The Flaming Vegan

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That‘s Not Vegan?? Five Things That Surprised Me
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That‘s Not Vegan?? Five Things That Surprised Me

Some people ease gradually into veganism, whilst others make the change overnight. I originally thought I did the latter by changing my diet instantly, although I did wear out old leather shoes before throwing them away, and was horribly frustrated that I initially had no control over choosing cruelty-free laundry soap. My aims, however, were set: full veganism as soon as realistically possible.

Imagine, then, my guilt and horror when I realised that many more things than I‘d originally thought of actually contain animal products. Meat, fish, dairy, eggs, honey, gelatine, leather, fur, wool, beeswax… all were clearly out of bounds, but with more and more research, I realised that I needed to cut a few more day to day items out of my life. I‘ve stopped beating myself up, given that I simply did not know that I was using non-vegan products, but I do regret not doing more thorough research and hope that this list will help some new converts along their journey to a cruelty-free life.


Paintbrushes, especially those manufactured in China, may be made of animal fur, from squirrels, goats, badgers, horses, and other species. The smaller animals are caught in painful traps or gassed in their dens; horrors that we cannot imagine. Synthetic brushes are cheaper, more durable, and easier to clean, so keep a look out for these before commencing your next DIY project.

Photography Film

Analogue photo film contains gelatine, and given that this substance is cheaply attainable for the manufacturers, no widespread alternative is available as of 2017; switching to digital is the best bet. If you know of a brand that sells vegan film, please leave a comment!


Most male condoms contain casein, a protein found in milk, but plant-based alternatives such as Glyde and Sir Richard‘s are available for online order.

Tattoo Ink

Different types and colours of tattoo ink can contain a variety of different ingredients including bone char, shellac and glycerin. If you are considering getting some body art, this website can help you find a studio with vegan-friendly materials.

Wood Glue

Glue made from boiled bones is often recommended for woodwork, especially for fixing musical instruments. Luckily, synthetics are becoming more widespread, with Elmer‘s being one example of an animal-free company.

Image courtesy of Bill Rees, used under the terms of the Creative Commons license.

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