“Cruelty-free” products in Mauritius, some frag-free.

It should be illegal for just any product to print “not tested on animals” on its label but products most often wrongly state this. Aside from the cruelty to animals, cruel products are also often cruel to the planet. Organisations make themselves available to certify products that want to be labelled as cruelty-free (and verifying their suppliers do not test either), with independent audits and they do it free of charge. Animal-testing. on the other hand, is a business with vested interest that goes hand-in-hand with the development of new useless (e.g. fragrances, or fragrance-masking chemicals) and often harmful products. If you’re looking at products not listed here check the label for official bunny logos, not just any bunny; and the brand names would be listed on the sites too such as if you search by country of origin of the product here. If it is a local product, not that I’ve seen any, the suppliers can’t be local and either way certification is easily obtained from overseas.

Update: I mentioned soapnuts/ reetha before, it’s also called quassia and here, shikakai and perhaps siaka (verlan? :D) is the same. It’s a plant whose fruit/nut sold as dandruff remedy. I’m going to get a tree and find a spot for it in someone else’s yard and find out eventually. I’ve seen branded shikakai products (Are their other ingredients tested on animals? They’re often strongly scented). The powder can easily be dissolved for shampoo and personal care, or as is in laundry – very little is needed e.g. 2 nuts for a load can be reused.

Some DIY recipes call for the following ingredients or products that can be used as is:

Bicarbonate of soda (1 TBs can be used to replace fabric softener, can be used to make toothpaste) and vinegar (1/2 a cup can replace fabric softener) is available at any shop, the smallest street corner shop will stock vinegar and sugarcane (90%) alcohol too – both locally made. The advantage of cleaning your kitchen surfaces with vinegar is it repels ants, it helps kill mould and it smells kitcheny for a short while, the smell dissipates after a coupla hours.

Gram flour/Besan can be used as a cleanser, in India traditionally it is used for all over cleansing but I’m not ready to try that, maybe when can’t I use available soaps anymore.

Coconut oil is available at Quartier Gourmet (Sodnac) and Health Solutions Organic Market.

Carrot seed oil and red raspberry seed oil (less effective) can be used as sunscreen, even brands use vitamin A in their products as sunscreen.

Sweet almond oil is used to remove make up but another idea is to try go without make up. Here’s a tip (also fragrance-free though too late for some of us): the best facial skin I’ve seen in decades are on women who said they use nothing but water. Once you started using stuff (for most of us usually too early in our lives) it’s probably impossible to sport good skin without using products, there’s always dryness after a shower in some climates (not in Mauritius) or after taking a swim I guess. I quit using sunscreen (I have a big tube of vegan sunscreen but I want vitamin D, have some in-built sunscreen, I also crave wrinkles)

Check out tips for laundry and wooden floors

Here are some products I’ve come across:

Earth Choice detergents from your supermarkets (let me know which ones, mine was defo not bought at a hypermarket, in Curepipe maybe) are kind and also say ‘vegan’, it’s Aussie-made.

La Vie Claire in Tamarin stocks a range of Melvita products‎, such as Jojoba oil – a liquid wax and chemically very much like skin sebum. A news article where I read the latter said it’s suitable for oily/combo skin. A very knowledgeable friend uses it on dry skin instead of a day cream. Her skin looks great at 50 something. I have combination skin, I’m yet to try use products again, jojoba oil was better than any cream I’ve tried on normal parts… and it’s fragrance-free!

I forgot to browse their sunscreen options but if they don’t have something, they welcome suggestions as long as it’s not supplements.

In case you need it, non-tested make-up is available, I forget which brands aside from M.A.C (I found a rep/store in Mauritus on FB, I can no longer access my post after I was banned from a certain group I was modrating) but make-up is the only info about cruelty-free I ever found for the Vegan Society Mauritius (on facebook) aside from this Gaia.

In 3 places on the island, including Ébène,
Health Solutions Market’s Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. This is the only brand of cleaning product (it also has soap-sud) I’ve found on the island that is not tested on animals, and it’s not cheap (*nor are the imported animal tested soaps about everyone buys) but there are bulk quantities available and I realised the pure castille soap gets diluted so it goes a long way. Also claims 18 uses including tooth cleaning (eww but yes, google it). They have Phyto-choice, listed as international brand here but I can’t find any other listing. Vicco toothpaste is listed as cruelty-free in India, and we all recall the brand but can’t find this product thus far.

There are Green Brands sales reps in Mauritius selling low-budget Original Source shower gel(women’s 2 types, no Tea-tree and mint for men), this be the only Vegan Society approved product I spotted among their range and they also have Marks&Spencer shower gels which are BUAV-approved, but on the list of brands-to-boycott in support of Palestine.

Someone must check if they still sell Esse in Port-Louis. I can no longer access any shops, so I’m asking you, I asked other people in vain. Would you like to try face scrub that smells and probably tastes quite like chocolate spread? I’m allergic to sugar in my mouth so never tasted it to confirm. Or you can read the ingredients and try make your own with sugar and fairtrade cocoa. Go read the ingredients, it’s opposite Courts(?) near Jardin de la Compagnie.

An importer’s friend said they sell L’Occitane here. If you know where, please let me know!
Online shopping recommendation removed not only for their inefficient staff, + they no longer take international orders. They were the cheapest shipping to here. Time to search in Reunion Island!

The BWCSA approved products aside from BUAV’s list in case any shop has begun to stock them.

Shame on PicknPay for not stocking ‘cruelty-free’, BWCSA-approved South African products! In Mauritian PicknPays (3 stores, of the South African chain) all South African brands I was looking for, the cruelty-free ones, seem to have been replaced with animal-tested products from France and Australia, products I’ve never seen in SA. Where is the logic in that?! I wrote to one local PicknPay many months ago asking for product availability at the biggest one, the manager didn’t get back to me…

Update: PicknPays are closing down, they’ll be Monoprix soon

Drop me a PM or email if we can do a letter action to La Vie Claire in France. A franchise like La Vie Claire relies on sellability of a product, I wonder if the owners would order special products if we organise and say we’ll buy all 12 items from a single order, then of course we must buy them.

Perhaps we can draft a letter to the French store or other local stores and figure out ways to boycott cruelty, within capitalism. Do PLEASE lemme know if people sell home-made products locally. I think one would need an insect-free kitchen/ space which is also mold-free then heat and humidity would decrease shelf life.

Do you know Green Brands reps in Rodrigues? An ad said there are, and like here perhaps they advertise island style. I know women who do this after their retirement, they use word of mouth to sell.

If you’re wondering about the “fragrance-free”, multiple chemical sensitivity is an illness with reactions to fragrances and other chemicals. I have some chemical allergies but personally find most fragrances unpleasant.

Suppose you use cruelty-free in your home, I’m sure you’d like to visit people and find they keep cruelty-free soap for you to wash your hands. If they don’t, you can tell them about it. Fragrance-free people don’t have that luxury, they may not be able to even enter a house with fragrances. Heck, even outside buildings, there may be pesticides, fertilisers and incense. They can buy expensive masks if they get money to buy these online but what they use in their houses or on their skin has to be fragrance-free.

November 1st is….

the first day of the month through which I’ll continue a series on the blog against all oppressive ‘isms’. I hope it’ll be a great World Vegan Day for everyone. Be all the vegan you can be, or go as vegan as possible. You could tell someone it’s vegan day, use it as a pretext to share vegan stuff, read vegan stuff, or  consider going vegan this vegan month.

This video, since not many have seen the entry where I posted it before, is suitable for all ages.

I don’t have a printer but there are resources online either way (that said I’m not sure I want to receive free pamphlets from an org in the US that is disconnected from our realities but print something off a blog which inspires you, or a quote from Al Ma’arri or Pythagoras alongside a definition of ‘vegan’), or one can do a simple handmade B&W pamphlet once in a while (make copies perhaps). Offer a pamphlet to someone on the bus, in the supermarket, a pamphlet in your bag can give you superpowers if you are shy or social-phobic. There are circumstances where it’s acceptable/ fine to speak to a stranger, folks would start convos with me often in front of the tofu section of the supermarket or if they looked into my basket, it’s easy for me to ask someone if they’re vegan or new to veganism when they want tofu advice. One could also leave pamphlets in one’s library with permission. One is free to leave a free bookmark to the next person/s who’d borrow a book one has returned (I will try this when I have a library I can access again and I mean in a disabled access sort of way).

Any other ideas? Have you tried any of the above and wish to share your experiences or any advice with us?

Self-care and community

I felt some aspects of this isn’t talked about at all in the vegan community. This is changing at an international level, I’m not gonna talk about points Jessica Rowshandel made in a presentation in the Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter, conference which I had the privilege to attend courtesy of Dr A. B. Harper (thank-you, Breeze!) I listened to most of the conference after wroting this so I’ll add that Paul Gorski mentioned a study among social justice activists of colour pointing out racism as the main cause of burn out. No doubt additional levels of stress would be observed in women of colour activists, queer women of colour activists and disabled activists of colour.

I have witnessed denial or at least a lot of apathy if not overt complicity with the oppressors of certain vegans of colour. Perhaps it was not the focus but Jessica did not mention disposability, erasure, and slandering. I needed to start that conversation last decade – are some more commonly disability-specific oppressions towards POC? In any case, privileged cis-men AR leaders love to carry them out. So why is that and why do you let/ enable them?

When I was burnt out, my process was respected, I was included (in spite of being the only vegan of colour pointing out racial insensitivities in a white movement) but later, I lost community (not only the vegan one, he seduced my close friend) to an alleged-intersectional vegan oppressor and I got isolated; there is a pattern when I befriend local privileged vegans, I get used then erased and disposed of when my thoughts inconvenience them. This is the first conversation I really ought to have with new vegans I am getting to know locally.

Vegans I speak to think I need to put aside “differences” for the sake of the animals. So why do I get asked to stretch myself in ways logic wouldn’t allow, why not ask privileged vegans not to oppress, tokenise, use and slander me? I have hesitated to speak about one case because of threats issued to me by one influential man and about the other because there was no interest (no responses from other moderators, almost no one I knew personally) or support in my favour. An AR activist who witnessed the latter was sympathetic but seemed on the fence in the presence of the oppressive MOC concerned. Later she became someone who was harassing and trolling me in other groups, in ways that are not harmless; and she threatened to gossip about my personal issues if I unfriended or blocked her on social media. I blocked her as what she last did not only cancels out any support she may have expressed but it was completely unacceptable at any level.

The issue which irritated Harry, the guy in question, founder(?) of the Vegan Society-Mauritius on FB was that I [an older vegan, perceived as a WOC, who had more experience than him and moderated ‘his’ group as a favour (I was living in another country)] dared criticise PeTA. He was really enjoying this PeTA ad that sexualises the abuse of women, so he censored me repeatedly, at some point I wasn’t even talking about the ad but quoting world leaders on censorship. That is too say I wasn’t even quoting radicals. I was censored and banned. In view of having to write to clarify on dietary needs in the newspaper as I was no longer in contact with vegans, I was sometimes observing the group from a fake profile because I know him to promote false and dangerous info on B12 (in a country where injections can only be had on the basis of a blood test to prove deficiency, this is an issue for non-vegans and anyone who takes analogues, which sell here); that profile, without saying anything, got banned too much later. I wonder how he got to know, none of the people mentioned above or even my friends knew, except… Lately I was asked to “put these issues behind me”, I was about to try create access for me in spite of major odds, to join a committee then Harry whom I was told was no longer around, is suddenly their president. An oppressive man who could not even admit his mistake.

I will no longer hesitate to express my wish to stay very far from such a community, this will be tough love for them and self-care for me. What about the animals? The choice ought not be between self-care and that, the better I am the more I can help them but why don’t these humans who are after selfish gains and narcissistic image-building see that? Thank-you Laura Schleifer (I think, for the terms ‘narcissistic anger and pity’), and not only certain white folks have narcissistic anger, perhaps certain whitened folks or well, this is a country where some men of colour run many things.

What the once supportive AR activist did which made previous support futile, is try counter-argument in a VAW discussion in a serious group saying that she enjoys making porn that depict violence against women, and it’s all well and good but when I was among the respondents because after all I was already commenting in this discussion before she joined, she used slurs in trying to shame me publicly.

I lived in 2 locations, having recently moved to this country where I have only met the oppressive MOC and his vegan girlfriend who was supportive of him and his oppression against women (let alone against me).

I trusted them and the AR activist I have never met, based on our shared allyship to animals. That is a very common mistake we do as animal allies? We see A LOT of violence constantly experienced by animals, some of us get burnt out from that, many analogies get used to explain violence on animals to others who don’t get it and yet some AR/vegans want to oppress or erase marginalised people they call friends.

To Akilah: On Intersectionality in Feminism and Veganism

tahr-dragon:

Interesting read. I was writing, on my other blog, on an analogy of ice-cream to explain orientations. I was saying how the analogies of food to bodies is a problematic one, it’s more so when we consume animals.

Akilah is also using white imperialist food, fast food, mainstream food that, yes, animals are killed for. We can go deeper and think about gender roles and institutions cause rapes and murder, for instance in war.

Ultimately though, her battle for now is trying to get a point across with an analogy that can be grasped by the regular white person.

There is a conversation I’m not having time to follow right now of how bad Hillary can be for women of colour, how likely she is to cause women of colour casualties in war… I mean I kinda know and I’m neither voting there nor getting into any debates so there are other more extremely urgent and relevant issues to me.

Originally posted on Striving with Systems:

[This is a guest post by Aph Ko, freelance writer extraordinaire and creator of the web series Black Feminist Blogger. You can check out a recent interview with her here: “Creating Revolution: Interview with Aph Ko.”]

Akilah-1

Dear Akilah-

I hesitated to write this open letter because frankly I think open letters can be corny and self-serving. However, after watching your intersectionality pizza video, I sincerely wanted to reach out to you to open up a conversation about a topic that is usually over-looked, or teased within mainstream feminist spaces: non-human animal rights. As a young black vegan feminist, I feel like I might be able to offer a different perspective on intersectionality, taking into account non-human animal bodies. I would urge you to at least consider checking out black vegan feminist literature in hopes that it might offer something new to your articulation of feminism and…

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Free Our Springs

World water day is today, going by the official announcement – March 22nd or today because yesterday was Sunday. We are to expect 40% water shortfall in 15 years, easily more for some regions.

Climate is changing, one can’t know if next summer is going to be a drought or floods or both. Some regions of this island (Mauritius) got flooded and for all regions, for months there have been issues like gastro enteritis so severe that people need hospitalisation. I pay taxes but cannot access any of your healthcare nor clinics. I wonder how many disabled folks or those with allergies struggle with the same, thus for some of us, access to clean water and medicinal plants can be vital, not simply desirable and economical as it would be for others.

A call to mobilisation over this simple issue that could save energy, our money, electricity, health and the environment (how much waste is generated from water filters or worse, bottled water)

cool clear water flowing from an urban spring

cool clear water flowing from an urban spring

Natural springs which should be public property, have been closed off for either corporations benefits or they have been routed into the central water supply, thus already clean and potable water is being mixed with reservoir water and all of it is then treated to become potable, chlorinated and fluoridated water we pay for (yeah there was a change in the 2015/16 budget and I’m unsure if 6000m3 suffices for a family, still everyone, especially for children and the elderly boil/purify tap water). In flood season, the treatment plant struggles, water isn’t actually potable and in spite of boiling water, people are getting ill. Furthermore, this is a waste and of course, we pay for drinking water and the costs to purify and/or boil it in our homes. With open springs, we’d only pay travel costs to collect. At least for areas around the springs and those who visit them, it’ll be far more cost-effective. For the rest I haven’t worked it out, in some regions of Austria though they get spring water in their taps. We’re a tiny country.

If a spring is part of the commons, people would go collect the water in drinking containers. See findaspring.com. I have witnessed an example for years in the city of Capetown, an outlet has been in the middle of a busy suburb for some 50 years, there’s hardly a queue and recently because they want to close it the city even opened a collection point on a central suburb’s main road and near a bus and taxi (public transportation there, a minivan fuctions like our taxi-train) station and put a signboard. Still hardly a crowd, 3-5 people at most at a time, people buy 10 or 25L containers and fill them up when they need to, some good or privileged person offers to test the water sometimes and people know via social media, email or word of mouth. In that city, even box schemes delivery (like your Agribio or Vélo Vert, not to say that they should) offers to refill containers as a service. Post-apartheid urban exclusion aside, access to the spring is free, a city has the responsibility of providing the infrastructures but over there it may well be because they sold the rest of the springs without public consent, to the brewery.

Everyone on this island who has any information or wants to join a mobilisation or campaign is welcome to get in touch.

Dragon Whiskers Chips

Dragon Whiskers vegetable is the vine of chouchou/ chuchu/ sayote/ chayote. One can only find some sayote or choko leaves recipes while googling but try refine that and you’ll end up with chocolate chips. All of us accustomed to, as it’s called in China, Long xu cai, are familiar with the stir fry or soup-broth – bouyon bred to be precise in Mauritian. I’m no longer a fan so when I’m left with a handful, I tried to make chips.

I suggested this on facebook as we can’t find kale here, but didn’t try it until recently, when I no longer have an oven. I pan-fried them and they may be better in the oven or dehydrator (or they may be too fine who knows). What I do most often is drizzle oil that I would later use for cooking 1/4 pot of something else, add the leaves even if they overlap. When they look crispy, sprinkle with salt and scoop out. My pot is ready for the next dish.

Use some recipe for kale chips, these are less coarse and their surface spreads evenly in a pan and they don’t stick. I love their taste plain salted but if you don’t quite want them plain, they’d go best with a pinch of garlic and chilli or mustard powder? Dr Greger suggested using mustard with greens that you don’t leave to stand after chopping, we’re finally learning the science behind traditional cooking. These don’t need chopping. I’d suggest using them quite fresh (in my old fridge that frosts, takes about 2 days til it withers) or pan-fried they end up being stir-fry consistency. I don’t like the stalks and I’m yet to try the curls, the actual dragon whiskers I suppose. No one I know eats that part.

Traditionally used spices are garlic or onion or simply a dried chili or a few mustard seeds.

Nutritional value and bonus home remedies: The plant is a rich source of amino acid and vitamin C. It is diuretic and has anti-inflammatory properties. The leaf is used for treatment of arteriosclerosis and hypertension and kidney stones. According to Stuartxchange, the fruit is laxative, raw pulp is used for soothing of skin rashes and roasted leaves might help in suppuration of boils.

Yeah I know what you’re thinking, yes, that remedy for boils is the closest thing I found to the chips.

It’s not easy being young, black, and vegan

tahr-dragon:

“Many people look at me skeptically when I tell them I’m living a plant-based lifestyle. I’ve noticed that white vegans in particular often respond with something like, “Oh wow that’s so great, I’m really proud of you.” As if I’m doing something remarkable. But according to the same Vegetarian Research Group study mentioned above, only 3% of American whites identify as vegetarian or vegan, compared to 6% of blacks. Doesn’t twice the number of black people living on plant-based diets mean that I should be the one who’s surprised and proud of you?”

Originally posted on Quartz:

The first time I heard the word “vegan” was from my 11th grade SAT prep teacher, a middle-aged white woman with cropped brown hair and an orange tint to her face. One day while she was chaperoning our lunch, my friends and I saw her eating a greenish sludge that brought to mind algae. When I asked her why she wasn’t eating the catered lunch, she said she was a vegan.

I was aware of vegetarians, my mom sometimes buying Boca or Morningstar products, but the term vegan was totally foreign. After Ms. Dayglo, I thought it was something only for weird white people. Whenever we saw her eating, we would laugh and joke that black people couldn’t stop eating meat and dairy because the moisture would be sucked out of them and they’d look drier than the Sahara. However, almost two years into my vegan journey, I’m stomping around with faux…

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Call for Presentations – Asian Voices Challenging Racism, Colonialism, and Speciesism Online Conference

Call for Presentations – East and South Asian Voices Challenging Racism, Colonialism, and Speciesism Online Conference (See event page in link, Hosted by Institute for Critical Animal Studies, North America, Deadline for abstracts March 1st)

March 28, 2015
Online Free Conference
All are invited and welcome to attend
_______________________________________

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

With the animal advocacy movement is growing more intersectional and international, this conference strives to provide space for a growing marginalized community within the movement. This conference wants to provide space for East and South Asian ethnic background. We require that all presenters have an East or South Asian ethnic background. We are requesting all presentations promote, critical, radical, intersectional, grass-roots, and liberatory politics and promote veganism, social justice, and animal liberation.

Each presentation will be pre-recorded by the presenter via Youtube and submitted to: Hana Low
hana.low@gmail.com

Each presentation should be 20 to 25 minutes long.

_____

Please submit Abstract by March 1:

Video presentations due March 10:

1. Title

2. Biography third person one paragraph 80 to 100 words.

3. Abstract one paragraph 200 to 220 words.

To: Hana Low
hana.low@gmail.com / skype: hanalow

Papers will not be due until we lock in a book contract.

_______________________________________

SCHEDULE

__________

Presentation One

Link to Presentation:

Title
Hana Low

Abstract

Biography

__________

Presentation One – Question and Answer
__________

Presentation Two

Link to Presentation:

Title
Wayne Hsiung

Abstract

Biography

__________

Presentation Two – Question and Answer
__________

Presentation Three

Link to Presentation:

Title
Priya Sawhney

Abstract

Biography
__________

Presentation Three – Question and Answer
__________

Presentation Four

Link to Presentation:

Title
Penelope Low

Abstract

Biography
__________

Presentation Four – Question and Answer
__________

They seem to still be looking for Presentation Five, 6 and 7.

Images depicting evolution from a monkey to a man with a traditional Chinese long braid and I’m unsure about row 2 where a crouched man with a long braid or tail turns into a bear and into a pig.

Laundry tips

Countries with no dryers

Here only hotels and I guess 1% have dryers. The rest of us use air. I don’t know if I’m wrecking my washing machine using Dr Bronner’s 18-in-1 pure castille soap but it’s all I could find and hey it’s safe for black clothes. I’ll never shop again + a friend doesn’t make clothes anymore so I’d rather my clothes would last. I don’t care about looks but my lycra started coming apart, maybe it’s the new machine or me. I’ve never used delicate setting, I sticked things in a pillowcase. Now I handwash lycra. The rest is fine the clothes don’t come out as when I used shikakai/soapnut alone or kind laundry detergent or even germ-buster (I thought it’s concentrated and more economical, never tried their laundry detergent). Without the latter 3 products, I feel the need for softening so as not to iron. Before I’d simply take off the line and hang in closet or fold and clothes don’t seem creased. I used baking soda only on whites but sheets (also ended up with a stain using soda alone in the machine, I might try lemon oil on that). Baking soda can be used as softener.

For extra soft clothing, add 1/2 cup vinegar (a natural fabric softener) to your washer with each load. Don’t worry, your clothes will not smell like vinegar once dry.

It defo won’t, I’ve pre-soaked in pure vinegar or used more than one cup for mold removal. No smell remained. I use essential oils to kill germs and try repel insects when it’s hanging, I doubt it smells of any once it’s dry. I wonder if softening shortens drying time? Mine seems longer compared to neighbours but overnight and a day suffices in Curepipe.

My old bedsheets smell similar to the time they were washed with Savon National, my grandma’s house didn’t have a stench like most modern houses do (scents from detergents), a kitchen smell lingered in the adjacent bedrooms, mixed with the smell of firewood and coconut oil. Be it sunlight and air and the cotton, I don’t know, but that’s what the bedsheets she embroidered still smell like. I take comfort in it. I’m allergic to softeners nowadays and to detergents too. I was forced to get standard laundry services overseas, even the animal-tested laundry detergents on their own are so toxic. I like to breathe when I sleep.

laundry on a line

Tip for no ironing: Hang stuff as pictured above, except hang t-shirts by the shoulders (or open shirts by collar fold) when very damp then flip if needed to avoid the line and pegs’ marks on the base.

Rest of the world

“I have had great success with removing static cling by putting a washcloth with a safety pin on each corner into the dryer with each load. I have used this for years and am still using the same washcloth and the same safety pins that I first started with. Give it a try. You will be amazed at your success with this tactic for eliminating static cling. I also put a few drops of lemon oil on the cloth for a fresh scent.” – Patti

Another commenter says the same. I didn’t even know there were ways to remove static, never seen anyone doing it at the laundromat overseas.