, in the way we work, even in the way we treat other animals. 100 years ago "animal rights" as a movement was virtually non-existent. Now there are more and more laws protecting other animals from abuse and mistreatment. It's up to us to make sure that this trend continues. Apart from that, there's another important truth to remember: helping just one animal makes it all worthwhile. If you manage to save just one animal from suffering and/or death, you have done a very good thing.
3. Do not eat meat. One of the biggest deceptions of all is that there's nothing wrong with eating meat. This goes hand with the myth that "not eating meat is unhealthy". All of this is simply not true. Since eating meat involves the acceptance of the killing of innocent beings, it is one of the worst things you can do both for yourself and for the world. We believe that killing animals for food (or having others kill them for you) is ethically wrong, and that doing so results in direct negative consequences both for the meat eater and the world s/he lives in. Becoming a vegetarian is the most direct and effective way to communicate that you don't accept our current unfair treatment of other animals. Remember that animals often suffer a lot in other food industries as well, so we recommend that you also avoid eating dairy products, eggs, etc.
4. Do not wear fur, leather, or any other part of a dead animal. Also avoid wearing wool, as this industry involves a lot of animal suffering as well.
5. Do not support any sports/activities in which animals are made to suffer, or are killed. Examples of such sports/activities include bullfighting, dog fighting, cock fighting, hunting, fishing, etc. We do not believe in the "overpopulation" myth. We believe that when left alone, nature is able to control the population of species without our help. It is when we interfere with nature that we disrupt its balance, often leading to an overpopulation of a species (such as deer). Then, to make things even worse, we start killing them. We also do not support any religious ritual that involves killing or hurting an animal.
6. Stay positive. This is not an empty slogan, but a very important part of our philosophy. Many people who feel a true empathy for other animals are overwhelmed by the massive amounts of animal suffering in the world. Any compassionate person will feel disgusted and appalled by the type of cruelty that exists in the world today. Often, such emotions lead to negativity, and the person either becomes violent or (in the majority of cases) depressed. Instead of focusing on "how awful the world is", let's focus on how great it is that we are aware of the injustices that other animals face, and can do something about it. This is very important. The fact that you have been given a gift, the ability to feel compassion for animals, and to see beyond the status quo, should not be wasted on sulking and complaining. It should manifest itself in direct, positive action to help as many animals as possible. If you're in a dark room, it's not enough to just say "the room is dark". You should shine a light.
7. Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today. This is another important guideline that we encourage people to live by. Laziness is a powerful force. It makes you think that it's OK to wait until tomorrow, or the next day, etc. The truth is, if you have to do something to help an animal, do it today. If you know what has to be done, do it. Don't put it off. People who kill animals, who make life miserable for them, who treat them cruelly don't wait until the next day. You shouldn't either. EFFA is about acting, not procrastinating.
8. Put aside at least 10% of your disposable income every month to help animals. If this sounds like a lot of money, it isn't. Many of us spend a lot of money every month on going out, on new clothes or gadgets, and other forms of entertainment. We should set aside a little bit of this money and donate it to animal shelters or any other organizations that help animals in need. It is a simple concept, and, more importantly, a very easy and very rewarding way to help. While it's important to pressure government (on all levels) to provide more funding to organizations and programs that help animals, we should also actively help as well, and this is a perfect way to do so. If these animals can't depend on conscious people like us, who can they depend on?
9. Do not be afraid to speak your mind. Do not be afraid to show people that you care about animals, and that you are willing to stand up for what you believe in. Many people in the world believe that the current way we treat other animals is acceptable, when in fact it isn't. We believe that many of the negative things that happen in our world are partially caused by the mass suffering that we inflict on other animals. The fact that other animals deserve the right to live (and to do so without suffering) is a powerful realization. If you have come to this realization, you should be proud, not afraid. One thing to remember, however, is to make sure you know what you're talking about. That's why we encourage everyone to inform and educate themselves as thoroughly as possible before entering into any debate about animal rights, vegetarianism, etc.
10. Stay focused. You are the voice of the animals. By coming to the realization of the suffering that millions of animals have to endure on the streets, shelters, and slaughterhouses of the world, you have assumed a very important responsibility: to let people know that we have to improve our relationship with the rest of the animal world. When you lose your focus, the animals lose their voice, since they can't speak for themselves. We're not saying that you should devote all your time to helping other animals, but that it's important to not lose sight of the goal. Helping animals is an extremely satisfying experience, especially when you help out of compassion and love. Remember, knowing the truth is not good enough. One should also act to help create a better world in which humans and other animals coexist peacefully.