New Mexico's Pet Resource SUMMER 2008


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR


Dear PETroglyphs:  

Would you spread crushed insects over your face? Or, fish scales? How about boiled skin, tendons or animal ligaments? I hope not! But unknowingly, you could be. There are health and beauty products out there that use those things.

For instance, carmine (cochineal or carminic acid), which is used in some makeup products, is actually a crushed female cochineal insect. The body is crushed to make a red dye. I found out it was in my eyeshadow and promptly threw it out. It can also be found in some bottled juices, candles and even some colored pastas. It takes 70,000 female cochineal insects to make 1 lb. of red dye.

Dried, crushed, fish scales are used in some shimmery cosmetics. Imagine using that on your face.

There are many alternatives available for companies to use. They don’t have to use ingredients derived from animal sources.

I learned about these things from a vegetarian cookbook. A section was labeled “Hidden Animal Ingredients.” And as I read it, I was shocked at how companies hid where they got their ingredients. I have always been against testing on animals. It is great that many companies no longer do testing on animals but some still do. When I thought of testing on animals, I didn’t think of animal ingredients used in products or how the ingredients were extracted from the animal. Sometimes the ingredients are extracted from the dead carcass but sometimes they are painfully extracted from a living animal.

It is the consumers’ responsibility to do research before buying products so they know what’s actually in the products they buy.

Here is a very small example of some animal ingredients hidden behind common generic sounding names.

Stearic acid (Tallow): Animal fats and oils. It is in vanilla flavorings, chewing gum, baked goods, beverages, candy, soaps, ointments, candles, cosmetics, suppositories, and pill coverings.

Duodenum substances: From the digestive tracts of cows and pigs. Added to some vitamin tablets. Also in cosmetics and creams.

Gelatin, Gel: Protein obtained by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones with water. From cows or pigs. In candles, marshmallows, cakes, ice cream, yogurts. On photographic film, and in vitamins as a coating and as capsules. Sometimes used to assist in “clearing” wines.

Hyaluronic acid: A protein found in umbilical cords and the fluids around the joints. Used as a cosmetic oil.

You can find a complete list of hidden animal ingredients at vegetarian and animal rights web sites.

So please think about these things as you are buying products. Animals didn’t choose this, they are held in captivity while all these cruel and painful things are happening to them. Please do them all a favor and help them in your own little way.

 

Abbey Forbes
Deming, NM


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