Food For Life

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Helping Animals and a Healthier You

Try Plant-Based
Vegetarian Eating

Living Cruelty-free

Living a healthy, animal- and planet-friendly lifestyle goes beyond just what we eat. We can help animals and the environment by making choices as to the apparel we wear and the personal care and household products we use.

Apparel

Fur-full coats and fur trim: One would hope that fur is out of fashion because of its inherent cruelty however that is not the case. Animals used for their fur and killed by gassing, trapping, strangulation, anal and vaginal electrocution. If contained on a fur farm, these animals live miserable lives in dire conditions prior to their execution solely for human vanity.

Some fur items are labeled as an obscure non-existent species to confuse consumers. People don't equate rats, opossums, hamsters, dogs or cats with the fur industry but their pelts are known to be used in making apparel.

Clothing manufacturers are not required to label a garment with the animal species used if the value is under $150. Just because an item is not labeled or identified as fur does not mean it is not real fur. Unless a garment is labeled faux or fake, then assume it is real fur and pass it by.

By buying items with fur trim (toys, gloves, clothes) you are supporting the fur industry. Some people delude themselves thinking that wearing fur trim “is not as bad” as a full fur coat. But not so. Even a small amount of fur causes animal suffering and death.

Leather: Leather is processed skins of animals from factory farms. Animals are often skinned alive and { conscious. The tanning and manufacturing process to create leather products is the most economically important co-product of the multi billion-dollar meat industry.

Refrain from wearing leather and you'll feel good in your own skin!

Alternatives to leather: Look for goods made with microfiber, pleather, imitation leather, artificial leather, PU or PVC leather, or all man-made materials. Alternatively, you can also opt for products made of cotton, linen, rubber, ramie, canvas, Chlorenol, and other synthetics.

photo of a sheepSheep Wool & Felt: Much of the world's wool comes from sheep raised in Australia and New Zealand. Wool is not a simple process of gently sheering sheep who have too much wool and then making it into a garment. The sheep are bred to have too much wool, they are raised in the millions, they are treated roughly and ultimately slaughtered.

Sheep are castrated without painkillers, mutilated without anesthetic and cut and injured in the shearing process. As a result of having been bred to have an abnormal amount of wool, many sheep suffer from fly infestations, skin sores and wool parasites.

What happens to sheep raised for their wool when they can no longer produce? They are crowded onto multilevel ships and shipped worldwide to countries where animal welfare standards are non-existent. Many don't even survive the trip. If they do, they are dragged off the ships, loaded onto trucks, pulled by their ears and legs to unregulated slaughterhouses, where their throats are slit, often while fully conscious.

Cashmere: Cashmere goats are raised in crowded filthy stalls sheared when they need their wool coats the most, in the winter. Exposed to the cold, these goats are more susceptible to illnesses. Ear notched, de-horned and castrated without anesthesia, they are sold for meat after their first fiber harvest. With the depressed global economy, there is a glut of cashmere wool on the market so now many herds are simply butchered rather than used for their wool.

Angora: Angora comes from female rabbits who live lives of isolation in tiny cramped cages. Unable to move about and exercise, these rabbits develop painful sores and deformities. Male Angora rabbits, do not make adequate wool so the majority of male angoras are slaughtered at birth.

Mohair: Goats raised for their mohair wool are sheared when they have their winter coat. Left naked, the goats develop respiratory illnesses and are susceptible to parasites. Weakened, many goats often die after sheared. In a few years when their wool is no longer thick, they are slaughtered.

Why wear wool (which usually needs to be dry-cleaned, another toxic, polluting industry), when there are so many cruelty-free and easy-care alternatives?

Alternatives to wool: Choose garments made with more light-weight and colorfast materials, such as nylon, acrylic, orlon, polyester fleece, cotton flannel, synthetic shearling, Tencel, or Polartec Wind Pro.

photo of a geeseDown: Down is the very soft inside feathers from the breasts of geese and ducks which keeps the birds and their eggs toasty warm. Down is plucked from birds slaughtered for food or from live birds who are forcibly restrained. These animals might undergo live de-feathering three to five times during their short miserable lives confined in large warehouses. After a tortuous life of de-feathering, raised for meat or foie gras, (the fatty liver of force-fed birds) these ducks and geese are sent to slaughter.

Down feathers are commonly found in pillows, jackets, vests, coats and comforters. Comforters are filled with the feathers of dozens and dozens of birds.

You can sleep comfortably knowing no duck or goose suffered and died by choosing products made from hypoallergenic synthetic down, polyester fill, or high-tech fabrics, like Primaloft or Polarguard. They are often machine washable and do not require dry cleaning like down.

Silk: When silk worms change into pupas, they live inside a cocoon made of fine threads that they spin around themselves. Instead of being able to mature into a moth, their lives are cut short while still inside their cocoon. The cocoons are immersed into boiling water until the pupa dies to obtain continuous threads of silk. To make 100 grams (3.5 oz.) of silk yarn, 1,500 pupas are killed. Millions of silk worms are boiled alive to make silk products like shirts, dresses and ties.

As you can see, clothing made from animals is a grisly business.

The good news is that being a compassionate, environmental and socially responsible consumer has never been easier. Simply search the web using keywords such as nonleather, cruelty-free, vegan, etc. to find numerous online companies selling products that are kind to animals and our planet.

To get you started, here are just a few resources for non-animal, earth-friendly personal care and household items, cosmetics, housewares, bedding, clothing, accessories, food and much more.

Leather Alternatives

Moo Shoes

Pangea

Vegan Essentials

Alternative Outfitters

Kid Bean

Animal–Friendly Cosmetic & Household Products

photo bunnyMany manufacturers of cosmetic, personal care and household products still conduct painful tests on animals even though NO LAW REQUIRES THEM TO DO SO. Rabbits and other animals are being blinded by having substances placed in their eyes in the infamous Draize test and still more animals are being poisoned by being force-fed toxic substances in the LD50 test. Humane non-animal testing methods do exist and are currently being used by hundreds of companies. As a consumer, you need to use your buying power to pressure companies to switch to non-animal testing methods. Buy only “cruelty free” products!

Get in the habit of reading labels. A quick flip of the bottle and attention to the print at the bottom will tell you if the company does not test on animals or uses animal ingredients. Many manufacturers will put “Not Tested on Animals”and “No Animal Ingredients” right on their product.

Don't put cruelty on your shopping list! Check out which companies still test and which companies don't test.

Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients, the Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives (both usually found in local libraries) or an unabridged dictionary can help determine the source of an ingredient but there are thousands of technical and patented names for ingredients. Many ingredients known by one name can be of animal, vegetable or synthetic origin. So, if you are not sure of an ingredient, call the manufacturer and ask. A partial listing of animal ingredients can be found here.

For more information on this buying cruelty-free products and clothing, call 732-446-6963 or email us at FoodForLife.

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Food for Life is a program of Animal Protection League of NJ (APLNJ), a NJ registered charity since 1983. A community service organization, APLNJ endeavors to make the world a better place for animals and people. The Food for Life program strives to improve the public’s health by promoting plant-based vegetarian eating that is good for people, animals and the environment.