Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Simple Request for Widget Makers

If you sell a product - be it lipstick, soap, or pet food - is it too much to ask for you to list clearly on your label's ingredient list "dogs" or "cats" if in fact you use dogs and/or cats to make your product? I have a thing about reading labels and specifically ingredient lists. Call me wacky but I really like to know what it is I'm buying before I buy it. And I don't want to have to slog all over the internet to figure out what it is you're talking about when you slap a "cruelty free" label on the package either. Just print up your ingredient list in plain language. Instead of "hydrolyzed collagen", just say "dogs" if that's what it is. kthx.

Click for graphic video of D & D Disposal/West Coast Rendering grinding and boiling pets into "protein meal"


Rinalia said...

Why should they?

If anyone finds it offensive, perhaps they should reconsider their attitudes about and towards animals.

Farmed animals are as intelligent (if not more, in some cases) as dogs and cats. They experience emotions and can suffer, like dogs and cats. They can form bonds with humans and other animals, like dogs and cats. Since there is no "cultural norm" for who we eat and who we pet - worldwide, anyways - there isn't any objective "moral norm" for who should be rendered and who shouldn't. There is not any meaningful difference between a pig and a dog, there are only magical differences created so we can slaughter the pig and revere the dog. It's all a bit silly and backwards.

D&D is providing a service no one else will in a manner that is more environmentally friendly than landfills, mass burials and cremation and a lot more cost-effective. Why on earth wouldn't we use it?

As to product labels - "cruelty free" does not mean vegan. It just means the final product was not tested on animals. There's nothing CRUEL about rendering a DEAD animal - I mean, for cripes sake, the animal's dead, they don't care.

If you really care about what's in your beauty products (and really, why is pig lard any less gross than dog lard being applied to your face?) then buy products that have the label "vegan" or "no animal ingredients" or "no animal products were used to make this product". You can find these at Target, Whole Foods, probably even Wal-mart, lots of supermarkets...Shikai, Kiss My Face, Avalon, Desert Essence, Eco Bella, Zuzu Luxe, Nature's Gate, Jason's. They're out there!

YesBiscuit! said...

Consumers have a reasonable expectation that animal products found in pet foods, cosmetics, etc are obtained from traditional food animals and that how those animals were raised, slaughtered and rendered is monitored by the govt. That is the "cultural norm" for this country. I would love for labels to be in plain language and list such things as the pig lard you mention. But to my mind, it's especially important to be clear when the product contains something the average consumer does not expect - for example a non-traditional food animal.

Bellesouth said...

My issue is not that dogs and cats are being used as food; it is that they are being used as food for DOGS AND CATS.

Plenty of countries eat dogs and cats as a cultural norm.

My main concern is that my dog is not a cannibal. Dogs are natural hunters, and so are humans, but cannibalism should be a universal taboo.

Rinalia said...

I think you give the average consumer too much credit (and I don't mean that rudely). People remain shocked by how animals in the food industry are raised, even though it's been going on for the past seventy years. I would not expect them to be familiar with something even less tangible and more obscure - the ingredients in their beauty products.

I mean, *I* used non-vegan beauty products while I was a vegetarian because I didn't know. It was only when I went vegan that I even had that lightbulb moment - no duh, there might be animal body parts in my shampoo! I don't expect someone with less time and energy to do that research to know what the heck is in their lipstick.

I'll disagree about whether it should be particularly clear re dogs and cats. I see no difference between the dead body of a dog and that of a pig, so see no reason to differentiate their use on a label. That's me, of course. :)

YesBiscuit! said...

I would honestly love to see all labels - food and non-food - labeled in clear terms and for food, include the country of origin. Then the only thing standing between the consumer and their knowledge of what products they are buying is their ability/willingness to read the label. I'm sure some people just aren't interested and wouldn't read it anyway but as a label scrutinizer, I often spy others of my kind in the grocery store.

Bellesouth said...

I wrote Purina with my concerns. Here is their statement:

With regards to the use of cats or dogs, road kill, or the use of euthanized animals in our food; we do not utilize cats, dogs, road kill or euthanized animals in our food.

Animal digest is a flavor enhancer comprised of enzymatically treated livers (pork and chicken) and other internal organs (hearts and viscera). It may be used either as a liquid or dried to a powder form. Once in this form (liquid or dried), it can easily be used as a part of the coating that is added to the outside of the kibbles of a pet food to increase palatability.

Animal fat is a fat source that is derived from beef, pork and/or poultry. It provides both energy and essential fatty acids.

Valerie said...

I smell PETA.

Heather Houlahan said...

My firefox says your first link is a big stinky no-no. So I skipped 'er.

I'm not sure what the point of the video is. Rendering plants are gross? Uh, yeah -- you were expecting a field of violets?

Why not an expose on the scandal of municipal sewage treatment? It's disgusting, smelly, and not something people want to know about.

Unless the owners of the animals are being charged for disposal and led to believe that something more aesthetically acceptable is being done, where is the victim?

The dogs are already dead. They don't care. Truly they do not.

YesBiscuit! said...

Heather - the difference, to me, is that it's widely understood what goes on in sewage plants. And they are not producing an ingredient I feed to my pet or eat or shower with. There is a secrecy about rendering plants and specifically the rendering of pets. I never have gone for the 'you can't get deader than dead' argument regarding rendering because it's not the actual rendering that is the issue for me. It's the needless killing of pets in shelters and the secrecy surrounding the fact that they are ground up into protein meal and used in pet food and products used by people as well. There is no regulation, transparency or accountability. Every company, pet food and otherwise, denies using dogs and cats and yet, they keep being ground up into protein meal. It's impossible to believe that no one is buying the product. THAT'S the secrecy I would like to shine a light on. I don't highlight things just because they're gross.
Valerie, please expand on your comment. I'm not understanding your meaning.

Pibble said...

@Heather - you've missed the point, completely.

@YesBiscuit - I'd like to see companies that DON'T test use clearer labeling. For instance, Bobbi Brown cosmetics apparently doesn't test on animals, but I can't find one simple mention on their website (after reading your post and your and Rinalia's comments, I had to check, and fast). Upon further digging, I found that BB is considered a cruelty-free company. I hope that includes by-products from rendering facilities and not just testing...

YesBiscuit! said...

Pibble - Yes, labels in plain English would be great. The "cruelty free" and associated labels are confusing and in some cases misleading. Instead of worrying "this could be anything!", I'd really just rather know.
SOMEONE buys and uses ground up pets in their products. I'd like whoever they are to be up front and list that on the label. Along with real terms for whatever else is in there.

YesBiscuit! said...

Rinalia - I did see some of the brands you mention at my grocery store but I couldn't afford any of them. I'm going to keep an eye out. Thanks for the list.