Beaver Butt In Your Cookie

Vegan Ranger decided it was appropriate to reiterate the beaver anal stories of late 2013, so we’ll start with trying to set the scene. The complexities of maintaining a vegan lifestyle can be frustrating at times, to say the least. Whether one drives a car or rides a bike, owns or rents a home, or uses technology of any kind, animals are used and harmed in the manufacture of them all. The easiest and most effective means of reducing harm to animals in our daily lives is eliminating them from our diet. So we vegans read labels on everything we eat, if we don’t know what an ingredient is we can research it on the spot with our smartphones, but then there’s those last two words at the end of nearly every product in the market, “natural flavor.”

Well F you natural flavor. Our friend, Mr. FDA, says natural flavor is “(3) The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.

What does natural flavor have to do with my vegan diet, you ask? You’re probably already getting an idea. Yes, beavers have these things called castor sacs right up next to their anal glands, and these sacs contain a nice substance used by manufacturers of food, perfumes, and cigarettes called castoreum. Mmmmm, yum. Castoreum has a “pleasant” smell of vanilla, and is used by some manufacturers(and they won’t tell you if they do) to enhance the flavor of some foods, and other consumables. Vanilla, strawberry, and raspberry flavored foods in particular are commonly enhanced with castoreum in the disguise of natural flavors. Yep, that cookie you’re eating just may have some beaver ass in it. Castoreum is also used in cigarettes to make that sweet flavor smokers love so much. Don’t think your smokes are sweet? Well, maybe you haven’t tried them without beaver ass. Beauty products? Yes, beware. It’s all just something to think about if you want to avoid being a consumer of animal products. Now it’s time to go check the cupboard and fridge, and wonder what has to be given away.

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