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Buying Animal-friendly Vegan Products

"The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men." - Leonardo da Vinci, Italy, artist and scientist, 1452 - 1519

Being a model vegan advocate is not just about choosing what to eat and what to wear. Vegans always need to think carefully about what they buy, especially when it comes to market sectors that make widespread use of animal testing for research purposes, such as the beauty, chemical and pharmaceutical industries ...

Cosmetics & Toiletries

Perfect can be just as easily achieved without research on animals - photo courtesy of Johnny Greig: www.JohnnyGreig.com

Most commercial beauty products contain ingredients of animal origin and/or have been tested on animals. However, with a growing awareness towards the cruel and senseless vivisection industry, there has been an increase in the number of vegan products and brands that contain no animal ingredients and that have not been tested on animals.

When you buy animal-tested products, you are sponsoring the painful and heartless research that takes place in animal laboratories. Cosmetic and toiletry packaging mostly does not state whether the product has been tested on animals. If the packaging does not state that the product has not undergone research on animals then you can assume that it has.

And then there are some products that haven't been tested on animals but that may still contain animal-derived ingredients. So it is essential to use the resources available, such as Beauty Without Cruelty, Leaping Bunny or the PETA Whitelist, to ensure that the products you buy are vegan and cruelty free. Check out our vegan product section for a list of these cruelty-free products that available in South Africa.

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Household Cleaners

Chemicals used for household cleaners are tested on animals too. The chemicals then go down our drains and further pollute our waters. Luckily there are also environment and animal friendly cleaners available at health shops and some retail stores and pharmacies. Check out our household products section to find out exactly what's out there when it comes to green and cruelty-free home chemicals in South Africa.

You may also want to try out more traditional methods of cleaning by using cheap and environmentally friendly substitutes such as bicarbonate of soda, vinegar and lemon. Visit Housekeeping cleaning suppliesOpens in a new window and scroll down to 'green cleaning supplies' for some great cleaner solutions and tips.

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Medicines/drugs

The pharmaceutical market is saturated with non-vegan and animal tested drugs. Most countries have strict laws requiring medicinal drugs to be thoroughly tested on animals before they are made available to the human public. Although there are many effective natural alternatives to pharmaceuticals, you may reach a point where you are unable to find a natural or homeopathic substitute.

If faced with a life threatening disease most people would opt for a choice of treatments which results in prolonging their lives, often at the expense of using medicines and drugs that have been rigorously researched on animals. However, as vegans we should strive not to promote and fund animal exploitation and instead advocate natural medicinal alternatives wherever possible.

Oral contraceptives too will more than likely have been tested on animals and will probably have animal by-product ingredients as well. Some condoms contain milk powder and some are manufactured using casein, a milk protein, even though it is not found in the finished product.

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