Why You are Vegetarian: Think Again

Posted on May 15, 2012 in Society

By Abdul Wahid Khan:

Most of the people here around who do not eat non-vegetarian food quite criticize the cruel killing of animals for eating. They feel that they and everyone else should eat plant-based foods only so as to stop large scale factory farming. But they are unaware of many products which they do not eat but use in daily life, and which use animal content for chemicals on large scale.

As quoted by Ontario Farm Animal Council, “55 percent of the animal is used for edible products while 45 percent is used for inedible by-products”. This means that various types of animal fats and chemicals are extracted from as by-product and supplied to industries which need them as ingredient or raw material to manufacture various products.

There are various examples of products where animal fat and chemicals are used but not mentioned on the product packaging. For example, the plastic bags contain slip agents, which are used to reduce friction. Animal fat is used to gain such functionality. You would never know this happened but actually you are using it in daily life. Cars and Bikes tires also have stearic acid in them to fight friction and hold grip. This stearic acid can be from animal sources as well as plant sources. The glue and adhesives used in furniture and musical instruments also use animal glue. It is quite famous and the best fix for such things. Look at furniture around you and think, if you should be really using the furniture if it is made by using animal glue. If you are fine with animal killing, then carry on. Biofuels, fireworks, and fabric softeners are in the list which uses animal content.

The biggest surprise is that even shampoo and hair conditioners are also not so innocent. According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), there can be more than 20 components from animals in your shampoo and conditioner. When experts emphasize about hazardous chemicals in the cosmetic industry, they do not emphasize that it is basically the animal content part. The trick is that the companies just put the name of chemical like “Panthenol”, “Amino Acids” or “Vitamin B” in the shampoo and do not mention if they obtained it from animal source. Obviously, they don’t want to put off the customers from buying, so they do not mention it. So, when you read any chemical name, do not think that they synthesized it in laboratory necessarily. They most probably would have obtained it from some plant or animal source.

Other surprising product is toothpaste which contains glycerin. In animal fats, glycerin is 7 to 13 percent and after separation, it is used in many products including tooth paste. The next thing is sugar which also uses purified ash from animal bones in filter to refine the sugar. Some brands may be of course following this practice while some brands use other systems like ion exchange which is animal-free.

If you believe that you are saving animals by not eating animal based food, this is just a result of your unawareness and ignorance toward the products you use in daily life. In fact, you are a regular contributor of animal killing and may be if you really want to save animals from factory farming, you must stop using cars and auto mobiles because their tires are animal based. You should stop using shampoo, conditioner and toothpaste which are animal based. You should in fact find all such items and stop using them; otherwise you should not consider yourself as a savior of animals. After reading such facts, the meaning of vegetarianism is lost.

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Vineet Jawa

Dear Abdul, 

The article was quite informative on uses of animal based non-edible products being used. However, I don’t think these uses justify vegetarians turning non-veg. 

While we’re on the topic – I’ve been wondering about the impact of our consumption of non-veg food (and animal by product) on climate change. That would be a great topic for a follow up article.

Thanks!

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