Frequently Asked Questions

Got a question we missed? Contact us.

How can I help?

How do I become a member? May I volunteer? Do you have a mailing list? 

Whether you're an artist, a great fundraiser, a letter-writer, able to hold a sign or give out leaflets outside of an animal circus, or would be willing to do something a little bit edgier, your compassion is valuable and appreciated. 

Please sign up for your tax-deductible LION membership to receive a membership card, updates, special offers, local discounts, and donate to our cause. Short on cash? No worries. You can still sign up for updates and invitations to upcoming events free of charge. 

Got a business? Please email [email protected] to hear about our partnership program and what we can do for you and what you can do for our cause. 

Got a specific skill-set or some extra time on your hands? Please sign up to volunteer.

How do I start a protest?

Do I need money? What happens if I get arrested? What if I’m told I can’t protest? Do I really need to talk to media?

If you’re from Long Island or New York City, we suggest the first thing you do is contact us at [email protected]!

If you’re outside of NYC/Long Island, please reach out to our friends at PETA via [email protected] and do let them know we say hi! If you give them notice, PETA will supply you with posters, literature, and even send out an Action Alert to their local members free of charge! They may contact the press; however, we strongly suggest you contact them as well.

Peaceful protests can just as accurately be called educational demonstrations, so please do not worry about getting arrested, people getting belligerent, or anything of the sort. Most protests are laid back and fun. That being said, it is best practice to always go with a group and to know your rights so your protest goes smooth as cotton. Remember, free speech is our First Amendment right!

But if things do go sour and you are arrested at a demonstration in the Long Island/NYC area, please call the National Lawyers Guild’s NYC Chapter at 212-679-6018 immediately for free assistance.

What do I do if I find an injured, stray or feral animal on Long Island?

Found a baby animal? Read this before you do anything else. 
For adult wildlife on Long Island, please contact Volunteers for Wildlife at (516) 674-0982 or [email protected].

Stray or feral animals:
If you find a feral or stray animal, don’t assume he or she has a home. Stray and feral animals are not equipped to survive long in the wild, often succumbing to predators, poisoning, disease, starvation, and even laboratory dealers.

Plus, if a stray animal is not sterilized, one cat can turn into dozens very quickly.

If a stray flees when you approach, start putting out food to get him or her into the habit of visiting. Borrow a humane box trap from your local animal shelter or purchase one from Tomahawk Live Trapping Company (1-800-27-ATRAP).

Next, check for tags and bring the animal to a veterinarian or animal shelter to check for microchips. Many lost animals are reunited with their families because someone took the time to check. But don’t assume that because the animal has a collar, he or she has a home. Many are abandoned, or their families have given up looking for them.

Immediately file a “found” report at all area shelters, and don’t be afraid to take the animal to a well-run shelter—that’s usually the first place where people look. Place a classified ad in the newspaper (many papers run “found” ads for free or at a discount). Put up signs within a 2-mile radius that say, “Found cat. Call [telephone number].” Don’t give any details. Let callers give you details; this weeds out people who are trying to acquire animals under false pretenses to sell to laboratories or dogfighting rings.

If no one claims the animal, find a home where he or she will live inside as a member of the family. Visit the home, ask lots of questions, ask for and check references, and have adopters sign a contract.

Always sterilize animals before they go to their new homes. Call 1-800-248-SPAY for information on low-cost spay/neuter programs in your area. If you are unable to find a good home, take the animal to a reputable shelter run by a humane organization. (Many of these shelters will also allow you to be notified prior to any possibility of euthanasia if you request it.)

What does cruelty-free mean, and where can I find cruelty-free cosmetics and household products?

Cruelty-free products refer to products that have not been tested on animals. To make sure no rabbit’s been wearing your eye-liner, check out our cruelty free listing and use BFP's Cruelty Cutter App when you're on the go!

While not all cruelty-free products are vegan, to be truly cruelty free we encourage you to look for the V label in our listing.

What's the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan?

Becoming vegetarian is a big step in the right direction, however, going vegan is more than just a diet.  It's living an ethical lifestyle.

Vegans abstain from all animal products, excluding meat (which includes fish!), dairy, gelatin and honey from their 'fridges, and excluding fur, leather, wool, silk, and down from their closets.

Want to save the most animals you can? Going vegan spares 100 animals every year alone! (See our Vegan Guide to Long Island to help you get started.)

What's wrong with dairy and eggs?

Cows used by the dairy industry are impregnated every year to ensure a regular supply of milk. In order to be able to carton this milk up for human consumption, cows used by the industry have their babies ripped from them within a day or two of birth. Female calves are often slaughtered immediately or raised to one day have their babies taken away as well. Male calves are sold to the veal industry where they often spend their only 16 weeks of life in crates so small they are unable to turn around, causing their muscles to atrophy as well as develop anemia from malnutrition. 

The high demand for milk requires that cows be pushed far beyond their natural limits, genetically manipulated, and fed massive quantities of hormones in order to produce large quantities of milk for our current marketplace, forcing even the most well-meaning farmers to kill babies and send their mothers to an early death when her milk production wanes. (Hear it from the farmers.)

Worldwide more than 50 billion chickens are killed each year, with another 5.6 billion living in cages owned by the egg-laying industry.

According to United Poultry Concerns, the modern hen used for egg production is far removed from the active Southeast Asian jungle fowl from whom she’s derived and from the active farmyard birds of the more recent past. She is a painfully debeaked, tortured bird who is jammed in a wire cage for a year or two, squeezed together with 8 or 9 other tormented hens in sheds holding 50,000 to 125,000 terrified, bewildered birds.

A small bird, forced to churn out huge numbers of large eggs, this hen is prone to a cruel condition known as uterine prolapse. When a small chicken pushes and strains day after day to expel large eggs, her uterus pushes out through the vent area leading to painful infection and a slow, agonizing death. The egg industry deprives hens of all food or severely restricts their rations from one to three weeks straight to manipulate egg laying and market prices, and to “save feed costs.” This practice is called forced molting.

Cooped for life without exercise while constantly drained of calcium to produce egg shells, laying hens develop osteoporosis, a mineral depletion and breaking of the bones from which many hens die miserably in their cages, often with their heads trapped between the bars. This disease of imprisonment is called caged layer fatigue. 

Male chicks, deemed useless by the egg industry, are ground up alive, electrocuted, or simply suffocated in trashcans peeping to death while a human foot stomps them down to make more room for more chicks. Because the male chicken of the egg industry cannot lay eggs, and has not been genetically manipulated for profitable meat production, he is of no use to the egg industry. Destruction of unwanted male chicks is a worldwide practice, accounting for 250 million deaths annually in the United States alone. 

Where should I get a puppy? A frog? A parrot?

Most animals found in stores and over the internet, whether they be a dog, a cat, a gerbil or a frog come from animal mills

These horrific breeders treat mothers like factories, breeding them over and over again in pitiful conditions, always to take their babies from them after a matter of weeks to sell across the country. Even in Suffolk County, where the law is the strongest in New York State, stores are filled with animals bred from disreputable breeders.

But is there really such a thing as a reputable breeder? Each year, 6-8 million dogs and cats enter shelters in the United States. 3-4 million of these dogs and cats are euthanized, many due simply to over-crowding. The numbers for other animals are so high they are not even tracked. Can it ever be ethical to breed animals when there are so many already looking for homes? 

All of us at LION urge you to adopt, not shop, and always buy your supplies from a store that does not sell animals. While we certainly love mixed breeds over here, breed-rescues abound and 25% of dogs in shelters are purebred, so there's someone for everyone. Check out Petfinder today to find an animal near you.

What about zoos and aquariums?

Zoos and aquariums, not unlike circuses and rodeos, exploit animals for profit and entertainment.
While they often tout their educational and conservation benefits, the reality is zoos and aquariums are little more than glorified prisons.

In the words of former zoo architect and director David Hancocks, "Zoos have been dressing themselves up as champions of conservation, but they’re not matching it with what they do. If you strip away the rhetoric of what zoos claim they do and what they actually do, it’s still 99.99 percent putting animals on show.” SeaWorld for instance spends only 0.0006% of their revenue on rescue, rehabilitation, and conservation all together.

Teach your children compassion, not oppression; and show your date you have a heart. Instead of going to the Long Island Aquarium, sign up for a seal walk at Jones Beach or Montauk Point State Park. Skip the Long Island Game Farm and volunteer your time at Catskill Animal Sanctuary. (You may even see some of our rescues while you're there!)

Should I boycott a company that sells vegan or cruelty free items because they sell non-vegan products?

While boycotts are a staple of any social movement, they must be used strategically. Boycotting a grocery or restaurant chain, such as Chipotle, Whole Foods, or Taco Bell, that has a wealth of vegan options is counterproductive when not paired with a tangible campaign. Businesses follow their consumer base, so if their consumers are not purchasing their vegan options, their vegan options will be replaced with non-vegan options, and vice versa.
We don't however give anyone a free pass on animal abuse simply because they make a great veggie burger. Look out for future events exposing “The Humane Myth” near you.   

What’s your opinion on PETA, The HSUS and other animal organizations?

LION is a separate organization from PETA, The HSUS and other animal advocacy organizations, focusing on Long Island issues with its own distinct edge. As a result, LION members have differing opinions when it comes to this wide variety of groups, with some disagreeing with some of their tactics, others volunteering their time with these organizations as well, and still others, such as LION’s President, working for organizations like PETA apart from LION. 

What’s your opinion on the Animal Liberation Front (ALF)?

LION is a legal activist organization whose volunteers only engage in legal advocacy. That being said, we realize people have used a wide variety of tactics in past and present social movements to combat injustice; and as a result, we try not to condemn any efforts on behalf of animals in which no one is harmed. After all, we would never have condemned abolitionists establishing The Underground Railroad or the brave men and women who hid Jews from the Nazis during the Holocaust.

Are donations tax-deductible?

As a 501(c)3 charity registered with the State of New York, your gift to LION is tax-deductible.  As a 100% volunteer organization, you can be sure your donation is going to work for the animals.