If you asked most people for a definition of hell they would likely talk about images of fire and torment in some type of afterlife scenario. For billions of animals a year, their entire existence is one human-created hell after another. And one of the last tortures that they endure may be considered one of the worst: live animal transport to a slaughterhouse.
Born Into A Hell With No Escape
Animals born on factory farms have a short, miserable life ahead of them. These farms are filled with sentient beings who grow up in horrendous conditions that are unlike their natural habitat. Farmed animals begin and live in confined, small spaces for their entire lives. Some animals never see the sun or feel the grass under their feet.
As if their living conditions aren’t horrific enough, most animals raised on factory farms are often mistreated and abused by the humans tasked with their care. These animals endure endless atrocities beginning moments after they are born. And then, to top off this sad existence, most will be subjected to a long, arduous live animal transport journey on their way to slaughter. It is not bad enough that they have lived their entire lives in a manufactured hell. They spend their last days on a long, terrifying journey to their deaths.
Live Animal Transport
Many farm animals endure numerous trips throughout their lifetime. Before their final trip to the slaughterhouse, factory-farmed animals are transported to various locations for different stages of production, such as breeding or fattening. After those, the most common destinations are auctions and slaughterhouses. Animals destined for auctions may experience multiple trips before being sold.
The meat industry has undergone much consolidation over the past few decades. This consolidation means there are fewer slaughterhouses than in the past. The result is more extended transport from farm to slaughter for the unfortunate farmed animals in their care.
Railroads were the main form of live transport in the late 1800s, but today, 18-wheeler trucks are the most common type of domestic transport. The conditions animals experience during live transport are usually inexcusable despite legislation such as the “28 Hour Law,” created to “protect” farm animals during travel.
The 28 Hour Law
The “28 Hour Law” was enacted in 1873 and required vehicles transporting animals to stop every 28 hours and give animals food, water, and time and space to exercise. Transporters get around this law in multiple ways. For example, the “28 Hour Law” does not apply to trucks with a supply of food and water the animals can access. And it doesn’t even apply to all farmed animals like turkeys and chickens, who have even less protection than cows or pigs.
Animals are often given no food or water during transport that could last 24-48 hours or more. They are thrown into trailers with no bedding or room to sit and lie down. Once loaded they stand in each other’s excrement, urine, and vomit for days on end unable to rest the entire time.
Live Animal Transport Injuries
Many are injured as their frightened companions trample each other and fight for space. Some freeze to the sides of the cold, metal trailer in cold conditions. In hot conditions, animals can die from heat exhaustion. Downed or disoriented animals are often shocked with electrical prods, beaten, or dragged with tractors or other heavy machinery during loading or unloading.
These brutal live animal transport practices typically lead to more injuries as animals struggle in fear. Around the globe, about 160 million farm animals are transported each day. A large percentage of transported animals do not even survive the journey. The United States slaughters around twenty-five million each day. About 9% of those animals never even make it to the slaughterhouse because of the horrific travel conditions.
International Live Animal Transport
International live animal transport has also increased significantly over the years. Most international live transport happens by boat, but some occur by flight. Loud noises, inadequate ventilation, heat stress, and even motion sickness are just a few horrors that these animals experience.
Only a few weeks ago over 15,000 sheep were drowned when a live animal transport ship headed to Sudan sank into the Red Sea. It is hard to imagine the horrific conditions that these sheep were crammed into even before they were subjected to the terror of sinking into the ocean.
In one example, over 1,000 dairy cows suffocated to death from ammonia fumes while being transported by boat from Texas to Russia. Another two hundred cows too ill to be offloaded were left unaccounted for, likely ending up in the ocean.
Another example was when over a dozen U.S. cattle carcasses washed up on beaches in Denmark and Sweden from deceased cows thrown overboard into the Baltic Sea after dying during boat transport from the United States to Europe.
Ban Live Animal Transport
At the end of their short, tortured lives, farmed animals are dealt this final insult just before being forced into the hell that is a slaughterhouse. In the best of conditions, animals are still stressed and afraid. They can be overwhelmed with sights, sounds, and smells they have never encountered before.
Even if live transport were like luxury travel, these sentient beings would still experience this stress and fear. When you add the cruel and unacceptable conditions most often witnessed, it entirely adds another element of anxiety and stress. It’s time to end factory farming and all of the cruel, inhumane treatment that it causes our fellow earthlings.
If you were in the D.C. area on June 5th you probably heard about Planet Bethesda. The first annual Planet Bethesda, a World Environment Day Festival, was a smashing success that attracted more than 2,500 attendees. The plant-based “vegfest”, hosted by Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM), Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), and Sustainable Earth Eating (SEE), was held on Sunday, June 5, at Elm Street Urban Park and attracted vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike.
Plant Based Products for The Planet
Planet Bethesda featured more than two dozen Bethesda-area businesses and organizations including restaurants, eateries, and green energy companies. Attendees had the option to purchase cruelty-free personal care products, clothing, and Eco-smart merchandise as well as delicious 100% plant-based foods from local vendors.
Planet Bethesda Fun
In addition to the wide variety of booths, the festival offered fun for the entire family with an activity-filled Kids’ Korner, Bier Garten, Canine Courtyard for the furry attendees, and live music that provided the perfect opportunity to enjoy time with friends and family.
Over 100 children attended the Mad Science show hosted by Mad Science of Washington, DC. The Red Bandana Bakery also sponsored a pie eating contest for 12 lucky contestants ranging in age from 7 to 47. The winner was awarded a giant, vegan charcuterie basket filled with an abundance of items to enjoy including Treeline Cheeses.
Environmentally Friendly Speakers
Throughout the day the main stage was filled with inspiring speakers that began with a rousing kick-off speech by Congressman Jamie Raskin. The speaker lineup included:
- Vanita Rahman, MD, a board-certified internal medicine physician, certified nutritionist, and personal trainer, represented Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
- Seth Goldman, co-founder of Eat the Change® and PLNT Burger, brands that empower consumers to make dietary choices aligned with their concerns around climate and health
- Eric C Lindstrom, Executive Director of Farm Animal Rights Movement
- Milton R. Mills, who has lectured and given research seminars across the United States, Mexico, Canada and the UK on a variety of preventive health topics, including the negative impacts of meat and dairy consumption on human health
- Saurabh Dalal, a lifelong vegetarian, ethical vegan since 1991, who also volunteers as a board member/advisor to numerous vegan-oriented organizations, (including past board member of FARM) in addition to having been an active board member of the Veg Society of DC
- Jane Demarines, Executive Director of Sustainable Earth Eating, dedicated to advancing causes related to environmental conservation and green community development
- Lakshman (Lucky) Mulpuri, graduate of the University of Michigan and Wayne State University’s School of Medicine and now a plant-based practitioner
Plant Based Promise
In addition to promoting some of the area’s most impressive plant-based offerings nearly 200 attendees opted to take the “Plant-Based Promises” challenge involving making plant-based purchases and decisions over the months to come. We think everyone who attended will agree that we can’t wait to see what Planet Bethesda brings to the area in 2023.
Father’s Day will be here before we know it on June 19th, but it’s not too late to pick out the perfect cruelty-free gift for Dad, no matter your budget. Here is a list of Cruelty-Free Father’s Day gift ideas that can be delivered right to your door (or Dad’s door) to get you started:
The Doshi bifold wallet is a full-sized wallet made from high-quality, microfiber vegan leather. It features six credit card slots plus two larger slots on each side with dual cash sleeves and RFID protection to keep personal data safe from digital thieves. This stylish wallet comes in three different colors including black, dark brown, and bourbon.
At the time that this article was written, Doshi is also offering 20% off any men’s wallet with the purchase of a men’s belt in case you want to really step up your Father’s Day gift game.
Great Dads deserve to be pampered, especially on Father’s Day, and the LUSH Number One bubble bar offers a minty-fresh bath experience that anyone would enjoy. This bubble bar “uplifts and energizes” through beautiful blue bath water with a blend of spearmint, sandalwood, and neroli scents.
And since all of LUSH’s products are vegan, you can add some of the other cruelty-free products in your order to create a relaxing and fun Father’s Day gift basket.
Send your wine-loving Dad a reminder of how much you care all year with a wine club membership from Vegan Wines.
Vegan Wines offers a variety of Wine Club memberships, some that include a selection of plant-based cheeses to complement their wine selections. With their three or six bottle subscription options Dad will get a shipment of vegan wine four times per year delivered right to the front door. You’re sure to find a great subscription option to satisfy the thirst of any wine lover.
What’s better than vegan jerky? 5 flavors of vegan jerky delivered right to Dad!
If your father can’t resist a good vegan snack check out the five-flavor variety pack at Louisville Vegan Jerky Co that includes Smoked Black Pepper, Buffalo Dill, Perfect Pepperoni, Carolina BBQ, and Maple Bacon.
The Arbonne Groomwell Set is a full skin and hair grooming kit gift that will invigorate Dad’s skincare routine and keep him looking his best.
This cruelty-free gift bundle includes Arbonne’s Invigorating Cleanser, Restorative Eye Cream, Weightless Cream with mineral broad spectrum SPF15 sunscreen, and the Cleansing 3-in-1 Face Wash with charcoal.
The Corkor Cork Briefcase is the perfect gift for the working Dad on the go. This sophisticated vegan briefcase not only looks stylish but also offers protection for all of Dad’s professional needs such as laptops up to 15.6”, smart devices, and important business paperwork. Available in black or brown.
Summer is upon us. That means it is time to enjoy the great outdoors. And there’s no better way to celebrate summertime than with a good BBQ.
Some people assume that following a vegan diet takes away the joys of a summer barbecue because grilling is considered synonymous with meat, but the truth is there are many options for non-meat eaters.
Sticking to a vegan lifestyle does not require you to forego a delicious barbecue meal with your friends and family. With a little bit of research and a bit of imagination, you can create an entirely vegan meal on your grill.
Here are 11 vegan barbecue recipes we cannot wait to try out at our next BBQ.
Crispy on the outside, fluffy and sweet on the inside, this recipe for Grilled Baby Potatoes from A Virtual Vegan are a delicious addition to your vegan barbecue. They are easy to make. You can prepare baby potatoes ahead of time to speed things up on the day of your big barbecue.
10. Vegan Ribs
Delicious barbecue ribs do not have to come at the expense of an animal’s life. This vegan rib recipe by Vegan Heaven uses seitan, a meat substitute made from wheat gluten. Its chewy and stringy texture so closely resembles meat that many people cannot even tell the difference.
Are you looking for seasoned Russet potato wedges cooked on the grill just in time for summer? This recipe by The Online Grill will leave your guests begging for more. No one can resist this perfect side dish with their barbecue. Plus, they are super easy to make.
Let’s face it. Corn on the cob is always a treat. This recipe for grilled garlic and herb corn by Violife uses 100% vegan ingredients and several spices to create a fantastic ear of corn on the grill.
When you pair seitan with skewers full of your favorite fresh veggies and a savory, sweet glaze coat, you get Hawaiian Seitan Skewers by The Nut Free Vegan. This recipe can bring any barbecue to life.
Here is another delicious recipe for grilled corn. This vegan Mexican street corn recipe by Brand New Vegan has a cilantro-lime marinade covered in vegan Parmesan cheese.
Cauliflower is quite a versatile vegetable. This recipe by Broma Bakery is baked in the oven but will still make a great addition to your vegan barbecue menu.
The vegan jerk sauce on these chickpea wings provides a crispy combination of spicy and sweet. Baked or fried, this wing recipe by Rabbit and Wolves will be an excellent complement to any barbecue.
The ever-versatile cauliflower is back in another fantastic recipe by Yup It’s Vegan. Sweet and spicy sesame sauce is the secret to this cauliflower’s success.
Mushrooms make an excellent substitute for traditional meat and this recipe by Vegan Heaven is a perfect example. This recipe mixes mushrooms with chickpeas and oats to create a perfect patty.
If you are a fan of peanut sauce and seitan, this recipe by Sunny Side Hanne is the perfect dish. Whether you make the seitan from scratch or buy it ready-made at the market, you are in for a savory, meaty, peanut-buttery treat.
Vegan BBQ Season
Being vegan does not mean you have to miss out on summer cookouts. New, inventive recipes emerge daily, making it easy to throw a perfect, compassionate barbecue with an excellent plant-based BBQ menu that even a meat eater will find drool-worthy. So, get out there and start grilling, and do not forget to share your favorite recipes in the comments!
Recently, Tofurky celebrated a legal victory in Louisiana regarding free speech and truthful labeling of their products but they weren’t the first plant-based company to find themselves in a legal battle over labels. Last August, Miyoko’s Creamery achieved a similar win against the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).
“Milk plants, hug cows.” Founded by Miyoko Schinner in her home kitchen in 2014, Miyoko’s Creamery is now one of the top vegan cheese and butter producers. Her products often referred to as “phenomenally vegan,” can now be found in thousands of stores nationwide. Miyoko says of her company, “We’re not a company with a mission; we are a mission with a company. We’re here for a reason: to overturn animal agriculture and pave the way for a new compassionate sustainable food system.”
MIYOKO’S CREAMERY PROGRAMS
On their website Miyoko’s describes itself a “Compassion Centric” company. “We’re out to create a new kind of food company, food system, and food culture that’s built on the principle of compassion for all living beings.” The brand promises to be “phenomenally vegan” in everything they do. In addition to producing delicious vegan butter and cheese, Miyoko’s has created other programs that contribute to a more compassionate society.
Miyoko’s Creamery is not out to get dairy farmers, in fact, they want to help their competitors. Their goal is not to put dairy farmers out of business but to help them grow their businesses in a more humane and more profitable direction. The company founded the Dairy Farmer Transition Program to help farmers move from animal dairy to plant dairy. According to Miyoko, “We’re not saying: ‘we want you off your land.’ We are saying: ‘we want to provide a solution for you to stay on your land; help transition your animals to sanctuaries; and for you to be able to grow something else that can become part of the new food economy.”
Founded by Miyoko and her husband, Michael, Rancho Compasión, which provides sanctuary to rescued farm animals. Besides giving former farm animals a haven where they can flourish, the overarching goal is to promote compassion for all living creatures.
Rancho Compasión began with the Schinner family adopting two goats but quickly grew into a non-profit sanctuary that provides a forever sanctuary for over 80 residents. As stated on the Rancho Compasión website their vision is:
“We envision a world where non-human animals are no longer seen as here for human use. We, like other sanctuaries, have set forth a model where animals are not food, property, or products—they can simply just be. In our vision of a farmed animal sanctuary, the animals we typically associate with a barnyard setting, production of byproducts and flesh, or consider dirty, dumb, or less-than, are deserving of the same awe we would give a magnificent whale, adoration of a cute puppy, respect of fierce lion, and the humanity and person-hood we give our own species. We wish to see a world where systems of oppression and exploitation of all beings are dismantled and rebuilt upon a foundation of compassion. We are vegan because we believe in reducing harm to our fellow earthlings. We believe in a vegan future.”
MIYOKO’S CREAMERY LAWSUIT
In 2019, the California Department of Agriculture filed an injunction against Miyoko’s Creamery regarding their vegan products’ labels. The injunction alleged that Miyoko’s Creamery was violating FDA labeling regulations. In the injunction, the CDFA insisted that Miyoko’s Creamery discontinue using terms like “dairy” or “butter,” claiming the dairy industry has sole ownership of those words. They also demanded Miyoko’s Creamery alter its mission statement, “Revolutionizing Dairy with Plants,” to stop using terms like “cruelty-free” and “lactose-free” to describe products. They even went as far as instructing Miyoko’s Creamery to remove an image of a woman hugging a cow from its website.
The company immediately partnered with Animal Legal Defense Fund and responded with a first amendment lawsuit against the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The case called the complaint filed by CDFA “an attempt to unconstitutionally censor truthful commercial speech, violating Miyoko’s Creamery’s First Amendment right to free speech.” According to Stephen Wells, Animal Defense Fund’s Executive Director, “The CDFA’s attempt to censor Miyoko’s Creamery from accurately describing its products and providing context for their use is a blatant example of agency capture. The fact that animal-milk producers fear plant-based competition does not give state agencies the authority to restrict one industry to help another.”
The United States District Court of the Northern District of California ruled in favor of Miyoko’s Creamery in August 2021, concluding that the CDFA could not ban the company’s use of terms like lactose-free, cruelty-free, and butter. They also ruled the mission statement, “Revolutionizing Dairy with Plants,” was acceptable and could still be used in Miyoko’s Creamery labeling and advertising.
VEGAN COMPANIES UNDER FIRE
Lawsuits like those brought against Miyoko’s Creamery and Tofurky are likely to happen to other vegan companies in the upcoming years as sales of plant-based products soar and animal-based products decline. As the old saying goes: “first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
Food festivals are all the rage, but selecting tasty treats at your average food festival can be frustrating when following a vegan diet. Choices can be limited in a world dominated by meat and dairy consumers. Fortunately, vegfests provide a fun opportunity to taste test everything in sight. Food festivals that cater specifically to plant-based foods or establishments allow vegans to eat worry-free and give non-vegans an excellent way to taste-test various vegan offerings.
Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM), alongside the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and Sustainable Earth Eating (SEE), is proud to be hosting an exciting vegan festival in Bethesda, Maryland. Planet Bethesda will take place on Sunday, June 5, at Elm Street Park from 12 pm – 6 pm. The event will feature food, music, and fun for the whole family.
PLANT- BASED PLANET-BASED FOOD VENDORS
Contrary to widespread belief, vegan food is abundant and delicious. Choosing a vegan lifestyle does not have to mean you are giving up all the foods you love. It simply means you may have to find alternative versions of the foods you love. Some of those versions are even better than the original. The only way to find vegan foods you love is to try them out. Do not let one experience set the tone for all vegan foods. You may love one and hate another, but that is the case with food of any kind. You need a mind that is open to trying new things.
Food vendors at Planet Bethesda will be “serving up small dishes of their most cutting-edge, creative and plant-based foods.” Among the restaurants and food vendors participating are:
- True Food Kitchen
- The Red Bandana
- Berries and Bowls
- Tikka Masala
- Guardado’s Restaurant
- Zao Stamina Ramen
- Cipolla Rossa Pizzeria
- Zoe’s Vegan Delight
- Bethesda Curry Kitchen
- Eat the Change
You are virtually guaranteed to find a dish or two you love with so many options available.
Other Planet Bethesda vendors include:
MAIN STAGE SPEAKERS AT PLANET BETHESDA
Planet Bethesda’s Main Stage will feature numerous informational and inspirational speakers who are experts in their fields. Come early and stick around to hear what each of these professionals says.
- Lisa DeCrescente, Director of Special Projects, Farm Animal Rights Movement
- Dr. Vanita Rahman, Clinic Director, Barnard Medical Center
- US Congressman Jamie Raskin, Maryland’s 8th Congressional District
- Eric C. Lindstrom, Executive Director, Farm Animal Rights Movement
- Dr. Milton Mills, Internal Medicine Specialist
- Jane DeMarines, Executive Director, Sustainable Earth Eating
- Dr. Lakshman Mulpuri, PCRM
PLANET BETHESDA KIDS’ KORNER
Sponsored by Georgetown Hill Early School, Kids’ Korner will offer fun and educational activities to keep your little ones entertained. Kids can have their face painted, get a Henna tattoo, take home a caricature, or show off their crafty side at the World Environment Day Kraft Korner.
In addition, the main stage will host the Mad Science Earth Show, a fascinating, 45-minute, interactive science show for kids and adults of all ages.
MORE FUN AT PLANET BETHESDA
If you are up for a little more fun, make your way to the main stage at 4:30 for the Pie Eating Contest sponsored by The Red Bandana Bakery. Watch contestants race to finish a 9″ fruit pie from Red Bandana, or sign up to try your luck. The winner will receive a generous basket filled with plant-based goodies.
If relaxing with a cold drink is more your speed, check out Planet Bethesda’s Bier Garten.
PLANET BETHESDA SPONSORS
The generous support of local businesses is what makes any VegFest possible. Those supporting Planet Bethesda are:
- Long & Foster Real Estate
- TD Bank
- Georgetown Hill Early School
- 3rd Rock Essentials
- MOM’s Organic Market
- HOTBIN Composting
- Beyond Investing
- Hyatt Regency Bethesda
“Coming out of the pandemic we are so happy to be hosting one of the first in person festivals in the area. We expect a huge turnout and are so appreciative to all the Bethesda based businesses that have contributed to the ultimate success of this event,” says Lisa DeCrescente of FARM.
OTHER VEGFESTS NATIONWIDE
While Bethesda, Maryland, may not be right around the corner for everyone, that does not mean you have to miss out. Cities all over the nation host vegfests throughout the year. Maybe one of these will be a little closer to you. Consider one from this calendar from the American Vegan Society. Some are virtual; some are in-person events. If all else fails, perhaps it is time for you to become the next vegan activist and plan a vegfest of your own.
On Facebook? Stay -up-to-date on Planet Bethesda happenings (and RSVP) here.
Children’s books are a fantastic way to teach our little ones important lessons about values and compassion. Unfortunately, many books written for children do not focus on cruelty-free living. Some imply that animals are eaten. Many glorify the farmer who raises animals for food. If you are raising your child to be a compassionate vegan, continue reading for a list of children’s books that offer vegan-friendly stories celebrating kindness and compassion for all animals.
Three to seven-year-olds can learn their ABC’s while also learning compassion in Ruby Roth’s V is for Vegan. This book presents the basics of animal rights and vegan diets with fun rhymes and colorful illustrations by the author.
Another fun book by Ruby Roth, That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals, introduces children aged six to ten to vegetarianism and veganism. Roth shows the difference between animals’ lives in their natural environment and the lives of those on factory farms. The book also addresses the environmental effects of eating meat.
Wild Librarian Bakery and Bookstore by Stacy Russo introduces readers aged four through adult to librarian Stella Peabody. Stella’s dream is to open a combination bookstore and bakery. This book is an inspiring story about following your dreams and includes vegan recipes.
Kira Down Under and Kira’s Animal Rescue by Erin Teagan are books 1 and 2 of the American Girl series about Kira Bailey. Kira is an avid animal lover who works at an animal sanctuary in Australia. She is committed to rescuing animals in need. This book is a perfect read for young animal activists.
In The Forgotten Rabbit by Nancy Furstinger, Bella the rabbit shows us what happens when we purchase a pet on impulse. At first, Bella is loved and played with by the brother and sister who bought her for Easter. As time goes on, however, the children lose interest, and Bella becomes neglected and forgotten. Finally, Bella finds a happy home with someone who loves her. This book is an excellent opportunity to talk to children about our responsibility when bringing a new pet into our home.
Dave is an alien from another planet who loves all of Earth’s animals. He knows tons of facts about his animal friends and encourages us to practice compassion and kindness. Dave Loves Chickens by Carlos Patino is a beautiful example of how we should treat all animals.
Jasper is a moon bear who lived for years in captivity, having bile harvested from his body repeatedly by farmers who sold it for use in medicines. Jasper’s Story: Saving Moon Bears by Jill Robinson explains the horrible process moon bears endure and follows Jasper’s journey to recovery at an animal sanctuary after his rescue.
Maya Gottfried tells the stories of the animals living in Farm Sanctuary, a rescue for abused or injured farm animals, from their point of view in Our Farm: By the Animals of Farm Sanctuary. Real animals living in the sanctuary inspired this book of poetry.
The True Adventures of Esther the Wonder Pig by Steve Jenkins, Derek Walter, and Caprice Crane shares the real-life story of Esther, a mini pig who turned out not to be so mini. After realizing that Esther was quickly growing too large for their small apartment, her two dads decided to move the whole family to a large farm which soon became a sanctuary for all kinds of animals.
Gwen, the Rescue Hen by Leslie Crawford tells the story of Gwen, an egg-laying hen who has spent her entire life in a hen house. After a tornado rips the roof off the building she is housed in, she and her fellow chickens find themselves suddenly free. Gwen finds a whole new world she never knew existed. Gwen’s story sheds light on how animals live on factory farms. This story is the second book in Stone Pier Press’s Farm Animal Rescue series.
Ann Whitford Paul’s picture book If Animals Said I Love You asks, “What if animals did what YOU did?” and answers with the unique ways animals could show love. The board book is part of a series of preschool books, including If Animals Celebrated Christmas, If Animals Kissed Goodnight, If Animals Gave Thanks, and If Animals Went to School.
In Pig Park by M.J. Minor, Curly the pig loves going to the pig park with his boy much as a dog enjoys going to a dog park. Curly encourages children to consider how we view different animal species and the importance of being a friend to all.
Not a Purse by Stephanie Dreyer reminds us that animals are not only exploited for their flesh but are also used in our clothing, things we use around the house, and more. This book educates children about the origin of products we may take for granted and encourages them to explore compassionate alternatives.
In We All Love: A Book for Compassionate Little Vegans and Vegetarians by Julie Hausen, we are reminded that animals have feelings just like us and deserve to be happy and healthy just like we do. This book explores the similarities we share with animals and encourages children to treat the animals like they would like to be treated.
Happy Animals: Friends Not Food by Liora Raphael and Glenn Saks introduces children to the reasons behind choosing a vegan lifestyle. Society teaches children to see all animals as feeling sentient beings while also learning about the connection between animals and our food.
Chickpea, the cow, has spent her entire life on a factory farm, watching her family and friends disappear one by one. When the farmer tries to load Chickpea onto a big, scary truck, she decides to run away into the woods. Chickpea Runs Away by Sarat Colling tells Chickpea’s story as she discovers the world outside the farm and makes new friends. Numerous real-life cases of runaway cows inspire this story.
These books and many more can help young children (and maybe even some adults) better understand the importance of being kind and compassionate to the animals around them. Some teach us that animals are sentient beings who have real feelings just like we do. Others gently introduce children to the darker side of animal farming. All of them encourage compassionate choices and love for all animals.
Every year thousands of animals are tortured and killed in labs worldwide. Our drugs, food, cosmetics, self-care products, and even household products are tested on innocent animals long before they make it to store shelves. It has long been the consensus that if a product is safe for animals, it is safe for humans. This is not the truth at all.
DIFFERENT SPECIES, DIFFERENT RESULTS
The truth is that we are not the same species and therefore cannot say decidedly that any product will affect humans in precisely the same way it affects animals. Even species that most closely resemble humans have distinct physiological differences. These differences may seem insignificant, but they are often relevant enough to render tests inaccurate.
One drug study resulted in one death, four cases of brain damage, and even caused one volunteer to lose fingers and toes. Before initiating human trials, this drug had been extensively tested on rats, mice, dogs, rabbits, and even monkeys. Another drug caused at least 88,000 heart attacks and over 60,000 deaths. These are just two examples of many in which humans’ results were different from the results experienced by the animals.
In addition to errors created by differences in species, there are a couple of other reasons testing on animals in laboratories lead to inaccurate results. Human diseases do not occur naturally in animals, so they must be artificially created in the laboratory. Also, the laboratory environment itself is artificial, and the animals can vary in age, sex, diet, and more. The result of these different variables is often inconsistent results.
CRUEL ANIMAL TESTING METHODS
Animals in laboratories are subjected to horrendous tortures for human safety. Monkeys, dogs, and cats have painful electrodes inserted into their brains. Scientists force dogs, cats, rats, mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, and many others to ingest or inhale vast quantities of the tested substance, resulting in abdominal pain, vomiting, bleeding from the nose, mouth, or genitals, diarrhea, seizures, convulsions, paralysis and ultimately death.
Other animals in laboratories have chemicals smeared onto their skin or into their eyes. These tests result in ulcers, inflamed skin, bleeding, swollen eyelids, bloody scabs, irritated or cloudy eyes, and blindness.
Some are injected with test substances to study their allergic reactions. Some are given the test substance, then killed so that they can study the effects on the brain. They dose many animals for years before they kill them to search for signs of cancer.
The list goes on and on.
NON-ANIMAL TESTING OPTIONS
Scientific advances provide us with plenty of research alternatives that do not require the torture and sacrifice of innocent animals. Methods such as cell and tissue cultures, skin grown from human cells, and computer simulations provide much more applicable data to humans than animal testing. These and more methods in continual development render animal testing unnecessary and unjustifiable.
WHERE DO LAB ANIMALS COME FROM?
Each year an estimated 100 million animals are used in laboratory experiments consisting mostly of primates, dogs, pigs, sheep, rabbits, mice, and rats. But where do all of these animals come from?
In order to supply animals to labs a person must be licensed by the USDA as Class A or Class B animal dealers. Class A dealers maintain breeding colonies to send to animal laboratories. Class B dealers gather “random sourced” animals. These animals come from shelters, auctions, private breeders, and hunters. Some cities even have financial contracts with Class B dealers to hand over unwanted shelter pets to be used in scientific experiments. Because of their docile nature and size beagles are considered one of the best animals to do lab tests on.
Class B dealers are notorious for animal cruelty and breaking the law. It is not uncommon for them to gather animals for labs from illegal sources such as Craigslist and other “free-to-a-good-home” websites, stray animals, or even lost or stolen pets.
ANIMAL TESTING REQUIREMENTS
Many well-known companies still test on animals today. There is no legal requirement in the United States that household products or cosmetics be tested on animals. Some countries still require animal testing for these types of products, while other countries have banned the sale of products tested on animals.
Most companies are simply continuing with archaic practices because that is how they have always done things, or that is what is most accessible or most convenient. Some products, such as pesticides, fertilizers, and weed killers, are legally required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be tested on animals. Similarly, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires animal testing for drugs and food additives or preservatives.
WORLD DAY FOR LABORATORY ANIMALS
April 24 is World Day for Laboratory Animals. On this day and its surrounding week, we remember the billions of animals who have suffered or lost their lives in labs worldwide.
What can you do to help end the suffering of innocent animals in laboratories worldwide? Contact your Representatives. Ask them to support measures to move away from animal testing and toward methods that do not rely on animal lives and are more relevant to humans.
Organizations like The Beagle Freedom Project are working hard to keep animals out of labs and to rescue the animals that have already been subjected to horrific tests. Beagle Freedom Project offers a free app called Cruelty Cutter to make cruelty-free shopping easy by allowing you to scan an item’s barcode to get an immediate answer about the animal testing status of the product.
Another great method to get the word out about animal testing is to share social media campaigns aimed at furthering awareness of animal suffering in laboratories. Donate to organizations whose goal is to liberate animals from labs and provide a better life for them.
Start a fundraiser to raise donations. Contact companies that still test on animals. Let them know you will not be purchasing their products until they no longer use animals in their testing. Bring your friends up to date on the plight of laboratory animals and how they can help. Read labels, do your research, and choose which products you buy with compassion.
In October of 2020, a law went into effect in Louisiana that barred using words such as “burger” or “sausage” on plant-based products, even when paired with proper descriptors such as “meatless” or “vegan.” The law imposed a fine of up to $500 per day for plant-based companies using these marketing terms.
The law is a juvenile attempt by the animal agriculture industry to keep plant-based meats from competing with their sales. The animal agriculture industry is scared of plant-based companies, which enjoyed a 74 percent growth in sales over the last three years alone. This law is the equivalent of the bossy kid saying, “You can’t be Batman! I’m Batman!” It is the ultimate example of lawmakers passing laws that serve their interests.
A ROSE BY ANOTHER NAME
The Louisiana law implies that consumers are confused by labels like “plant-based burger” or “meatless sausage” when, in fact, the opposite is true. When labeled correctly, consumers are intelligent enough to see the difference between plant-based and meat-based products. This law was simply a ploy to make plant-based products sound less appealing than their meat-based counterparts by using “veggie tubes” instead of plant-based hot dogs or “veggie pucks” instead of plant-based burgers. The Representative who sponsored the law, Francis Thompson, admitted “he designed the law to protect the interests of certain Louisiana agricultural producers from the growing competition with plant-based and cultivated meat producers.” (via VegNews)
LOUISANA VS TOFURKY
With the help of the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and The Good Food Institute (GFI), Tofurky filed a lawsuit on October 7, 2020, arguing that the Louisiana law infringed upon its First Amendment right to free speech. ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells commented, “Louisiana’s labeling law was a clear and unconstitutional attempt to protect the animal agriculture industry from competition amidst the growing market for foods not derived from slaughtered or confined animals, which don’t carry the same risks to human health, animals and the environment. Under the First Amendment, companies are entitled to market and label their products in truthful ways that consumers will recognize and align with their values.’
A VEGAN FRIENDLY VERDICT
In late March 2022, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana ruled in Tofurky’s favor and halted enforcement of the law. Laura Braden, GFI’s Lead Regulatory Counsel, believes the court reached the right decision. “Louisiana consumers deserve better than being patronized by lawmakers who want to control what they buy. Consumers are not confusing veggie burgers for beef burgers when labels clearly indicate the products are plant-based, meatless, vegetarian, or vegan, and it insults their intelligence to suggest otherwise. Laws like this are regrettable and should be struck down given what’s at stake: a more sustainable food system that works for everyone – farmers, food companies, consumers, and entire communities.”
ALDF and GFI also assist plant-based companies affected by similar laws in other states. These organizations successfully partnered with the American Civil Liberties Union in 2019 to challenge a similar law in Arkansas. The federal district court, citing concerns related to free speech, blocked the Arkansas law.
“The Louisiana court has seen right through the disingenuous pretext under which this law was passed, and rightfully intervened to protect the First Amendment rights of companies like Tofurky and the rights of Louisianans to have unfettered access to the healthier, more sustainable foods of their choosing,” says Jaime Athos, President, and CEO of Tofurky. “The law was an obvious attempt to give unfair advantage to animal agriculture interests by stifling the growth of plant-based food sales, and this ruling serves as a warning to other state legislatures who may forget that they are elected to serve the needs of their constituents, not those of corporate special interests.”
Changing to a vegan diet does not mean you have to give up all your favorite foods. Many brands have purposefully developed vegan versions of the foods and snacks we all love. Many others have products that are “accidentally vegan.” These products were not designed with a vegan diet in mind, but they contain all vegan ingredients. Keep reading to discover 25 delicious foods that are “accidentally vegan”.
ACCIDENTALLY VEGAN CHIPS
Out of Dorito’s twenty-one flavors, only three are vegan. Spicy Sweet Chili, Toasted Corn Tortilla Chips, and Spicy Sweet Chili are “accidentally vegan.” The remaining flavors contain either chicken-based ingredients, milk-based ingredients, or both.
Original Fritos, Bar-B-Q Fritos, and Fritos Scoops are all vegan. Many other flavors are not vegan, though, so pay attention to labels.
Ruffles have three vegan flavors to offer. Original Ruffles, All Dressed Ruffles, and Tapatio Limon Ruffles are all vegan. The remaining flavors, however, all contain animal-derived ingredients.
Quite a few flavors of Lays Potato Chips have all vegan ingredients. Classic, Barbecue, Dill Pickle, Lightly Salted, Limon, Salt & Vinegar, Kettle Cooked – Original, Kettle Cooked – Cracked Pepper & Sea Salt, Kettle Cooked – 40% Less Fat – Original, Wavy – Original, and Stax – Original are all vegan-friendly. As with other brands, though, their remaining flavors contain dairy or other animal ingredients.
Many flavors of Kettle Brand Potato Chips are vegan. Maple Bacon, Sea Salt, Sriracha, Backyard Barbecue, Jalapeno, Pepperoncini, Red Curry, Roasted Garlic, Sea Salt & Vinegar, Spicy Thai, and Unsalted are all vegan flavors.
ACCIDENTALLY VEGAN CRACKERS
Keebler’s Original Club Crackers may have a delicious buttery flavor, but none of that flavor comes from a dairy source. The crackers are “accidentally vegan.” Their Club Cracker Sandwich Bites with Peanut Butter also happen to be vegan.
Original Ritz Crackers have only vegan ingredients. All flavors of Ritz crackers are vegan-friendly, even the bacon-flavored Ritz.
Many flavors of Triscuits are “accidentally vegan.” Among these are Balsamic Vinegar & Basil, Cracked Pepper & Olive Oil, Fire Roasted Tomato & Olive Oil, Dill Sea Salt & Olive Oil, Garden Herb, Hint of Salt, Original, Reduced Fat, Roasted Garlic, Roasted Red Pepper & Red Bean, Rosemary & Olive Oil, Rye with Caraway Seeds, Sea Salt & Black Pepper, Sweet Potato & Cinnamon Sugar, Sweet Potato & Roasted Onion, and Wasabi & Soy Sauce. A few Triscuit flavors contain dairy or even honey. Read your labels when in doubt.
Original Wheat Thins are vegan. Most of the other flavors are vegan, as well. Some of these are Fiber Selects, Garden Vegetable, Flatbread Tuscan Herb, Hint of Salt, Multi-Grain, Reduced Fat, Spicy Buffalo, Sundried Tomato & Basil, and Zesty Salsa. A few flavors of Wheat Thins include milk-based flavoring, so be sure to check the labels.
Most brands of saltine crackers are vegan. Keebler Zesta Saltines, Nabisco Original Premium Saltines, Target’s Market Pantry Saltine Crackers, Sunshine Krispy Saltine Crackers, and more are perfect additions to your vegan diet.
ACCIDENTALLY VEGAN CEREALS
Fiber One’s original bran flavor contains all vegan ingredients. Fiber One Honey Clusters, however, do have some non-vegan ingredients. As with all foods, pay attention to the ingredients label.
Most flavors of Cap’n Crunch cereal are vegan because they contain no blatant animal ingredients. The cereal does have sugar and palm or coconut oil, however. These ingredients are considered questionable in the vegan community based on their processing or origin.
Life Cereal is usually considered vegan. Just like Cap’n Crunch, however, it does contain sugar. Sugar is often filtered with bone char, rendering it technically non-vegan. Labels do not identify whether they used bone char in the sugar filtering process, so it is difficult to know if that ingredient is vegan. Whether or not to consume products containing sugar comes down to personal choice.
Most Kashi cereals are vegan. Their vegan flavors are labeled as such on their websites. A few of Kashi’s vegan options include GOLEAN Crisp! Toasted Berry Crumble, Organic Promise Autumn Wheat, Organic Promise Island Vanilla, and Strawberry Fields.
Unfrosted Shredded Mini-Wheats contain only vegan ingredients. On the other hand, the frosted version contains gelatin, which is considered an animal by-product. Skip the frosting if you want a vegan breakfast.
ACCIDENTALLY VEGAN COOKIES
Most Oreo flavors are vegan, containing no milk and no animal products. A few flavors contain non-vegan ingredients such as honey, but most are entirely animal-free. Check the labels if you are unsure.
Most graham crackers are dairy-free, but not all are 100% vegan. Some contain honey. Some contain ingredients such as palm oil. A few vegan-friendly brands include Nabisco Original Grahams, Keebler Original Graham Crackers, Nairn’s Gluten Free Oat Grahams, and Chocolate Teddy Grahams.
BelVita has a few vegan products. Some contain sugar, which we have established as a grey area for many vegans. BelVita Bites have three vegan-friendly varieties: Mixed Berry, Chocolate, and Cinnamon Brown Sugar.
Back to Nature’s entire line consists of plant-based ingredients. Honey is the one animal-derived ingredient you may notice on the labels. The brand’s three vegan cookies are Chocolate Chunk, Classic Crème, and California Lemon.
Nabisco has quite a few vegan options. Ginger Snaps are yet another cookie option suitable for your vegan diet.
ACCIDENTALLY VEGAN CANDY
Quite a few Airheads flavors are vegan. Original Airheads, Airheads Bars, Airheads Gum – white mystery, Airheads Xtremes, and Airheads Xtreme Peg Bag are just a few vegan choices. Check the label, as some of the flavors contain ingredients like gelatin.
Fruit by the Foot does not contain any animal products, so it can be considered vegan. It does, however, include a grey area—items such as sugar, which some vegans try to avoid.
Mondelez uses a combination of corn syrup, corn starch, and carnauba wax to create the gummy candy Swedish Fish. Like many other sweet products, they contain the debatable ingredient, sugar. Strict vegans may avoid products containing sugar.
Dum Dums lollipops are considered vegan apart from the grey area ingredients avoided by the strictest vegans. The lollipops contain no animal ingredients, but they have sugar and natural and artificial flavorings that could come from plant and animal sources.
Many flavors of Brach’s candy are vegan. Some do contain sugar or palm oil, so pay attention to the labels if you avoid those ingredients. Some vegan options from Brach’s are Mandarin Orange Slices, Cinnamon Hard Candy, Root Beer Barrels, and Star Brites.
ALWAYS CHECK LABELS FOR ANIMAL PRODUCTS
These and many more “accidentally vegan” products make sticking to your vegan lifestyle easy. Being vegan does not have to mean missing out on delicious food. Options are everywhere. However, companies often change their recipes or formulas, so it is always important to keep an eye on labels to make sure there are no animal products in your favorite snacks.