Compassionate Conscious Consumerism Part 1

By Meredith Ayan, Executive Director

As you may have guessed, I’m an animal lover, and my personal life choices reflect that. I eat a vegan diet, because I believe it is an important component to my convictions of not harming animals, both farm-raised animals and wildlife. Compassion for animals extends beyond just companion animals to all species inhabiting this planet. 

Even with best intentions of following a cruelty-free, vegan diet, certain ingredients in vegan products can have a detrimental impact on animals around the world. I was appalled to find out that some of the foods I buy regularly include palm oil, which is the number one contributor to deforestation and loss of habitats for orangutans, rhinos, tigers, elephants, and thousands of other species. 

Palm oil is in about half of the products on grocery store shelves, including many vegan dairy substitutes like butter, cheese, and ice-cream. It is used in baked goods, snack foods, and in beauty products and household products like lipstick, body wash, and laundry detergent. 

Unfortunately, palm oil production is anything but sustainable. Huge swaths of rainforest are cleared by burning, destroying many species in the process. Animals not lucky enough to escape the flames are terribly burned, and many die from their wounds. I know most people wouldn’t consume a product if they knew an orangutan or elephant had been burned to death to produce it. 

In sharing this information with you, my hope is that we can all remember to check labels and try to understand the true impacts of the items we purchase and consume. Whether we eat a vegan diet or not, there are many ways we can all make sustainable food and household product choices. A few extra minutes at the grocery store can have a profound impact on our planet and its inhabitants.

You can find more information about the impacts of palm oil and what you can do to voice your concerns here: http://www.saynotopalmoil.com

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