Saturday, 8 November 2014

Have yourself a cruelty free Christmas

Whatever Pink's buying this Christmas it won't be any of these.
When shopping for gifts this Christmas it can be difficult to find products that are cruelty free and suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
Of course, we all know how to avoid things, but what about those sneaky nasties that creep into things?

Here are the most common ones to watch out for -

PU leather, this is definately fake, right? Wrong.

1. PU Leather
I recently wanted to buy my brother a case for his iPad and I was delighted when I found one that wasn't made of leather. Then I got it and discovered it was made with PU leather. There'd been no mention of that in the Amazon description, so it was sent right back.

What is PU leather?
It's a mainly man-made material with a layer of polyurethane that is applied to the surface and then embossed to give it a shiny look. A layer of real leather is often used (sometimes its PVC that's used) so it's not cruelty free.

With more and more of the world's PU leather coming from China where animal (and human) life is cheap, I always assume that anything with PU leather does contain part of an animal carcass.

Tip - some stores call it fake leather, but this can be very misleading. It's usually found in items like handbags, suitcases, furniture, cases for electronic items like Kindles, iPads, iPhones, jackets, coats, belts, hats, gloves etc...

2. Cosmetics that say they are cruelty free
I'm always amazed when I go around stores and look at the cosmetics and toiletries available and how many of them say things like "not tested on animals," "We're against animal testing" and have the audacity to use a bunny symbol that looks like the Leaping Bunny logo (shown above)  although it's most certainly not.

If you're buying toiletries/cosmetics as presents make sure they are BUAV approved. This is the only way to guarantee that neither the finished product or ingredients have been tested on animals by the makers or their suppliers.

3. Goose fat on roast potatoes
These days we might not have time to cook or we may be visiting someone this holiday season, which means eating away from home or eating out. Roast potatoes should be safe, but at this time of year many people cook them in goose fat, which is pretty gross.

Stores may also sell them in goose fat.

4. Merino wool
I treat merino wool like sheepskin because the sheep it comes from have chunks of flesh cut off, without aesthetic so that they don't get something called fly strike. The Australian farmers who breed these sheep would rather carry out this cruel practice called mulesing than breed fly strike resistant sheep.

5. Real fur labeled as faux
It seems incredible doesn't it that real fur could be getting labeled as faux fur, but that's what's happened.

Years back there was a scandal when it was discovered that snoozing cat and dog figures that were sold in stores through out the world, were made from real cat and dog fur. These weren't labeled as containing real fur.

There was another scandal when it emerged clothes stores in American were selling garments with real fur without labeling them as fur.

FACT - People in the UK were shocked to discover that fake garments they were buying that made no mention of fur such as jackets, boots and gloves contained the fur of cats and dogs. Thanks to a high profile campaign backed by Paul McCartney and then wife Heather Mills (25,000 signatures were collected in just one online petition), cat and dog fur imports were banned in the EU in 2008.

Although cat and dog fur is banned in America, it still manages to get into the country.  

FACT - In 2002, the USA banned the importing, exporting, sale and production of cat and dog fur. This came about after stores unknowingly sold cat and dog fur in jackets. Note – the fur ban only applies to cat and dog fur and not any other type.

*The facts above are from my book, Living Cruelty Free, which is available now on Kindle.


  1. Wow!! I never knew about Merino wool. That is horrible.

  2. It's awful Sara when they could breed sheep resistant to fly strike and there'd be no need for cruelty.

  3. I can't believe some companies label their products as faux when it's not!

  4. So-called "cruelty free" cosmetics often use animal ingredients (ie carmine, stearate), so not only do you need a leaping bunny (peta) & BUVA, you also need to read your ingredients. No product that includes animal bodies is "cruelty free". A good example is Urban Decay or Lush, they all have the leaping bunny, but only some of their products are truly vegan/animal free.

    1. Some good points there, Healer. People should also look out for whether something is vegetarian or vegan. Most people who visit my blog are either so they know to look for this too.

  5. why do they cut chunks of flesh off the sheep though? To give the flies something to eat or when they are infected?

    I am not familiar with merino wool. Where does to comes from, and is it always labeled as such?

    1. It comes from sheep that are called merino sheep. They have very soft wool. Most of the merino wool comes from sheep in Australia who have flesh removed usually from their hind quarters. This is to prevent flystrike. Instead of removing chunks of flesh farmers could breed merino sheep that are resistant to flystrike but they choose not to.
      Wool that's merino will be labelled as such. It's usually a lot more expensive than other wool.
      Hope this helps:)