No New Animal Lab

This past Saturday, I joined several hundred demonstrators at the University of Washington for the March on UW. We were protesting a proposed animal testing facility that, if built, would see a 30% increase in the number of animals tortured and killed at the university.

marching with banner

No New Animal Lab is a slogan, a campaign, and a movement to prevent thousands of animals from suffering. Their current target is Skanska, the construction company who has been awarded the project.

A recent exposé on a local news channel has sickening information about some of what goes on at the university. It’s inhumane, and it needs to stop. I’ve written before about how animal testing is never justified, and the examples at UW are exactly why.

There are psychopaths in our midst. They are researchers at the UW and they live off federal grant money, despite a history of abuse and fines by the USDA.

At a time when other schools are moving to more modern, accurate testing methods, the UW chooses to invest more money in animal testing and refuses to recognize that animal testing models are outdated.

We marched through campus, to the site of the proposed lab, and up University Avenue. After the march, a smaller–but substantial–group protested outside of the home of one of the UW Regents, a man who is pushing the lab plans through despite public opposition.

Police presence was heavy, but both events were peaceful.

The events generated a lot of media coverage, including TV, newspaper and radio. Momentum is gaining and more and more people are becoming aware.

Please visit the No New Animal Lab FB page to see how you can help.

march

hundreds of people march – image c/o Wendy

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The vegan bedroom

If your concern for animals extends beyond your plate, you might find yourself looking at clothing labels and household brands to make sure there are no animal ingredients and you’re not supporting animal testing. One place you might overlook is the bedroom.

Pillows and blankets

Some pillows and comforters are stuffed with feathers and blankets can contain wool. Birds and sheep suffer in the production of these products, so steer clear of them. Fortunately, you can find lots of cruelty-free options. Synthetic pillows are hypoallergenic and reasonable. I’ve seen pillows stuffed with buckwheat, and I have one made of shredded natural latex. It all depends on the type of pillow you prefer. Everyone from Ikea to Amazon carries a non-animal version, so try a few out!

Sheets and pillowcases

Silk may sound sensuous, but it’s make of the fibers of silkworms. The cocoons–with worms inside–are dissolved in boiling water so the fibers can be harvested and spun. I’ve found a lot of silky synthetics that are nice, but I still prefer cotton with a little stretch. (Note: Peace silk is made by collecting the cocoons of wild moths after they’ve hatched, so the silkworms aren’t killed–this might be a good option if you insist on silk.)

Sleeping Girl by Nikolay Kuznetsov

Mattresses

Here’s an area where I struggled. I found a futon I liked and discovered, in addition to the main ingredient (cotton), it had a layer of wool (as a fire retardant). In order to get one made without wool, I needed a doctor’s note.

I found several coil mattresses and they were great–except they had silk covers. Ultimately I chose a natural latex mattress, which is made from sustainable natural rubber (tapped from a tree like maple syrup).

PlushBeds is great mattress company that makes all-vegan natural latex mattresses with plant-based fire retardants–no chemicals or wool! You can try out a bed, risk-free. But looking at the photos on their site, I bet you won’t want to give up that comfort!

Natural Bliss

I’m also intrigued with Casper, a latex and memory foam mattress made in America and shipped right to your door (in a surprisingly small box). They are 100% vegan, eco-friendly, and also offer a 100-day free trial period. What have you got to lose? Check out the Casper Mattress Facebook page for more.

casper

Here are some local options if you’re in the Seattle Area:

Bedrooms and More – Really helpful; showed me their silk-free and wool-free options, and educated me about natural latex.

Soaring Heart Natural Bedding – Bring a doctor’s note and they’ll make you a custom futon or tatami without wool.

Seattle Natural Mattress – Chemical-free cotton and natural latex bedding made in Portland, Oregon.

Intimacy

I won’t kiss and tell, but I will say that Trojan condoms and K-Y Jelly aren’t vegan. Trojan is owned by Church & Dwight and K-Y is owned by Johnson & Johnson. Both companies test their product on animals. Instead, check out The Vegan Sex Shop and Vegan Condoms for brands that don’t test on animals (like Glyde and Condomi). As an added bonus, The Vegan Sex Shop has a wide array of toys and whatnot so you can make sure your furry handcuffs are faux and your thigh-high boots are pleather.

These are a few of the things to look out for when creating a vegan bedroom.
And remember: You can still count sheep!

When tax dollars fund animal abuse

In the USA alone, more than $16 billion dollars of taxpayers’ money is spent on needless animal experiments every year. It’s a number that boggles my mind. I can’t even fathom the scale of abuse that 100 million animals endure in the name of “science.”

It frustrates me that I can’t earmark my tax dollars and funnel them into education, healthcare, and parks instead of cruelty.

Just when I thought I’d heard it all, I read a New York Times article about a taxpayer-funded animal research facility in Nebraska. This horrific lab conducts research on farmed animals to benefit the meat industry. They receive $22 million dollars of taxpayer money a year to torture and abuse animals. The experiments are so gruesome even people in the animal agriculture industry are appalled!

I’m grateful to the whistleblowers who shed light on this atrocity (and the journalists who ran with the info and got the story published). The NYT article exposes experiments at the 50-year-old U.S. Meat Animal Research Center.

At the Center, animals are genetically modified to produce more offspring–and the result is often babies who are born with horrendous deformities. Vet care is inadequate, “caretakers” aren’t properly trained, animals are starved to death, and newborns are left to die in open fields.DNA double helix

This is all in the name of higher yields and bigger profits. Researchers are looking for ways to produce heartier animals and more meat. It’s a twisted tale that belongs in a sci-fi movie–but it’s reality.

Sadly, cows, pigs, and sheep are excluded from protection under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Only Congress can stop such egregious animal suffering by making changes to the Act.

The American Anti-Vivisection Society has put together a great page to help you reach out to your legislators.

Please tell your legislators that you are outraged that federal government funds are used for such cruelty and that it must be stopped. Politely tell them that ALL animals deserve protection under the Animal Welfare Act.

There are so many reasons why I want nothing to do with the meat industry. I don’t willingly give them any of my money. I hate that they get taxpayer funding. With enough public pressure, taxpayer–who also happen to be voters–can get this place shut down!

Please help me shut it down!

Unilever drops lawsuit against Hampton Creek

Can you believe it? A couple of months ago, industry giant Unilever sued Hampton Creek over the use of the word “mayo.” Unilever, maker of Hellman’s mayonnaise, didn’t like that Hampton Creek named their eggless product Just Mayo.

Hampton Creek is a San Francisco-based food technology company that was founded in 2011. They focus on plant-based products and they currently produce Just Mayo and Just Cookies (both vegan). By comparison, Unilever is one of the oldest multinational companies, with over 400 brands in more than 190 countries. They’re the world’s largest producer of food spreads, with over 30% market share.

In a classic David vs. Goliath scenario, Unilever sued Hampton Creek over market share and claimed Hampton Creek is falsely advertising its product as mayo, even though it doesn’t contain eggs.

just mayo

Well Big Mayo lost this battle. They dropped the lawsuit amidst a flurry of bad PR. People were infuriated at the food giant’s bullying and sided with Hampton Creek. The lawsuit actually gave Hampton Creek millions of dollars in free publicity, and may people who’d never even heard of them vowed to buy Just Mayo on principle alone!

On a side, note, I encourage people not to buy any Unilever products for one other reason: They test on animals! Here’s some info on their testing (no graphic images), and an infographic with some of their most popular brands.

unilever

So, if you haven’t already, I encourage you to try Just Mayo. You can get it at Safeway, Costco, Whole Foods, Target, Walmart, and a host of other retailers.

The winner of the Farm Dog Naturals giveaway is…

…Anika from Seattle Vegan Score!

giveaway

Congratulations to Anika for winning the Farm Dog Naturals contest I held a couple of weeks ago. Anika tweeted about the giveaway, which got her name added to the draw.

Farm Dog Naturals is an all-natural, all-vegan line of herbal dog care products. You can learn more about them on their website and in my original post in this blog.

I want to thank everyone who participated in the giveaway. If you didn’t win, you can still try Farm Dog Naturals. They sell products on their site and have a list of retailers who carry their products.

Anika has a very special dog. When the products arrive at her place, she’ll use them to pamper Louise.

Louise

Three-year-old Louise knows how important it is to have safe and gentle products that aren’t tested on animals. You see, she is a former laboratory dog and knows first-hand how bad life can be.

I can’t think of a better winner for the contest. Louise will enjoy her calming remedy and soothing salves. Anika can use the sage smudge stick and odor remover.

Farm Dog products

Congratulations again Anika and Louise!

 

World Day for Animals in Laboratories

monkey diagramToday, April 26, 2014, is World Day for Animals in Laboratories. It’s a chance to speak up for animals languishing behind closed doors in labs around the world and is part of World Week for Animals in Labs.

In Seattle, NARN organized a protest outside of the UW Primate Research Center at 3010 Western Ave. The infant primate research that goes on behind the walls of the grim facility haven’t produced cures for human diseases and further prove that animal testing is a bad idea.

At SeaTac Airport, The Bunny Alliance met to protest Delta Air Lines. Delta has a partnership with Air France, one of the few airlines that ship animals to labs. Many primates are imported from places like China and Vietnam. Without animals, labs wouldn’t have their research subjects and breeding farms wouldn’t make money by raising primates for labs.

What can I do?

There’s lot’s you can do! Putting pressure on businesses and government is essential. The EU recently banned the use of animals in cosmetic testing, as have Israel and India. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Don’t support charities that test on animals. Here’s a page you can use to check your favorite charities.
  • Only shop from companies that don’t test on animals. Here’s a page with a list of companies.
  • Check out Chimpanzee Sanctuary NW and check out the progress of theses former research chimps.
  • Visit the Beagle Freedom Project for info on how beagles are being saved from research.
  • Read up on the Animal Aid site and learn more about stopping vivisection.

 

Vegan makeup on a budget

I like playing with makeup and changing my look. In the past, I’ve written about vegan makeup, but I happened to list brands that are pricy. For most of my life (and still today), I’ve been more of a bargain hunter. That’s why I’m happy to share with you some inexpensive brands that don’t test on animals!

Eyes, Lips, Face, or e.l.f, is a brand of cosmetics with a great price point. They sell loads of fun makeup and synthetic brushes too! Last holiday season, I treated myself to a 100-color eyeshadow palette. It’s a lot of fun. The pigment isn’t super intense so even the bold colors are wearable.

elp palette

I found it at a drug store for $10, which is well worth it for some makeup fun. The e.l.f. website specifically states, “We do NOT test on animals or endorse such practices. Our products do not contain animal derived ingredients.”

Jordana makes my favorite eyeliner in any price range. There’s a range of colors (the dark brown is my go-to, but I’ll branch out with brights sometimes). Their liners are self sharpening too, so you’ll always have a nice tip (without slivers–ouch!). I think these are less than $5 each. They sell lip liners too, as well as nail polish and other cosmetics, such as shadows. They’re made in the USA and available at your local drug store. Jordana’s website states that they do not test on animals or buy ingredients that were tested on animals. Some of their products contain animal ingredients, so read the labels!

Jordana eyeliners

Wet n Wild is another drug store brand that doesn’t test on animals. Thanks to Luminous Vegans for that tip! Wet n Wild sells formaldehyde-free nail polish, which is great news for a lot of us! The Wet n Wild website states, “As a Peta-certified, cruelty-free brand, we’re proud to say we have never and will never test on animals. We also make it a point to work with cruelty-free, third-party vendors. Wet n Wild loves our furry, scaly, and feathery friends!” Some of their makeup does contain carmine (a dye derived from insects). You can see which items are vegan and which aren’t on their FAQ.

wet and wild

It’s true that these aren’t vegan-owned companies, but for those of us on a budget, or who want to try out a makeup trend without spending a fortune, we have options. You can see PETA’s complete list for the latest info.

Do you know of other cruelty-free makeup for people on a budget?