These websites help pick cruelty-free products for you

Vegans want to know which daily-use products are free of animal-origin ingredients? Here’s what you can do

Vegetarians and vegans may be shocked to know many things they routinely use contain animal-derived products.

India banned import of animal-tested cosmetics in 2014 and animal testing for cosmetics a year later.

These were big victories for those fighting against cruelty towards animals. The decisions save the lives of millions of rats, rabbits, cats and dogs that would otherwise have suffered immense pain in laboratories and died horrible deaths. Companies now have to use non-animal testing, said to be far more accurate.

However, there is no guarantee that cosmetics in the market are free of animal-derived ingredients. Whether it is bathing soap or toothpaste, there is a good chance animal-derived ingredients are used.

What can a concerned consumer do? One idea is to check the ingredients of products on animal welfare websites.

People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (www.peta.org/ www.petaindia.org) and Beauty Without Cruelty (www.beautywithoutcruelty.com, www.bwcindia.org) are places where you can start looking for vegan cosmetics. If you are still in doubt, writing to the company could help.

The websites have exhaustive lists on animal-derived ingredients. They have also compiled lists of companies making vegan products. They list out which international companies test cosmetics on animals, and which ones don’t. This is particularly useful if you are buying cosmetics abroad.

Metrolife lists some common cosmetics that could contain animal-derived ingredients.

Toothpaste

Animal bone is a source of calcium, and its compounds could be used as starter material during manufacturing. Though companies often deny this, there is no guarantee that toothpastes are free from animal-derived products. Glycerol or glycerine is another ingredient used in toothpaste. Glycerol can be derived from non-animal sources, but again, there is no guarantee the product you are using has artificial or plant-based sources.

Body soap

Glycerine, lard, lanolin, such other ingredients are derived from animals and often used in soap. Lanolin is extracted from sheep wool. While it may not be cruel in itself, the sheep are eventually sent for slaughter and it is a clear case of animal exploitation.

Creams and lotions

Lanolin, beeswax, and allantoin are used in creams and lotions since they can soften the skin. Allantoin may be derived from plant sources but it is also derived from the uric acid of mammals.

Fragrances

Sterols, or steroid alcohols, are used in fragrances. Estrogen, the female hormone, is used in the production of perfumes and so is musk (from musk deer) and civet (from civet cats).

Shampoo

Some brands of shampoo contain egg protein, feathers, gelatin (derived from animal body parts), kertain and animal-derived ingredients.

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These websites help pick cruelty-free products for you

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