A-Z Of Hidden Nasties Factsheet

A-Z Of Hidden Nasties Fact Sheet

Alphabetical Glossary of Animal Substances

By Juliet Gellatley, Director of VVF and Laura Scott, MSc Nutrition

An A-Z glossary of animal substances – includes definitions of vegetarian and vegan.


What’s a vegetarian?

A vegetarian doesn’t eat red meat (such as lamb, beef, pork, bacon etc), white meat (poultry such as chicken, duck and turkey), fish (eg anchovies, salmon, cod etc) or other water life (eg prawns, lobsters, crabs, oysters, shellfish etc) or slaughterhouse by-products (eg gelatine, animal fat, lard or animal rennet). There are estimated to be some 5 million vegetarians in the UK.

Most vegetarians fit this category. It means vegetarians who don’t eat meat or fish but do eat dairy products and eggs.

A vegetarian who eats dairy products but no eggs.

A vegetarian who eats eggs but no dairy products.

A vegan eats legumes (eg beans of all sorts, lentils, peas), grains (eg cereals, bread, pasta, rice etc), fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetables. Vegans do not eat any animal products at all – so no meat, fish or slaughterhouse by-products like a vegetarian – but additionally exclude dairy products, eggs and honey. Most vegans also choose not to wear animal products such as fur, wool, silk or leather due to the exploitation (and usually death) of the animals concerned in order to derive them.
The easy way to remember vegetarians eat nothing from slaughtered animals; vegans eat nothing from living or dead animals.

Alphabetical Glossary of Animal Substances


A (Vitamin) – can be derived from egg yolk or fish liveroils used in nutritional food supplements and cosmetics.
albumen – (egg white) protein part of an egg, usedin food as a binder.
alcohol – many types of alcohol are refined usinganimal-derived ingredients, such as *isinglass .
(*Viva! runs a vegan wine and beer club – contact them for a free catalogue (see their details at end).

alpaca – clothing material derived from the alpaca, a mammal related to the llama with long shaggy hair.
anchovy – small fish of the herring family, often used as a flavour enhancer. Found in Worcester sauce and pizza toppings.
angora – wool fibre obtained from goats (called *mohair) or *rabbits and used in clothing. The shearing process can be painful and traumatic. Angora rabbits are routinely strapped to boards for shearing which is very stressful and males are killed at birth as have low wool yields.
animal fat – fat derived from slaughtered animals. This is boiled off the skin and used in many processed foods eg baked and pastry products, margarines, soups and stocks as well as soaps.
aspic – used as a glazing agent from meat or fish-derived jelly.
astrakhan – luxury clothing material derived from the skin of stillborn or very young lambs from a breed of sheep originating from Astrakhan in Russia.


barn-fresh eggs – eggs from hens reared indoors, usually thousands to a shed, but not in cages. Large stocking densities, selective breeding and poor indoor conditions result in many chicken welfare problems. After two to three years they are killed for low grade meat.
battery eggs – 70% of eggs produced in the UK are from hens kept in battery cages. Close confinement means hens suffer extreme physical and mental suffering. After a year or two these worn-out hens are slaughtered and ground down to be added to many processed foods such as pies, pasties and soups (thus disguising their battered bodies). This system is to be outlawed in Europe from 2012 but replacement ‘enriched cages’ are little better with only tiny amounts of extra space being provided. *see also eggs, free-range eggs, barn-fresh eggs.
beef – meat from cows. Beef cattle may spend just six months of their life outside. They are then sometimes kept inside feedlots (huge barns) where they are fed a concentrated diet to be fattened for slaughter before they reach 36 months (natural lifespan is 20 to 30 years, depending on breed).
beer – most real ales (cast-conditioned) are clarified (cleared) with animal-derived *isinglass. Canned, keg and some bottled beers are normally animal-free.
bees – are exploited in similar ways to farmed animals. Beekeepers often kill the old queen bees at two years old (natural lifespan is five years) and replace her with a new one. This is because older queens are much more likely to swarm – fly away and form a new colony – than younger ones, and since swarming requires a queen, the queen’s wings are often clipped. Artificial insemination involving the death of the male is the norm for the generation of new queen bees. The favoured method of obtaining bee sperm is to pull off the insect’s head: decapitation sends an electrical impulse to the nervous system, causing sexual arousal. The lower half of the headless bee is then squeezed to make it ejaculate, and the resulting liquid is collected in a hypodermic syringe for insertion into the female. On factory bee farms, hundreds of queens are kept in cages waiting to be flown around the country. After arrival at the post office or shipping depot, they can suffer from overheating, cold, get banged around, and be exposed to insecticides. No matter how careful the beekeeper, bees are always killed when honey is collected. A whole array of products are derived from bees including *honey, *propolis, *beeswax and *royal jelly, which are used in cosmetics and food.
beeswax (E901) – secreted by bees, used in candles, polishes and cosmetics.
beta-carotene – an antioxidant (disease-fighting) plant form of vitamin A, found in fruits and vegetables often used as an orange colourant in soft drinks and foods. Foods containing beta-carotene can include *gelatine as the carrier for it. The use of gelatine will not necessarily be listed in the ingredients label.
bone char – The ash of burned animal bones. Used in bone china crockery and ornaments. Major use to produce *charcoal.
bone meal – ground or crushed animal bones. Used in garden and agricultural fertilisers. Also used in some nutritional food supplements as a source of calcium.
brawn – boiled pig parts such as the meat, ears and tongue.
bristle – animal hair used for brushes, mostly from pigs but also from *sable, horse and badger. The hair may be from a slaughtered or living animal. Found in many ‘natural’ brushes eg shaving/hair/cosmetic make-up/paint (decorating, painting and artist) brushes.
British Farm Standard – umbrella *farm assurance scheme covering both plant and animal production eg Farm Assured British Beef & Lamb (FABBL), Assured Chicken Production (ACP). Food produced under this scheme carries the *Little Red Tractor trademark symbol and it claims that its standard is a promise to consumers that, when they buy food carrying the British Farm Standard mark on the label, it has been produced to meet exacting food safety, environmental and welfare standards. There is an implied assumption that such a logo ensures animals are reared to strict welfare standards but work by Viva! and other groups shows this not to be so and usual intensive farming methods are routinely allowed.
BSE – Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (Mad Cow Disease). A degenerative brain disease in cattle. First known about in 1986. Responsible for fatal human form vCJD – new variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease.


capsules – used in nutritional food supplements and
medicines. Often *gelatine-based unless stated as from a vegetarian source.
carmine (E120) – red food and drink dye pigment obtained from *cochineal.
casein – milk-derived protein, used in cheese production. Also found in most condoms (one brand of condoms now available made without casein).
castor – substance derived from beaver anal sex gland and used as a fixative in perfumes and incense. Synthetic and plant castor oil available.
cashmere – luxury wool made from the cashmere goat and wild goat of Tibet. Up to 80% of young goats may be killed as their coats are not of sufficient quality.
catgut – dried and twisted intestines of horse or sheep used in surgical stitching, tennis rackets and musical instruments.
caviar – fish eggs (*roe) of slaughtered sturgeon or other fish, considered a delicacy.
chamois – skin of the chamois antelope, goats, sheep, deer etc used to make very soft leather cleaning cloths eg chamois leather. Synthetic alternatives available.
charcoal – roasted (charred) animal bone or wood. Used in aquarium filters and in refining cane *sugar.
cheese – dairy product made from cow’s (and goat’s, buffalo’s, sheep’s) milk. Unless otherwise stated on labelling is likely to have been made using animal-derived *rennet.
chewing gum – some contain animal-derived *glycerine. Wrigley’s use a vegetable glycerine.
chitin – derived from the hard parts of insects or crustacea (eg shrimp and crab), used in shampoos and moisturisers.
cochineal (E120) – red dye made from the dried bodies of crushed insects.
cod liver oil – nutritional food supplement made from the liver of slaughtered cod. Is one source of essential (omega-3) fats, as well as vitamins *A and *D. Plant-derived nuts and seeds are alternative sources of omega-3 fats eg linseed (flax), rapeseed oil and walnuts, as well as dark green vegetables.
collagen – constituent of animal connective tissue, which when boiled produces *gelatine, used in cosmetics.
coral – derived from the skeletons of ‘primitive’ aquatic animals. Becoming endangered as removed from oceans by humans as a tourist souvenir and destroyed by warming sea temperatures due to global warming.


D (Vitamin) – vitamin supplement added to many processed foods especially cereals and margarines. Found in two different forms – *D2 and *D3.
D2 (ergocalciferol) – form of vitamin D commercially derived from yeasts and mushrooms, thus acceptable to vegans. Added to some margarines and cereals as well as nutritional food supplements.
D3 (cholecalciferol) – form of vitamin D derived from *lanolin (fat from sheep’s wool), fish oil or lichen. Added to many cereals and margarines as well as nutritional food supplements. Most of vitamin D3 is derived from live and slaughtered sheep – only that guaranteed from live sheep wool is listed as suitable for vegetarians. However, there’s also vitamin D3 extracted from lichen and suitable for vegans – this is usually labelled as ‘suitable for vegans’ on product packaging. For up to date information, please see Vitamin D page.
dairy cows – to produce milk, female cows must be kept in a constant cycle of pregnancy and lactation. Their babies will be taken away shortly after birth so humans can drink the milk – causing enormous distress to both cows and calves. Male calves are often killed within hours or days as they are seen of no economic use (as they can’t produce milk and are the wrong breed for beef). Females are usually raised for the dairy herd. Dairy cows are often kept indoors for 6 months of each year. They are subjected to huge physical strains due to the huge volume of milk that selective breeding and continual pregnancies ensures. The normal lifespan for a cow is 25 years but dairy cows are usually sent for slaughter after only five years as their milk yields drop. This is caused by a dairy cow’s body literally breaking down under the pressures of intensive milk production.
dairy produce – products made from cows, goats, sheep or any other animal’s milk. Includes milk, butter, cream, gee (rancid butter used in many Indian dishes), *casein, yoghurts, cheese, ice-cream, *lactose or anything that contains these products or derivatives of them.
down – specialised *feathers from waterfowl (mostly ducks and geese) which are very soft and have superior thermal insulating properties. Duck down is generally obtained from slaughtered birds (factory farmed indoors for meat). Geese may be painfully live plucked – especially goose down produced in Eastern European countries – and the geese may also be used in the production of *pate de foie gras. Used in luxury quilts, pillows and outdoor padded jackets, clothing and sleeping bags.
dripping – melted animal fat.
ducks – 20 million ducks are killed in the UK each year for meat. Almost all are factory farmed – kept thousands to a shed with no access to water for preening or swimming. They are killed at just seven weeks old. Viva! campaigns against duck farming.


E numbers – European Union numbering system for food additives, found in most processed foods. Either animal or vegetable-derived.
eggs – the unfertilized reproductive cells of domesticated birds especially chickens, ducks, quail and geese. The wild jungle fowl ancestors of chicken hens would have previously laid about a dozen eggs in one clutch and then incubated them – sitting on them to get the right temperature for further development. Years of selective breeding and removal of eggs as soon as they have been laid means that the domestic hen unnaturally produces eggs almost every day. Male chicks are killed as soon as they are hatched (as they cannot lay eggs and are ‘too scrawny’ for chicken meat). Most eggs eaten in the UK are from hens kept in *battery cages. Eggs are used in baked products as a liquid; as an emulsifier of fats (keeping the fat in suspension rather than separating out eg mayonnaise); as a leavening agent (to hold air in cakes to add lightness) and as a binder (to stick food together). Found in foods such as pastry, cakes, biscuits, some pastas, flans, meringues etc. *Lecithin and *lutein are derived from eggs.
eiderdown – very soft, small *feathers from the rare large sea duck called an Eider duck. Female Eider plucks her own breast *down as nest-liner for her eggs. The down is harvested (especially in Iceland) by repeatedly removing the down and eggs from the nest until the season ends. Un-hatched ducklings die and there is continual disturbance of the female duck. Very expensive material used as a luxury filling in pillows and quilts.
elastin – protein found in the muscles of meat, used in cosmetics


farm assurance schemes – there are a number of these so-called quality farm/food assurance schemes that are supposed to indicate that the food product meets a set of agreed standards of agricultural practice eg minimum farm animal welfare standards. Most are more concerned with creating an image of animal welfare rather than actually offering real welfare advantages to farmed animals. The best known schemes are *British Farm Standard and the associated *Little Red Tractor logo, *Freedom Foods, *Soil Association Approved. The Soil Association scheme is considered to be the most trustworthy of all the schemes. The others approve by-standard factory farming.
feathers – bird plumage. Principally chicken, duck and geese but also decorative feathers from ostriches, peacocks and birds killed by hunters. Wide variety of uses especially in hats, feather dusters, darts, arrows and fishing lures, mattresses, pillows and quilts. Feathers (and *down) are by-products of food production, helping to keep poultry meat prices low. Chicken and duck feathers normally come from slaughtered, factory farmed birds.
felt – cloth made from *wool or wool and *fur or wool and animal hair.
fish – studies show that fish do feel pain. Most fish eaten now comes from fish farms as wild fish stocks have been decimated around the world. There are enormous welfare problems for the fish and health concerns for humans eating fish – farmed or otherwise. (See also The Fish Report.)
fish oils – oils made from fish or marine mammals used in soaps, nutritional food supplements, cosmetics. Plant-derived oils from seeds, nuts and vegetables are alternatives to fish oils eg linseed (flax), walnuts and rapeseed oil.
flavourings – term often stated on food labels. May or may not be animal-derived.
Freedom Foods – An RSPCA assurance scheme aiming to give (but not actually giving!) farmed animals five basic freedoms (but does NOT mean ‘free-range’): freedom from fear and distress; from pain, injury and disease; from discomfort and freedom to behave naturally. To join the scheme farmers, animal hauliers and abattoir owners have to agree to certain conditions. In order to fully comply with this no animal could be raised for meat so Freedom Foods is a contradiction in terms. The written standards vary little from the government’s low standards. Viva! has video evidence that some farms licensed by the RSPCA under this scheme are little better than intensive farms.
free-range eggs – although hens laying these eggs must have access to outdoors the reality is that most systems keep huge flocks of birds (up to 16,000) in one shed. (Usually it’s only on the few small scale units that hens are genuinely free range.) Outside access is usually through a few small holes and this, coupled with hen’s well-developed ‘pecking order’, means that up to half the birds in large scale units never actually get to go outside. Once hens’ egg-laying rate declines they are sent for slaughter. As in all egg systems, males can’t lay eggs, so they are gassed or macerated at one day old.
free-range meats – meat from animals kept in the open as opposed to inside factory farms (though even these would be kept inside for some parts of the year). Many so-called free-range meats fail good animal welfare needs – eg free-range pigs are often kept in barren muddy fields instead of their natural home of woodland. The animals from these systems are still sent for slaughter young – they are not simply left to die naturally of old age.
fur – clothing material from slaughtered animals. Millions of caged (especially mink and fox) and wild-caught animals are killed every year for their fur. Whilst the UK market for coats made from fur has declined, the fur industry is incorporating real fur into fur trims on eg coat/jacket hoods and cuffs.


gelatin(e) – protein jelly obtained by boiling animal tissues such as hooves, bones, horns, skin etc. One of the most widely used animal-derived ingredients in processed foods and many other products. Used as a gel in most sweets, jellies, capsules (eg for nutritional food supplements and drugs), confectionary and all non-digital photographic film.
glycerin(e) or glycerol (E422) – colourless liquid which can be obtained from animal fats, sugar fermentation or propylene. Used as a solvent for flavours, also found in toothpastes.
GMOs – genetically modified organisms. Insertion of foreign genes into an organism. Both plant and animal GMO species are being created for eventual use in the human food chain. No human studies have been conducted to assess possible health impact from eating GMOs. Environmental damage is likely to be enormous and irreversible. As of March 2004 the Government has given the go-ahead for the commercial growing of GM maize for dairy cattle feed. Milk from such GMO-maize-fed cattle will not be labelled. (See also Viva! Guide Genetic Engineering.)
goats – goats are kept for their milk (used as a substitute for cow’s milk). Unlike cows, goats can go on producing milk for a number of years after having a kid but commercial goat milk production will normally mean they are made to give birth more often. Kids’ surplus to requirements will be slaughtered as will goats whose milk yields have dropped. There is a thriving market from ethnic, middle-eastern cultures for goat’s meat. Some goats (along with some sheep) may be used to produce illegal *smokies. Some goats will also go for *ritual slaughter.


hide – animal skin used in the clothing, footwear and upholstery industries.
honey – is made-from flower nectar that is collected by honeybees and then regurgitated back and forth among them until it is partially digested. After the final regurgitation, the bees fan the substance with their wings until it is cool and thick. This mixture, honey, is then stored in the cells of the hives for larvae and used as their sole source of nutrition in cold weather and other times when alternative food sources are not available. The average bee hive contains about 60,000 bees and produces about 8 gallons of honey every year. To produce 450g (1 lb) of honey, bees have to gather about 1.8kg (4 lbs) of nectar, which means visiting 2 million flowers. Each worker bee has an average life span of only 3-6 weeks just long enough to collect about one teaspoonful of nectar. Commercial honey production is a very large scale enterprise and mass production techniques are used. Honey bees live in artificial hives designed to facilitate the easy removal of the combs. When these are removed and returned to the hive even with the utmost care, bees are crushed and killed. Used as a spread and a flavouring in food and also used in cosmetics. See also *bees.
horse hair – hair from horse tails, used in some furniture, brushes etc. Mostly derived from slaughtered horses, though some may come from live animals.
HRT – Hormone Replacement Therapy – some hormonal preparations eg Premarin are made from the urine of pregnant mares. These horses are kept continually pregnant in order to produce the hormone, are often kept in intensive stabling conditions to keep the urine concentrated and the foals are considered a waste by-product of the industry and are slaughtered. Non-animal HRT available.


insulin – hormone derived from the pancreas of sheep or pigs used to treat diabetes. Synthetic versions are now available.
isinglass – pure form of gelatine, obtained from the swim (air) bladders of slaughtered freshwater fish, especially sturgeon. Used to clarify (refine) alcoholic drinks.


jelly – gel-like substance, many of which are made from animal-derived *gelatine.


Kangaroo – 4.4 million kangaroos were shot in Australia in 2004 for their meat and skin. *Viva! stopped UK supermarkets selling kangaroo meat, however some pubs and restaurants sell it. Adidas and other sports manufacturers use their skin for football boots. When mothers are shot, joeys in the pouch are pulled out and bludgeoned. Older baby joeys always die from hunger, cold or predation. Many top footballers (such as Ronaldo) wear synthetic boots.
karakul – (Persian lamb) – Unborn lamb pelt produced in Afghanistan derived by killing mother sheep just before she gives birth. Used to make luxury coats and hats.
keratin – protein found in hair, horns, hooves and feathers, used in shampoos and conditioners.
kid – baby goat.
kobe – ‘luxury’ beef meat from the Wagyu breed of cattle raised on a specialised diet. Heavily marbled throughout with streaks of saturated (unhealthy) fat.


L’cysteine hydrochloride (E920) – obtained from animal hair or chicken feathers, used in shampoos and as an improving agent in white flour. Can be produced synthetically.
lactic acid (E270) – acid produced by fermenting milk sugar. Can also be obtained from non-dairy sources.
lactose – milk sugar from milk of mammals (mainly cows). Used as a carrier for flavouring agents in many processed foods. Also used in cosmetics and medicines.
lanolin(e) – fat extracted from sheep’s wool, used in cosmetics. Can be derived from both living and slaughtered sheep.
lard – hard fat surrounding stomach and kidneys in cattle, pigs and sheep. Found in many processed foods.
leather – tanned *hide (skin of animals eg cows, pigs, alligators, snakes etc), used in clothing, accessories and upholstery. Leather is produced by chemically removing the flesh from one side and the hairs from the other side of an animal’s hide. Leather production is not simply a by-product of the meat industry – it contributes significantly to the profitability of the meat industry itself. Used widely in footwear, upholstery, clothing accessories eg watch and bag straps etc. Leather items can be made from Indian cow leather where cows in India are subjected to horrifically cruel deaths.
lecithin (E322) – fatty substance found in nerve tissues, egg yolk and blood. Can also be obtained from vegetable sources especially soya. Used in many processed foods eg confectionary and baked products.
Little Red Tractor – symbol found on farm produce including meat and dairy foods that is the *British Farm Standard trademark. This is an umbrella farm assurance scheme logo that implies high animal welfare systems for farmed animals. Viva! research shows that this scheme allows normal intensive rearing practices such as intensively farmed chicken meat and egg production and animal mutilations eg chicken de-beaking.
lutein (E161(b)) – dye obtained from egg yolk. May also be obtained from marigolds.


milk – mammary gland secretions of a lactating (milk-producing) *dairy cow, *goat or sheep (or other mammal).
milk fat – fat found in milk derived from milking eg a dairy cow.
mohair – cloth made from the shorn hair of angora goat.
musk – oil secreted in a gland obtained from slaughtered male musk deer as well as trapped beaver and captive civet cats. Used in perfumes.


oleic acid -fatty acid found in animal and vegetable fats. Used in soaps and cosmetics.
oleostearin – solid derived from *tallow and used in soaps and candles.
organic – has a legal definition. British farms using the label must be registered and approved by one of several certification bodies eg the *Soil Association. Pesticide and fungicide use is hugely reduced, compared to that of intensive farms; GMOs are banned; farmed animals are reared less intensively and drug use on organic farms is greatly restricted. Unlike conventional farms an annual inspection is required. About 75% of Britain’s organic consumption is imported. Viva! and VVF recommend that organic fruit and vegetables are used as much as possible.
oestrogen – female sex hormone, used in cosmetics, hormone medicines and creams as well as bodybuilding supplements. Produced from cow ovaries and horse urine eg *HRT.
ostrich – see *volaise
oysters – oysters are shellfish which live on sea beds. They are now increasingly intensively farmed. There are two types of oyster farming: suspension culture farming – in which oysters are grown off the sea bottom in floating trays (this method is labour intensive) and bottom culture farming, in which an area of the sea floor, that provides natural food and environment for the oysters, is selected. Oysters are then stocked in the selected area and left to grow and then harvested using a bottom drag from boats. Intensive farming of oysters means that these animals are kept in crowded and unnatural conditions. Fresh oysters are bought alive and often eaten living, although some people choose to cook the living creatures. To open live oyster shells a knife is used to cut internal muscles – this is extremely painful and distressing for the oyster. Depending on the oyster breed they will live for a few days to two weeks out of water. The French squeeze lemon on the opened oyster to assure themselves that it is still alive by watching the muscular reaction to the acidic lemon. For humans there is a high risk of food poisoning through eating raw/live oysters. As oysters live in the sea they also contain harmful toxins such as dioxins and PCB’s. See also *pearl.


parchment – skin of sheep or goat, prepared for writing on.
pashmina – fibre gathered from Himalayan goats, used to make luxury shawls. Goats generally combed for this very fine wool.
pate de foie gras – goose or duck liver where the bird has been deliberately force-fed so that the liver grows abnormally large.
pearl – (eg mother of pearl) – formed mainly by *oysters (a mollusc) but also rarely by mussels and clams. The formation of a natural pearl begins when a foreign substance slips into the oyster between the mantle (the organ which makes the shell) and the shell, which irritates the mantle. It’s like the oyster getting a splinter. The oyster’s natural reaction is to cover up that irritant to protect itself. The mantle covers the irritant with layers of the same nacre substance that is used to create the shell. This eventually forms a pearl. Oysters are killed to obtain the pearl. Used in jewellery.
pepsin – enzyme found in gastric juices and sourced from slaughtered farmed animals, used in cheese making.
pet foods – animal tissues and parts not used in the human food chain are used in pet foods. Dogs can be fed a completely vegan diet and there are a number of vegetarian and vegan dog foods available. Cats require a special supplement if they are fed a non-meat diet to provide minerals such as taurine.
pigs – nine million pigs were killed in the UK in 2003. 95% of ‘meat’ pigs are kept indoors, crammed in concrete pens, usually stressed and diseased, until being killed at six months for pork, bacon, ham and sausages. Their natural lifespan is up to 20 years. Mother pigs are repeatedly pregnant, two thirds give birth in cages called farrowing crates. They are killed at four to five years for ‘low’ grade meat. One third of mother pigs are kept outside but their offspring are reared intensively.
progesterone – sex hormone used in hormone creams, derived from animal tissues.
propolis – a waxy resinous substance collected by bees from the buds of various conifers and used to repair the cracks and openings in the hive. Used in toiletries and cosmetics.


rabbit – rabbits are intensively farmed in cages for both their fur, meat and for supplying research laboratories. *Angora rabbits have their coats shorn for their wool which can be a painful process. Rabbit fur is not a by-product of the rabbit meat industry as fur producers demand the thicker pelt of an older animal. Rabbits bred for meat are typically slaughtered at 10 to 12 weeks.
rennet – enzyme extracted from calves’ stomachs after they have been slaughtered, used in cheese-making. Non-animal rennets made from microbial or fungal enzymes are available to make vegetarian cheeses.
religious slaughter – slaughter of animals according to the Muslim (for halal meat) and Jewish (for kosher meat) religions. For both religions animals may be fully conscious as they are bled to death as no pre-stunning was traditionally allowed. However, 90% of animals killed for halal meat are now pre-stunned – partly due to a long-running campaign by *Viva!. Sadly, most animals killed for kosher meat are still conscious when knifed. Since only certain parts of the animal are selected for consumption, other parts may end up in the non-religiously slaughtered food chain. There is no legal requirement that meat produced under religious slaughter conditions be labelled as such.
roe – eggs obtained from slaughtered female fish. See also *caviar.
royal jelly – a substance secreted by worker bees and fed to future queen bees (for which extravagant health claims are made). Used as a nutritional food supplement and in cosmetics.


sable – fur from small mammal, the sable marten, used in artists’ paint brushes and make-up brushes.
shahtoosh – fabric made from the Tibetan antelope which is killed to obtain the fine under-fleece used to weave shahtoosh shawls. Trade in these antelopes is illegal due to their endangered status.
shearling – the skin of lambs with wool attached.
sheepskin – sheep leather used in clothing and rugs made from slaughtered lambs and sheep.
shellac (E904) – insect secretion, used as a candied sweet glaze and also added to hair spray, lip sealer and polishes.
silk – cloth derived from the fibre produced by certain silkworm moth larvae. Larvae are killed by boiling in order to obtain the silk.
smokies – the meat of exotic (and often endangered) animals as well as sheep and goats that have been slaughtered without pre-stunning and had their skins blowtorched. This practice is illegal in the UK but a growing black market exists, supplying West African communities throughout Britain.
Soil Association – considered to be the most stringent of the *farm assurance schemes and guaranteeing the products they certify are *organic. Labelled on foods as UK5.
sponge – bathing product made from skeletons of ‘primitive’ aquatic animals.
squalene – found in livers of sharks, used in toiletries and cosmetics.
stearic acid (E570) – fat from cows, sheep and pigs. Used in medicines, toiletries and cosmetics. Synthetic vegetarian alternatives are available.
spermaceti wax – waxy oil derived from the head of sperm whales and also from dolphins. Used in cosmetics and toiletries.
suede – very soft *kid, pig or calf skin, made into luxury clothes and footwear.
suet – hard fat used in cooking made from the kidneys of cattle and sheep. Vegetable suet is widely available.
sugar – many cane sugars are processed (refined) using *charcoal (charred animal bones). Tate & Lyle and Billingtons sugars are processed without animal charcoal and Silver Spoon white (but not brown) sugar is likewise.
supplements – nutritional food supplements (vitamins, minerals, protein powders etc) can contain either animal or plant-derived substances. Many are coated in animal-derived *gelatine capsules.


tallow – hard animal fat, obtained from around the kidneys of slaughtered cattle or fat from slaughtered sheep. Tallow is used in soaps, cosmetics and candles.
testosterone – male hormone, sourced from farmed animals and used in bodybuilding supplements.


urea – waste nitrogen formed in the liver, sourced from farmed animals and used in toiletries and cosmetics.


veal – meat from three to six month old baby male calves. Narrow veal crates have been banned in the UK since 1990 and are to be phased out across Europe by 2007. However rearing conditions will still fall well short of ideal and veal imported from abroad (eg USA) is still allowed which permits veal crates.
venison – deer meat. Much venison now comes from farmed deer.
vellum – fine skin derived from calves, *kids or lambs used in luxury paper.
velvet – clothing fabric usually made from *silk, bit can also be made synthetically.
volaise – ostrich meat. Ostriches are now farmed in the UK and are subjected to similar cruelties as other farmed animals. They are killed at one year old for meat – their natural lifespan is 70 years.


wax – glossy, hard substance used to make foods look more visually appealing, especially fruit and vegetables. Also used in some cosmetics. Can be animal or plant-derived. Non-animal waxes include carnauba, paraffin, candelilla and polyethylene.
whey – milk-derived substance left after most of the fat and *casein has been removed in cheese-making. Used in many processed foods eg margarines, biscuits and crisps as well as some cleaning products.
wine – can be clarified (cleared) using animal products such as *isinglass or eggs. Contact *Viva! for a vegan wine catalogue.
wool – fleecy hair of sheep, goat, antelope, rabbit (and other animals eg *alpaca). Used in clothing, blankets, mattresses and carpets. Whilst the animal may or may not be killed to obtain its wool, all will be subjected to various forms of cruelty and exploitation during their lifetimes. A large proportion of wool clothing in the UK comes from slaughtered sheep. Selective breeding has produced sheep that are unnaturally woolly, necessitating shearing. Sheep are subjected to a number of painful procedures during their lifespan – shearing, tail docking, un-anaesthetised mulesing (flesh removal from anal area to prevent flies laying eggs) and castration. In the UK, 20% of lambs die within a few days of birth from exposure, malnutrition and neglect. Many sheep in Australia die from starvation and heat exhaustion. The wool industry routinely kills so-called ‘competing animals’ in wool-producing areas eg kangaroos in Australia (in fact kangaroos do not compete with sheep) and coyotes in the USA. Many people are allergic to wool close to their skin. Numerous wool alternative fabrics are available.

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