Soap industries prefer animal tallow to vegetable fat torturing many creatures in the process

You rub it on your face and all over your body every day. Millions of rupees are spent on advertising its scent and purity.

Let us see how pure soap is.

In professional language, there are two types of animal fat— the fats from the kidneys and other organs which are called "killing fats" (because they are obtained during the slaughter of cattle, sheep, goats and pigs) and the fats that are removed when the animal carcass is sold to the retailer which are called "cutting fats".

 Soap industries prefer animal tallow to vegetable fat torturing many creatures in the process

Representational image. Reuters

These fats are turned into oil by heating them. This oil or grease is what we use either in our food or in candles or on our faces. It is called tallow and it doesn't smell like dead meat because it has been deodorised by steaming.

What is the main ingredient of your soap? Sodium tallowate. Which means that the soap is produced from a mixture of animal tallow (about 75 to 85 percent) and oils. Take the "pure" Ivory soap of Proctor and Gamble (P&G). lt is made purely of animal fat and little vegetable oil.

What is the chemical process of soap? Sodium salts of fat are produced along with glycerol when fat reacts with caustic soda or lye. This chemical reaction is called Saponification and the soap industry uses anything it can lay its hands on to get it— cattle parts, whales, seaweed, avocados and coconuts.

During Hitler's time, humans in the concentration camps were turned into soap. Most opaque soaps contain tallow. Transparent soaps like Pears can contain tallow unless the label says otherwise. Soaps like Dove are all tallow with oil added to them to reduce the drying effect that soaps have on the skin.

Animal fats are not essential to the soap-making process. Fat could come from anywhere. But the industry chooses dead animal grease because tallow is so much cheaper (with thousands of animals being killed every day) and the industry claims that soaps made with tallow are harder because tallow has a higher boiling point. The main reason is just laziness; the West has been using tallow for a long time, so why not India too. If more than half the people buying the soap are vegetarian and the rest don't want their bodies rubbed down with animal grease every morning, well, advertising ensures that they are never told.

No soap manufacturer names the ingredients on the packet. Yet, the alternatives are so simple. Soaps can be made of vegetable oil, coconut oil, almond oil, olive oil, palm oil, glycerin, with flower oil fragrances and no chemicals except for commercial lye and a little bit of baking soda. All so good for the skin. And, contrary to the advertising put out by tallow soap manufacturers, they are long-lasting and inexpensive.

I have been using Chandrika for ages. Beauty Without Cruelty has a long list of these hygienic Indian soaps.

P&G are the main culprits. In 1938, they produced a technology that could turn an animal into soap in a matter of hours. Now P&G is paying for campaigns to persuade buyers all over the world that animals are not just necessary for their soaps but it is necessary to test their soap on animals as well.

According to research done by animal rights groups, P&G kills over 50,000 animals a year in product testing. How do they test? Toxic chemicals are fed to dogs whose mouths have been forcibly clamped open and their voice boxes surgically removed so they cannot make a sound. These chemicals are poured into the eyes of rabbits and applied to the shaved skin of guinea pigs. All this without sedation or painkillers. Testing soap on animals in the USA is not required by law or regulation. One must conclude that P&G simply likes doing it.

Is your soap clean? Can soap with so much blood in its testing and so much dead animal grease in it make your body clean? Why do you want to waste money on soap —why don't you just take a slab of meat out of your fridge and rub it all over your body? And while you are at it, remember that studies on acne have established a strong link between blackheads and tallow.

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Updated Date: May 23, 2017 22:18:48 IST