Unilever in Kodaikanal

Unilever’s brands and available alternatives are listed and linked below if you’d like to boycott them, for their devastation to humans and environment in Kodaikanal for which Unilever has refused to take responsibility (see 2nd heading). tl;dr: see the petition, block quotes and the list of kind products, the DIY page where all is linked except food recipes and reports on the Kodaikanal issue.

Jhatkaa.org created a petition asking Paul Polman, Unilever’s CEO, to clean up Kodaikanal’s toxic contamination and to compensate affected workers.

Unilever’s thermometer plant in Kodaikanal exposed many workers to mercury poisoning, without giving them any protective equipment or information about the disastrous health effects of mercury. This toxic mercury, dumped around the factory and in forests, continues to contaminate soil and groundwater, affecting thousands. The workers cannot afford private healthcare, and have been fighting for 14 years, asking Unilever to clean up the toxic contamination, and to compensate them for their medical expenses. They need us to stand with them […].

There has been a mobilisation for justice and compensation since 2008. Was Greenpeace involved and has Greenpeace now been driven out of India because Modi didn’t want pro-environmental groups in the way of business growth, I heard about it probably on DW news a while back. In any case I will continue boycotting Unilever as I did for years for animal testing before knowing about Kodaikanal, let us assume they clean up the region and compensate ex-workers families as well as stop testing on animals, I will keep boycotting them for colourism. What an amazing coincidence that they exploit poor brown workers while selling the most popular skin lightening brand I’ve seen in the Indian diaspora.

Unilever brands include Dove, Rexona, Axe, SunSilk, Domestos, Flora, Miko/ Ola/ Selecta, Knorr, Lifebuoy, Lipton, Lux, Magnum, Omo, Signal, Amora, Biotex, Brut, Cajoline, Cif, Cupasoup, Fair&Lovely [which promotes colourism e.g in the country they exploit and here], Impulse, Comfort, Jik, Lakmé, klondike, Maizena, Marmite, Mentadent, Pears, Skip, Solero, StYves, Coleman’s, Dawn, Fruit d’or, Gabi, Glen tea, Joko tea, Lyons, Mon savon, Organics, Robertsons… I’ve left out all that did not look familiar in their 13 pages of logos!

If only there’d been a fairtrade soapnut industry for these workers instead, I don’t know any risks associated with it, soapnuts is a plant local to them and we could use all sorts of detergents made from it (it didn’t need fabric softening), it’s also neutral for the planet. It’s a fact that detergents such as the Unilever ones listed above are toxic to fauna in the environment and waterways. Only a company that will never care would make a thermometer factory near forests and try save costs by not giving equipment to poor workers they targeted for their lack of awareness.

Alternative brands to some of the above detergents and toothpaste and DIY. I bet it’s cheaper Bicarb or vinegar can replace your Cajoline if Dr. Bronner’s can replace Skip and dishwashing soap and personal care, it’s healthier for you, kids and pets (avoid the tea-tree type if you have dog friends*). I will see what I can list aside from dairy-like products I’m allergic to all these foods since long, and most of their alternatives, we have local black tea brands. I’m too disabled to shop or to know what you’d replace, say, Marmite with.

There’s an issue here with kind products, or rather with some places that sell them, I’m yet to find well-informed staff (probably the shop owners aren’t well-informed too) so as well as telling them stuff for free (these days on the phone) I’m blogging all the info I can. Drop me a comment or email if you have any questions on kind products.

*Tea-tree when injested, can cause seizures to dogs. I do use the tea-tree one as antibacterial after visiting dog-friends – I’m allergic to them, unlike other fur-allergics I don’t use disinfectant. Lavender is also anti-bacterial and anti-fungal but I hate the smell.

New food products – Mauritius

Firstly, happy Moon Festival to Chinese followers! Looking for vegan mooncake recipes, I came across a mooncake recipe on Vata Vegan, this made me wonder again if autumn festive recipes shouldn’t be adapted radically, here the weather is warming up a lot. And now for some vegan capitalism. I saw 2 Naturata vegan products at Quartier Gourmet. If it’s not online & none of you here tell me about it, I won’t know – I no longer shop physically!

Photo showing tubes of ‘Vegane’ mayo & remoulade posted on the QG facebook page.

So what else is there aside from that, gluten-free stuff, sugar-free jams, cold-pressed oils & & herbal infusions/tinctures? Don’t expect vegan advice there though, they think vegans struggle to find protein!!

#BlackVegansRock: 100 Black Vegans to Check Out

Originally posted on Striving with Systems:

I am treating this piece as a performance art piece, not a blog post. Each time someone from the animal rights/vegan community wants to write an article about how white the animal rights/vegan movement is, I hope that they choose one person from this list to write an article about instead. 

This list is not in any particular order, and it is not meant to be completely exhaustive. Additionally, I can’t guarantee that everyone on this list is still vegan, though they were at the time of my research. I acquired this information simply by researching online and asking around. Also, I must note that I personally don’t think eating a plant-based diet automatically means that you’re a political activist or animal rights activist. As I said in a previous post “Veganism without politicization only yields de-contexualized diets.”

Nevertheless, this list is meant to serve as a statement for anyone who says “veganism is…

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Earthquake that couldn’t shake caste bias – Dalit victims of Nepal earthquake still waiting for any help


Empower Dalit Women of Nepal, EDWON is collecting money for a rebuilding fund for Dalits and tribal whose lives and homes have been decimated at the epicentre of earthquake in Gorkha. If you decide to donate, know that your contributions will go directly into the hand of Dalit and tribal women’s groups in their rebuilding efforts and will circumvent upper-caste village headmen. Many big relief organizations do not have this focus. ”

Dalit History Month said to please to Dalit organizations like FEDO http://www.fedonepal.org/about-fedo and others.

“In previous disaster situations, gay men were denied food aid in Haiti after the 2008 earthquake and trans people were denied entry to IDP camps after the floods in Pakistan because they didn’t possess proper government ID that matched their appearance.
Trans women have already had difficulty in Nepal accessing toilets.
LGBTI people are being told the Blue Diamond Society’s headquarters in Kathmandu, could fall at any second.” – GayStarNews. To donate to BDS http://www.bds.org.np/donate-us/

Originally posted on Dr. B. R. Ambedkar's Caravan:

Caste has such strong foundation in Asia that no tsunami can wash it, no earthquake can shake it and no flood can carry away the filth of it. Once again Dalits have been left out of any relief work in Nepal earthquake. According to the latest news from The Indian Express (29th April) Dalits are still waiting for any help from Government. Dalits houses have been devastated by earthquake but no Government is helping them. It is not the first time that Dalits have been ignored by Governments in natural calamities. One can check out from Gujarat earthquake to Tamil Nadu Tsunami to Kosi River floods in Bihar, who has suffered the most? Dalits. Dalits suffer the most in natural disasters and Dalits’ experience in natural calamities isn’t very good; Dalits have always been left out of rehabilitation.

Here is what Dr. Ambedkar had said about the discrimination in charity…

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Gadhimai, Nepal and Vegans Celebrating “Karma”


“Opposition to Gadhimai in the Western World has intensified in recent years as part of “turn and burn” campaigns that allow large non profit organizations to leverage racist and xenophobic sentiments into large scale donations. This “outrage” cycle is profitable for Western animal advocacy organizations and Gadhimai is part of a larger group that includes dog and cat meat trades, dolphin hunt, wildlife trafficking, and more. These funding cycles allow organizations to expend little effort, face little risk, and they can play off of and stoke misanthropic and racist views that do little to nothing to challenge animal use in the West. They are comfortable and they are part of the reason why things like this spill over.

Along with this current, there is a growing popularity within the vegan community of atheist and new atheist thought. Applied to Gadhimai, sometimes in connection with larger non profits, this provides another layer to buffer the “rational” against the so-called “irrational” slaughter of animals in Nepal.

Neither of these currents are really about helping animals – one is focused on the organizational growth of animal advocacy non profit organizations, and the other is focused on advancing western “rationality” as a cover for white superiority. However, both are currently popular within white dominated animal advocacy communities in North America and Europe.

How does this betray what they claim is their focus – other animals? First, meat consumption per capita in Nepal is 12.2 kg. In comparison, most of Europe and North America register in around 80-120kg. […] It is absurd that Gadhimai would ever be a focus for Western animal advocacy or organizations.”

Least of all right now. getting the figures from the linked map involves maths so 2009 per capita meat consumption:
Mauritius 49.4
Nepal 9.9
South Africa 58.6
USA 120.2

On the map, the redder dot is this island, meat consumption is some 4 times higher than other African countries too. I strongly suggest you read the entire article, I’m reblogging to merely add figures.

“Outside of pure meat consumption, the issue of Gadhimai is one of framing or “lens.” Gadhimai’s “ritual slaughter” is framed in a typical Western lens which erases and normalizes Western animal slaughter […]”

Originally posted on Dylan Powell:

APTOPIX Nepal EarthquakeI wish I could say I was shocked, but after seeing similar sentiments after the tsunami in Japan in 2011 (re: dolphin hunts), I was more in bunker mode just hoping I had somehow insulated myself from it. “The earthquake in Nepal is karma for the Gadhimai Festival.” How could anyone reduce an event of disaster and suffering to this focus, holding up their exclusive concern for animals over the lives of thousands of people that were lost in an instant? How narrow minded would a person have to be to not also see this earthquake as a destructive event for captive and wild animals in Nepal – what of their “karma”?

Gadhimai, for the those who don’t know, is a festival in Nepal that takes place every 5 years were mass amounts of animals are slaughtered to honour Gadhimai, the Hindu goddess of power. Approximately 5 million Nepalese, or…

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Self-care and community

It was a rough fall back to virtual reality here after a refreshing immersion and too brief participation in an amazing black-centering conference, participation and presentation seemed diverse and inclusive – in ability (all visuals were described, also there were full scholarships), gender (3 transfolks presented and one was to center black transwomen’s history and trans lives) and sexual orientation (VINE is an LGBTQ-run animal sanctuary for one, a presentation covered sexual orientations and genders) and ethnicity of course. I won’t talk about points Jessica Rowshandel made in her presentation in the Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter conference, which I had the privilege to attend thanks to Dr A. Breeze Harper (thank-you, forever!) I listened to most of the conference after writing this, I needed this out of my system. I must 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 folks 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 her focus, Jessica did not mention disposability (Toi Scott had spoken about it the previous day, I hadn’t heard it yet), erasure, and slandering. This isn’t talked about at all in vegan communities, then again the local community of colour seems very happy to push white supremacist veganism (I doubt local white vegans here are responsible, rather PETA and other racist or otherwise misanthropic leaders are). I needed to start that conversation last decade – are some of these more commonly disability-specific or intersectional oppressions towards POC? In any case, privileged cis-gendered men vegan leaders love to carry them out.

Once I was ‘burnt out’, my process was respected, I was included (in spite of me being the only vegan of colour pointing out racial insensitivities in a white movement which is not a uniform one, there are several organisations in Capetown, and I had already been slandered once by a white vegan man not exactly involved with the orgs who were active in South Africa, their white colleague’s words also got recorded by accident and basically the very first hour when I met Michele Pickover and Steve Best, they were taken aside and I was slandered, they later told me and other Capetown vegans founders who were white). Later, I lost community to an alleged-intersectional vegan leader, a white man, and I got isolated. There is a pattern when I befriend local privileged vegans regardless of ethinicity (but they were all post-racial men or very closely linked to such men), I get used, erased and thoroughly excluded when my thoughts inconvenience them. Perhaps leaders are expert oppressors?

This is the first conversation I really ought to have with new vegans I’m getting to know in a country I haven’t lived in. Vegans I knew thus far think I need to put aside “differences” for the sake of the animals. So why do I get asked to stretch myself in ways humaneness wouldn’t allow, why not ask privileged vegans not to oppress, tokenise, use and slander others? 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 their side in the discussion. Later she became someone who was harassing and trolling me in other groups, in ways that can harm; and she threatened to gossip about my personal life if I unfriended or blocked her on social media. I blocked her as what she last did was completely unacceptable at any level. Let’s say I should’ve done more than a virtual measure to protect myself.

The issue which irritated Harry, founder (on FB?) or president of the Vegan Society-Mauritius was that I [a longer-term vegan, perceived as a WOC, who had more AR experience than him and moderated ‘his’ group as a favour (while living in another country)] dared criticise PeTA. He was really enjoying this PeTA ad that sexualises the abuse of women, posted it to the group -he’d- asked me to moderate and censored me repeatedly; at some point I wasn’t even talking about the ad but quoting beloved world leaders on censorship. So I wasn’t quoting radicals but Tata Mandela, I was censored and banned. In view of having to write to clarify on dietary needs in their local newspaper as I was no longer in contact with vegans there, I was sometimes observing the group from a fake profile because I saw him promote false and dangerous info on B12 in spite of learning facts (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, or anyone who is pregnant or have some illnesses); that profile, without saying anything, got banned too, much later. The poor fake person never even sought justice for this unjust unexplained ban. Does this happen to any local vegan who follows my facebook page? Lately I resumed contact with an ex-admin who perhaps could but never answered my important questions. I was asked to “put all issues with Harry behind me”, I was about to attempt a superhuman effort to create access for myself in spite of major odds, as in even provide a venue myself to join their Vegan Soc committee then Harry, whom I’d been told was no longer around, is suddenly their president (an oppressive man who lied to cover his mistake, that is all I could make out from admin responses, if any, back in 2012) I was told. I said nothing. In the weeks we have been discussing that, I got no response to update the only kind products list. I wanted to make it more usable, make leaflets; I didn’t get any feedback, product names, or acceptance to share or collaborate. I imagined my joining their Vegan Soc committee was the only way to get these simple things for the animals, with it likely to involve access creation from my side mostly.

I will no longer hesitate to express my wish to stay very far from such a community, this will be my tough love for them and vital self-care for me. What about the animals? The choice ought not be between self-care and a pretense to help them, the better I am the better an ally I can be but why don’t these humans who are after selfish gains and narcissistic image-building see at least how bad the widening gap between us looks? It’s no longer simply differences but them having oppressed me and cut ties or it was dangerous for me to keep communicating with them. Thank-you Laura Schleifer (for the terms ‘narcissistic anger and pity’). Not only certain white folks have narcissistic anger, perhaps certain whitened folks or well, this is a country where men of colour run many things.

What the WOC AR activist did which made previous in-private support futile, is try counter-argument in a violence against women discussion in a serious group explicitly 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 that discussion before she joined, she used slurs towards me, trying to shame me publicly online in an open group of thousands of local activists who were paying attention.

I lived in 2 locations, having recently moved to my country of origin where I’d only met the oppressive vegan MOC and his vegan of colour girlfriend who was supportive of 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 or triggered 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 of colour they call friends.

When it is racial insensitivity POCs are guilty of, should we be lenient thinking of it along the lines of perpetrator induced trauma (a concept I didn’t know mentioned in the context of slaughterhouse work by Christopher McJetters in the same conference)? I don’t think so, when people use any opportunity to slander and erase. Maybe it says something on why they lack real-life members (I was told when asked to join their committee this time). What wrongs they have done so far doesn’t seem to be something they must do to put tofu on the table!

I have to stress that it is hurting animals in very obvious ways. In the absence of volunteers or information, I have 1-2 comrades and momrades (linking for the word coinage, I wish my momrades were on twitter) on the task of helping me with the kind products list. They’re not vegan, they’re not comfortable hearing about animal testing on the products they can afford, they’re 60 something or 80. I won’t show them violent photos, I share recipes, we’re trying to work out cost differences, I share health issues related to commercial products; these aunties, while raising their own grandkids and helping their communities, appear to be driving part of this movement here, until someone indicates otherwise or volunteers. I need to give them AL/vegan allies awards, their love actually has more to do with loving our Earth and loving me with all my allergies. In a way, my momrades still seem to be doing more than the AR activists and vegans I’ve known here for the past years in this country.

things ive noticed: conditionally white poc are white when they align w whiteness and poc when they reject it –@Izz145

To Akilah: On Intersectionality in Feminism and Veganism


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.”]


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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