is it vegan?

Various loaves of bread in a basket against a black background

Is Your Bread Vegan?

From duck feathers to pancreatic enzymes, commercial bread provides a whole new collection of reasons for everyone to learn how to decipher an ingredients list.

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Brown and white sugar pouring out of packets

Animal Bones in Sugar?

Sugar seems vegan at a glance; it comes from a plant after all. But when the natural sugars from the plant are refined in a factory, they are often filtered through bone char.

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A top view of skincare bottles on a grey surface with lavender flowers

Are Your Cosmetics Vegan?

Many times companies will label their product “cruelty free” but may still use animal-based ingredients. Although the term “cruelty-free” does prohibit the use of animal testing, it still allows the company to use animal ingredients, which are far from cruelty-free.

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Young woman holds bottles of plant milk, with her face in an expression of shock

Casein

Casein is the principal protein in milk. It’s found in the milk of all mammals, and, oddly enough, is often found in food items marked ‘non-dairy.’

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Various types of cheese on the table

Rennet

Rennet or rennin is a natural complex of enzymes produced in any mammalian stomach to help a nursing baby digest mother’s milk.

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Dining table filled with wine bottles

Is Your Alcohol Vegan?

Many people, vegan or not, are surprised to discover that there is a plethora of animal-based products that can be found in alcoholic beverages.

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Closeup of colorful assorted jelly worms and other candies made with gelatin

Gelatin

Gelatin is used in such a wide variety of products that one can’t help but wonder if the average person knows how widespread it is, and whether the manufacturers rely on this ignorance to sell their products.

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Still life of spa products with soap on wooden table

Hidden Animal Fats

The main components in rendered animal fats are oleic, palmitic, stearic, palmitoleic, linoleic and myristic acid. Any of these terms on an ingredients list could be sourced from animal tallow, or another animal-based ingredient.

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Maple leaves under sunlight

Is Maple Syrup Vegan?

It might come as a surprise to some to learn that not all maple syrup is vegan. Although maple syrup is made from the sap of maple trees—and, therefore, should be a plant-derived product—the problem is with how the sap is processed.

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A stunning close-up portrait of the face of a grey goose

The Birds of the Down Industry

Down and feathers are technically “by-products” of the meat and egg industry, and the story of their production is just as disturbing as that of any other animal-sourced product.

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A pile of maroon colored leathers

What’s Wrong with Leather?

It’s often assumed that leather is merely a byproduct of meat, and that it does not contribute to a profoundly brutal and immoral institution. This is a false assumption. Not only is it highly profitable for the meat industry, much of the world’s leather comes from animals killed primarily for their skins.

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Iced red-colored drink in tall glass, next a turquoise swimming pool

Natural Flavors & Castoreum

Natural Flavors… The name sounds innocent enough, but these mild-sounding words are an umbrella term for some pretty horrible stuff, including certain ingredients that come from extreme animal abuse.

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Two sheep with a white lamb on a green meadow, looking at the camera

What’s Wrong with Wool?

Wool often tends to be overlooked by animal advocates because its cultivation does not necessitate the death of the animal. However, the cultivation of wool is far from the pastoral idyll one might imagine.

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Bunch of translucent vitamin D capsules lying on a table

Vitamin D and Lanolin

A number of common foods are enriched with vitamin D without specifying which form of the vitamin they contain or how it was derived. And, as opaque as this may already seem, some companies that manufacture and distribute vitamin D supplements have demonstrably confused ideas of what the term vegan actually means.

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Beautiful honey bee hovering next to a magenta flower

3 Reasons Not to Eat Honey

While you may spread a heaping tablespoon of honey on your morning toast without thinking, creating each drop is no small feat. To make one pound of honey, a colony will have to visit over two million flowers and fly over 55,000 miles, at up to 15 miles per hour.

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Macro detail of many silkworm cocoons with many yellow silk worms

Why Vegans Don’t Use Silk

Being vegan is about embracing a worldview that is starkly different from the dominant premise that other beings exist simply to fulfill human desires. The reality is that we do not need to exploit insects, and there is no justification for using them as a resource for our own ends.

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Multicolored chocolate candy

Shellac & Food Glaze

Many people may not be aware that the glaze that covers some of their favorite products – including vitamins, pharmaceuticals, candy and even some fruit – may actually be made from shellac; a resin from the secretions of the female lac insect.

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A bottle of champagne filling many glasses

Is Your Champagne Vegan?

Finding out whether or not Champagne is vegan simply by looking at the bottle is usually not reliable. Typically the bottle will not be labeled vegan, nor will it state clearly which fining agents are used. The good news is there are vegan Champagnes out there!

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Brightly colored candies on a pink surface

Natural Colors – Carmine & Cochineal

The words Cochineal, Cochineal Extract, Carmine, Crimson Lake, Natural Red 4, C.I. 75470, E120, and even some ‘natural colorings’ refer to a dye called ‘carminic acid’, which is primarily used as a food coloring and in cosmetics.

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Two condoms in foil wrappers on a yellow surface

Are Your Condoms Vegan?

You may be surprised to learn that the majority of condoms available on the market are produced using the animal product casein. Thankfully, there is an abundance of animal-free alternatives available.

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