Do you buy animal cruelty when you shop?
So, here I am, shopping in my local supermarket. (it does not matter too much where you live in the world, there is not that much difference between supermarkets).
OK. Let's get it done and get out of here fast!
I should mention at this stage that vegetarian is not cruelty free.
First pass the fruit & veg aisle. So far so good.
Then through the meat aisle. As a vegetarian, I fast forward along here because obviously animals have to be killed to get meat.
Please do not be taken in by any 'humane slaughter' hype. It is misleading in the extreme.
Anyway, there are so many meat analogues such as "Quorn", "Linda McCartney" etc that I certainly do not feel like I'm missing out on my meat & gravy fix.
We're now heading up the chilled aisle.
Oh dear, this is where I really struggle. Milk, margarine, cheese, yoghurt etc.
Margarine is easy to get in dairy-free (vegan) versions but its easy to wrongly assume that products you might actually have been vegan, are actually not vegan.
For example, some olive spreads contain buttermilk.
I do not make this mistake now by looking for the Vegan symbol and not brand name and location for future shops.
Note that product locations can occasionally change but not very often.
I use the brand name technique because this is clearly displayed. That way I can speed-shop without spending valuable time looking at every product.
Cheese is becoming a lesser problem for me now due to ongoing taste tests. I love my cheeses, especially blue cheese!
Many cheeses are vegetarian as long as they do not contain rennet, (which is made from the stomach of slaughtered calves).
However, although you do not have to kill cows, sheep or goats to get the milk, the conditions in which they are farmed is cruel, despite what the adverts imply.
Also when the animal gets past it's unnatural optimum production it is cruelly slaughtered. They are sent to the same slaughterhouses that meat animals are sent to. These slaughterhouses are terribly cruel and can not be justified in this day and age. Indeed, during research for my Animal Welfare website, I decided to become a vegetarian as a consequence of what I saw and am now progressing on the way to my ultimate goal of being cruelty free.
So, we are still progressing down the chilled aisle and it is a similar story for yoghurt and all products that contain products derived from an animal.
The good news is we are starting to make progress on cruelty free chilled products.
Take cruelty free cheese for example, despite the fact that one or two cheeses remain that taste awful (think wood filler mixed with vinegar), there are a growing number of cheeses that are surprisingly good according to a growing number of high-profile chefs.
Milk is already well ahead in the cruelty free race. "Alpro" is one of the more established products but my personal favorite is almond milk. Delicious on cornflakes!
It is important to realize that we all have different tastes and preferences whatever food product we are looking for and this applies just the same with cruelty free products.
Please give animals a chance and try not to make snap decisions that cruelty free products are awful if you happen to initially choose a product not to your liking.
Give a different product a try next time and I'm sure you will find something you'll really like, (Linda McCartney pies have fooled many meat-eaters!)
So we've survived the chilled aisle and not hurt any animals so we can now happily breeze along the washing powder and cleaning products.
Well they do not kill animals for washing powder do they? Unfortunately yes. It's called Vivisection and the intent was to make sure that you were not subjected to harmfulful reactions by testing these products on trapped animals. Such tests are conducted in the worst scenarios that you could ever possibly imagine.
The way to not hurt animals in these aisles is to look for the leaping bunny logo. You can see what the Leaping Bunny logo looks like on the internet.
Be wary of products that state that they have not been tested on animals. That will be true but the ingredients may well have been tested on animals.
The Leaping Bunny logo is provided as an assurance scheme that the product involves no animal cruelty.
The checkout is in sight but we've got to pass the freezer aisle where they keep the frozen fish.
Yes, seafood is another area where I really struggle on my path towards cruelty free and I've not found an alternative yet so I will have to report on that in future articles.
Then past the medicines aisle. As I said with seafood, this is a tough area and I will have to report back on this issue as well.
As you can see I have a long way to go but I'm steadily climbing the learning curve. There are many helpful resources freely available online. You just need a slight change of mindset to get the most out of them but I promise you its worth the minimal effort.
I have attempted to draw your attention to the adverse effects on animals your shopping may have but there are proven health benefits and significant sustainability issues that can be addressed by following a cruelty free lifestyle.
So, next time you shop remember that it is a win-win situation when you start on the road to cruelty free.