Living a healthy, animal- and planet-friendly lifestyle goes beyond just what we eat. We can help animals and the environment by making choices as to the apparel we wear and the personal care and household products we use.
Fur-full coats and fur trim: One would hope that fur is out of fashion because of its inherent cruelty however that is not the case. Animals used for their fur are killed by gassing, trapping, strangulation and anal and vaginal electrocution. If contained on a fur farm, these animals live miserable lives in dire conditions prior to their execution solely for human vanity.
Clothing manufacturers are not required to label a garment with the animal species used if the value is under $150. Just because an item is not labeled or identified as fur does not mean it is not real fur. Unless a garment is labeled faux or fake, then assume it is real fur and pass it by.
By buying items with fur trim (toys, gloves, clothes) you are supporting the fur industry. Some people think that wearing fur trim “is not as bad” as a full fur coat. But not so. Even a small amount of fur causes animal suffering and death.
Leather: Leather is processed skins of animals from factory farms. Animals are often skinned alive and conscious. The tanning and manufacturing process to create leather products is the most economically important co-product of the multi-billion dollar meat industry.
Refrain from wearing leather and you’ll feel good in your own skin!
Wool & Felt: Much of the world’s wool comes from sheep raised in Australia and New Zealand. Wool is not a simple process of gently sheering sheep who have too much wool and then making it into a garment. The sheep are bred to have too much wool, they are raised in the millions, they are treated roughly and ultimately slaughtered.
Sheep are castrated without painkillers, mutilated without anesthetic and cut and injured in the shearing process. As a result of having been bred to have an abnormal amount of wool, many sheep suffer from fly infestations, skin sores and wool parasites.
What happens to sheep raised for their wool when they can no longer produce? They are crowded onto multilevel ships and shipped worldwide to countries where animal welfare standards are non-existent. Many don’t even survive the trip. If they do, they are dragged off the ships, loaded onto trucks, pulled by their ears and legs to unregulated slaughterhouses, where their throats are slit, often while fully conscious.
Cashmere: Cashmere goats are raised in crowded filthy stalls sheared when they need their wool coats the most, in the winter. Exposed to the cold, these goats are more susceptible to illnesses. Ear notched, de-horned and castrated without anesthesia, they are sold for meat after their first fiber harvest.
Angora: Angora comes from female rabbits who live lives of isolation in tiny cramped cages. Unable to move about and exercise, these rabbits develop painful sores and deformities. Male Angora rabbits, do not make adequate wool so the majority of male angoras are slaughtered at birth.
Mohair: Goats raised for their mohair wool are sheared when they have their winter coat. Left naked, the goats develop respiratory illnesses and are susceptible to parasites. Weakened, many goats often die after sheared. In a few years when their wool is no longer thick, they are slaughtered.
Why wear wool (which usually needs to be dry-cleaned, another toxic, polluting industry), when there are so many cruelty-free and easy-care alternatives?
Down: Down is the very soft inside feathers from the breasts of geese and ducks which keeps the birds and their eggs toasty warm. Down is plucked from birds slaughtered for food or from live birds who are forcibly restrained. These animals might undergo live de-feathering three to five times during their short miserable lives confined in large warehouses. After a tortuous life of de-feathering these ducks and geese are sent to slaughter.
Down feathers are commonly found in pillows, jackets, vests, coats and comforters. Comforters are filled with the feathers of dozens and dozens of birds.
Be an educated consumer. Read labels, ask questions and give a thumbs down, to down.
Silk: When silk worms change into pupas, they live inside a cocoon made of fine threads that they spin around themselves. Instead of being able to mature into a moth, their lives are cut short while still inside their cocoon. The cocoons are immersed into boiling water until the pupa dies to obtain continuous threads of silk. To make 100 grams (3.5 oz.) of silk yarn, 1,500 pupas are killed. Millions of silk worms are boiled alive to make silk products like shirts, dresses and ties.
As you can see, clothing made from animals is a grisly business.
The good news is that being a compassionate consumer has never been easier. Simply search the web using keywords such as nonleather, cruelty-free, vegan, etc. to find numerous online companies selling products that are kind to animals and our planet.
Animal–Friendly Cosmetic & Household Products
Many manufacturers of cosmetic, personal care and household products still conduct painful tests on animals even though NO LAW REQUIRES THEM TO DO SO. Rabbits and other animals are blinded, poisoned, tortured and burned by having substances placed in their eyes and on their skin and being force-fed. Humane non-animal testing methods do exist and are used by hundreds of companies. As a consumer you need to use your buying power to pressure companies to switch to non-animal testing methods. Buy only “cruelty free” products!
Get in the habit of reading labels. A quick reading of the package will tell you if the company does not test on animals or use animal ingredients.
Don’t put cruelty on your shopping list! There are lots of blogs and websites for cruelty free products. Here’s one to get you started.