On intelligence

“If a rabbit defined intelligence the way man does, then the most intelligent animal would be a rabbit, followed by the animal most willing to obey the commands of a rabbit.”

– Robert Brault

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The easiest way to recognize cruelty-free products

As a continuation to my last post about animal testing, I wanted to do this quick post about recognizing non-animal tested and vegan products. Companies always want to sound as ethical as possible, and they might paint up a picture of themselves that is not entirely true. A company might for example say that they don’t test their products on animals, but in their case this just means that their final products in not animal tested, but the ingredients in it are.

Finding products with only plant-based ingredients might also be a jungle, because there are tons of animal-derived ingredients in the products we use every day. Some of them have long and complicated names, and there is just no way that you will learn them all by heart. I do have a list with all these ingredients so that I can check if products I buy have them, but sometimes there is an ingredient that might be animal-based, plant-based or synthetic, and there is no way of knowing unless you ask the company. So it is just easiest to stick to the companies that only use vegan ingredients in their products.

There are two main symbols you can look for on a product to ensure it is cruelty-free before buying it:

The leaping bunny

Companies who’s products carry this symbol have not used animal tests in any part of the production.

The vegan logo

There are several different logos that tell you the product doesn’t contain any animal ingredients or that a company is vegan, but the one above (from The Vegan Society) is the most common one. This symbol also indicates that the product has not been animal tested. It is not only found on cosmetics and household products, but also on foods, clothes and other products.

 

All non-animal tested and vegan products will not carry these logos, even though most of them do carry at least one of them by now. There are lists of non-animal tested products made up by different animal rights organisations, as I mentioned in my last post the Finnish organisation Animalia has a list for non-animal tested cosmetics and household products. (However, all products on this list are not free from animal ingredients, only those marked with a “V” as in “Vegan”.) Check with animal rights organisations in your country for lists that are up to date there, but remember also to check what criteria they have for including a company on their list, since some organisations are stricter than others (for example, some might include companies that don’t test their final products on animals, but there might be animal testing earlier on in the process).

EU (almost) free of animal tested cosmetics

As of today, the 11th of March, a new directive concerning animal testing of cosmetics will finally be taken into use in the European Union. In theory this means that it is from now on illegal to sell animal tested cosmetics within the EU. In practice, it is a bit more complicated than that, but it is still a huge step in the right direction.

Some things to consider concerning the directive are:

1. There is no good system developed for ensuring that cosmetics coming from outside the EU are not animal tested in any part of the process.

2. The directive means that no new animal tests can be carried out for cosmetic purposes, but companies can still sell products that have been animal tested before the 11th of March, so for a period of time these products will still be around.

3. China demands animal testing of cosmetic products, but since the testing is done by government agencies and not by the companies themselves, their products can still be sold in the EU.

4. Companies (also EU based ones) can still sell animal tested cosmetics outside of EU, as long as the animal testing was done in another part of the world than the EU. Theoretically this means that they have to give up animal testing of cosmetics for the EU market, but they can still use this kind of testing for other markets.

I will still do a check up on products before I buy them to avoid animal tested ones, using for example Animalia’s list of non-animal tested cosmetics that are sold in Finland (maybe the animal rights organisation in your country has a similar list). However, it is really a great step forward and something that has inspired also countries from outside the EU (such as Israel and India) to move towards other types of testing of cosmetics. For me, the main thing is that we are moving forward, that something is happening.

Remember also that “non-animal tested” does not automatically mean “vegan”. Companies can avoid animal testing their products, but they might still have animal-derived ingredients in the products. I admit that I don’t really know all animal-derived ingredients by heart (because there are a lot), and sometimes I probably buy products that do have some small animal-derived ingredient, but I try to avoid it. There are companies that only use vegan ingredients in their products and if possible I try to stick to them.

(Information about the directive taken from the Finnish animal protection organization Animalia‘s membership magazine, as well as Cruelty Free International’s website.)

Trying out new vegan foods: “Frankenberger” sausage from Wheaty

Our local organic food store had some new (as in new to me and the store) vegan sausages in store last time we went there, so we decided to try them. The sausages are made by Wheaty, a German company that makes vegan meat based on organic wheat gluten. We don’t really eat a lot of these ready-made foods, and in the town where we live there are not either that much of these around, but it is nice to try some every now and then.

veganwurst veganwurst

The sausages did not look that appetizing in the package because of their grey colour, but the taste was really fine. We fried them for a while in a little oil and had them together with french fries and a salad as our “special treat”. Because of the price (this package of 200 g cost 5 euro) this is maybe not something you will enjoy every day, but it is still something I could buy again some other time.

vegan sausage and french fries

Discussing the future of fur farming

The citizen’s initiative for ending fur farming, which I’ve been writing about earlier, has now been handed over to the Finnish parliament as the first ever citizen’s initiative in Finland.

I don’t have big hopes for there to actually be a law change that would make fur farming illegal at this point, since a lot of the current politicians are negative towards the initiative. However, this means that they have to hold a serious discussion about the subject and that is already a good thing.

As a step towards the right direction, the organizations behind the citizen’s initiative are asking for at least changes in the rules around fur farming, to make the wellbeing of the animals in this industry better. I don’t believe this to be a solution to the problem, because I don’t see how the animals could ever have wellbeing when they are seen as products and kept in environments that are far from natural to them, but it would at least be better than nothing. In the end, constant new rules about how the animals should be kept and treated will lead towards the same direction as a total ban, and less and less people will probably pursue with fur farming.

I’m going to follow the news around the discussion to see how it progresses. Hopefully at least some of the politicians will speak up for the animals, because the animals have no voice of their own.