Do you have questions about being vegan? Send them
to Jo using this easy form.
She would be happy to address your individual concerns
as well as general inquiries about vegan ethics, philosophy,
practical applications, and living compassionately.
Jo cannot respond to questions about nutrition or
answer questions that have already been addressed in
Jo will make every attempt to answer each question
personally, however, due to her schedule, this may not
be possible. If a reply is forthcoming, it could take
up to a few weeks, so please be patient. It is also
possible that your question will be answered directly
in the "Ask Jo!" column rather than an individual
If you'd like to view previous questions Jo has
answered, visit the Ask Jo! Archives.
I was wondering if there is a safe,
effective method of birth control that is not tested
on animals. I have eliminated all animal products from
my diet, purchase only cruelty-free products, and am
opposed to vivisection, yet I feel like a hypocrite
because I continue to take the birth control pill. I
have read that there are two condom manufacturers that
operate "cruelty-free," but I would like to find a more
reliable method for preventing pregnancy (call me paranoid!).
Are there any birth control pill companies (or any other
products you've heard of) that are cruelty-free? Do
you have any suggestions?
all pharmaceutical products have been tested on animals,
are derived from animals, or contain animal by-products.
This includes most birth control drugs and devices.
For instance, lactose (milk sugar) is a standard excipient
(an inert substance that forms a vehicle for a drug).
It is used in most pharmaceutical tablets, including
birth control pills. In addition, pharmaceutical companies
routinely conduct research on live animals for new or
altered drugs. Consequently, all birth control drugs
are the result of studies that included animal subjects
and are produced by companies that are involved with
vivisection. Most condom manufacturers test their products
on animals and generally the spermicides and/or lubricants
with which they are coated contain animal products. Vegan condoms are available from vegan retailers. Check with them
directly for availability.
Surgical sterilization (for you or your
partner) is another option. However, it is critical
to be absolutely certain prior to undergoing sterilization
that you do not want to have children because it is
a permanent choice. Although these surgeries can sometimes
be reversed, such procedures can be painful, difficult,
and costly, and are not always feasible.
Natural birth control is an excellent,
drug-free method, but it requires a significant commitment
from both parties. For natural birth control to be effective,
a woman must be able and willing to take and record
her basal body temperature at the same time every morning;
inspect, interpret, and record the characteristics of
her vaginal secretions (mucus); and chart the course
of her ovulation and menstrual cycles to determine fertile
and infertile intervals. The male partner must be willing
to abstain from sex during the woman's fertile times
throughout the month and accept that sexual relations
may be less than spontaneous. It is also very helpful
if the woman has a regular menstrual cycle and is in
a stable relationship and both parties have a strong
desire to avoid pregnancy.
Unfortunately, there are no birth control
methods available at this time that are suitable for
all people and are safe, effective, hassle-free, and
vegan. You must weigh the alternatives against the consequences
of having an unwanted child and determine the method
that you and your partner are most comfortable using.
If the decision comes down to a not-totally-ideal birth
control method versus an unwelcome pregnancy, the compassionate
option is obvious.
All vegans must, at times, make compromises
because we live in an imperfect world. We need to make
the best choices we can based on the world we have inherited,
not the society we envision and are trying to create.
Making concessions for birth control is not necessarily
indicative of hypocrisy. It simply means that you are
being realistic, practical, and responsible.
Copyright © 1998-2013 by Jo Stepaniak
All rights reserved.
Nothing on this web site may
be reproduced in any way
without express written permission from the copyright