Suffering footprint, as a concept is similar to other footprint terms like Carbon Footprint etc. The concept of Suffering Footprint encompasses the kind of physical or mental suffering & turmoil, caused to some number of beings by every type of consumption or production.
Consumption or production of various products or services, whether its necessity based or indulgence based, often leads to suffering of beings, especially animals. For example, something as simple as a pack of potato chips, leads to the following chain of suffering:
>> Land is cleared for potatoes which leads to thousands of organisms’ death
>> The ploughing of land to grow the potatoes causes lifelong physical pain to the bull who does it
>> The physical pain then endured by the labours to pick up the potatoes
>> Supply chain kicks in for transporting potatoes which leads to animal suffering to mine materials to make petrol for transport
>> The suffering of animals that is then caused due to the plastic packaging of the potato chips
All of this leads to the realization that others must suffer for even one simple pleasure of life and even our very existence. However, removing ourselves from the equation to eliminate our suffering footprint is not feasible. One can adjust their ways of living and consumption to reduce their own suffering footprint at an individual level, which will have a larger impact on the animals and other beings.
Here are 3 simple ways one can look at for reducing suffering footprint or animal suffering directly:
Low Consumption or only Basic Consumption
We can deduce from above easily that consumption leads to suffering. Hence, one can consume mindfully to fulfil their needs, and not their desires.
Animal Rescuing & Feeding
By volunteering to help animals you’ll be balancing the suffering side of the equation of the suffering footprint. This can be done via animal rescuing from the strays on road who get killed, rescuing animals out of labs or even rescuing them from human consumption. Even feeding them on a day-to-day basis can save their lives.
Saying no to meat and animals of any kind, saying no to dairy products which involve a lot of animal suffering is precisely what veganism means. One can convert into a vegan to save animals from being consumed one at a time.