Being Vegan – Let’s Follow Israel’s Lead
By Paul Graham
Las Vegas Informer
The United States of America pays close attention to what happens in Israel, whether it be politically, socially, religiously or economically. They are allies and we have generally aligned ourselves with them even though it puts us in a precarious standing with other countries. When Israel speaks, we tend to listen. So America, Israel is speaking…and it time to listen. In fact, Israel is doing more than just talking, they are taking action.
As of January 1 of this year, Israel has put forth a ban on all cosmetics and household cleaning products manufactured by companies that utilize animal testing. The law was passed in 2010 but has just now taken effect.
Israel has followed the model put forth by the European Union, which is in the final stages of banning cosmetics and household products created with animal testing which will begin in March. Businesses in Israel can sell products that are on their shelves right now but future imports of products that do not meet this criteria will be blocked. Israel has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world and have a very strong animal activist presence. Israel is also in the midst of a revolution of kindness that is sweeping the country as unprecedented numbers are becoming vegan and switching to a plant-based diet based on ethical, spiritual, environmental and health reasons.
Just as countries around the world are moving towards the regulation or banning of GMO’s, they are also legislating new laws to protect animals and scientists are looking for ways to provide alternatives to animal testing. A group of scientists in Portugal made up of the University of Colmba, the Faculty of Pharmacy and the Center for Neuroscience have created an alternative test called the Sensitizer Predictor, which has already won numerous International awards, and is not only a better way of testing than using animals but ends up being cheaper as well. The Sensitizer Predictor is a test that can be used to determine the level of sensitivity of the skin but does not yet test toxicity. This is a step in the right direction though. In China, it is mandatory that all cosmetics sold in the country be tested on animals. It is hopeful that this policy will one day change, and PETA has been supporting the education of alternative methods to animal testing in China. There are many quality companies that do not use animal testing on their products and you have to question why so many are still doing it. One reason is profit and it has caused companies like Mary Kay, Avon, Estee Lauder and others to cast aside long-held values and now perform animal testing so that they can sell their products in China. Other companies like Paul Mitchell and Lush have turned down the opportunity to sell their products in China because they will not compromise their stand on not testing on animals.
It is common in this kind of animal testing for rabbits, mice and other animals to be blinded, scalded, forced to drink toxic liquids and subjected to other means of torture. Most of the time they are given nothing to help relieve them of their pain. There is also a whole other world of animal testing that goes beyond cosmetics and household products and commonly uses dogs, cats, primates, pigs and other animals for a whole range of other reasons. No testing for chemicals, medical, pharmaceutical or whatever should warrant this kind of mistreatment to animals. We won’t even begin to discuss the practice of vivisection where surgery is conducted for experimental purposes on animals with a central nervous system to view living internal structure…often without enough to alleviate their level of pain. When they are done with these animals they dispose of them like garbage and move on to the next one. Until then the animals live a lonely existence in cages and in constant fear and pain and often never see the outside world…alive. There is no reason that one can offer that can justify this behavior. Thankfully, a number of universities and medical research centers have taken the initiative already to ban any form of animal testing in their facilities.
There was a day when people had so much less in the way of conveniences and products to choose from. Most of what they used were made from natural products without a lot of the chemicals that companies now use because they might be cheaper or easier but also has set up a system that has to test the safety of them. In my mind, this is not necessarily a sign of progress. The more simple and naturally we can live, the better. We will always speak loudest as consumers and citizens by how we vote with our money. We can have much greater influence than we can imagine. Once again, America is late to the party to respond to important issues before us because of the powerful political lobbyists and the companies that pay them stand in the way. To their credit, other countries are moving beyond a profit motive and are willing to vote for change because it is the right thing to do. It is no longer acceptable to accept things because they have been done for a while and have been deemed necessary by a select few. Part of our human evolution will be how we now respond to the animals. It is time in our human history to open the cages and set the animals free. Logical, compassionate, and progressive things are happening in Israel and we need to not only listen to what they are saying and what they are doing but we need to follow in those footsteps.
Paul Graham was born and raised in Northern California and has lived in Las Vegas since 2004. He is a top wedding officiate, a green Realtor and writer. He has a daily vegan food blog www.eatingveganinvegas.tumblr.com which is 365 days and 365 vegan meals in Las Vegas. He can also be reached at email@example.com or www.facebook.com/EatingVeganinVegas.
Paul’s upcoming book, “Eating Vegan in Vegas” will be published by Sullivan Street Press and for more information please go to www.sullivanstpress.com.