Furry Friends

Going vegan is one way of helping out our furry friends, but their skin, flesh and by-products are not the only things they are used for.

Companions

A very uncamera shy pooch!
A very uncamera shy pooch!

People get pets for many reasons – companionship, status, security, emotional or to fill a family role. The view of some vegans is that all animal ownership is wrong, but there are undeniable rewards that it can give to many people.

Pets can be extremely affectionate, loyal and give unconditional love. The close contact through stroking is believed to be extremely beneficial for relieving stress, is used in therapy with the ederly and autistic and the responsibility of looking after another living creature can teach children compassion.

If you want a pet go to an animal shelter, these are full of abandoned and unwanted animals in need of loving homes. Pet shops are a big no no with the shadow of puppy farms, animal cruelty and neglect looming over them. If you are set on buying a particular breed sites such as Dogsblog.com, can help you find an existing animal that is waiting to be rehomed (there are also similar websites for other animals too). But even before this, make sure you reasearch the breed and ensure you, your life style and your potential pet are compatible with each other.  All to often people rush in to buying without thinking because they like a particular ‘look’, or because it’s a cute puppy or kitten, when you buy a pet you could be committing yourself for the next 10+ years.

Rehoming websites:

Read more:

What Can You Do?

Rehoming a pet is just one way of showing your love for animals. There are so many charities around that need help and support, of course you can donate but you could take a more active role.

Volunteering is a great way to help, guaranteed most if not all of the charities listed above will also be looking for volunteers to do fund raising, fostering, even dog walking. Charity Guide has a really good section on how to make a difference to an animals life in 15 mins or a few hours and also information on volunteering vacations.

Pet Care

There are ranges of vegan pet care available and even organic and vegan pet food. With growing concern for the diets of people, pet owners are now turning their attention to what goes into the food they are giving their animals. With rumours of slaughterhouse waste, dead animals from shelters and even road kill being used in commercial pet food its no wonder.

Read More:

  • Food Pets Die for by Shawn Messonnier (find it in our Book Section under [intlink id=”3″ type=”category”]Food[/intlink])
  • The Vegan Society
  • Mad Cowboy

Pet Care Websites:

Entertainment

The issue of animals in captivity is greatly debated whether for food (livestock,) pets or in zoos and aquaria.  Many zoos now run conservation schemes and captive breeding programs, but could all this funding be put to better use protecting the natural environment of these animals? Unlike a hundred years ago when you wanted to see exotic creatures there was no where else to see them but a zoo, now we have amazing technology which makes it possible to see these animals in the wild behaving naturally on our tv screens. Alternatively visit animal sanctuaries where you can see rescued animals, and also help fund these places so that the can continue to rescue and rehabilitate mistreated or endangered animals.

You can read more about zoos as well as circuses and marine parks where animals are trained to perform tricks below. For information on sanctuaries see the links under Employment.

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Sport

With hunting or bull fighting the cruelty aspect is quite apparent. For other sports such as horse or grey hound racing where the animals appear willing and even enjoying it there is also a darker side.  The issues among many cover injury, preformance drugs and breeding.

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Employment

In the UK dogs are widely used for many services; guide dogs, sheep dogs, police dogs are just some of the rolls they can take on. In poorer countries animals may perform more manual labour, such as elephants and donkies, the lucky ones will benefit from the charities and sanctuaries set up around the world.

Read More:

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Barbary Macaque, Gibraltar

Animal Testing – cosmetics and household products

Being vegan not only means cutting out animal products and derivatives from what we eat, but it also affects the choices we make when buying make-up, bodycare and household products.

In a massively significant move, it has been illegal to test cosmetics (and their ingredients) in the  EU since the 11th of March 2009. The legislative act also establishes a prohibition on the sale of products tested on animals elsewhere in the world in the European Community by 2013 (to ensure testing is not relocated to third countries). However, there will remain on the market products that have been previously tested on animals before the EU ban and sadly animal testing for household products is allowed to continue.

Just because a product is vegan does not guarantee that it has never been tested on animals. In addition to this there are various animal testing policies that a company may adopt. We prefer to support only companies with a fixed cut-off date (FCOD). If a product has ‘not tested on animals’ on the label be aware that this may refer to the final product and not necessarily the ingredients.

Fixed Cut-Off Date

Companies adopting this policy will not use ingredients, or procure from suppliers ingredients that have been tested on animals since a specific date. They also do not test their finished products on animals.

Humane Cosmetics/Household Products Standard

Leaping Bunny logo

Leaping Bunny logo

Launched by a coalition of animal protection groups including the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, this standard is the world’s only internationally recognised scheme which uses a leaping bunny logo to allow consumers to easily identify products that have been made cruelty free.

To receive approval to use the logo, not only must the company no longer conduct or commission animal testing, they must also adopt a fixed cut-off date (which must never be moved) for ingredients and products. In addition to this they must also agree to an independent audit of its supply chain to ensure compliance with all of the above.

The BUAV endorses a fixed cut-off date policy because they believe it will eventually reduce the need for animal testing and eliminate it from household products industries.

Five Year Rolling Rule

Companies using this policy will not use ingredients that have been tested with a five year period. However as this is a ‘rolling’ rule something which was tested say in 2003 will not be permitted for use during the five year period to 2008, but may then be introduced in 2009. This policy does nothing to discourage animal testing and may also deter the development of alternative research methods.

Brand Acquistions

Another issue to be aware of is who actually owns the brand you are buying. The Body Shop, a company which made its name through opposing animal testing was taken over by L’Oreal in 2006. L’Oreal was still continuing to test new ingredients on animals prior to the March EU deadline (although the testing of new ingredients was in fact equired by law , there were already thousands of  ingredients proven to be safe for use. The result undoubtedly being more unnecessary suffering just to produce the latest ‘must have’ beauty product). Whilst we can appreciate that The Body Shop maintain they will sustain the values and beliefs at the core of their business and perhaps may even be able to influence their parent company, the money spent there will ultimately line the pockets of L’Oreal.

Many of the large companies dominating the cosmetics market have picked up on the growing ethical and environmental concerns of today’s consumers and have either acquired or created brands which are associated with nature, or have a no animal testing policy. One such example is Estee Lauder who own Origins and Aveda both companies who pride themselves on working in harmony with nature, while Estee Lauder was also another company still testing on animals prior to March 2009 (lists of brands that Estee Lauder and L’Oreal own can be found on their respective websites).

Whilst it is now illegal for these companies to continue such practises, products that had been created in this way will still remain on the shelves so whilst the change in law is the best thing that could have happened, in reality we do not have as much freedom with shopping and choices as someone for whom these issues are not a factor. So again, some investigation is required either contact brands yourself or use one of the many lists that are available citing cruelty free companies.

Shopping Guides

List of cruelty free companies that we like are under the relevant Beauty and Household Products (coming soon) sections, more comprehensive lists can be obtained from the following sources:

Reference guides

  • The BUAV (Leaping Bunny) list all its approved companies at their website Go Cruelty Free, their US website Leaping Bunny handily identifies those brands with a parent company which do not comply with their standard. You can also read more about the BUAV and what they do.

  • Nature Watch sells a Compassionate Shopping Guide.

  • The Vegan Society publishes an Animal Free Shopper (find it here under [intlink id=”3″ type=”category”]Life Style[/intlink]).

  • PeTA provide a list on their animal testing website Caring Consumer.

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