Almost all companies have replied to my latest inquiry about distributors commissioning animal testing.
I found out, that animal testing for launching products on the US market is not a requirement.
Although at first there seemed to be a discrepancy between an US distributor and a German Brand they sell in the US, the unclear testing methods do not include the EU Brand, since they stated that none of their US distributors would commission animal testing for their products and that their products get only tested theoretically.
The range of replies I received ranked from very committed and communicative, positive and generally interested ones, over business friendly ones, to upright negative and offensive.
I certainly never meant to step on anybody’s toes, but it is not an easy thing to get this information out of companies. There is generally no problem with inquiring about products being vegan (except one case), but it is a complete different thing to get answers about animal testing.
It all comes down to filibustering and tiptoeing around this topic. If a company states they don’t test on animals that does not include commissioning it from third parties. So you have to require about this again. Also, there is a difference in saying no animal testing in the end-product, or in the manufacturing process of said product. This says nothing about the company itself, whether they do animal testing or commission it for other products. I think it goes along for a vegan, not only the product you use being vegan, but also the company, which sells it, being cruelty-free.
Again, there were a couple of companies, which were very helpful and seemed very interested in this matter and which also strictly oppose animal testing. The most genuine, supporting and friendly exchanges I had were with Coliro (Finetec Pearlcolors), Goldenpaints and Liquitex. Derwent was also very helpful.
I am grateful to all companies for investing time and effort in this matter.
It is also something to see how first so communicative exchanges from big companies changed into annoyed defensive ones, although they mostly kept a (cold and controlling) friendliness, hinting the communications are now closed for good.
I also do not understand how one big brand says it wasn’t responsible for what their distributors will do, yet other brands could state that their distributors do not test on animals and do not commission testing facilities to do so.
Overall I learnt a lot about this topic. To me it was like opening Pandora’s Box and the very earth I stood on, started to crumble underneath my feet.
There are limitations which come along choosing a vegan lifestyle and I live with them. And especially in the arts, it weighs heavy upon one. And if you have already a limited range of companies and products you can use (and yes these limitations are 100 per cent self-inflicted) it hits hard, when you find out not so nice stuff about a company and be it only for them being rude in personal exchange.
This one particular German brand, I deleted from my list and from a post. I did oversee their first insult to me for the sake of the products and others being able to enjoy working with them. This was not easy to oversee, as they attacked my lifestyle, my very beliefs and I had to spend time and energy to justify my life choice. The second time I contacted them, although I didn’t really want to, but I followed through and wrote to them the same I wrote to all companies, they leashed back out at me that I was implying things and attacking them. However I also learnt that the cruelty-free apparently did not apply to the company, only to the certain product range.
You know, I just would have been fine with the answer “we are momentarily/generally not interested in the vegan art sector”. No hard feelings there. I also could not understand, why they still replied then, only to be negative, and why I was only contacted by the same biased person. After all he just could have passed the inquiry to another colleague or state no interest in the matter, but he chose to go after me. So good riddance. I am also going to cover the labels on their products I own, so I might be able to continue using the rest, although all negative responses I get overall make them cling to the products.
I did not expect the whole undertaking of being quite so draining and stuff I would have been better of never knowing in the first place.
And as someone creating, painting etc. in the arts we are still better off than vegan musicians. I used to play a couple of instruments, for some things you can find substitutes, e.g. using vegan lip balm for the cork ring of your recorder, but string instruments are tough. I stopped playing double bass and piano when I was still a vegetarian and now it seems impossible to me. First of all, the bows are stringed with horse hair and in the traditional manufacturing of string instruments like celli, violins, violas and double basses bone glue is used. And although you don’t see it on first glimpse on the piano, in the instrument woolen felt is used. I don’t know whether there are already synthetic felts used. And your smaller string instruments can also be stringed with gut strings, for example baroque instruments.
As for dance, there are already a couple of dance shoe alternatives, although I do not know whether the glue used in non-leather sole point shoes is animal derivative free. What I never found in all my searching, were vegan Irish dancing hard shoes. Ballet slippers and highland dancing ones yes, Irish ones, no.
Others might think outing yourself as a vegan is to show off, being extra, being special, creating drama and other things. Those were never reasons for my choice of becoming one. It is rather one of being respectful and considerate towards everything and everybody. I don’t want animals to be harmed because of me. I became vegetarian aged about 11 and vegan aged 18. So for the last 11 years I have been vegan. And never was my decision for it to be an attention seeker.
Why do other people condemn you for being concerned about the world we live in? There are enough topics to choose from, for condemning persons’ lifestyles and positions, e.g. for being misogynistic or and racist, but it seems that the world prefers sociopaths over empaths and caring individuals, after all it is easier to attack the latter.
Animal testing should no longer be a go-to testing method, where already other alternative methods exist. Animals are complex thinking and feeling creatures, just like humans are.
For those people, who cannot understand all the fuzz we make about them with our stance, put yourself in their position. Being put in a small cage, or plastic container with many of your kind, no place to move, your litter being food pellets on which you also defecate and urinate, water not always in reach or fresh and shared by all, no earth to put your feet on, no grass, no sunshine, only artificial light, containers stacked high, weird and loud noises by machines, constantly being pumped with drugs in order for you not to pass out of pain, and to cloud your levels of anxiety in order not simply to die from panic. No empathy with your needs, simply no compassion, just the objectification of your person. Your life being worth nothing and you being there only as an instrument in their endeavours. For humans the conditions are not acceptable, criminals have it better in prison (in the western parts of the world) than animals in testing facilities and those have never committed a crime. No attention, handled like an object, being pumped with drugs, altering your senses, light sensitivity, different perception of your hearing, dull hearing, you don’t know what will happen to you, you have nowhere to go, you have no say over your own person and what others do to you. You will be tempered with, you do not get the food you would eat in your natural habitat, you will be stabbed with needles and worse, you are surrounded by a fog of drugs, plumped on cold steel surfaces, only to be thrown back afterwards into your plastic container or cage into your own and others’ bodily fluids, you are surrounded by others, who are also in pain and you can feel their pain and share their constant panic and despair. Anxiety and pain are your general settings you will be in.
How are untainted creatures, at the mercy of human hands, thinking and feeling creatures, already proven to also dream in their sleep, being able to laugh, having superior senses over human ones and humans benefiting from them (e.g. sniffing out cancer, drugs and explosives, warning for an epileptic fit, warning for earthquakes, service animals,…) ok to be treated inhumane but a mass murderer is allowed to communicate with the outside world, use the internet and is allowed to study paid for by the government? If you think humans and animals are so different, and a human is so much more worth than an animal, and I am not allowed to think like this; do you really think a murderer is better than an innocent individual, be it of another species?
The biggest vice of humans is to never being content with what we have got. There always has to be something better and bigger. This everybody can observe from commercial animal breeding plants.
Their existence skryrocketed after the launching of freezers. All of a sudden people didn’t eat meat a couple of times a month but could have it for every meal. And the meat got cheaper. Consumption of meat wasn’t something special any longer, which you could only afford on a couple of occasions. After all the postwar rationing, people were happy to indulge in sought-after goods. But what did it do to the environment, the animals and people’s health? If you don’t want to see the impacts on environment and the animals (being treated inhumanely and killed in masses), what about your health? Apart of too much consumption of meat being bad for you, what short cuttings do you think does it take to make meat so cheap, such big quantity and variety and constant supply of it? Commercial bred animals get plugged with hormones and other things to fatten them up for a fraction of developmental time than their normal raised peers, and they are fed with animal derived produce and stuff, that you wouldn’t touch. Also, is it okay for them being forced to cannibalism, eating reminders of their peers? Is it okay for them that their body frame, ligaments and bones weren’t made for all the weight they amass in such a short period of time that they snap? How would you feel aside from the deafening pain, if your leg just gave way under your weight? It would be horrific.
People have gotten too desensitized.
Finally after taking a detour over other fields of arts and breeding plants this is the end of this post. I don’t really think it was a detour to graze the topic of commercial animal breeding, but another example of the commonly accepted treatment of animals. Commercial animal breeding is also part of art supplies, because animal derived raw material such as charred bones, oils, fats, tallow and e.g. gelatine will come from such sources.
To all of the people being well enough off, be content and resourceful with what you got. Megan Guyver the heck out of what you got. If all just keep on taking, nothing will be left.
I will keep you updated on company and product informations I receive.
I might be able to give you soon some news about Viarco (Artgraf) and Kuretake. I received information yesterday that Kuretake is cruelty-free, they will check on the US distributors, and there are a couple of vegan friendly products and I will be glad when I am allowed to list them.
Sources: Mail contact; history