Recipe – Vegan Barbecue Ribs With Barbecue Sauce

We fancied some homemade ribs with BBQ sauce and thought we’d share the recipe as was so tasty. Get your #anythingyoucaneaticaneatvegan ready. We used this recipe for the vegan ribs and the following for the barbecue sauce.

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Barbecue sauce Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Two tablespoons vegan butter
  • One small onion, finely chopped
  • One large red chilli, minced
  • Four cloves garlic, minced
  • Two cups ketchup
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Two tablespoons yellow mustard
  • Two teaspoons chili powder
  • Two tablespoons liquid smoke
  • One tablespoon granted 100% cocoa

Melt the butter then add onion, garlic and chilli until browned.  Add the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened. This is a formidable foe so you will need to stir frequently. Once it has reduced bliz and enjoy.

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Wool: What is it Good For? Not The Environment

Individuals interested in an ethical and sustainable lifestyle come from different perspectives. We all realise that our actions have an impact  on the environment, and based on this, abstain from consuming products that perpetuate climate change. Surprisingly, I have seen a number of progressive shops selling ‘sustainable’ wool. It has been pitched as a renewable product, which fails to understand the reality of global factory farming and the environmental devastation it leaves in its wake.


Environmental Impact

There are over one billion sheep in the world. Australia, China, UK and New Zealand dominate the market. A government reports puts the number of sheep in the UK at around 23 million. Each one produces 20 litres of methane a day simply by burping. The issue with methane is that it is 19 times more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide, over a five year period. Alarmingly, methane has a Global Warming Potential  (GWP) rating of 86 over a 20 year period.

Each year 90 million tonnes of methane are produced by all ruminant livestock globally. Shockingly, sheep account for 90% of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions. This is due to the large amount of  burping that ruminants do. The impact of wool needs to be considered within the wider context of the farmed animal industry. There is serious dollar to be made out of exploiting non-human animals. Livestock occupy 26% of the Earth’s ice-free land and account for 15% of greenhouse gas emissions globally. Meat, wool and other animal fibres are apart of an interdependent system of environmental devastation. The lamb in your kebab as you make your way home in the wee hours could have once literally been connected to your Uggs.

Polluting rivers near farmland is a concern to local wildlife and people alike. Sheep may be treated for parasites by being dipped in a chemical bath. After dipping these substances may find their way into local waterways. Contamination of rivers by livestock faeces / carcasses pose a health risk to people too. Experts stated that the parasite detected at a water treatment facility Lancashire  over the summer was likely caused by this.

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Ebony and Ivory say  ‘leave our wool alone’. Image from Flickr user Maurice Koop

Merino Wool

The global wool industry is barbaric.There has been sustained coverage regarding the mistreatment of merino sheep in Australia. This is due to 80% of global merino wool being produced there. It is often seen as a high end luxury product. Sheep are not indigenous to the continent, much like the European invaders who brought them to Australia in 1796. Sheep initially used for wool are sent to slaughter, once there is no further economic value in maintaining them.  The industry  employs  a number of efficient practices as illustrated with the merino breed.

The merino has been bred to yield the maximum amount of wool and not to shed their wool. They have been bred to have wrinkly skin. More skin equals more wool.  Sheep may become overloaded with wool and die due to high temperatures. The wrinkles encourage excrement and urine to be trapped in the folds. This attracts blowflies which leads to flystrike whereby flies lay eggs. The maggots hatch and, if untreated will literally eat the sheep alive. To prevent this farmers employ a practice called mulesing. It involves cutting out chunks of skin from the groin area. No anaesthetic is used.

At the point of shearing the sheep are typically handled roughly. They may be deprived of food and water up to a day before shearing, to make them easier to control. The shearer is paid by volume and not hour. Sheep can be left with bloody wounds which are routinely stitched up without anaesthetic. When sheep are no longer economically viable to maintain, they are transported to slaughter. The Merinos from Australia are shipped to the Middle East without food or water. But this cruelty is not confined to far off distant lands. In the UK it has been reported that 15% of lambs die in infancy. Should they not die, they face tail docking and castration, which often takes place without pain relief if done before sheep reach three months of age – which is routine. This is due to the time needed to administer the injections and the cost of medication. The practices of farming in the UK and elsewhere are necessarily cruel.


There have been suggestions that organic wool is the solution to issues of sustainability. The core issues raised above are still present in all forms of non-human farming. Organic methods are to be championed, but no method is justified when a Being who wants to live, is killed. If small scale farms are able to clothe the world then the issue of methane is back on the table. It has been said it may be possible to reduce the levels of methane produced. This reminds me of the story of NASA producing a pen that could be used in space, whereas their Russian counterparts used a pencil. Though the story is an urban legend it does make one think. The answer is simple. Wool / animals’ bodies generally are unsustainable, so we ought to stop using them –  for the benefit of our children, and their children.

The organic wool green-washing machine allows those who don’t want to know, not to know. Sheep are abused in conventional / ‘humane’ slaughter houses as documented by Animal Aid. Abuse has been reported at facilities linked to progressive  bcorps. Workers on Ovsi 21 farms, who supplied wool for Patagonia, skinned sheep alive. The wool from these farms was sold as sustainable and responsibly sourced. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Patagonia has cut ties with this supplier.


Instead of being complicit in the cruelty of wool, you may wish to make a donation to the Fleece Haven sanctuary in Devon. They rescue sheep from the farming industry and allow them to live out their lives in peace.

 

Animal Testing – Cosmetic Companies Still Testing on Animals

The issue of  cosmetic animal testing is an emotive topic. It is legal to test cosmetics on animals in 80% of the world. Prettygood is resolutely  against it. This post isn’t a hyperbolic essay on the evils of the practice. There is a great deal of ‘green washing’ around the topic.  We hope this is beneficial to those who wish to avoid causing needless harm to animals, by only buying cruelty-free goods.

There is a great deal of ‘green washing’ around the topic. 

 In cosmetic tests  animals are subjected to eye / skin irritation. Companies will rub chemicals into the eyes or onto patches of skin. The animals may be orally force fed chemicals to test affects. This can be done until they die to establish the ‘lethal dose’. These tests clearly cause the animals to suffer.

stop animal testing                                                  Image by Tony Webster via Flickr

Cruelty-Free / Vegan

The term ‘cruelty-free’ is vague and needs to be understood in context. Companies can mean different things when they use it, especially those that are keen to appear ethical to appeal to people who want to avoid buying cruel products. Furthermore, Vegan and cruelty-free are often used interchangeably. Not all cruelty-free goods are vegan.  The former may contain animal ingredients but not be tested on animals. Since vegans do not consume animal products and do not use products that have been tested on animals, this post also covers cosmetic goods derived from animal products. The law on animal testing in the UK is set out by the EU ruling in 2013.

EU Law on Animal Testing

The EU banned testing on animals for cosmetics in 2013. This means that companies are prohibited from testing final products or individual ingredients, to be sold in the EU, irrespective where the testing took place in the world. Products and ingredients that had already been tested on animals can still be sold in the EU. In the long term this may have a dramatic impact upon the  number of animals tested on. Cosmetic companies have had to develop alternatives to be able to sell to the 500 million citizens of the EU. Sadly animals are still subjected to experimentation within the EU, and this is due to REACH.

The Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulates the risk posed by harmful chemicals. It requires chemicals to be tested on animals should there be a risk of workforce exposure during manufacturing. This means if there is the possibility of a cosmetic ingredient posing a health risk to workers, that ingredient is required by law to be tested on animals. Legally, companies can comply with the 2013 ban but use the REACH loophole and still claim to be cruelty free. Between 13 and 54 million animals could be tested on due to requirements to test 30,000 chemicals between 2009-2018.

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This presents a challenge to people who want to live cruelty free. The only way to be sure is to purchase products from companies who have clear polices on the issue. The leaping bunny and Vegan Society symbols are guarantees that products have not be tested on animals.  Countries around the world that have have taken similar steps as the EU are:

Numerous countries are in the process of banning the cruel practice, though to different degrees:

The position for cruelty-free folk in the UK / Europe generally is far from clear. Global brands add further confusion due to animal testing laws around the world, with China being of particular note because of the size of the Chinese market.

The Role of China

Though cosmetic products in the EU are not tested on animals anymore, it doesn’t mean companies trading in Europe are cruelty free. The issue is complicated by companies trading globally. Multinationals trading around the world are still financially profiting from animal testing. Between 100,000 – 300,000 animals are subjected to cosmetic tests in China every year. The Chinese consumer cosmetics market is the second largest in the world (US being the largest). It has annual retail sales of £20 billion (source: marketwatch.com). Until 2014 all cosmetic products sold in China had to be tested on animals. Although there has been a change in law it is minor.

Between 100,000 – 300,000 animals are subjected to cosmetic tests in China every year.

The position pre-2014 required a sample of products to be tested on animals before being released on the Chinese market. This applied to domestic and international products. The Chinese authorities would take random samples of post-market products and conduct animal tests to verify the pre-market results.

The amendment in law means that ‘non specific’ cosmetic goods (shampoo / soap) that are produced inside mainland China, for sale inside China, do not have to be tested on animals. The ingredients must also be on the Inventory of Existing Cosmetics Ingredients in China (IECIC). Products which don’t fulfil these criteria still have to be tested, and manufacturers are able to test on animals if they wish regardless. Post-market testing still takes place. Upwards of 10,000 animals could potentially be saved annually as a result of the changes in law.

Companies wishing to trade in China must still have their products tested on animals. However, cruelty-free companies can sell goods to customers in China as long as the product and website are based outside of China. The pre-market  & post-market testing do not apply to eCommerce.

Further information can be found on Humane Society International website and on this PDF they produced. Companies who trade in China can not be cruelty-free. But what about companies who do not trade in China, but are owned by companies that do trade in China?

Company Brands / Partnership

The complexity of the issue is compounded by company ownership.  Multinational cosmetic companies may conduct animal testing themselves or pay third parties to do this. For example L’Oreal claim they do not test or delegate the task to others. But, as usual there is a loophole. In essence they can use chemicals tested on animals if the chemicals were not tested for the cosmetics market. As mentioned above, they still carry out testing when, ‘regulatory authorities required it for safety or regulatory purposes’. L’Oreal have a number of brands, for example Garnier & Lancome. They bought The Body Shop in 2006.

L’Oreal is the worlds largest cosmetics company and as such the profitability of its component brands / partners strengthens it immensely.

If you want to be cruelty free can you shop at The Body Shop? The company recently came under fire for selling goods at Chinese airports. The Body Shop may not test on animals but L’Oreal does. L’Oreal is the worlds largest cosmetics company and as such the profitability of its component brands / partners strengthens it immensely. This illustrates how confusing the issue is for consumers. A seemingly animal-friendly company, with its slick green branding, exists only in name since it sold out.


 

To avoid buying cosmetics that are tested on animals, you’ll need to  research. I hope this post helps you ask the right questions and understand the factors involved. Companies’ polices and values change over time. Just because a company is on point at the moment doesn’t mean this will always be the case. Companies are aware of the laws and loopholes in the EU and in the rest of the world. They make a choice to trade in China, for example.

Equally, businesses are aware of the REACH requirements. They can avoid using potentially harmful chemicals. The smoke screen put up by some is the main sticking point. Be sure to ask if companies / suppliers have tested ingredients, not initially intended for the cosmetics industry, on animals. Tests are carried out so companies can market new formulas / updated products, to you the consumer. This is done to make money. And they do it by causing animals to suffer.

Below is a video on the topic: