Consumer Ethics for Animal Right Believers

Here's a shocking list of products you've been using, possibly unaware of the fact that they are made using animal parts!

If you believe in animal rights; you feel horrible about wearing fur, using leather products, or eating meat. Nowadays, people are getting aware and taking steps towards the betterment of animals. But there are quite a few less known facts about the products we use every day. Here’s a list after which you may really rethink your life choices!

Most of the plastic bags that we use have “slip agents” in them. The slip agent is a fatty acid made from beef fat, which is required to reduce the friction and help in the processing of raw polymers. Some famous companies have also tried using keratin from chicken feathers to produce adhesives and plastic. Get in times with reusable shopping bags, if you haven’t started already!

An animal-based acid known as Stearic Acid is known to help rubber stay in shape even under continuous friction. This is used as an advantage in car and bike tyres by many leading tyre companies. Stearic acid may also be used in fireworks to coat the metal powders; which help them last longer. The acid also helps stabilize computers in heat.

The shine in our nail polish is known to come from guanine (listed as pearl essence), which is actually is a mixture made up of shattered fish bones. There are vegan options in which the shine is produced from aluminium.

We may think synthetic glues are being used to fix wooden items but animal glue is still regarded as the best adhesive. It is specifically used to repair musical instruments like pianos and violins. The glue is made by boiling the bones and tissues of an animal. Catguts made from intestines of goats and sheep are used to make durable strings in violin, etc.

Did you know that there’s something like chicken biodiesel and beef biodiesel in the market?! That's right! Apart from sugar cane and corn, animal fats are also used in the production of biofuel. Also, gut bacteria called Brocadia anammoxidans from pandas and zebras are used to create rocket fuel.

A famous scent, Musk, in perfumes and colognes is made of dried secretion from the genitals of musk deer or civet cats. The particular scent of vanilla is made up of Castoreum, an oily liquid from a beaver’s castor sacs.

Regular latex used in condoms is made from milk protein. It may also contain glycerin made from animal fat.

There may be synthetic paintbrushes in the market, but natural paintbrushes are made from real animal hair. The hair may be of a horse, goat, or an ox.

Dehydrogenated tallow dimethyl ammonium chloride is used in fabric softeners. The ingredient is made by mixing ammonia with rendered fat of cattle, sheep, and horses. The animals pay the price for our ‘super-soft’ feel.

Remember the peculiar crayon smell from your childhood? That smell comes from tallow, which is processed beef fat. Not only the smell, but tallow also helps in getting that solid and waxy consistency. Many brands are coming up with vegan crayons that may be made from soy.

There is always a tiny list of ingredients written on our toiletries, which always contain glycerin and amino acids. There is no way to make out the origin of the “Amino acids”, “Glycerin” or “Panthenol” in our shampoo, conditioners, and toothpaste; the source can either be animals or plants. Nowadays, “animal” word is not even mentioned in our products to get the products off the shelf. 

There are some shocking facts about food products, too, like:

  • If you’re not a hardcore vegan yet, it’s likely that you don’t know that bread products may also have an animal product. Bread may have L-cysteine in them, which is an amino acid made from bird feathers, cow horns, or pig hair.
  • Cow bone char, derived from animal ashes, is used as filters during the refining and bleaching process of sugar. Even while making brown sugar, cane sugar is filtered through one char. It is then mixed with molasses.
  • Many beers and wines have ‘Isinglass’ in them, which is a membrane from the bladders of a fish. The membrane is used as it filters the yeast extracts out of the beverages.
  • Gummy candies and marshmallows have Gelatin which comes from collagen in animal bones, connective tissue, and skin.
  • The tasty Worcestershire sauce is made from anchovies soaked in vinegar for 18 months.

It is very sad to know that SO many products have animal products in them. All we can do is research well. Keep searching for certified vegan and cruelty-free products. Even if you aren’t vegan, let’s all be sensitive about this and contribute to a kinder planet!

raksha kulkarni

raksha kulkarni

Jeevoka member since Feb 2020

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