Vegan ≠ Cruelty Free
Much like food label buzz and confusion, there same is happening in cosmetics. The new buzz words are Vegan and Cruelty Free. These are appearing on everything from shampoo to mascara. Many people are switching to these new products, or even the dietary lifestyle, because of their ethical concerns about animal cruelty. Let’s break down what these buzz words mean.
Vegan means the products contains obviously contain no meat, but also no animal byproducts. What are by products you ask? Cosmetics are full of them, here are some of the key players:
· Lanolin (a waxy substance naturally produced as a protective barrier for sheep's wool, extracted while washing sheared wool.)
· Collagen (thickening agent comes from the bones, skin, and connective tissue of animals, including cattle, fish, horses (not in the US), pigs, or rabbits.
· Albumen (egg whites)
· Carmine (crushed beetle shells for color)
· Cholesterol (various lipids and cells that together help to keep moisture and nutrients in and harmful substances and bacteria out)
· Gelatin. (thickening agent, made from a protein that makes up connective tissues, such as skin, tendons, ligaments, and bones.)
Vegan products are not necessarily chemical free however. They might not contain the above animal by products, but they still contain so of the same chemical based ingredients as traditional cosmetics. Also, and most importantly, vegan products do not mean Cruelty Free products.
Cruelty Free products can both be vegan and non-vegan. It means that the ingredients and final product have not been tested on animals. It refers to the testing process, not the ingredients. Ani
mal testing for cosmetics can look like exposing mice, rats, rabbits and guinea pigs to cosmetics ingredients. These can include skin and eye irritation tests where chemicals are rubbed onto the shaved skin or dripped into the eyes of restrained rabbits without any pain relief. There any many other kinds of tests that these labs perform, many are quite graphic and I’ll let you google that yourself.
Why does it matter? If you are thinking of going vegan due to ethical concerns, shop Cruelty Free products instead. Farmers and Ranchers take incredible care to ensure the best for their animals. They all strive for a cruelty free operation. The worst testing at a ranching operation is usually trying a new recipe gone awry. I say that in jest, but the animal ag sector had really made strides to ensure that all the animal is humanely harvested (quickly and cleanly) and that the entire animal is used for a variety of purposes instead of becoming landfill material. 99% of the beef is used. (64% for meat, 35% by products, 1% waste). So, by using traditional products 35% of the waste is being upcycled into other products, like medication, asphalt, clothing, adhesives, and cos
Another way to ease you concerns about animal treatment is to make friends with your local farmer. Ask questions, learn how their animals are treated, fed, and housed. This might put your mind at ease about the treatment of these animals. Eating a locally raised beef will help reduced your carbon footprint, supports a family operation, keep 35% of the animal out of the landfill, and provide you with a sustainable protein packed meal. You literally need to triple the size of the steak to get the same amount of protein in quinoa. (Think about that environmental impact)