I can remember when I went toxin free and vegan, I was very conscious about being a pain when it came to people getting gifts for me, as I was aware that they found it tricky and was even called awkward.
As Vegans we must remember that we only know what we know because we have learnt it, because it interests us and it is part of our lifestyle and our ethics. We are all different, I wouldn’t know what to buy a sea food lover or a whisky connoisseur as I know nothing about these.
So I am writing this guide to help teach what NOT to get a vegan. If you are a non-vegan reading this, I hope you will see by the end of the blog that we aren’t crazy, that we care deeply about our impact on the world and hate causing harm. We believe that as a human race, we should not have dominion over innocent animals, we do not want to consume or wear any products that come from animals. It is a way of being in the world that comes from a deep compassion for other living beings. We are not trying to be awkward or fussy. It goes so much deeper than that.
As I write this, I am thinking that the best gift you could give a vegan in your life, is of understanding. To take the time to read and look at all of this blog, to tell them that you respect their commitment to non violence towards living sentient beings. That would be amazing and the best gift of all, if you took steps to become vegan.
Beeswax – common in beauty products, food and candles.
Here are some of the reasons why vegan’s won’t use or consume honey products.
-It is bee vomit
-In the larger bee farms, the queen bee’s wings are cut off to stop her leaving and believe it or not artificial insemination happens, not good for both sides as the male bees are squeezed to death to obtain their semen.
-This video explains in under 5 minutes why honey is not ethical, it’s a good watch and is factually correct https://youtu.be/AvV_vGFJa6s
-Large bee farms replace the bee’s honey which they store in the hives to get them through winter, with sugar which does not have the nutrients that the bees need. The bee’s honey is essential for their health and survival.
-The larger farms selectively breed the bees, this creates a smaller gene pool and leaves them susceptible to disease.
-Following the honey being harvested to keep the costs down, the hives are often culled.
-We need free healthy bees, designed by nature not bred to be susceptible to disease.
Lipsticks, Make Up and Beauty Products – What makes that bright red lipstick have it’s vibrant colour? Look out for anything that has the following ingredients, carmine, cochineal, CI 75470, or natural red 4. This is what gives make up its colour/pigment and it is basically the guts of thousands of beetles/cockroaches mashed up. I am being real, besides not wanting to cause harm on any animal, as vegans we find it pretty repulsive. (As an aside it is in some foods too as colouring).
Also in skin creams and make up, a common ingredient Lanolin also known as wool oil, wool yolk, wool wax, or wool grease. It is a wax secreted by the sebaceous glands of sheep and other wool bearing animals. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not. Also see below for the general treatment of sheep for their wool.
It is also very important to check that these products haven’t been tested on animals. This photo shows some of the companies that still test on animals , there are more, but these are the main ones. The photo is taken from PETA
Non Vegan Food – I won’t go into the why’s in this blog, but this will includes
-Sweets with Gelatine (crushed and melted animal bones and ligaments)
-Fish & Seafood
-Alcohol (Non-vegan wine, champagne, beer or cider. Alcohol that isn’t vegan is because they are filtered through egg whites or fish bladders). This website is easy to use and you soon get to know what is vegan and not vegan http://www.barnivore.com
Toxins, as a vegan, I am very conscious even about what I use in the house in terms of toxins for myself and the environment. I use clean non toxic, cleaning and laundry products and teach how to do this. Just because something is marketed as Eco friendly, it doesn’t guarantee that it is. I use https://www.ewg.org/guides/ to be aware of what I am using and the THINK DIRTY app. A lot of normal cleaning products, dishwasher tablets, laundry detergent and fabric conditioners kill aquatic life and cause major health conditions in humans too. I teach people how to get toxin free easily with doTERRA essential oils, please get in contact if you would like to learn more.
Wool – Why won’t a vegan like a nice fluffy wooly jumper? It causes no harm to the animals?
If only it was that simple. I am sure that some farms treat their sheep nicely and take their time shearing them, don’t scare them or cut them. Unfortunately due to demand, the small farm with a few sheep and home spun yarn is rare. A lot of our wool comes from Australia as the vast majority of UK sheep are reared for meat. There have been several undercover videos of the Australian wool industry and animal agriculture, time and time again immense animal cruelty has been found.
Mulesing is a common practise in Australia and actually made me cry when I discovered it a month ago, I cannot believe that it actually happens. In Australia, they prefer to use wrinkly sheep breeds as the belief is that they produce more wool. Because of the wrinkles the sheep can get flystrike, which is a horrible and painful for the sheep and not good for wool production. (Some farmers are starting to use more smooth sheep so that they don’t have to mule anymore). This is from Wikipedia: “The wool around the buttocks can retain faeces and urine, which attracts flies. The scar tissue that grows over the wound does not grow wool, so is less likely to attract the flies that cause flystrike. Mulesing is a common practice in Australia for this purpose, particularly on highly wrinkled Merino sheep.”
Mulesing is a bit bigger than a wound, it is a practise where the lambs around 6-12 week old are restrained in a metal contraption on their backs, and a considerable amount of skin around their bottoms and often their tails are cut off with a special tool like garden shears, with NO PAIN RELIEF. This really happens, that area of their body is literally skinned alive. This is legal. It is horrendous. It isn’t effective at preventing flystrike anyway as the rest of the sheep is still wrinkled. Here are some photos to show you what mulling looks like. Warning…it is horrendous, but I truly believe that we need to be aware of what happens if we spend our money on these animal products.
If this barbaric practise was stopped, a vegan would still not want wool products, as often when sheared it is done en masse with workers paid not by the hour, but per sheep. This in it’s nature, does not encourage care to be taken. I have seen several videos of sheep being sheared and it is not pleasant, it is extremely distressing and painful for the sheep. This has been proven to happen time and time again.
This article has a video, it is not the only video I have seen like this, give the vegans in your life the gift of understanding and have a look. https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/fashion/sickening-australian-wool-practices-revealed-in-new-peta-footage/news-story/7646f795ca1b22e831017b4df87573d6
Even if the sheep were sheared with soft music and a gentle touch, I would still not take from an animal, I feel that we should not dominate them.
For vegans, also be aware of any products made using fur, leather, silk, down, feathers or pearls
I am sad that I have had to write this to educate about the farming practises that innocent animals have to endure. I have been vegan for 5 years, vegetarian for 15 years before that and I was not aware of some of the above until recently.
As a vegan I believe that it is not enough for me to just not partake in this cruelty, I feel the responsibility to speak up and tell the stories of these innocent beings. I also want to share the work of the animal activists who go undercover to get this information for us all.
We have a responsibility with how we spend our money, its powerful for us to be informed to be able to make empowered decisions and make a positive change in the world.
Go back to your vegan loved ones, give them a hug and love them for their compassion.
Wishing you all a peaceful Xmas, Lots of Love Karen xxx