That has an ANIMAL in it?

On my vegan journey, I am constantly surprised at how many commonly used things have animal ingredients in them. Some anti-vegans use this as an excellent argument against veganism: the fact that it is virtually impossible to stray away from the use, and consumerism of animals. I promised myself this blog would never be about FIGHTING WITH RECKLESS ABANDONMENT for the vegan cause (even though with this blog post, I may find it difficult). For me and my vegan ways, I am well aware that I am unable to fully lead a vegan life without the support of all companies (in labeling, and research), everywhere (...that's just not going to happen). Instead, I choose to stray away from what I can, research products in regards to HEALTH aspects (for the purposes of this blog), and speak, and answer questions only when asked. Veganism shouldn't be only about who is right, and who is wrong. It is about showing compassion, for animal, and meat-eating friends alike, not abusing either. My reasons for this entry is based on the common assumption that unless specified, most consumer products do not contain animals. A lot of you may not be aware that many do, even those who have the best intentions at heart. It is important for ALL consumers to have as much information as they can, in order to make personal, educated decisions about what they choose to use their money on. So, without further ado, the dreaded (partial) list :) :

Plastic Bags and materials
- Many plastics, including shopping bags, contain 'slip agents', which reduce the friction in the material. What are those made of? Animal fat. Plastics manufacturers often use additives of animal origin to improve material properties and/or to aid in processing of raw polymers.Tyson Foods (to name one of many companies) is experimenting with keratin protein found in chicken feathers to produce plastics, adhesives, and non-woven materials.
- For more information on this, go to the website "Plastic-Free Vegetarian"

Car and Bike Tires
- Check with the manufacturer if they use animal-based stearic acid, which helps the rubber in tires hold shape under steady surface friction. Many of the more popular companies use this, including Continental, Goodyear, Pirelli, but some (very few) are animal-friendly, such as Michelin.

- Animal glue (made from boiling animal connective tissue and bones) is apparently one of the best adhesives for fixing together wood. It is almost exclusively used in fixing musical instruments made from wood, such as violins and pianos. "Hide" glue is also readily available and widely used for wood work.

- Yes many of those twinkling delights stem from animal ingredients. The same component used in the tire industry, stearic acid, is present in the production of fireworks. The book 'The Chemistry of Fireworks' lists this as an ingredient, explaining that it is used to coat metal powders such as aluminum and iron to prevent oxidation, and thus longer shelf life. There are plant-sourced fireworks, but they are difficult to find.

Fabric Softener
- Downy fabric softener (among others) contains dihydrogenated tallow and dimethyl ammonium chloride, which comes from the cattle, sheep, and horse industry. They sure won't put that in the usual "all-so-soft" advertising.
- A great post to find animal-free, safer alternatives to fabric softener is at the blog "Care 2 Make a Difference".

Shampoo and Conditioner 
There are more than 20 components from animals that could be in your shampoo and conditioner. The tricky part is when you read "panthenol," "amino acids," or "vitamin B" in a bottle (just to name a few), it can be either from animal or plant source -- making it hard to tell. Companies have even removed the word "animal" from some ingredients to avoid putting off consumers.
 - Some great vegan brands are Natures Organics, Beauty without Cruelty, but don't always be swayed by the 'not tested on animals' label, ironically enough, this refers to the 'testing' only, rather than the additives. That sucks!
- Another option is to make your own shampoo and conditioner. A couple of great recipes can be found at the "Care 2 Make a Difference" blog. They even tell you which herbs work best with what hair types.

- Glycerin is found in animal and vegetable fats, which have a chemical composition containing from 7 percent to 13 percent glycerin. Although glycerin can be plant based, or animal based, it is difficult to determine which type is being used in various toothpastes without speaking to, and trusting the manufacturers response. Many claims can be made, without substantial evidence to back it up.
- Toothpaste carries with it a whole host of negative responses, not just in regards to 'animal' content. Why not try making your own toothpaste? It is easier than you might think. "" has a great recipe!

White, Brown Sugar, and Flour
Gasp. Purified ash from animal bones is used in filters to refine sugar (and flour) by some brands. Bone charBone char, made from the bones of cows, is at times used to whitenwhiten sugar. Some sugar companiessugar companies use it in filters to de-colorize their sugar. You can opt for unrefined organic sugar or choose the vegan specified brands (when in doubt, check out PETA)

* For the various foods that have animal additives, check out the great website "".
 Also check out the following website, which lists several foods that are commonly mistaken as 'vegan'
"One Green Planet"
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