For anyone who campaigns for animals - or for anything else - progress can seem frustratingly slow. But several recent successes show that protesting does sometimes work, and that animal suffering will be reduced as a result.
Here are some changes for the better:
Stop Ecocide Law aims to make ecocide - destruction of a habit - an international crime, regarded with the same seriousness as genocide, terrorism and other crimes against humanity.
This month the Belgian Parliament has adopted the legal resolution. It's to be hoped that other countries will follow.
What can you do? Follow Stop Ecocide to learn more. Join, to become an Earth Protector. Write to your MP asking the UK government to adopt the resolution.
Looking for easy ways to reduce your environmental impact? Greenpeace has produced this free guide, listing 101 ways you can change your habits to live more sustainably. Great for New Year resolutions!
What can you do? Download the free guide. Give yourself some targets - you probably can't do all 101 of the things suggested, but probably you are doing some of them already and can set yourself some new challenges. Find it here, and follow Greenpeace for news of their campaigns and actions.
Good news for octopuses, squid and lobsters - they are at last to be recognised as sentient beings. It must be recognised that they can feel pain, and must be treated as animals rather than objects. This will have implications for how they are kept, transported and killed. Compassion in World Farming has campaigned against octopus farms, claiming that confined conditions are entirely unsuitable for these intelligent creatures.
What can you do? Support and follow Compassion in World Farming - they do such valuable work to improve conditions for farm animals worldwide.
The National Trust, following a vote by its members, will no longer issue licenses to foxhound packs on its land. Fox-hunting is already illegal, but 'trailhunting' is still allowed by law. However, hunts all over the country continue to flout this rule, with foxes killed every week during the hunting season. At least they won't be able to do it on National Trust land any more, and other land-owners are likely to follow.
Cheshire West and Chester Council is also banning trailhunting on its land, and there are campaigns to persuade other councils to do the same.
What can you do? If you live in a country area where fox-hunting takes place, write to your council and ask them to ban it on the land they own. Follow, support or join the RSPCA, the League Against Cruel Sports or Keep the Ban.
The European Union plans to phase out animal testing in laboratories. The vote comes after a study found 72% of EU citizens support bringing an end to the cruel practices of testing on animals.
In addition to public support, cross-party members of the European Parliament voted by an overwhelming majority (667-4) in favour of “a transition from animal testing to ethical and effective alternatives.”
What can you do? Make sure that your cosmetics, shampoo, deodorant etc. and household products haven't been tested on animals by looking for the Leaping Bunny logo which guarantees that they are cruelty-free.
Travel company Expedia has said that it will no longer sell tickets for attractions with captive cetaceans (aquatic mammals like dolphins and orcas). “We recently adjusted our animal welfare policy. As a result, attractions and activities that involve performances by or interactions with dolphins and other cetaceans will no longer be available on our sites.” This is excellent news - I hope other travel companies will follow.
What can you do? Follow and support campaigning organisations like the Marine Conservation Society. When on holiday, never visit Seaworld or any other 'attraction' that features captive dolphins or orcas.
Several fashion brands and companies have now said that they will stop using angora wool. Why? Because, although angora is a lovely soft fleece used for sweaters, scarves etc., it's cruelly produced - angora rabbits spend their whole lives in cages and their fur is roughly shorn or ripped from their bodies, many times during their lifetime. The Armani, Gucci, Burberry and Selfridges are among fashion houses that already don't use angora or are phasing it out, and others are sure to follow.
What can you do? Don't buy knitwear that contains angora. Support PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).
And - read my book! There are many more suggestions there of ways to avoid cruelty and make kinder choices.
What can you do? Buy a copy from your local bookshop or from Bookshop.org, or order one from your library!