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Vegans, Learn your ABCs!

ABC

One animal-derived ingredient for every letter of the alphabet

1.) Albumen/Albumin is usually derived from egg whites (ovalbumin), but can also be found in animal blood, milk and plants. It is used to thicken or add texture to processed foods. In cosmetics, it is usually derived from egg whites and used as a coagulating agent. Egg whites are sometimes used in “clearing” wines, (as well as gelatin and insinglass, therefore not all wine is vegan.)
 
2.) Bone products: a) Bone Ash (or bone earth) is the white, powdery ash left from the burning of bones. It is used in fertilizer and in the making of ceramics called bone china. Although synthetic alternatives have been produced, the majority of bone china is still made using animal-derived bone ash. Manufacturers who sell bone ash state it’s used for animal feed, pharmaceuticals, making ceramics, and human food. b) Bone phosphate is manufactured from animal bones.  c) Bone char, (also known as bone black, ivory black, animal or bone charcoal), is a granular substance produced by charring animal bones. It is used in de-fluoridation of water and in the treatment of municipal water supplies. It’s also used to filter aquarium water. It is sometimes used in the sugar refining industry for decolorizing. Some refineries in Canada and U.S. still use this process, but Australia does not. Bone char is used to refine crude oil in the production of petroleum jelly. It is sometimes used for artist’s paint, printmaking, and in calligraphy and drawing inks. d) Bone Meal - is a mixture of crushed and coarsely ground bones used in organic fertilizer for plants. Alternatives would be plant mulch and vegetable compost along with dolomite, clay and rock dusts.
 
3.) Casein. Caseinate. Sodium Caseinate. – Casein is the principal protein in milk, and found in the milk of all mammals. Casein is found in cosmetics, hair preparations, beauty masks, used in adhesives/glues, paints, and plastics. It’s found in products marked “non-dairy” even though it’s a product of the dairy industry. Casein is coagulated with the addition of rennin/rennet enzymes (typically obtained from the stomachs of calves) in cheese-making. Casein is one of six substances that may be used to clarify wine. If you call the vintner, ask if casein or any other animal products are used in the "fining process". On the site of a casein manufacturer, one gets a clear picture that casein is a byproduct of the dairy farming industry, therefore in order to not support the horror of the dairy industry, don’t purchase products containing casein. Cheese contains casein, a substance that when digested by humans, breaks down into several chemicals, including casomorphine; which has about one tenth the opiate strength of morphine. The especially addicting power of cheese may be due to the fact that the process of cheese-making leaves casein in concentration. Marketing strategies of those trying to sell the public cheese have used terminology like “Trigger the cheese craving”. They know about the addictive quality of casein and use that to sell their product to the public. Don’t let them sell their products of slavery and misery to you.
 
4.) Down - The down of birds (especially duck and geese) is a layer of fine, fluffy, insulating feathers found under the tougher exterior feathers. The loose structure of down feathers traps air, which helps to insulate the bird against heat loss. Some birds are killed solely for their down, while some birds (particularly some geese) greatly suffer from being live-plucked of their breast feathers, 5-6 times during their short lives. Live-plucking is more profitable than getting feathers from a dead bird since the animal is used, over and over. The widespread practice of live-plucking is painful for geese; sometimes paralyzing. Often live-plucking is used as a marketing tool as an alternative to killing the birds. Once it is no longer profitable to keep the geese alive for their feathers, they are slaughtered for their meat. Despite the arrival on the market, of warm lightweight synthetics to replace down, American and European geese and eider ducks are still being raised domestically for meat and down feathers for insulating quilts, sleeping bags, comforters, parkas, and pillows. Synthetic insulation is readily available. Alternatives are organic cotton, polyester, or synthetic microfiber thermal insulation materials. The down belongs to the birds, by nature, and was meant to keep them warm. Geese normally live in small family units and mate for life, living up to 20 years and flying long distances.
 
5.) Elastin – is protein found in the neck ligaments and aortas of cows. Elastin is similar to collagen. Collagen and elastin are ingredients found in many moisturizers, hair products, and face creams. For a non-animal-derived alternative; look for products with soy protein or almond oil. At least one company on-line, Reviva Labs, offer “Elastin & Collagen Skin Toner’ that is free of animal products and not tested on animals.
 
6.) Feathers and Fur. Feathers are from exploited and slaughtered birds. Used whole as ornaments or ground up in shampoos (called Keratin). Fur is obtained from animals (usually mink, foxes, or rabbits) cruelly trapped in steel-jaw leg-hold traps or raised in intensive confinement on fur farms. So stick with synthetic alternatives so the feathers and fur can stick on its rightful owner.
 
7.) Gelatin(e) -  Household gelatin is a protein produced by partial hydrolysis of collagen extracted from the boiled bones, connective tissues, skin, organs and some intestines of animals such as cows, pigs, and possibly horses. On a commercial scale, gelatin is made from by-products of the meat and leather industry. The Gelatin Manufactures of America site explains "It is commonly used as a gelling agent in food, pharmaceuticals, photography, and cosmetic manufacturing." For example: It is classified as a foodstuff, with E number E441. It is used as a gelling agent, stabilizer or thickener in cooking. It is found in marshmallows, gelatin-desserts like “Jello”, frosted cereals, gummy bears and candy. Gelatin is used for the clarification of juices, such as apple juice, and of vinegar, and sometimes in the clarifying of wine. Gelatin typically constitutes the shells of pharmaceutical capsules. Vegans will purchase veg-e-caps. Animal glues (hide glue, bone glue, fish glue, rabbit skin glue) are essentially unrefined gelatin. It’s used in virtually all photographic films and photographic papers. However, digital photography is vegan. Gelatin is used to smooth glossy printing papers or playing cards and maintains the wrinkles in crêpe paper. It's used for making a home-made hair styling gel. It may be used as a medium with which to consume LSD. LSD in gelatin form is known as "windowpane" or "geltabs." Gelatin is also used in nail polish remover and makeup. In art supplies, gelatin made from the skins, hoofs, and bones of calves, is used in gesso, while many watercolor papers are also sized with gelatin. Alternatives for gelatin in food are carrageenan, Irish Moss, agar-agar (seaweed).
 
8.) Honey is food for bees, made by bees and stolen by humans for humans. It is used in cosmetics, lip balms, and as a flavoring in foods. Honey should never be fed to infants as it has been shown to cause botulism, however it should not, morally speaking, be used by humans of any age. Vegan alternatives are Rice Syrup, Agave Nectar, Barley Malt, Sorghum Molasses, most Maple Syrup (some use animal fat in the defoaming process), Fruit Syrups, Molasses (rich in iron), as well as dry organic evaporated cane juice crystals such as Rapadura, Sucanat (Wholesome Foods), Florida Crystals, Shakkar, etc., as well as date sugar, beet sugar, etc.
 
9.) Isinglass is a form of gelatin obtained from fish bladders; especially the sturgeon. Sometimes used in "clearing" or “fining” wines and beer, and in "foods". Although very little isinglass remains in the beer when it's drunk, vegans consider beers which are processed with these finings (such as most real ales) to be unsuitable. A beer-fining agent that's suitable for vegans is Irish moss; an algae also known as carrageenan. Contact companies and find a vegan brand or check barnivore.com (vegan wine and beer guide).
 
10.) Jameed (Arabic word for "hardened") is a hard dry yoghurt made from goats' milk originating from Jordan. It is also often referred to as "rock cheese". 
 
11.) Keratin – is protein from the ground-up horns, hooves, feathers, quills, and hair of various animals. Human hair and nails also contain keratin. To keep our hair lustrous, cosmetic companies use crushed up animal parts to put keratin in their products including hair rinses, shampoos and permanent wave solutions.
 
12.) Lanolin is a yellow waxy substance secreted by the sebaceous glands of wool-bearing animals. Most lanolin used by humans comes from domestic sheep. Lanolin's waterproofing property aids sheep in shedding water from their coats. Its natural role is to protect wool and skin against the negative affects of climate. Certain breeds of sheep produce large amounts of lanolin, which is extracted by squeezing the sheep's harvested wool between rollers. Over the course of history, humans have used sheep as a source of food, milk and clothing. They have been domesticated for 11,000 years, making sheep the oldest domestic animals, second only to the dog. In New Zealand, sheep outnumber humans by an enormous margin. Lanolin has many derivatives that are used widely in cosmetic and skin treatment products. Lanolin’s E number is E913; mainly used in cosmetics. Lanolin is also used commercially in many industrial products such as rust-proof coatings and in lubricants. Lanolin is often used as a raw material for producing cholecalciferol (vitamin D3; animal-derived vitamin D). Lanolin is a byproduct of an animal-harming industry.
 
13.) Musk is the name originally given to a substance with a penetrating odor obtained from a gland of the male musk deer; a miniature deer without antlers, who originates deep in the Himalayan mountains. This harmless animal weighs just twenty-five pounds and stands twenty inches in height. The gland is situated between his/her back and rectal area. The substance has been used as a popular perfume fixative since ancient times and is one of the most expensive animal products in the world. It has come to encompass a wide variety of substances with somewhat similar odors. They include glandular secretions from animals other than the musk deer, such as beaver, muskrat, civet cat, and otter, as well as numerous plants. Until the late 19th century, natural musk was used extensively in perfumery until economic and ethical motives led to the adoption of synthetic musk, which is used almost exclusively. Modern use of animal-derived musk pods is mainly used by Traditional Chinese medicine; which claim 95% of musk use; the other 5% percent of the musk trade is for perfumes. Currently the musk gland is used in as many as 400 Chinese and Korean traditional remedies; that have been made for over 5,000 years. Some deer are killed legally for use in certain Asian medicines.
 
The musk deer live in India, Pakistan, Tibet, China, Siberia and Mongolia. To obtain the musk, the deer is killed and its gland, also called "musk pod", is removed. To obtain one kilogram (2.2 lb) of musk grains, 40-140 deer are killed.  Muskrat, a North American rodent, has been known since the 17th century to secrete a glandular substance with a musky odor.  Glandular substances with musk-like odor are also obtained from the Musk Duck of southern Australia, the musk ox, the musk shrew, the musk beetle, African Civet, the musk turtle, and from several other animals. Musk oil is also produced from Tokapi Deer, Chinese Wild Deer, as well as the Asia Musk Deer. Population growth is consuming the habitat of this species and demanding even more of the glands that belong to the Musk deer. Currently there are some musk deer farms in China that operate on the male deer to remove the musk pod without causing them death, but this practice is also questionable to most of humanity and totally unethical to animal rights advocates. Musk remains illegal in most countries except for China. The musk pod is worth its wait in gold, and even though the deer is protected, poaching remains a problem. Some plants produce musky smelling compounds. The plant sources include musk flower, the muskwood of the Guianas and West Indies, the seeds of (musk seeds), ambrette, galbanum and angelica root. A musk alternative is labdanum oil.
 
14.) Natural flavoring - UK Food Law defines a natural flavor as:  a flavoring substance (or flavoring substances) which is (or are) obtained, by physical, enzymatic or microbiological processes, from material of vegetable or animal origin which material is either raw or has been subjected to a process normally used in preparing food for human consumption and to no process other than one normally so used. The European Union's guidelines for natural flavorants are slightly different. Certain artificial flavorants are given an E number, which may be included on food labels. The U.S. - Title 21, Section 101, part 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations describes a "natural flavorant" as:  the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or any other edible portions of a plant, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose primary function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional. In other words, natural flavors can be pretty much anything approved for use in food. It's basically impossible to tell what is in natural flavors unless the company has specified it on the label. Why do companies "hide" ingredients under "natural flavors"? It's considered a way of preserving the product's identity and uniqueness - sort of like a "secret recipe". Vegans need to call companies to ask what the natural flavors are on an ingredient list.
 
15.) Oil pastels (art supplies) are made by combining raw pigments with animal fat and wax. Soft pastels on the other hand are usually free of animal ingredients.
 
16.) Pepsin is an enzyme from the stomach of pigs or grown calves; used with rennet to make cheese.
 
17.) Quahog is a type of oyster. In much of the United States, quahogs are simply called "hard clams" or "hard-shell clams." In the shucking (opening) of quahogs, they get the clams to "relax" by chilling them. Then they use a shucking knife and place it into the space between the shells, then cut the adductor muscles of the clam. Quahogs are filter-feeders and they greatly absorb the pollution in the water.
 
18.) Rennet or rennin is a natural complex of enzymes produced in any mammalian stomach to help a nursing baby digest mother’s milk. In the “food” (or animal-harming) industry, rennet is obtained from a newly born calf’s stomach, and is used as a coagulant in cheese-making, in certain dairy products including some yogurts, and in junket; a soft, pudding-like dessert. Rennet contains the enzyme rennin, and a little pepsin. The older the calf, the more pepsin will be found in the calves. These calf stomachs are a by-product of veal production, (a by-product of dairy production). To obtain rennet using the customary method (still used by many European and traditional cheese-makers), stomachs of young calves are dried and ‘cleaned’, then sliced into small pieces and then put into an extraction solution, which will be filtered. Rennet can also be derived from non-animal sources, and in North America, GMO-Microbial rennet is used more often in industrial cheese-making because it is less expensive than animal rennet. But before you breathe a sigh of relief at the discovery that your favorite dairy cheeses might not be coagulated with rennet from the stomachs of calves, don’t forget that they are all made with milk– the product of sexual assault, enslavement, kidnapping, torture and murder, and the reason many calves are slaughtered.
 
19.) Stearic Acid.is a wax-like fatty acid, primarily produced from natural fats and oils. Stearic acid is largely used in soap and other cosmetic and industrial preparations, as well as deodorants and antiperspirants, foundation creams, hand lotions, hair straighteners, and shaving creams. Stearic Acid is commonly used in the vulcanization process (in the formation) of tires. It is also used as a softener in chewing gum base and for suppositories. The major fat used in the making of stearic acid is animal tallow. Stearic acid is also obtained in lesser amounts from herring and sardines. Plant oils such as cotton, coconut, palm kernel, castor beans, rapeseed, soybeans, and sunflowers are also natural sources. In the U. S., almost all stearic acid is made from tallow and coconut oil, although lesser amounts are made from palm oil. The other plant sources are more commonly used in third world countries.
 
I received a letter from Michelin tires after questioning their use of stearic acid in the vulcanization of their tires, and this was the response: “Stearic acid is a very common ingredient in most mixes used in tires throughout the industry. It is one of those raw materials that has been around almost since the beginning of rubber vulcanization. Stearic acid is an organic compound which comes from living things and is most commonly found in fatty acids from animal fats and vegetable oils, beef fat and cocoa butter.” They did not specify that they used stearic acid only from plant sources.
 
20.) Tallow - Other names: Tallow Fatty Alcohol. Stearic Acid.
Tallow is rendered fat from cows or sheep. It is common for commercial tallow to contain fat derived from other animals, such as lard from pigs, or even from plant sources. Tallow is 100% fat and 50% saturated fat. It is found in baking and cooking fat, wax paper, crayons, soaps, rubber, margarines, paints, lubricants, candles, shaving creams, lipsticks, and other cosmetics. Tallow and other animal fats are sold to pharmaceutical, cosmetic, personal care, food, ink, paint, coatings, adhesive, lubricant & soap industries. Tallow is used in animal feed, and as a bird food. It is used as a lubricant for machinery and for ammunition. It is also the primary ingredient in some leather conditioners. Before switching to pure vegetable oil in 1990, McDonald's cooked its french fries in a mixture of 93% beef tallow and 7% cottonseed oil. Paraffin (vegan source for candles) is usually from petroleum, wood, coal, or shale oil. Castile or coconut (or other plant-based) soaps are easily found.
 
21.) Urea is the main nitrogen-containing substance in the urine of animals. More than 90% of world production of urea is for fertilizer as a source of nitrogen. Urea is also synthetically produced on a large scale, therefore you would need to check if urea on a label is sourced from an animal or synthetic.
 
22.) Vitamin D – is one of numerous vitamins that can be animal-sourced and found in many items. If a label just reads Vitamin D, it refers to either D2 or D3 or both. Vitamin D-2, (ergocalciferol), comes from plant sterols or yeast. Vitamin D-3 (cholecalciferol) is almost always from an animal source. It is usually derived from lanolin (from sheep’s wool), milk, egg yolk, meat, or fish liver oil. It can also be derived from microbial or synthetic sources; however it can have an animal ingredient as the starting raw material. Mushrooms that have been exposed to ultraviolet light are the only vegan food source of Vitamin D. The most common form of Vitamin D found in supplements, creams, lotions, cosmetics, and fortified foods is the animal-sourced vitamin D3. There is some debate over the usefulness of D2 versus D3, but vitamin D2 clearly is absorbed in humans. Vitamin D3 is often preferred; it is what our bodies make when we are exposed to sunlight. There is ONE marketed ethically-sourced D3 in the U.S. - Nature's Plus Source of Life Garden Vitamin D3.
 
Vitamin D works alongside calcium to ensure the formation and maintenance of healthy bones. We can make Vitamin D3 from a non-food source: the sun! Vegans are NOT more likely to be deficient than omnivores; much of the general population is not getting enough. The fear of skin cancer has stopped many people from obtaining beneficial amounts of sunlight. Even individuals, who get sun but use suntan lotion, may be deficient. A number of public health organizations state that there needs to be a balance between the risks of having too much and the risks of having too little sunlight. Sunburn should always be avoided. Exposure to sunshine indoors through a window does not produce vitamin D. More lives are lost to diseases caused by lack of sunlight than by those caused by too much. It is inappropriate to recommend total avoidance of sunlight. If one is fair skinned, 10 minutes of exposure to sunshine at high noon (in summer) will produce 10,000 IU of Vitamin D; darker skin requires longer exposure. We can get vitamin D toxicity from animal foods or supplementation, but not from sun exposure. So instead of depriving a fish of his/her life so you can take their vitamin D, just make your own and catch some rays.
 
23.) Whey - Most people are familiar with the old nursery rhyme, "Little Miss Muffet," who was eating her curds and whey. Whey is sourced from animal milk (cow’s milk, goat’s milk, camel’s milk) and is the liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained. It is a by-product and a co-product of the manufacture of cheese or casein. It comes in the form of whey solids or powder or whey protein concentrate. Whey is used in baked goods, dry mixes, as an additive in processed foods including breads, crackers and commercial pastry, as a nutritional supplement in sport bodybuilding products, and in animal feed. Strangely, it has been difficult over the years to find a rabbit food not containing whey in the ingredient list, and rabbits are herbivores.
 
24.) Xanthareel – yellow eel formerly used in medicinal foods
 
25.) Yogurt – is a dairy product produced by bacterial fermentation of milk. Worldwide, cow's milk is most commonly used to make yoghurt, but milk from water buffalo, goats, sheep, camels, and yaks is also used in various parts of the world. A single serving of yogurt is packed with an alarming amount of sugar, saturated fat and animal torture.
 
26.) Zinc Hydrolyzed Animal Protein – can be found in zinc dietary supplements.

This article originally appeared on the Veganism: A Truth Whose Time has Come website

M Butterflies Katz

M Butterflies Katz is based in the USA and New Zealand and has been a vegan for over 3 decades. She runs the blog Veganism: A Truth Whose Time has Come, previously wrote for the now-retired Australian Vegan Voice magazine and is the Co-author of Incredibly Delicious; Recipes for a New Paradigm by Gentle World

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