I am often surprised when I'm having a conversation with someone about being vegan and despite starting with lots of questions for me, we quickly get to a point where they ask me to stop telling them the truth about what they eat. When I realized what was really happening in the meat and animal byproduct industry, I was horrified. I was disgusted. I was flaming pissed. I was eating that stuff! Why didn't I know sooner? Why doesn't everyone know?
Gelatin is a great example. Mmmm ... who doesn't love jello? Harmless, wiggledy jiggledy jello. It's fun. It's colorful. Adored by kids everywhere. They even give it to you in the hospital when you are at your most vulnerable. What could be wrong with it?
How 'bout the fact that gelatin is manufactured from the boiled hooves, bones, and skins of animals, for starters. That's just wrong. Do you think kids (or anyone for that matter) would be so excited about eating jello if they knew it was really manufactured from some demented witch's brew of slaughter house dregs? Yum! Appetizing, right? Who comes up with this stuff, anyway?
So, imagine my shock at myself when I read about castoreum and actually said to myself, I don't want to know about this! This has got to be one of the fowlest, most urp-evoking ingredient known to man. Worse than gelatin. Worse than German porn, even. Two Girls, One Beaver ... coming to YouTube soon!
Castoreum is the extract from beaver anal glands and is used extensively in perfumes and ... brace yourself ... sometimes in food.
But wait, it gets even better. Because it is derived from a natural source (uh ... that would be the ass of a beaver in case you weren't paying attention ... you know ... where the beaver shit comes out), under the Code of Federal Regulations it can be listed as "natural" flavor. Grab something out of your cabinet right now and read the ingredients. Do you see "natural flavorings" listed? I thought I smelled beaver ass on your breath.
But why? Well, according to the Nov/Dec 2007 issue of VegNews Magazine, castoreum "gives a smooth, round finish to raspberry flavors in a handful of baked goods, condiments, and candies." Ugh! It's in candy? Not exactly what the kids had in mind when they said, "Trick or treat!"
Again I find myself asking ... who comes up with this stuff? I have this odd vision of someone walking down the street with a basket of raspberries while another person approaches, beaver in tow. They bump into one another and shazzam!
"Hey ... you got raspberry on my beaver ass!"
"Hey, you got beaver ass in my raspberries!"
"Wait, that tastes pretty damn good!"
Is that how this happens?
Seriously cats and kittens, who wants to eat this stuff? Back off the prepackaged foods. Grow your own. Make your own. Go vegan. The beavers will thank you.