Almost all commercially available prepared food products, and many other commercial products, are labeled with a list of ingredients. Often, it is not obvious to the average person, or even to the average chemist, or commercial trader, what the Earthly Origin is of many of the listed ingredients. Does locust gum come from the insect known as locusts? Or does it come from a kind of bean known as the locust bean? Answer: it comes from the bean. Does the lactic acid used to make your food taste tart, come from milk? Despite having the adjective "lactic" which means from milk, it is not at all likely to actually be from milk. To help vegans and vegetarians identify the source of an ingredient, the web sites of several vegan, vegetarian, or animal rights groups, or individuals, publish lists that purport to identify "animal ingredients and their alternatives." Unfortunately, it seems that most of these lists are not only quite misleading, but in regard to many ingredients they are simply flat out erroneous. It also seems that it is the same list, or nearly the same list, that has been copied to several web sites. This lazy way of doing things is too often the worst way. Instead of going to the trouble of doing some real research, too many people are just repeating unconfirmed hearsay. For some reason, when they follow an assertion with the remark "I hope this helps," that usually is a clue that the assertion is wrong. No wonder many non-vegetarians often think that vegans and vegetarians are obsessive, undeducated, and misinformed. The internet can be an easy way to disseminate information — but it is also an easy way to multiply misinformation. When vegans take this lazy approach, it does not help promote veganism.
Another problem with this "animal ingredients and their alternatives" list is that it wastes space listing ingredients for which the source is self-evident. Some of its publishers imply that the list includes a fairly good representation of all the ingredients one might encounter on food or cosmetic labels, but, that in the interest of making it easy to carry around, they have decided not to include everything, even though they know everything. The truth is that it includes only a tiny fraction, and the publishers "know" all kinds of things — that aren't so. And it includes ingredients that are all too obviously animal in origin. The entire list, of all the ingredients, on paper, might well be too heavy for one person to carry. So why waste people's time and energy by including ingredients whose source is self-evident? Not everyone knows that casein comes from milk. But everyone already knows that fish liver oil comes from fish's livers. Not everyone knows that gelatin is a product of animal slaughter. But everyone knows where blood comes from. Everyone knows where fur comes from. Everyone knows where wool comes from. Does anyone think that, if not for the list, someone might mistakenly think that alligator skin comes from tomatoes? Really. Stop wasting my time!
And then there are the mistakes. Since I don't know the origin of a lot of materials, there could well be more mistakes than I am aware of. But for example, in regard to lactic acid, see the EOMEO article, which explains the facts about why the Earthly Origin of commercial lactic acid is non-animal, and speculates as to why half a dozen internet animal-vegetable-mineral lists, erroneously list it as animal in origin.
Yes there is urea in urine. In fact, urea derived its name from urine. But does the urea in any commercial product actually come from urine? This list implies that this is likely. But it just is not.
There is water in urine. In fact, the main constitutent of urine is water. Urine is an abundant soure of water. Does that mean that if an ingredient list says water on it, that the water comes from urine. Of course not. Similarly, just because urine contains urea, it does not mean that if an ingredient list says urea on it, that the urea comes from urine. And the fact is, that most likely, it did not.
To make sure you get correct information, I recommend that you dig deeply, into a multitude of sources, and consider the kind of sources you are looking at, when deciding how much credence to give to a particular source. Ask yourself whether it might be a biased source. Or a flakey source.
Depth of Understanding
At EOMEO we are not content to report unverified hearsay about whether something is "animal, vegetable, or mineral." We are not satisified with being able to report only superficial information about the source of materials. Rather, we are intent upon collecting information from the best, most reputable sources we can find, and then giving you as accurate a picture as we can, of what paths are being taken, from the Earthly Origin of materials, to each material that one can find on the shelves of commercial stockpilers, or the shelves of wholesale and retail merchants. We want you to help you develop some depth of understanding as to what is going on.
Cycles of Transformation
The materials of the earth's biosphere go through cycles of transformation. Humans transform "raw" materials, that they find at various points along the earthly cycles of transformation of materials, into materials that humans use, store, or trade for materials similarly transformed by other humans. We try to uncover just how this plays out.
What On Earth is that? Where On Earth did it come from?
It seems like as soon as they can talk, every child starts asking those very same questions. What is that? And where does that come from? Often they don't get good answers. Sometimes what their parents respond with is really an insult rather than an answer. Sometimes they give up. But some of us don't give up; we retain our childhood curiosity throughout adulthood. My own curiosity regarding these questions together with my search for answers to them, and my attempts to avoid using animal materials, seem to have become a seriously time-consuming lifelong occupation. I have made what I think is a prodigious effort to survive without depending on animal husbandry for food, clothing or shelter: It is a challenge. "Let's see how well I can do it." That thought has become a big part of my life. It has motivated me to learn more about geology, chemistry, biology, agriculture, and commerce, than I might otherwise have learned.
What on earth it that? Where on earth did it come from? Though the answers are important to a shakahari, to a vegan, it seems to me that in a world where there is much perhaps puzzlingly interrelated agri-business, industry, and commerce — the answers to those questions are also likely to be of interest to nearly everyone who has some normal curiosity. However there do seem to be a few people who express a strange, intentional lack of curiosity about where things come from. We've all heard such individuals say things like "I don't care what it was made out of, or where it came from, as long as it works." Is this frustration speaking? Frustration because it is so hard to find out? Is it perhaps an innately lower level of curiosity? I don't know. But I have even heard people say "la la la la la la, I can't hear you," when i tell them just where certain materials actually do come from, tell them in the blandest, least dramatic way possible. I hope that most people want to know what things are made of, and where they come from, rather than fall into the la la I can't hear you category. In addition to being motivated by simple curiosity, or by wanting to be a shakahari or a vegan, at EOMEO we recognize that anyone who is concerned about "the environment," whether they are vegan or not, wants to understand what impact they will make on the environment, by their own purchases and uses of materials — by the extent and character of their participation, or lack of participation, in the world of commerce.
In short, our web site can be of use to anyone, even though our focus is on being of help to those trying to practice ahimsa and shakahara.
We Need Your Help
We have created an alphabetical index of commercial materials, with links to our articles about various materials. The articles we have written have information about where people find materials and how they transform them -- from earthly origin to commercial material. The index will also provide some external links -- to sources of information at the web sites of companies that process and produce commercial materials, or to educational organizations that have information about the materials, and to electronic or paper and ink reference texts, or articles. We expect the index and the amount of information to keep growing.
We recognize that our index, as of now, is small, and the number of articles it actually links to is even smaller, but we are excited about wanting to enlarge it. Please get involved and help us enlarge our web site, by contributing your labor or resources. Please e-mail soilman at soilman(at)shakahara.com, or contact him using this form, to inquire about submitting articles. And please see our economic contribution page.
If we are going to live well, as shakaharis, we need to educate ourselves and we need to take pride in our education, and we need to be able to point out how well-versed we are in the subject of how humankind interacts with the animals, vegetables, and minerals of the earth. We want others to see that we are educated about where materials really come from and that we know what we are doing. Otherwise they may be inclined to think we aren't really certain about where things come from, and that we are acting arbitrarily. In short, it is important that we be well-educated, and important that others understand that we are well-educated. It is important that we are the opposite of "flakey."
Links we plan to set up, to information that's already at this web site (on the food pages).
|Miscellaneous handy definitions
ahimsa inner condition of taking care not to cause harm, based on compassion for sentient beings and their balanced existence with all living things and non-living things too, in recognition of the fact that all sentient beings experience suffering, and all sentient beings seek happiness. A basic principal of Hinduism and other bodies of knowledge.
commercial materials any materials bought, sold, or traded. All commercial materials can be traced to an earthly origin, to "raw" materials.
husbandry noun 1. a. the cultivation of crops and the breeding and raising of livestock; agriculture. b. The application of scientific principals, especially to animal breeding. 2. Good, careful management of resources; economy. (From Middle English husbandri, derived from huseband, husband.) The American Heritage Dictionary, Houghton Mifflin, 1992.
While today, the term is most often applied to the care of agricultural plants and animals, being raised for food, it has been applied to slave-ownership and to a man's relationship to his wife, and is today applied to the ownership and care of draft-animals, riding-animals, "pets," zoo-animals — all animals except wild animals. It is closely, but not precisely, synonymous to domestication.
husband noun 1. A married man. 2. Archaic. A manager or steward, as of a household. (From Middle English huseband derived from Old English husbondi, consisting of hus house, plus bondi dwelling. Bondi is derived from the Old English bua, to dwell. The American Heritage Dictionary, Houghton Mifflin, 1992.
raw materials materials just as they were found, or nearly as they were found, in or on the earth, or materials cultivated agriculturally that have not been substantially altered from their harvested form. Some raw materials are not traded, others are traded as is, others are subject to alteration by human artifice before being traded. Some materials that are subject to human artifice are not traded.
shakahara vegetarianism based on ahimsa
shakahari a vegetarian person
veganism lifestyle wherein use of products of animal origin is avoided. Vegans are vegetarians. Vegetarianism is non-specific about the use eggs and dairy products; vegetarians may or may not use dairy products or eggs; veganism is specific about the use of dairy products or eggs: vegans avoid them. Vegans don't use leather or wool clothing as these are of animal origin. While commercial food products are usually labelled with all their ingredients, vegans recognise that animal products are ubiquitous in western commercial products in general, and that sometimes it may be difficult to determine what goes into a commercial product. But they are interested in knowing this sort of thing, and they tend to support educational organizations that research this sort of thing, and publish what they've found.
vegan gardening or farming gardening or farming without using animal products or products of animal husbandry. Includes not adding slaughterhouse products or animal excrement to the soil. Note: healthful vegan gardening may require avoidance of use of human excrement in any significant quantity also, especially from humans whose diet includes animal products. While some claim that the term veganic means vegan-organic, we sometimes use it here to mean simply gardening according to vegan principles of avoiding harm to animals unnecessarily.
woman An adult female human being [person]... (From Old English wifman, constructed of wif, wife, plus man, person.) The American Heritage Dictionary, Houghton Mifflin, 1992. The modern-day word man has its etymological origin in the ancient word that means simply person, while the modern-day word woman has its etymological origin in the ancient compound-word that means wife-person, an ancient word that comes laden with presumptions. The word denotes presumptions about the inherited physical form of anyone who performs the function of a wife; it denotes presumptions about the occupation of anyone being female in form; and it denotes a presumption that there is an inherited link between a person's form and their occupation, a presumption that one's occupation is inherited much the same way one's physical form is inerited.
Yes, apparently, a long time ago, a person's occupation was believed to be physically inherited, believed to be one of their inherited physical characterisics. It was believed that the same physical inheritance - erroneosly believed to be transmitted via one's blood - that caused one to have physical characteristics similar to those of one's parents, also caused one to be physically suited to an occupation similar to that of one's parent of the same sex. People were often known by names that described their "physically" inherited occupation. Thus someone named Hunter begot someone named Hunter — another man who hunted. A fisherman begot a Fisherman. A Wifman begot a Wifman — a man who provided wifely services for another man. In youth she took the name of her father; when she took on her new job as servant to another man, she used her master's name. The modern day word "woman" which comes from wifman, evolved from a this word that implied a very limited and circumscribed role, job duty, position - a role that was dependent upon inheritance, both actual physical inheritance and inheritance that was culturally ascribed, whilst mistakenly believed to be physical inheritance. Today, this history that is attached to the word woman may still tend to circumscribe a female human being's role, limit their role according to their physical appearance, and limit their occupation to the same occupation that their physically similar parent had. Since today, there is an emphasis on removing ascribed limitations from the lives of female human beings, I wonder if perhaps woman is not the best word to use, to contemporarily describe a person of the female sex. It is perhaps too ascriptive, as opposed to being purely descriptive. If we don't want to limit the opportunities of female humans, perhaps we should not use a word for female humans that originally implied a limit to their opportunities. In short, perhaps we should call someone who wishes to have a great deal of opportunity, by another word. What do you think? And what word might be better?
Subjects of articles we have planned for the near future.
A big wave
Our goal at eoMeo is to continue the never-ending struggle of finding the facts, the truth, and to continue the never-ending struggle of simply revealing it — to you. Unlike the people we are at war with, our object is not to persuade you of anything; our object is to reveal what we have found.
Who are we at war with? Who are our "enemies?" Don't make any assumptions about who I am referring to when I say "our enemies." Although this is a web site concerned about identifying the involvement of animal husbandry in the production of commercial products, don't take that to mean that I am pointing to animal husbanders, or people who use materials produced as a result of animal-husbandry, as the enemy. The people whom I am pointing to, as being our enemy, are the people who conceal the truth or spread untruths. If people conceal the truth to advance their agenda, they are, in my opinion, our enemy, whether their stated agenda agrees with or disagrees with our own. This is not to say that there are never circumstances where telling falsehoods is the right thing to do. One would certainly want to tell a falsehood if it was necessary for self-defense. But I don't believe that falsehoods in support of a political agenda, or social reformation agenda, work to advance the agenda. They are discovered, and then people rebel against the agenda.
We know that both untruth and truth can be strong stimuli for motivating people to action. Useful untruths, and useful truths, seem to have a life of their own — each tends to grow and reproduce without seeming to require much labor on the part of people. Both a useful untruth and a useful truth tend to grow and reproduce wildly, once people realize the usefulness that either may have. Sometimes a useful truth will appear to be communicated only very slowly, until a certain threshold number of people realize that it is the truth, and at that point it may begin to appear as if were being communicated suddenly, and more rapidly. It may be difficult for us to continue communication of the truth until it reaches this point of "lift-off," in the face of continual, simple proclamations to the contrary, by "powerful" enough people.
We hope that you will balance the information we present at our web site, against misinformation contributed to the ocean of thought by those who, though they may have heard the truth, do not want to exert themselves to change their habits — something which they feel might become necessary, once they recognized the truth — and instead prefer to pretend not to recognize the truth they've heard, and prefer, rather, to invent and communicate rationalizations that justify their present habits that are difficult-to-change, and that match the habits of most people around them.
Regarding belief: individuals tend to assert an agreed upon, but not necessarily true, belief, in order to belong to a group and enjoy the camaraderie, and cooperation, of people who have similar beliefs. Historically, populations as a whole have very often tended to assert and re-assert untruth, and to deny truth, for these reasons, and have tended to do this continuously until a point was reached where a preponderance of truth swept away a insidious accumulation of untrue belief, suddenly and unexpectedly (unexpectedly to many people) — like a tsunami sweeping away a sleeping village. Until the truth takes over, those who speak the truth are often objects of ridicule, ridiculed by those who believe and speak the falsehood.
I don't think anyone would doubt that one of the important things that people are concerned with in their daily lives is food. So, when we question the origins of materials that people use, we may be most often asking the question "what kinds of material do people utilize -- for food." Included in the article "Where does food come from?" is some information about compost, and industrial-commercial, nitrogenous green-plant nutrients, but this article barely scratches the surface in regard to discussing the subject of where food materials come from.
Related to the subject of food, we have an article on commercial nitrogen compounds intended for application to soil, for use as a nutrient for green plants.
I have a Scientific American article with information about when in pre-history, according to archeological evidence, dental caries started showing up, in garden-tending people in the area of the world that is today, northern Syria, and what changes in diet may have been responsible. I want to show you what I think are some interesting assertions made in the article. Briefly: this information does not, in general, lead one to believe that a typical modern vegetarian diet, as is prevalent in many parts of the world, is especially good for your teeth.
I only have so much time. I would prefer spending time researching and writing articles on the earthly origin of commercial materials, and posting them to this web site, expanding this web site — to taking jobs writing advertising copy, for products and services that people don't really need, or to doing public relations work for special interest groups, whose special interests are not always mine. I am always wondering how my my time on earth could be best spent. Spending time expanding this web site is what I have determined needs to be done, and what I would want to do, if I want to concern myself with Sarvodaya, rather than just with just the limited, and not as interesting, well-being of only "myself." But if I continue spending time expanding this web site, without economic support for doing it, I will continue not having enough food clothing and shelter for myself, so I have to ask again for economic support.
Materials and Animal Husbandry
As one example of animal husbandry, we can tell you how humans take non-human nursing neonates from their non-human lactating mothers, and then also take the lactating mother animals' milk, for human use.
Having discovered that baby animals have stomach enzymes that are ideal for starting the digestion of the milk that the baby animals would have gotten from their mothers, by nursing from their mothers, had humans been kind enough to leave them with their mothers -- some humans not only (1) take the baby animals away from the mothers, (2) take, for their own use,the baby animals' milk, but (3) these humans also kill the baby animals, and, for human use, to help humans digest milk, take milk-digesting enzymes from the stomachs of the dead baby animals.
This is a well known common practice in western cultures. Humans take advantage of neonatal digestive enzymes, when starting the process of cheesemaking, by mixing in, with milk taken from the neonates' mothers, a quantity of these enzymes taken from the stomachs of the neonates. Humans are able to separate the enzymes from the neonates' stomachs, using a specific process, only once the baby animals have been slaughtered, and their stomachs have been cut out.
In short, many kinds of cheese consist of milk taken from mothers who have had their babies taken away from them, combined with "stomachs" taken from their babies, after the ir babies have been slaughtered and butchered. People who use these cheeses not only "nurse" from someone else's mother, other than their own, depend upon someone else's mother, but they also depend upon the mother's babies, to give their lives and digestive organs to humans, in order to partially digest, help digest, for humans, the milk that has been taken from their mothers.
Another way of putting this is that some adult humans get preformed nutrients by conscripting nursing mothers to feed them, instead of allowing the mothers to go on feeding only their own babies. And instead of chewing and digesting more challenging-to-digest adult food, these same adult humans then conscript the mother's babies too, to, after slaughtering them, to partially pre-digest the nutrients that the humans took from the babies' mothers.
Another example of material obtained by animal husbandry is the fat from slaughtered animals that is used in numerous products. Hand and face soaps are well-known products that have traditionally been made from a mixture of vegetable and animal fats that have been chemically treated with sodium or potassium hydroxide. On the other hand, some hand and face cleansing products are not made from any animal fats.
Also obtained by animal husbandry are the numerous products that contain what is called collagen by biologists, gelatin by slaughterers and butchers, and boiled-down hair, nails, and skin, in everyday language. The people that make up cattle agri-business concerns are understandably quite proud of the wide array of products that their cattle products go into. There is no reason for me, or anyone, to demean their skills, or vilify them in any way. In fact, they deserve our respect, for not allowing slaughter products to go to waste. Some vegetarians may think I am trying to be sarcastic, but I am not. This link to a cattle "by-product" information page, from the University of Missouri-Columbia, is no longer working. Perhaps you can still find the page on their web site. It's moved before. It is clear from what they say, that they think it's good that cattle are utilized so widely. And they have good reasons for this opinion. We, obviously, simply disagree that it is good, and think it would be preferable to find ways to have the benefits of these products, without mastering the lives of cattle in order to do so. In many cases viable alternatives already exist.
It is the policy that vilification of slaughterers and butchers will not be tolerated by the Earthly Origin of Commercial Materials Educational Organization. Similarly, we also will not tolerate having slaughterers and butchers vilifying vegetarians. It is our policy that all our publications will limit their assertions to facts, and opinions, including facts about what people have done, and opinions about what people think about specific actions performed by specific people, but we will refrain from drawing any conclusions about the nature and character of any people, from their past actions, and refrain in general from making any assertions about the nature and character of any individual, or any group of individuals. In other words, we may say that so and so did such and such and we think it was a bad thing, but we will not come to the conclusion that so and so is therefore a bad person, or ever simply state that so and so is a bad person.
This link from the University of Arkansas to information on the use of poultry by-products (containing poultry excrement) -- as cattle feed, is no longer working. They may have changed the address; perhaps you can still find it. This is from the University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture, Agricultural Extension Service. They explain how to reduce the risks of producing beef that is unacceptable for human consumption, due to accumulation in cattle tissues, of drug residues that "may pass through poultry and accumulate in the litter." Now, this is not a "health nut" at the U of Arkansas talking, trying to scare people away from eating beef, fed on poultry litter. This is written by someone who advises the educated use of used poultry litter for feeding cattle (for reducing costs). And remember now, for safety: only beef cattle should be fed used poultry litter, not dairy cows!
The list of products containing processed animal body parts and processed dairy products, in substantial amounts, is long.
People utilize animal labor. We can inform you about what people do, to these animals, in order to make sure that the animals do what the people want them to do.
People keep animals as "companion animals." We can inform you about the legal, cultural, social, and physical relationships that exist between humans and companion animals, and about what people do, and have done historically, to enable a population of companion-animal candidates to exist.
A goal of the Earthly Origin of Commercial Materials Educational Organization is to describe what we know, and can find out, about where commercial materials come from -- in a plain, factual, unemotional way. We think it is best to just give you the facts, and let you come to your own conclusions with regard to how you feel about animals being used in the processing of commercial materials, by contributing either their body parts to the materials, or to the processes, or by contributing their labor to the manufacturing processes. We think it is best to let you come to your own conclusions with regard to whether you want to use such products, or with regard to how much of them you want to use. I don't think it would do any good to tell you what to do and what not to do.
We have our own opinions, obviously, regarding what people in general should do, or we wouldn't be so motivated to write and publish articles on this web site, in which we struggle to describe to you exactly what happens, during the processes of transforming various materials of earthly origin into various commercial materials, but we think you should formulate your own opinions. We think it is best if we try and just give you the facts, and if we try to resist the urge to go on and on about whether using animals in various ways, is good or bad, in our opinion, or how good or how bad we think it is, or whether you should use any product, or not use any product, or how much you should use it, knowing what there is to know about how the product was produced.
We don't know how you will feel, once you understand certain facts. We don't think we should tell you how you should feel. We don't think that we can persuade anyone to feel one way or another. We hope you will feel the same way we do, but if you don't -- you don't. What you feel is what you feel. Telling someone what they should feel won't make them feel it. We think that all we can really do here -- we think that the only thing that it is worthwhile for anyone to do, in regard to educating people, and persuading them -- is to give people the facts, express our opinions, and let people come to their own decisions regarding what to do, once we have done our best to apprise them of the facts, and communicate our opinions.
|Opinion on How to End
How do you end animal husbandry, animal slaughter, and animal suffering? To paraphrase Leo Tolstoy's solution, in regard to war: "don't participate."
No, no, no -- don't bother sending letters to cattle ranchers saying please don't raise cattle. Don't bother sending letters to slaughter houses saying don't slaughter cattle. Don't send letters to fast-food restaurants saying don't serve animal flesh. Just you, you -- don't play your part -- don't buy or eat or otherwise "consume" cattle products or other animal products. Find out what materials result from such products, and don't use them.
No, you can't remove every last milligram of
cattle-containing materials from your life. Concentrate first on products
you use frequently -- like food, then clothing. Check with this web site,
and the links it provides, to find out what materials involve various
animal products in their production. Get all the information you can from
the internet, and from your public library. Utilize university libraries
at engineering colleges -- your public library may not have enough
detailed information. You may have to use the same sources of information
about materials that engineers use when they decide upon what materials to
use in the products they are engineering. So you'll have to know something
about chemistry and physics. Once you do library research, write
an article and submit it to us for
publication on this web site. Don't forget to include references, a
Do send us cash so that we can afford to spend
more hours doing this work ourselves, and less hours doing other work, and
so that we can afford to spend more hours publishing what we find out. If
you want us to find out where things come from, and tell you -- you must
give us cash, resources, money.
Let's band together to slowly but surely, systematically make all the facts about where everything in common use comes from -- to make all these facts common knowledge.
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