Category: animal rights

2018 updates

Surprise: this blog is not dead, it was just hibernating. I won’t be updating it much, but will try to remember to post updates like this at leat once a year. No news is good news: with an goal of moving to dormancy and slipping into silence when morosophy is obsolete. Or the anthropocene ends us all. Whichever comes first.

On which happy note, welcome back!

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palm oil: careful not to throw the baby out with the bath-water

baby bathwater

From Thomas Murner’s satirical work Narrenbeschwörung (Appeal to Fools), c. 1512

Via a certain online discussion forum; identities have as ever been anonymised, and any other editing has been of typos, spelling, etc. so that they don’t detract from the actual content. Some good questions:


1. How hard is it to avoid palm oil?
2. And by any chance is it in mascara?
3. What is a good alternative?

I’ve read that other substitutes are not much better (ex. soy oil) because they also take a lot of land to grow. Help! I do my best to not consume items that have ill effects on the rainforests.

4. Or is it all just hopeless?


baby panda bathing

it’s never hopeless…

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news on animal testing of cosmetics in China

Sephora China

UPDATE (2014-05): see also

This is really just a FYI post. My thanks to Blushing Biddies for giving me the idea, via this comment: here are screenshots from, showing what brands they sell. I can’t believe I didn’t think of doing this before…

At present in China any imported cosmetics *may* be subject to animal testing. Note, MAY: that does not necessarily mean that they are, but it does mean that a company relinquishes control over and responsibility for their products by moving into the Chinese market. That is an unethical decision, position, choice, and action: whether or not the products are in fact / in practice tested on animals there. The more so, and morally worse, for companies that otherwise claim to be cruelty-free.

More on animal testing in China, for products sold on the Chinese market: see these other posts and posts in the “cruelty-free” category (there may be overlap).

So having a look at major sales-locations like Sephora China is a good way of seeing which companies are affected.

Screen Shot 2014-05-06 at 9.56.30 AM

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cruelty-free mascaras: updated

lashes cruelty-free mascara

That’s the main Praise of Folly list of cruelty-free mascaras, first posted in March 2012. I’ve just updated it somewhat.

It’s been updated a few times along the way; for example, taking account of the animal-testing-in-China shenanigans. That is still a grey area at present, so companies and brands involved are in the grey-to-black but anyway “shady” list.

While there are some other posts on here on mascara, this is probably the main one; it’s one of the posts that gets read the most, so is probably worth updating. There are others on mascara. About once a year I try to revise the list of mascaras I’ve actually used myself. I haven’t actually tried that many this year, but will do a post on them at some point. I am getting old, and don’t necessarily have mascara on my mind in quite as obsessive a fashion as I ought. Considering how many of the damn things I’ve tested, and how much of a sucker I am for trying out new ones. So the 2014 version might be a post on mascaras I vaguely remember using within around about a year, with links back to the more comprehensive posts.

On the other hand, the post of mascaras I’ve used from 2012 is still pretty useful to me, for reminding me NOT to try out certain mascaras because I have in fact tried them out before. So I might update it at some point. We’ll see.

Much, as ever, depends on work and how much time and energy I have to do nitty-gritty finicky listy things. Given VANCOUVER. I mean, it’s raining right now but still lovely to walk outside in the woods. And walking in the woods is more enjoyable than doing stuff on a computer.

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Post-Earth Day round-up

New development in alternatives to animal testing

blog post of the week

(OK, originally posted a year ago. But still.) This came to my attention through a link via another link on a discussion board. It’s nice. No, it’s excellent. Well-written, wise, witty, to the point, and true. I agree with everything here, even though my own buying and deploying decisions have differed.

Screen Shot 2013-12-04 at 11.13.29 AM

Oh no! Who Put ‘Sad’ and ‘Guilt’ In My Lotion?” Stuff I Put On Myself (2012-10-09)

[…] I get questions about this stuff all the time…  variations of which chemicals to avoid, how to avoid animal testing, how to find natural products, blah blah blah.  People really want to pick the right thing, so it does what they need AND doesn’t cause them guilt and/or anxiety about poisoning/abusing themselves or animals or the whole planet.

I am going to preface this by saying that my feelings on these topics aren’t going to be popular.  That’s fine!  We can all think different things and still be pals!

I’ve read a lot about cosmetic industry standards, terminology and what you have to do to be allowed to use certain terminology, and I am married to a chemical engineer who will always spend 45 minutes explaining the minutia of any little question you ask about chemicals, and also will go all Mr. Wizard on you and lay it down if you slip up and say some buzzword that is essentially bullshit marketing.  Dude can even tell you what’s in the tanker truck by looking at the little number on the back.

Unfortunately, much like with everything else in the world, it is sobering and depressing to actually know what’s up.

[Read on… ]

animal testing: good news

[…] announcement by China’s Food & Drug Administration that from June 2014, China plans to remove its mandatory animal test requirements for domestically manufactured cosmetic products. For the first time ever, Chinese companies producing “non-special use cosmetics” such as shampoo or perfume will have the option to substantiate product safety using existing safety data for raw ingredients, or European Union-validated non-animal tests instead of having to submit product samples to the government for testing on rabbits, mice and rats.

China to phase out mandatory cosmetics animal testing
Human Society International, 2013-11-07

See also:

To celebrate, here is three minutes’ worth of happy bouncing “binking” bunny, accompanied by appropriate uplifting triumphant music:

And a classic happy bunny-themed Christmas message from the RSPCA:


white poppies for peace

White poppies from the Peace Pledge Union (little seen here, but something I grew up with).

Red poppies, here in Canada, from the Royal Canadian Legion. Elsewhere, from your local veterans’ association.

Wear one. Wear one of each, wear both of them together. Either way, respect and remember.

Stop and think, quietly and concentratedly, at 11:00 today. Or 11:00 on the nearest Sunday; so if you forgot yesterday, you can remember to remember today; or why not remember more than once? This isn’t an occasion to nit-pick as to whether the moment of the Armistice’s signing is “the” moment: what’s important is remembering.

One minute, traditionally, for the 20 million dead of World War I; a second minute for those they left behind. Extend that to those who died in all conflicts, to the veterans who survived and returned, and to their loved ones. The war dead of the last century alone surely deserve at least two minutes of your time, why not make it more? For your own personal war dead, if you have any. For those of your family, over generations. For loved ones of friends, colleagues, neighbours, local community. And in sympathy with other people: anyone, anywhere, any time. This is not about “God And Country” gung-ho war-mongering and macho posturing: it’s about suffering and solidarity; humanist, humane, and human.

Three other perspectives.

1. “This year, I will wear a poppy for the last time” (The Guardian, 2013-11-11)

2. “Crowds turn out to mourn ‘unknown soldier’ Percival after appeal” (The Guardian, 2013-11-11)

3. Remember, also, animals in war: the RSPCA’s campaigns, and the BC SPCA; the famous fictional version of Michael Morpurgo’s Warhorse (and the play and animated movie); and the Dickin Medal. Not to forget other animal casualties of war, as highlighted recently in a care2 campaign.

maria dickin

More about the Dickin Medal (for the record: the PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, a British veterinary charity) also awards a civilian equivalent, the PDSA Gold Medal):

The Dickin Medal is a large, bronze medallion bearing the words “For Gallantry” and “We Also Serve” all within a laurel wreath. The ribbon is striped green, dark brown and pale blue representing water, earth and air to symbolise the naval, land and air forces.

During the Second World War (1939-45), PDSA’s founder Maria Dickin CBE was aware of incredible bravery displayed by animals on active service and the Home Front. Inspired by the animals’ devotion to man and duty, she introduced a special medal specifically for animals in war.

The PDSA Dickin Medal, recognised as the animals’ Victoria Cross, is awarded to animals displaying conspicuous gallantry or devotion to duty while serving or associated with any branch of the Armed Forces or Civil Defence Units. The PDSA Dickin Medal is the highest award any animal can receive whilst serving in military conflict.

The Medal, which can only be considered on receipt of an official commendation, has been awarded 64 times since 1943. The recipients comprised 32 pigeons, 28 dogs, three horses and one cat.

Most recently:

Theo – Springer Spaniel
Royal Army Veterinary Corps, Arms and Explosives Search dog
Date of Award: awarded posthumously on 25 October 2012
For outstanding gallantry and devotion to duty while deployed with 104 Military Working Dog (MWD) Squadron during conflict in Afghanistan September 2010 to March 2011.

Here’s Theo:


And some previous Dickin Medal recipients:

dickin medal dickin medal dickin medal dickin medaldickin medal

Images above: Sky News