Saturday, 6 December 2014

Can’t tell the B***hit from the lies - Lies that animal testing companies tell

I’ve been doing a lot of reading recently of the sites of companies who claim not to test on animals.

Here are the moist common lies that animal testing companies spout -

"No retailer or manufacturer can categorically state that ‘none’ of their raw materials or ingredients has – at some time in the past - been tested on animals. The majority of individual raw materials used in cosmetics today have been through some kind of animal testing process."

Saying this is rubbish. Companies who qualify for the leaping bunny accreditation, which in my opinion is the ONLY cruelty free standard you can trust, have got to say that after a certain date neither their products or the ingredients were not tested on animals. Of course there is absolutely no way of knowing absolutely whether an ingredient was tested on animals in the past, but to me companies saying this is an excuse for testing on animals recently.

‘We support FRAME (FUND for the REPLACEMENT of ANIMALS in MEDICAL EXPERIMENTS) in an effort to eliminate reliance in the industry on animal testing.’

Very laudable indeed, but sit still doesn’t mean they are cruelty free. Just because a company backs the bid to replace animal experiments doesn’t mean they don’t conduct them themselves or use companies that do. In fact, L’Oreal who are fighting the EU animal cosmetics testing ban are spending loads of cash on finding experiments that don’t use animals. They are doing this in case they are banned from animal testing by law and not because of any good intentions on their part.

"We are against animal testing."

Not so much a lie as an attempt to mislead. Just because they are against it doesn’t mean they don’t do it. I’m against a lot of things, like eating animals and people buying pets instead of adopting them, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

"We only test on animals where required by law."

In only one country do cosmetics have to be tested on animals by law. That's in China. Don't sell products in China then as Urban Decay decided to do following an outrcty on Facebook and Twitter.

The real deal
Unless a company can say that neither their finished products, or the ingredients, are tested by them or their suppliers or on the behalf of them and their suppliers, then they are NOT cruelty free.

Note – to cosmetic companies – leave the bunnies, mice and Beagles alone. Testing cosmetics and toiletries on animals is unnecessary and cruel and very, very unscientific.

For more information on spotting animal testing companies, check out Living Cruelty Free.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Walking Dead star Norman Reedus backs Cruelty Free

Picture Credit: Cruelty Free International USA on Facebook 

In the hit zombie show, Norman Reedus shows walkers and squirrels no mercy, but back in the zombie free world, he has a strong interest in living cruelty-free.

The actor who plays crossbow wielding zombie slayer Daryl Dixon, voiced his support in the movement to end cosmetic testing on animals. "Scores of countries around the world are beating the U.S. to become cruelty-free by banning cosmetics tests on animals," he said in a statement. "Nobody wants rabbits or guinea-pigs to suffer for our vanity, least of all the animals. Let's stop their suffering right here, right now."

In action in The Walking Dead.

Now, there's even talk that he and fellow zombie apocalypse survivor, Andrew Lincoln, who plays leader Rick Grimes, have gone vegetarian.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Why trying to create a better world isn't easy

Since I started this blog and wrote Living Cruelty Free, I seem to have attracted them.

You know the ones. They leave nasty comments on your site and vile pictures; horrendous pictures of animal abuse.

They say things like "you care more about animals than human beings," as if compassion is restricted to humans or animals and doesn't or can't extend to both. Usually people who accuse you of that don't care about humans either.
Note - my book Living Cruelty Free: Live a more Compassionate Life focuses on human as well as animal rights.
People assume living a cruelty free life means not eating or wearing animals, but to me it also means caring about our fellow human beings and avoiding products made using slave and child labor.

You state facts, they stoop to insults.

You can't have a rational and calm conversation with them about vegetarianism, veganism or animal rights because they'd rather sling insults and mock you than actually open their minds and engage their brains.

But, that won't stop me and shouldn't stop anyone else from writing about what they believe in. It's easy to mock and belittle people, but it's much more difficult to take a stand.
Let's unite to change the world: to make it a better place. TOGETHER.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Standing up and for animals brings out the bullies

This is how ducks and geese are force fed.

Two years ago, I posted about a restaurant where I live selling Foie gras. I was shocked that something so cruel * whose production is banned in the UK, could be sold so close to where I live, so I posted about it on my blog and on the Facebook page of my local newspaper.

Afterwards, my partner was threatened in the street by two shady male figures in the dark. One of them was ranting and raving about how dare anyone say he couldn't sell a "food" in his own restaurant. I guess in the days of slavery, the slave masters probably said that if someone suggested it was wrong to sell people. 

The restaurant stopped selling Foie gras for a very short time after I blogged about it and posted on the local newspaper's Facebook page (the newspaper agreed with me that Foie gras was cruel and devoted a whole article to the Cumbrae Bistro selling it) claiming they realised what a cruel "food" it was.

I suspect the real reason they really did it was because the local newspaper wrote about them selling one of the cruellest foods on the planet.

They went back to selling Foie gras (a food so cruel its illegal to manufacture it in the UK, but not to sell it), so it shows how much they actually cared. They even jokingly posted a picture of plastic ducks next to a picture of the article. Clearly, animal abuse was hilarious to them. 

Then today, out of nowhere, one of the men who threatened my partner (I didn't realise that it was him until afterwards) made sinister comments that left me pretty shaken. The kind of comments you get from a stalker. Afterwards, I half expected to have petrol put through my letterbox, followed by a match. 

But, after a lot of thought, I've realised one thing -

That's the same advice I give to bullied children. 

Those who commit acts of animal cruelty and those who prefer to keep their eyes closed to the truth, or who simply don't care (as in the case of this big mouth), will say anything to justify themselves and put you down. That's why you need to ignore the words of people you neither respect or trust.

The truth about Foie gras 

Does this poor animal look happy?

The food is so cruel Amazon also stopped selling it. Read the story here

The RSPCA want the sale of Foie gras banned.

The sale and production of Foie gras are banned in a number of countries, including Germany and Argentina because they break animal cruelty laws. Sadly, in the UK, the production is banned, but not the sale. 

Foie gras is made by force feeding ducks and geese using metal or plastic pipes until their livers expand to many times their normal size.

Here's a normal sized bird liver, next to one that will be turned into Foie gras.

No supermarkets in the UK sell it because it's cruel and contravenes animal welfare laws. 

The Lords Cricket Club have banned the cruel food too. 

Here's how you can help fight the sale of Foie gras. Click here for information. 

The other thing I realised is that if these people genuinely think that its okay to eat a food produced from unimaginable cruelty, then why would they be upset about me posting about it on my blog and sharing it on my local newspaper's Facebook page? Why would they care what people thought, if what they were doing was okay? 

The answer is that deep down, they know selling Foie gras is wrong. 

Sadly, that's the trouble with trying to teach people about the facts about animal cruelty - even when their eyes are open, they close them again, because they lack the emotional intelligence and moral strength to see that knowledge through to its full conclusion and avoid cruel foods like Foie gras. 

Stay safe, friends:) We can change the world. And, unlike those who support cruelty, we don't need to bully or belittle anyone to do it.

That's how veggiegirl2011 sees it.

UPDATE - After failing a health inspection and failing to file their taxes, the Cumbrae Bistro is now up for sale. 

TIP - As long as you stay within the law, there is no excuse for anyone acting in a threatening and aggressive manner towards you. If that happens, call the police. In my case, I didn't because my partner was alone when he was threatened and he only told me what had happened months later, so there was no witnesses, although he did record the abuse on his phone. 

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Living Cruelty Free is updated for 2014 and out now in Paperback

Thanks to everybody whose been in touch asking me when the paperback version of Living Cruelty Free will be out.

It's out now and available on -

The book will be available across all Amazons soon. 

What do you think of my new rabbit? 

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.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

5 Hidden Nasties in Our Food that are NOT suitable for vegetarians

There are some things in foods that are strictly not suitable for vegetarians never mind vegans. Trouble is they can be hard to find.

1- Cochineal (also known as Carminic Acid, Carmines Natural Red 4 and E120). This is a sneaky little colorant that finds its way into everything from cakes to stews, confectionary and even cosmetics. It’s made by boiling and then pulverizing the bodies of tiny insects to get a reddish/pinkish and orange coloring. Watch out for anything that says it uses ‘natural colorings and flavorings’ because it may contain this nasty substance.

2-Gelatine (also spelt gelatin) comes from the bones of slaughtered animals, usually cows and pigs. It can be replaced by a number of ingredients in products like sweets (candies in America) and marshmallows, but it’s cheap and nasty which is why companies use it.

Killed for candies

3-Isinglass – This comes from the swim bladder of a fish and it’s used as a filtering agent in drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.  The final drink does not contain isinglass as it’s for filtering only, but the fact the fish have to be dead first to get their bladders makes anything filtered with isinglass not suitable for vegans and vegetarians. Guinness uses isinglass.


4-Glycerin/Glycerol (Glycerine in the UK) – This can come from animal fat, but you can also get vegetarian glycerin. Unless a product specifically states it is vegetable in origin, it’s wise to assume it’s of the animal variety.  If in any doubt, ask the manufacturer as companies do not always put the source of the glycerin on the label.

Products that may contain animal glycerin - soap, cosmetics, toothpaste, and some foods like candies (sweets as they call them in the UK).

5-Whey - This is one of those tricky ingredients you’ll find, sitting somewhere in the middle of the list, usually in chocolate products.  Whey most often comes from the cheese making process where animal rennet is used, so is not suitable for vegetarians never mind vegans. It’s also used in some crisps. 

Unless it specifies that it comes from cow’s milk, whey is not suitable for vegetarians or vegans because to get it involves killing a calf.

Killed for whey

Saturday, 1 November 2014

From wise men come wise words

Quote Of The Week - Carl Sagan, Scientist And Author

"If chimpanzees have consciousness, if they are capable of abstractions, do they not have what until now has been described as 'human rights'?

How smart does a chimpanzee have to be before killing one constitutes murder?"

Friday, 31 October 2014

Oxfam UK say no to fur

When I saw a fur coat for saleon Oxfam's UK online store, I was surprised and saddened. Please see last post.

I couldn't believe that such an amazing charity that does such amazing work could sell something so cruel. It seemed incompatable with their ethical policies.

I was delighted when they contacted me on Twitter to say that the real fur coat would be withdrawn from sale and that they had a strict no real fur in their stores policy.

Here's the tweets to prove it -

Monday, 20 October 2014

Why it's never okay to sell fur (even for charity)

When I discovered Oxfam's online shop was selling fur from the 80's and I contacted them about it (they subsequently withdrew it from sale saying it shouldn't have been listed, because they had a strictly no fur policy - see Oxfam say no to fur - I was surprised by some people's reactions. And not just of those who are pro-fur either.

"The damage is already done, so what's wrong with a store selling it for charity?" That comment came from a vegetarian who stressed they'd never buy or wear fur, yet just because it was for charity they felt it would ethically be okay for someone else to buy or wear fur.

"What's wrong with wearing second hand fur; it's better than wearing new fur, surely?" was the jist of another person's point of view, after they spent ages telling me how warm wearing a fur coat is. Hey, if I want to know how warm a fur coat is I'll hug my dog. Fur belongs on the animal who was born wearing it not some soulless individual.

Someone else on a vegan messageboard posed the question - "What should we do with old fur, then?" and suggested that because it was charity who was selling it, it was okay. But to me putting fur on sale is never okay for the following reasons -

1. Seeing fur in stores makes it seem acceptable to buy and even wear it. For example, I was shocked when I saw the first fur coat for sale in a British charity shop, but by the fifth or sixth time I was more despairing than shocked.

2. Seeing real fur on sale creates a demand. Not everyone will have enough emotional intelligence to see the cruelty involved in making that coat.

3. Even if the money is going to charity does that justify 1.making fur seem acceptable 2.creating a demand?

To my mind, there's only one acceptable use for old fur - donation to animal shelters to keep baby animals warm. Returning the fur to where it belongs is the only way compassion can come of cruelty.

In the meantime, when you see fur in stores question it - especially when it's in a charity store. You may be surprised at the result.

Animals have no voice; they need us to speak for them. And, that's how veggiegirl2011 sees it.

What do you think?

Have you ever complained about a store selling fur? I'd love to hear what happened.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

7 Commonly held myths exposed in living Cruelty Free

1. Cosmetics must be tested on animals by law.
This is not the case, but is something cosmetics companies may say to explain away their animal testing. Only in China was it ever legally necessary to test cosmetics on animals. However this only applied to cosmetics intended for the Chinese market and not made in China for sale in other countries. 

In 2014, this changed and cosmetics in China no longer have to be tested on animals. This doesn't mean they won't be tested on animals. 

2. There’s nothing we can do to prevent child labour.
Yes, there is. If we buy Fairtrade (Fair Trade certified in the USA) the producers or workers are paid a fair wage/sum for their work or goods. This will mean that adult workers are used and not children.

The barbaric practice of mulesing for merino wool

3. Wool is cruelty free.
This is not the case. Wool may come from animals that end up in the slaughterhouse. Most of the world’s merino wool comes from Australia where lambs and sheep and chunks of flesh cut away to prevent them from getting fly strike. As you can imagine, this is agonising for the sheep. Farmers could breed fly strike resistant sheep instead, but refuse to do this.

4. There’s nothing we can do to stop domestic slavery.  
If you suspect someone is being treated as a domestic slave and ill-treated then you should contact the police. Everyone has a right to work and be paid a decent wage and to not face physical or mental abuse. Employers also have NO right to hold onto their employee’s passports.

5. All free-range eggs are the same.
This is not the case. It depends on what country you live in what degree free-range eggs are well, free range. For instance, in the USA hens can spend as little as five minutes outside and still have their eggs labelled as free-range. In the UK, eggs from these hens would not be called free-range.

6. Its difficult to be vegetarian or vegan.
Not true. It has never been easier to stop eating meat and animal products like milk and eggs. Soy (soya) milk is readily available and so are egg replacers.

7. There’s nothing we can do to change the world we live in, we are just one person.
We can all make a difference with the choices we make. For instance, only buying Fairtrade or ethical goods, telling companies we refuse to shop in them if their products are tested on animals or they sell fur and looking out for our neighbours.  

For more truths, check out Living Cruelty Free: Live a More Compassionate Life. 

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Stand up for the rights of every Scottish dog not to be muzzled

The Scottish Government has announced a consultation that could lead to every single dog in the country being muzzled all the time in public places.

Don't muzzle me. I'm innocent.

Not only is that cruel, it's totally unnecessary. Most dogs don't attack or bite anyone.

I also firmly believe that most cases of dogs biting or attacking could have been prevented by parents being more vigilant and people knowing how to behave around dogs. I say that as someone who was the victim of a dog attack.

I believe that if a dog kills the owner should be charged with manslaughter.

I believe that if a dog bites someone and its not the person who was bitten's fault they should be muzzled and their owner should be fined.

If a dog violently attacks someone and that person's not at fault, that dog should be put to sleep and the owner should be charged with assault or GBH.

I believe that parents who allow their children to be placed in danger around dogs, such as parents who let their 11-year-old children take two fully-grown Dobermans for a walk or to run up to a dog that is tied up and taunt the animal, should be charged with child neglect when their child is attacked or killed by that dog.

What I don't believe is that EVERY single dog in Scotland should be muzzled, ALL the time, in public places whether they've shown any aggression or not.

In case, anyone isn't sure what a muzzle is (a few people I've spoke to got it mixed up with a harness - here's a pic) -

I believe this is an ill-thought out addition to potential legislation that penalises the wrong party for dog attacks - the dogs. Dogs who are punished with the death penalty when they attack whilst their owners who were negligent rarely get prison time.

Under the legislation - dog owners whose dogs kill won't get the years in prison they deserve.

- adults in charge of children who are attacked or even killed by dogs because of those adults negligence, won't be charged with child neglect.

What causes dog attacks?
1. Owners who don't train their dogs properly.
2.Owners who use their dogs as weapons, often by training them to attack or being cruel to them.
3.Parents or guardians who allow their kids to tease dogs, pull their ears, hit them, often when those dogs are tied up.
4.Parents or guardians who leave children in charge of dogs who are much too powerful for them.
Case in point - In 1989, 11-year-old Kelly Lynch was killed by the two Rottweilers she and her friend were walking. The dogs were owned by Kelly's friend's dad (the father of the same friend who was walking the dogs). The dogs were killed. Their owner and Kelly's dad weren't charged with child neglect. This was a tragedy, but one that could have been prevented by the owner of the dogs and Kelly's father not allowing two little girls to take big, strong dogs for a walk unsupervised.
Read more about this tragic case here

If you disagree with the compulsory muzzling of every dog - yes, including your St Bernard who is more likely to slobber over someone than bite then, or your chihuahua - and you live in Scotland, please go to the Dogs Trust page to take action.

Make your thoughts known. Please don't wait until all dogs' lives are ruined forever

There's also questions about microchipping and dog licenses.

Please don't let it get to the stage where every dog is muzzled, regardless of whether they've exhibited any signs of aggression, because it's the owners of dogs who bite who should be punished not innocent dogs, many of whom like my dog would be terrified if they were muzzled.


About me
I write fiction and am also the author of Caring for Your Dog The Essential Guide, out now in Kindle and paperback.
I own a rescue dog. My previous dog, also a rescue dog, had epilepsy. If he'd been muzzled when he'd had a seizure it would have killed him because he'd have choked on his own vomit.