Master List of Animal Sourced Ingredients

About This List

"PETA's list of animal ingredients and their alternatives helps consumers avoid animal ingredients in food, cosmetics, and other products. Please note, however, that it is not all-inclusive. There are thousands of technical and patented names for ingredient variations. Furthermore, many ingredients known by one name can be of animal, vegetable, or synthetic origin. If you have a question regarding an ingredient in a product, call the manufacturer. Good sources of additional informa-tion are the Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients, the Consumer's Dictionary of Food Additives, or an unabridged dictionary. All of these are available at most libraries.

Adding to the confusion over whether or not an ingredient is of animal origin is the fact that many companies have removed the word "animal" from their ingredient labels to avoid putting off consumers. For example, rather than use the term "hydrolyzed animal protein," companies may use another term such as "hydrolyzed collagen." Simple for them, but frustrating for the caring consumer.

Animal ingredients are used not because they are better than vegetable-derived or synthetic ingredients but rather because they are generally cheaper. Today's slaughterhouses must dispose of the byproducts of the slaughter of billions of animals every year and have found an easy and profitable solution in selling them to food and cosmetics manufacturers.

Animal ingredients come from every industry that uses animals: meat, fur, wool, dairy, egg, and fishing, as well as industries such as horse racing and rodeo, which send unwanted animals to slaughter. Contact PETA for our factsheets to learn more about the animals who suffer at the hands of these industries and what you can do to help.

Rendering plants process the bodies of millions of tons of dead animals every year, transforming decaying flesh and bones into profitable animal ingredients. The pri-mary source of rendered animals is slaughterhouses, which provide the "inedible" parts of all animals killed for food. The bodies of companion animals who are euth-anized in animal shelters wind up at rendering plants, too. One small plant in Quebec renders 10 tons of dogs and cats a week, a sobering reminder of the horrible dog and cat overpopulation problem with which shelters must cope.

Some animal ingredients do not wind up in the final product but are used in the manufacturing process. For example, in the production of some refined sugars, bone char is used to whiten the sugar; in some wines and beers, isinglass (from the swim bladders of fish) is used as a "clearing" agent.

Kosher symbols and markings also add to the confusion and are not reliable indicators on which vegans or vegetarians should base their purchasing decisions. This issue is complex, but the “K” or “Kosher” symbols basically mean that the food manufacturing process was overseen by a rabbi, who ensures that it meets Hebrew dietary laws. Kosher foods may not contain both dairy products and meat, but they may contain one or the other. “P” or “Parve” means the product contains no meat or dairy products but may contain fish or eggs. “D,” as in “Kosher D,” means that the product either contains dairy or was made with dairy machinery. For example, a chocolate and peanut candy may be marked “Kosher D” even if it doesn't contain dairy because the non-dairy chocolate was manufactured on machinery that also made milk chocolate. For questions regarding other symbols, please consult Jewish organizations or publications.

Thousands of products on store shelves have labels that are hard to decipher. It's nearly impossible to be perfectly vegan, but it's getting easier to avoid products with animal ingredients. Our list will give you a good working knowledge of the most common animal-derived ingredients and their alternatives, allowing you to make decisions that will save animals' lives."



Perhaps you are a newbie at vegetarianism and have not heard of these yet. They are two common non-vegetarian items. Be sure to read the ingredient list of what you're eating to see if these are in your food.


It is found in Jell-O, some Pop Tarts (frosting), marshmallows, candy, etc.

"Gelatin (US spelling) or gelatine (British spelling) (used to make Jell-o and other desserts) is made from the boiled bones, skins and tendons of animals. An alternative substance is called Agar-Agar, which is derived from seaweed. Another is made from the root of the Kuzu. Agar-Agar is sold in noodle-like strands, in powdered form, or in long blocks, and is usually white-ish in color.

Some Kosher gelatins are made with agar-agar, most are not. Some things that are vegan that are replacing gelatin are: guar gum and carrageenan. Only some 'emulsifiers' are vegan. Gelatin is used in photography. Although the technology exists to replace photographic film, its price is currently prohibitive and there is insufficient demand. Hopefully, with the growth of vegetarianism and veganism, this situation will soon change."


Most commonly found in cheese, rennet is "the lining membrane of the fourth stomach of the calf (and/or) a preparation or extract of the rennet membrane, used to curdle milk, as in making cheese…." Rennin, also found in cheese, is "a coagulating enzyme occurring in the gastric juice of the calf, forming the active principal of rennet and able to curdle milk."


So what are your options if you want to continue eating cheese and remain vegetarian? There are quite a few possibilities. Microbial enzymes, or vegetable enzymes, which are neither vegetable, nor animal, but are microbes, are now used by several smaller cheese producers for many, if not all, of their cheeses. Most of these companies are smaller and make gourmet-style cheeses, although some larger companies do have vegetarian selections. At this time many of the larger cheese producing companies we contacted cannot guarantee that their cheeses are made without rennet. They often use a mixture of microbial enzymes and rennet."


Animal Related Quotes

Henry Spira (1927-1998):

"Animal liberation is also human liberation. Animal liberationists care about the quality of life for all. We recognize our kinship with all feeling beings. We identify with the powerless and the vulnerable – the victims, all those dominated, oppressed and exploited. And it is the non-human animals whose suffering is the most intense, widespread, expanding, systematic and socially sanctioned of all."


"But for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh we deprive a soul of the sun and light, and of that proportion of life and time it had been born into the world to enjoy."

Paul Richard (1828-1896):

"Hunting... the least honourable form of war on the weak."

Lloyd Buggle Jr:

"Life is life's greatest gift. Guard the life of another creature as you would your own because it is your own. On life's scale of values, the smallest is no less precious to the creature that owns it than the largest."

John Austin Baker, Bishop of Salisbury (1928- )

"To shut your mind, heart, imagination to the sufferings of others is to begin slowly but inexorably to die. It is to cease by inches from being human, to become in the end capable of nothing, generous or unselfish – or sometimes capable of anything, however terrible."

Leonardo Da Vinci, artist, designer, inventor and scientist:

"I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men."

Dr Will Tuttle, author of The World Peace Diet:

"Plant-based foods taste better because we feel better eating them and contemplating their origins. Eating slowly, we enjoy contemplating the organic orchards and gardens that supply the vegetables, fruits and grains we are eating. We are grateful for the connection we feel with the earth, clouds, gardeners, and the seasons. In contrast, eating animal foods is often done quickly, without feeling deeply into the source of the food; for who would want to contemplate the utter hells that produce our factory-farmed meat?"

Jon Wynne-Tyson:

"If we examine what is done to animals in the fields of vivisection and diet alone, the figures are a shocking condemnation of our indifference to others’ right to life and wellbeing. Because animals lack a language we can understand, we listen only to our own thin excuses for treating them so abominably."

Theodor Adorno:

"Auschwitz begins wherever someone looks at a slaughterhouse and thinks: they're only animals."



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KFC (Kentucky Fried Cruelty)