A blog for meat eaters with a conscience.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Home Haircolor Not Tested on Animals: Finally!

I am thrilled to share one of my newest discoveries with my readers; at long last, I've found home haircolor that isn't tested on animals!  Ever since I found out that Revlon's status as a cruelty-free company has been "revoked," I've been searching for an inexpensive, readily available, at-home haircolor that isn't animal tested.  It looks like DeveloPlus Satin is it!  The Satin line of permanent haircolor comes in 72 shades and has some of the best copper tones I've seen.  DeveloPlus is PETA-listed as a cruelty-free company and the color and its developer are easily ordered from Amazon.  I highly recommend researching a bit on the DeveloPlus site for suggestions on shade selection and on types of developer recommended for your hair type and desired result.  You will need to buy your own gloves and mixing bowl or bottle for application.  Good luck, all!  Happy coloring!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Foursquare's New Clothes

It's been a busy summer, but our old house is finally painted; doesn't she look cute?  We used SW Quietude for the body, SW Dovetail for the accent color, and SW basic White for the trim.  Our painter will only use SW or Pittsburgh Paints, so we weren't able to go with a cruelty-free paint brand.  Sad, but we love that our house is protected from the elements and looks adorable.  Hopefully she'll stand another hundred years!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Cleaning with Kindness: Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent

Hi, Kind Ones; I'm finally back, hopefully for good.  I've been Pinterest surfing way too much lately, and enjoying it out of all proportion.  The time did not slide idly by, though, as I've been doing some experimenting with homemade recipes for laundry brews and other household necessities, many of which we've all seen on Pinterest, and have some tips on and reviews of some of these DIYs for you.  At least now you won't have to waste hours on Pinterest looking for the best cleaning recipes.  How I suffer for my readers . . . ; )
In today's post, we'll take on DIY powdered laundry detergent.  Recipes for this are ubiquitous on the web, and I won't bore you by giving you a photographic odyssey of the process.  The basic recipes I tweaked came from two sources:  Savvy Brown and In My Vegan Life.  Both sources used similar ingredients and are great recipes, which I, of course, altered slightly for personal preference.   

Actual names of borax, washing soda, and baking soda are provided in parentheses below for those interested in sourcing materials from companies that do not test on animals.

1 cup borax (aka:  Sodium Borate)
1 cup washing soda (not, I repeat, not baking soda) (aka:  Soda Ash; Sodium Carbonate)
1 bar real soap (castile or laundry bar soap; I used Dr. Bronner's Lavender -- vegans, be aware that Fels-Naptha is made of animal tallow) (Kirk's Castile also works well)
Essential oils (if you want; I added quite a bit, but really didn't need to since my soap is scented -- a waste of good essential oil)
Baking soda (about half a cup) (aka:  Sodium Bicarbonate)
Oxo Brite (an oxygen bleach; about a cup; see below)

To make, you grate the bar of soap with a hand grater, or in the food processor (so much easier and faster).  Then you dump the soap, borax, and washing soda in a container with a good lid and shake it vigorously.  Done.  So cheap and cheerful, since you only use about two to three tablespoons per load.
But, I hear some of you asking, aren't most readily available borax and washing soda brands tested on animals?  Yes, and there's the rub.  So I'll level with you:  this time, I used regular old mean 20 Mule Team Borax and Arm and Hammer Washing Soda for this, since I already had them and they were starting to get rock-solid in their boxes.  But, on In My Vegan Life, I read that oxygen bleach, like my good old dependable Oxo Brite (not tested on animals), is basically the same thing as washing soda, but with some whiteners mixed in.  Okay, I can deal with that, as I am not going to use this detergent to wash my dark clothes.  Both borax and washing soda will fade dark colors.  You have been warned.  I want to use this for sheets, towels, stained whites, our white slipcovers, and other light-colored clothes we have that look a bit dingy.  In other words, for everything but my clothes, which are all funereally dark.  And borax is as old as the hills, so likely hasn't been tested on animals in about a hundred years.  I am, however, adamant about finding a generic brand so I don't line Dial's pockets.  I am on it.
Please see the generic chemical names of borax, washing soda, and baking soda above to find non-animal tested alternatives (easily found online).
So, you ask, does it work?  Yes.  Swimmingly.  It appears to be getting out what I thought were permanent stains, albeit slowly and with multiple washings.  It works well.  Now, if I can find generic borax, The Kind Carnivores will be able to save some serious cash on our laundry.

What some recipes for homemade laundry detergents don't tell you:
  • Don't bother adding essential oils, or paying tons of money for great-smelling scented soaps (unless you want to or are line-drying).  The only times you will smell the scent are when you add the detergent to the machine and again when you move your clothes to the dryer.  By the time my clothes came out of the dryer, I couldn't smell any of the lavender scent from either the Dr. B's soap or the essential oil I added, which was really strong going in.  Your clothes will just smell clean.  Don't waste your money.  I'm thinking of using Kirk's Castile soap next time; it costs much less than Dr. Bronner's.
  • Don't bother making a scented fabric softener at home.  Again, essential oils just don't make it through the dryer.  Adding EOs to white vinegar is a pain in the ass, as I hate shaking a full gallon of the stuff to try to get it to blend.  It won't.  And you'll never smell it anyway.  EOs on washcloths in the dryer?  Didn't work for me.
  • Vinegar in the rinse cycle, I discovered, is highly beneficial when paired with a soap-based laundry soap.  It ensures that any leftover soap scum after washing is rinsed from your laundry.  Given the potential vinegar stink factor, I'm trying out a lavender-infused vinegar.  Hopefully the scent will last and I won't need to use commercial fabric softener anymore.  
  • I've read that balls of foil in the dryer help to eliminate static cling.
  • DIY fabric softeners made with baking soda and white vinegar (and EOs) do not work.  They can't, since by blending them, you have neutralized them.  Remember the third grade volcano?  It's a chemistry thing.
  • Borax and washing soda will fade dark clothing!  Use only on stuff you want to fade, like whites and lighter colors.
  • You can dump some vinegar in the rinse dispenser to soften your clothes and remove any residue left by the soap, but it is possible you will smell a bit of it in your dried clothing. I'm working on lavender-infused vinegar to see if that will help mask the hardcore vinegar smell.
  • As usual, pre-treat all stains.  If whites are stained, try using hydrogen peroxide.  If stains are on colors, I use Ecover's stain remover.
  • And, as I think you know already, this detergent will not suds up like you might be used to, which is a good thing for front loaders. 
  • If you want lovely-smelling, scented laundry, and I do, you will likely have to use a commercially prepared fabric softener.  There are great cruelty-free choices available now, so check out some of the Mrs. Meyers or Caldrea scents.  I want to try the new Bluebell one from Mrs. M.  
Best of luck, all!  See you on Pinterest!

A disclaimer:  I am in no way paid by or an employee of any of the companies I mention or recommend here on The Kind Carnivore.  I personally buy all the stuff I review here, and am given no products to test by any companies.  If this ever changes, I will inform my readers in a blurb like this.  I just want to share my experiences and opinions to help those looking for cruelty-free alternatives to traditional products find the best, most effective ones available.

Friday, April 20, 2012

White Slipcovers: A Must for Pet Parents

Sorry for the lack of posts lately; it's been a busy spring!  And wet.  And muddy.  Bao is loving the yard and has been digging in all the freshly turned earth.  Iowa dirt is a rich, deep brown-black, and seems to make its way into the house with depressing regularity.  Today Bao came flying in from the yard and raced around the living room, finally jumping onto the sofa and sitting for a moment before springing off toward the kitchen.  When we finally cornered him, we realized his bottom was covered in poo and his paws were caked in mud, as was the area of the sofa he had plopped down on.  Thankfully, we have white slipcovers.  A load of laundry with a prewash later, and all is back to normal.  I can't recommend white slipcovers enough, especially for pet parents.  They do sometimes require emergency laundering, but always seem to come out looking brand new. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

To Bake or Not to Bake (for my dog): That Is the Question

By now, many of you have probably heard that many dogs have been sick after eating a commercial chicken jerky treat.  Legions more of us have been concerned for our dogs' health since the widespread recalls of pet food and treats in 2007.  Since then, I have been paranoid about giving my dog Bao any commercial dog foods, and have considered more than once just cooking for my dog myself.  However, I'm not an animal nutritionist, and I fear that I might do more harm than good by not providing the nutrition he needs.  But now, in light of this recent scare, and discovering that Bao's dad, with whom I share custody of Bao, has lately been feeding my boy both cheap, junk dog food and the aforementioned highly suspect chicken jerky treats, I realize it's time for me to start cooking for my dog.  As I get started, I'll post on my experiences with cooking for dogs and give you all any pointers and info I find.  I'm starting by buying some cookie cutters of various sizes and getting my paws on Janine Adams's "You Bake 'Em Dog Biscuits Cookbook," featured above.  I'm a novice, but I have to at least try to make healthy food for my beloved chowboy, as it's clear the dog food companies don't.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Heartbreaking Dog Portraits of Yun-Fei Tou

Hello, Kind Ones.  Today's post is painful to write, and will likely be painful to read.  But the work of Yun-Fei Tou makes it impossible to deny the harsh reality of animal euthanasia.  I first read about Yun-Fei Tou's works yesterday on the blog Our Hen House.  Jasmin Singer's article for Art of the Animal introduced me to the work of this artist, who takes photographic portraits of street dogs moments before their deaths in the gas chambers of Tiawanese pounds.
Fearing the photographs would be exploitative, I nevertheless checked out the artist's work on National Geographic and was moved to tears by his dignified treatment of these unwanted dogs.  Yun-Fei Tou captures the pathos of these dogs' situation and the tragedy of their lives.  These wonderful animals, domesticated and bred by us to be our companions, have been denied by humanity, betrayed by those who hold responsibility for their lives.  Too often we say we cannot face the reality of these dogs' fate.  Too often, we turn away from the dogs most in need of our care and intervention.  Too often we think of them, when we think of them at all, as "problem" dogs -- they might be vicious or rabid or mangy.  Well, maybe.  However, these poor dogs are much more likely to have never been given a chance to be part of a family, to have never had proper medical care and food, and to have never known what it feels like to endure a human touch that is not abusive.  These dogs are not the problem -- we are. 
Yun-Fei Tou told Focus Taiwan: "I don’t tell people what they should do. My works aren’t propaganda or templates that instruct people, but I hope the images can inspire people to take action" (qtd. in Singer).  I won't tell you what to do either, but I ask you, Kind Ones, to allow his works instruct you, to let these portraits move you to take action.  You can campaign against euthanasia of adoptable dogs in your neighborhood.  You can support the Human Society International's Street Dog Defender Program.  You can adopt your dogs from animal shelters or pounds.  We do not want to support pounds, but the dogs there are in desperate need of your attention and consideration.  It is not the dog's fault he ended up at the pound rather than at a no-kill shelter.  Please, please acknowledge the beinghood and individuality of these dogs and help them live the happy lives we owe them.  Please.
Photo by Yun-Fei Tou.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

World Spay Day: Featuring Bao, The Kind Carnivore Spokesdog

 Hello, Kind Ones!  It's World Spay Day, and I've decided to feature my own beautiful boy on the blog today to raise awareness about spaying and neutering our pets.  My Bao, pictured above, is a mixed breed dog who, I am certain, would have sired gorgeous puppies.  However, I made the choice to have him neutered when he was a puppy.  As a devoted mommy, I knew neutering would improve his quality of life and increase his longevity.  Please, Kind Carnivores, spay and neuter your animals.  By doing so, you benefit them and you don't add to the number of unwanted companion animals.  Even if you kept the puppies produced by your own selfish (sorry) desire to breed your dog, you would deny a place in your loving homes and hearts to shelter dogs in need.  Please join The Humane Society of the United States in their campaign to raise awareness of the benefits of spaying and neutering:  The Humane Society of the United States World Spay Day Portal.  Thanks, all!

Friday, February 24, 2012

In Memoriam: Pringles

Okay, I'm in mourning.  I will never forget where I was when I found out that my beloved Pringles would no longer be a part of my life.  Earlier this week I was having lunch on campus.  I went through the line, got my usual lunch, institutional chicken sandwich with tons of ketchup, Diet Coke (fountain only -- hate Nutrasweet; I'm a saccharin girl), and entire can of Pringles.  I had absentmindedly eaten about half the can whilst reading one of Val McDermid's Tony Hill books (luckily I'm not squeamish), when I looked up from my iPhone long enough to brush some Pringle crumbs from my turtleneck.  My astigmatism makes everything a bit blurry when I refocus my eyes, so I wasn't sure if what I saw on the Pringles can really said what I thought it said, so I picked up the can and refocused.  There it was, the death knell sounding the end of my thirty-odd year relationship with the wispy, salty potato/wheat/rice/corn crisps -- Procter and Gamble.  Damn them.  P&G cheerfully tests its products on animals, and here I was happily scarfing them by the can.  I've never been one to care if food is heavily processed; sometimes processed food just tastes good.  Kind of like the "chicken" patty on the sandwich I was eating, which bears no resemblance to actual chicken in either look or taste, but is still pretty damn delicious.  But I just can't stomach animal torture.  Which also means I have to give up the "chicken" patties, too.  Dammit, dammit.