This, Not That: Fourth of July

When everyone’s making plans with family and getting decked out in red, white, and blue, it can mean only one thing—the Fourth of July is almost here! Independence Day is a chance to relax, spend time with loved ones, and enjoy unique celebrations. But some of the most common holiday activities disturb animals and put their lives at risk.

As our era’s trend-setting generation, we have the power to change this. There are tons of ways to celebrate that are thrilling, rewarding, and spectacular and that don’t threaten anyone’s safety. Let’s show our country that no one needs to mess with animals to have a fun day off.

Here’s how to make your Fourth of July a party for all:

DON’T Go to a Fireworks Show

✔️ DO Go to a Drone Show

If you’ve seen your dog cry, pace, or run around your home while fireworks were going off, they weren’t being dramatic. Dogs have far more sensitive hearing than humans, so even fireworks from miles away hurt their ears. They also have no idea that people use fireworks to celebrate. For all they know, the deafening explosions are a danger to them and their beloved humans.

Instead of traumatizing dogs by taking them to a fireworks show, search for a drone show in your area. Drones top fireworks shows by silently lighting up the sky and swooping from one brilliant pattern to the next. Fireworks could never. 😎 If there isn’t a drone show in your area, let local officials know that you’d like to see one. To get them on your side, mention that drones are safer than fireworks, produce virtually no air pollution, and are booming in popularity.

DON’T Cook Meat

✔️ DO Have a Vegan BBQ

Having a barbecue with family or friends is one of July Fourth’s best-loved traditions. But how can you enjoy a get-together when animal flesh is on the grill? Cows, pigs, chickens, and other animals are emotional beings who can feel love, fear, and pain. Serving chunks of their dead bodies supports industries that abuse and slaughter them.

With so many vegan BBQ options available, you can make mouth-watering meals that don’t require cruelty to animals. Vegan chicken from Daring Foods and Meati, burgers from Beyond Meat and MorningStar Farms (plus so many other companies!), and tofu slap so hard that even die-hard meat-eaters will be impressed. A ton of other classic summer food is already vegan, like corn, berries, and watermelon. And why not cool off with creamy vegan frozen treats? (I love Arctic Zero’s ultra-rich Purely Chocolate pint!)

DON’T Leave Animal Companions Outside

✔️ DO Keep Them Indoors

July can be hottt. We want to hang with our animal companions outside—but keeping them safe is more important. The sizzling sun can give them heatstroke and cause the pavement to scorch their paws. Like a fluffy coat, their fur makes them hotter, even in the shade.

It’s safest for animals to be kept inside during celebrations. With air conditioning and fresh water, they can stay cool even on the hottest summer days. Plus, they won’t be at risk of eating, stepping on, or trying to play with something dangerous that they can find outside. People see cats as the curious ones, but seriously, dogs love checking everything out, too.

DON’T Use Firecrackers

✔️ DO Play Games

Image from Unsplash of people playing frisbee

In addition to putting on or attending fireworks shows, some people set off firecrackers. This is a problem for many reasons: They’re super-loud (especially to dogs), can injure small animals, and leave behind dangerous debris that animals can choke on. Firecrackers also put other animals at risk—humans! We’re guessing you don’t want to spend the holiday in the emergency room. 😳

There are much better ways to have fun that don’t risk blowing off your fingers. Set up a mini baseball field, play Frisbee, or break out the lawn games to stay active. Activities like charades, card games, and board games are perfect for a bonding experience that’s a little more chill.

DON’T Go to Cruel Carnivals

✔️ DO Go to Animal-Free Attractions

Here’s an easy one to remember: Any carnival or fair that uses animals as attractions is an instant no. Animals can’t consent to being part of the festivities, and people often force them to perform tricks or sit in tiny enclosures so the events can rake in the dough. Many of these animals are confused and frightened, and it only makes the situation worse when countless people stare at them.

You know what’s way more fun than scaring animals? Going to animal-free attractions that feature jugglers, acrobats, face painting, carousels, and music. Spend your time and money enjoying compassionate activities like these to make exploitation in the entertainment industry a thing of the past.

DON’T Create Lots of Waste

✔️ DO Be Eco-Friendly

Image from PETA Shop website of PETA water bottle

Barbecues, festivals, and other outdoor activities create big potential for waste. Even if you throw trash in a garbage can instead of on the ground, that’s still adding more clutter to massive landfills that spill over into the ocean. Animals can get caught in this trash and endure excruciating deaths.

But don’t worry. You can reduce your waste footprint by choosing eco-friendly materials like reusable water bottles, washable plates, and cardboard. To make sure nothing you get rid of will end up killing someone, cut open or crush cans and put lids on jars before disposing of them, recycle plastic, and seal trash bags. Huge events like parades can also leave a lot of litter behind, so picking up choking hazards from the streets, sidewalks, and grass can save animals’ lives. Learn more about cleaning up the world for animals in order to be the human hero they need.


The Fourth of July can be a difficult day for many animals and humans. If your friends or family celebrate Independence Day, urge them to be kind to others and reflect on how we can use this day to educate ourselves and speak out against all forms of supremacy.

Have a happy—and safe—Fourth of July! Help protect animals by following our tips, and be sure to protect yourself, too. Spending a lot of time in the blazing sun raises the risk of getting skin damage, so lather up with some cruelty-free sunscreen to keep your skin silky smooth and healthy.  

Text peta2 to 30933 for ways to help animals, tips on compassionate living, and more!

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