After years of headlines about animal overpopulation and suffering, I was desperate to find a way to teach children about some of the issues that pets and animals face in the United States today. I also wanted to incorporate healthier eating for children because I had heard of a four year old boy that had suffered a heart attack, most likely due to obesity. There is so much suffering in the lives of animals and humans and it’s often (if not always) unnecessary.  I figured that if I could teach children about healthier eating, and the importance of spaying, neutering, adopting and caring for pets at an early age, it would make a difference in the lives of the millions of animals that are surrendered, abused, consumed and/or euthanized each year. What evolved is a product that gives back tenfold.

I came up with the idea to design a board game called Fur & Feathers that would address these issues and also help with the growing numbers of children suffering from to childhood diabetes, heart problems and obesity. With this in mind, I added a cute little Café to the game. I named it Choices Café. When the children visit the Café, they are offered a menu with healthy, animal-free meal choices. I believe this will give the players something to think about the next time they visit a restaurant or sit down to a meal. Players also visit the Farm and the Animal Shelter where they save animals.  The first player to save all five animals wins the game, and they learn about animals along the way. The game is educational and fun.

I am dedicated to giving back to animals with the proceeds of Fur & Feathers. I offer it at a deep discount to any animal rescue or sanctuary that needs to raise funds to care for animals.  Fur & Feathers is also offered for wholesale to retail, toy and game stores.

The biggest challenge I am is facing today is the difficulty of competing in a market where most children’s toys and games are produced with outsourced labor and parts from other countries (which greatly lowers costs and increases profit).  Despite this, I refuse to back down and strongly believe that if manufacturing returned to the US, it would benefit us tremendously. It is my goal to set an example for other small companies and manufacturers.

Fur & Feathers™ is available online and is also sold at many retail stores, gift shops and animal sanctuaries. More information can be found on my website www.animalmatters.com.  The game retails for $19.99.

photo courtesy of Chris Durrant

Christine Durrant is the Founder of Animal Matters, based out of Pleasant Hill, CA. An avid animal lover from childhood, Durrant desperately wanted to find a way to help curb the tremendous overpopulation of domestic and farm animals. Her approach is gentle and education-based. She believes that children have the capacity and power to make compassionate decisions on a daily basis, and that if they learn healthy and more eco-friendly alternatives to junk food, they will carry that knowledge into adulthood. This will provide lifelong health benefits and also help preserve the planet and its precious resources and animals. She believes that by offering simple information, children will become empowered and make the necessary connections on their own.

Christine plans to continue to develop fun, educational products that address animal issues and has many exciting products coming soon!  Visit www.AnimalMatters.com for some great resources for animal lovers and earth-friendly products.