Tag Archives: shoes

More than just food – by Ben Martin

Despite what many people think, veganism is not simply a diet. It is about putting compassion for animals into practice by avoiding animal exploitation and suffering in all its forms as much as practically possible. Food is certainly a big part of that, as animal agriculture is probably the single biggest cause of animal suffering and death in the UK, with around one billion farmed animals being killed for our plates each year, not to mention countless fish. But it’s not the whole picture. Other ways in which animals are exploited for our benefit include producing clothing, testing products, and entertainment (such as zoos, circuses, and racing). All of these activities involve animal suffering and death, which is why vegans tend to avoid anything to do with these as well.

Now we don’t expect you to throw out all your toiletries or replace your wardrobe for a four-week challenge – especially given that you are students – but if you are considering adopting veganism long-term, you may wish to consider replacing these items with cruelty-free versions as they are used-up or wear-out. If that’s the case – and we sincerely hope it is – here is some advice on how to do that.

Toiletries

It’s surprisingly easy to replace your toiletries with vegan versions, once you know where to look. Your first point of call should be Superdrug as it labels all of it’s own-brand products that are vegan-friendly and non-animal-tested, which includes almost everything in the Superdrug range, including make-up, shampoo, deodorant, shower gel, toothpaste, etc. Another good place to try is the Co-op, as it also labels which of its own-brand beauty products are free of animal ingredients. For something a little more upmarket, or if you simply fancy pampering yourself, Lush have plenty of animal-free options in-store, all clearly labelled as being vegan-friendly, and none of their products are tested on animals. There are also a number of companies who specialise in making vegan, non-animal-tested toiletries, including Faith In Nature, Honesty Cosmetics and Beauty Without Cruelty. You can find all of these and several others on the Animal Aid online shop.

Clothes and Shoes

Given that animals are killed to produce leather, fur and silk (about 1,000 silk worms are boiled alive to make one shirt), it should be fairly obvious that vegans avoid these. But the same goes for wool, as shearing is a brutal process and wool helps to subsidise the meat industry. But fortunately there is plenty of fashionable clothing that is either produced from man-made materials or from natural plant fibres such as cotton, linen, hemp and even bamboo. You should have no trouble finding these in high street shops, just be sure to check the labels.

Finding vegan shoes can be a little more tricky, but not impossible. Budget shops, such as Shoe Zone, often have shoes that are 100% synthetic, making them suitable for vegans. Alternatively, you can find good quality animal-free footware from online retailers like these:

Ethical Wares
Freerangers
Veganline
Vegan Store
Vegetarian Shoes
Eco Vegan Shoes
Wills Vegan Shoes
Bourgeois Boheme
Beyond Skin

Cleaning products

Students may not be best known for doing housework, but you may want to have a spruce up before your parents come for a visit. If so, I’d suggest heading to Poundland and (bizarrely) Staples, where they sell the Astonish range, all of which are vegan-friendly and dirt cheap. As with toiletries, the Co-op are very good at lebelling which of their own-brand cleaning products are animal-free, and Marks & Spencer also label their vegan household products. Companies that specialise in vegan cleaners include Faith in Nature, Bio D, Method and Suma.

A word of caution – don’t be fooled by the Leaping Bunny logo. This indicates that a product has not been tested on animals, but it may still include animal products, making it unsuitable for vegans.

Veganism: It’s not just about food – by Ben Martin

DSC06456Throughout the Great Vegan University Challenge, we’ve largely focussed on the vegan diet. That’s because, for one thing, farming animals is the single biggest cause of animal cruelty in the UK. Almost one billion land animals are killed for food in the UK every year – plus a huge but unknown number of sea creatures – and as our undercover investigations into farms and slaughterhouses have shown, suffering is rife in the industry. Also, for many people, changing their diet is the greatest hurdle to overcome. What we eat is bound up with our culture, our traditions, the way we socialise and so many other aspects of our lives that changing our diet can seem very daunting. But I hope that through the Great Vegan University Challenge, we’ve shown you that being vegan is not only easy, but can be a joy!

Sadly, animal exploitation is not just limited to food, of course. Being vegan also means questioning the clothes we wear, the hair and skin care products we use, and so much more. It’s about developing a thoughtful approach to the world around us and our place in it. And it invites everyone to share and to encourage the rejection of cruelty and exploitation in all its forms wherever possible. So, if you’re considering remaining vegan when the challenge ends – and we sincerely hope you will – here’s some advice on ways you can further eliminate animal products from your life.

Toiletries and make-up

faith 6One of the most obvious non-food items for which cruelty-free alternatives are easy to obtain is skincare products. In addition to specialist companies such as Faith in Nature and Honesty Cosmetics, several leading high street companies also sell vegan beauty products. Very helpfully, Superdrug and Co-op label which of their goods contain animal products, and almost all are not tested on animals. A special mention must also go to Lush, who not only oppose all animal testing and have a wonderful range of vegan products in their shops, but also lend their support to groups like Animal Aid who work to end all animal cruelty.

For make-up, Superdrug’s own ‘B’ range is vegan and non-animal tested. Beauty Without Cruelty is also completely vegan and many of their products are available from the Animal Aid online shop.

Cleaning products

astonish4Most household cleaning products are tested on animals, but the Co-op and Marks & Spencer lead the big retailers in marketing items that are not. Specialist cruelty-free companies include Faith in Nature, Bio D, and Suma, but for a low-cost option, you can often find the Astonish range in discount shops like Poundland and The 99p Store.

Clothes and shoes

As students, you’re unlikely to be in a position to throw out all your leather bags, suede shoes, woolly jumpers and silk shirts, and we don’t expect you to. But what if they wear out, or you simply need to buy new clothes and shoes? Fortunately, with clothing it’s pretty easy. There are plenty of fashionable items made from cotton, hemp, linen and other plant-based fibres, as well as synthetic materials, so avoiding leather, wool and silk shouldn’t be a problem.

Shoes can be more of a challenge, but there are still plenty of options out there. Discount retailers like Shoe Zone often sell shoes that are made from 100% man-made materials, making them suitable for vegans. There is also a range of specialist websites where you can order vegan shoes of all styles, including:

AAAADANZkXIAAAAAAVjidwAnimal Aid Shop
Ethical Wares
Freerangers
Veganline
Vegan Store
Vegetarian Shoes
Eco Vegan Shoes
Wills Vegan Shoes
Bourgeois Boheme
Beyond Skin

And finally…

Whether you’ve decided to remain vegan or not, thank you so much for taking part in the Great Vegan University Challenge; your participation has made a huge difference for countless farmed animals. For those of you who decide that they can’t commit themselves totally to veganism, we hope that you’ve found the experience interesting, enlightening, even fun, and will, perhaps, depend far less on meat and dairy in the future. For those who do want to stay vegan, thank you and please remember that we’ll still be available at all times to answer all your queries.