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Established in 1993

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Helping Tibetan refugees build a bright future

17 May 2021
by Daryl Roberts

Very pleased to welcome our friends at the Tibet Relief Fund to our latest guest blog!

Ethical WARES have been pleased to work with them over the years and out support for a Free Tibet has always been proudly stated.

Onwards to a Free Tibet.

The Dalai Lama is world-famous, but what about the country he comes from?

Tibet sits at a dizzying three miles above sea level. It’s the highest country in the world, and has been occupied by neighbouring China since 1950. In 1959 Tibetans attempted to take back their country in an enormous uprising. The protests were crushed with brutal force.

Tibetans feared for the life of their spiritual leader and helped the Dalai Lama flee Tibet. His dangerous month-long journey through the Himalayas led him to Dharamsala, India, where he still lives today. Thousands of Tibetan refugees followed him. An estimated 150,000 Tibetans have escaped from their country so they can live freely and practice Buddhism.

The Dalai Lama on his journey from Tibet to India

Today the Tibetan settlements in India and Nepal are over 60 years old. Many of the original refugees from Tibet have died. Others still live in hope that they might be able to return home one day. Generations of Tibetans have been born and raised in their host countries, building the best possible life for themselves, under genuinely difficult circumstances. The culture and traditions of Tibet live on in these communities, and Tibetan is still widely spoken.

Tibet Relief Fund has been around since 1959, the year the Dalai Lama left Tibet. Our work is very different these days. Back then the urgent need was food, shelter and clothing for the thousands of refugees who had made that deadly journey across the Himalayas.

Today Tibetan communities need help to become self-sufficient for the future.

We help young Tibetans with skills training and loans to start small businesses. We support the salaries of teachers in remote settlements so children can get a good start in life. And we have been training the residents of a remote village in Nepal in construction, so they can build earthquake-resistant houses and use their new skills to earn money.

Care for the elderly and health projects are still part of what we do, but as Tibetans become more self-reliant, we hope one day to not be needed anymore.

Children in Bakhang village, Nepal

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the landscape yet again. Tibetans who mostly rely on seasonal work and tourism have found themselves without any income. We have been providing emergency food parcels for families in need, and helping Tibetans access healthcare and medicine in India where the system is difficult to navigate at the best of times, and is now overwhelmed by Covid patients.

Settlements such as Manali in the far north need our support; we are helping people to quarantine and providing medical supplies to try and limit the spread of the virus, and providing more food parcels to help people get through the crisis.

Our Community Kitchen in Delhi will be opening permanently when the lockdown ends. It will feed the most vulnerable Tibetans in the city who have fallen through the cracks of society, and be a thriving community hub where people can come together to share a meal and get to know one another.

The effects of the pandemic will be felt in Tibetan communities for a long time to come. We will be there for Tibetans for as long as they need us, helping them to rebuild their lives after so many shocks, and ultimately to have the power to support themselves. If you can make a donation, please head to www.tibetrelieffund.co.uk/donate - your gift will be used where it is needed the most.

A Tibetan weaver in Dekyiling settlement, India

Helping Foxes in the South East of England

19 Apr 2021
by Daryl Roberts

Here’s our latest guest blog – this time from the marvellous Fox Project who do such an amazing job giving a helping hand (paw?) to Foxes in the South East of England and was founded by great friends of ours Sue and Trevor Williams.

This year marks The Fox Project’s 30th cub season and, as I write, we have admitted 88 sick, injured and orphaned cubs, with the expectation of between 250 – 300 before the season is over.

The first cub of the season was Wendell.

When a householder spotted an adult vixen crossing the road outside her home, she thought little of it until an approaching car startled the animal, causing her to drop something. Luckily, the car passed without running it over and she went outside to find a tiny, blind cub.

She did all the right things, placing him under a nearby hedge where she knew the vixen might pass. But the vixen didn’t return and, with a minus-degree night coming on, she had no choice but to bring him in.

Our second cub was found under a garden trampoline in Laurel Grove. Naturally, we named him Stan, but we have yet to find an Olly. Then came Brie and Banksy – the latter had rolled down a bank, but we don’t know who gave the former such a cheesy name.

The Boilers were a six piece, mysteriously mistaken for kittens by a cat rescue group. They were found in a school boiler room and, had they been correctly identified at an earlier stage, we might have had the opportunity to reunite them with their mother. Sadly, a family split for no good reason.

A different misfortune befell Ella and Bella, whose mother was inadvertently blocked in beneath a shed by workmen. Because she wasn’t able to get back to her cubs, two had died – she, too, subsequently died after finally being discovered in a state of collapse - and it was a major task to prevent these two sisters from going the same way.

Whilst we accept most of the cubs we receive are genuinely in need of assistance – sick, injured or orphaned - reuniting cubs with their mother is the most satisfying form of rescue, and Peter King, one of our army of local rescuers, tells us this story…..

“It was Easter Saturday when the call came through from the duty ambulance driver – “Are you free? It’s not a rescue but could you take some cubs back home?”

Earlier in the day, five cubs had been rescued from a back garden where the owners had taken down a shed and revealed the fox den. Apparently, it is a favourite Kentish pastime to demolish your garden shed at Easter!

The distraught home-owners had reported that the vixen was back in their garden, searching for her cubs and clearly distressed.

The race was on. Could they be reunited? I collected the cubs, who were contained in a heated cardboard box from which they couldn’t escape but from which “mum” could recover them. I positioned it on the site of the former shed and went indoors for a cuppa with the householders. Before the kettle had boiled the vixen came over the fence. Would she? Could she? All we could do was give her the time and space. And she used it well! The box was upturned, emptied and we have no reason to doubt the cubs were transported safely to another of the vixen’s dens, probably not far distant.

The home-owners – and me! - were delighted that the five cubs would now have the best chance of survival, as “mum” really does know best.”

Local rescue team Jeff and Jessica Cater had a different tale to tell of a family we subsequently named The Squatters.

“The call was for a cold and distressed cub and the plan was to retrieve it, check if the rest of the family were nearby and reunite them. Sure enough, we could hear more cubs crying under a nearby shed but there was extremely limited access between the concrete supporting blocks.

Vocalising cubs are usually cubs in distress. They needed to be checked out, but my only option was to squeeze into the tight gap behind the shed, remove a couple of loose blocks and get my head under. Predictably, the cries were coming from the opposite corner, the cubs were in a shallow depression and impossible for me to reach by hand.

Our long-handled net would have reached them but was too wide to fit through the gap so, improvising, the householder lent me a broom and after much manoeuvring I was able to pull out cub number 2, then number 3, followed by 4 and 5 together and – oh no! – surely not 6 and 7!

The cubs were extremely cold, and Jessica did her best to warm them up in a big towel - and down her shirt! - while I checked there were no more.

It was clear from their condition that Mum, for whatever reason, had not been around to tend them for some time so it was a massive relief to recover them all.

In the end a successful mission but, after being called out for a single cub, we got rather more than we bargained for!”

Congratulations to all concerned. Both rescues were successful in entirely different ways, but the best options were found for 12 cubs in need of our help.

And then there were The Neville Brothers; not the soul band – there were four of them; not the footballers – there were two of them; but three vulpine Neville Brothers discovered trying to fend for themselves behind yet another garden shed.

There was Olive and Izzie and Roddie and Dale. And Alfie, Flick and The Ramblers. Gizmo, Twizzle, Porter and The Bells. And siblings April and Bud, who were so emaciated, hypothermic and dehydrated they were practically dead before they arrived. As I write, it’s taken one staff member almost all her time, day and night, to get them through, but they look for all the world as if they’re now going to make it.

Trevor Williams, Founder.

(If you would like to support our work through this cub season, please go to https://donate.thebiggive.org.uk/campaign/a0569000...)

The latest news from ethicalWARES

19 Jan 2021
by Ethical Wares

2020 was a truly terrible year for us all and the omens for 2021 don't look too encouraging at the moment.

We have been though, truly humbled, that despite the grip of this terrible pandemic, people are still determined to live their life compassionately, and this has included still buying their Vegan and ethically sourced goods from us. We are really grateful for the support we have been given over the past year, in what has been a really challenging time for all/most business's.

We are determined to keep pressing ahead with the vision we've had since day 1 of ethical WARES – that is for us to play our part in making the world a kinder and more peaceful place for all its inhabitants.

To that end, with optimism to the fore, we've been investing for the future and already this year;

We're waiting for our first delivery from our Italian manufacturer to re-stock our walking and safety footwear, this delivery should also include some new samples hopefully to be added to our range in the not too distant future.

We've also placed an order from one of our UK manufactures to re-stock our range of classic Vegan Mens shoes – the UK footwear industry is not having a happy time right now and we are happy to continue supporting it.

Just arrived is a big order of Fair Trade clothing and accessories –while all of our products will always be Vegan, we are also determined to support Fair Trade producers from around the world- many of whom will be in countries less able to withstand the ravages of the pandemic than our own.

And we've also just ordered another big batch of our famous (well we like to think they are!) Vegan belts, all of which are made in the UK.

And we're just renewing our Best Buy agreement with the rather fab Ethical Consumer Magazine, making us one of around 40 of the UKs leading ethically based companies. Great company to be in.

So, difficult times need to be faced with optimism and its times like this when your ethics and principles help to bring you through.

Thanks again for all your support through 2020, please stay with us and let's see what 2021 will bring.

Street Dog Care - £400 payment made

15 Oct 2020

Many thanks to everyone who has supported us in helping the tremendous work of Street Dog Care over the past year, in helping stray dogs in the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal.

Everyone who has brought one of their bags, T shirts or their 2020 calendar (all proceeds less postage and VAT go back to SDC) has helped us to send them a further £400.

A new batch of T shirts and their new 2021 calendar on the way and will be available on our website soon.


you all so much


08 Apr 2020

Stuck in with time on your hands at present? Why not try making the famous Store Cupboard Stew – ‘An easy way to cook pretty much anything! Beans are a good staple, but this is great with veggie sausages, seitan pieces, or tofu’ – from the rather fab Our Lizzy Cookery School (which comes highly recommended from our own personal attendance at some of her amazing courses.)

ethicalWARES' Guide To Recycling & Upcycling

02 Apr 2020
by Ethical Wares
Recycled vegan sneakers

Recycling and upcycling are two methods of reusing and repurposing old materials or goods. Both are great ways of mitigating the impact on the environment, avoiding the need to source new raw materials and send unwanted items to landfill.

As the green revolution continues to grow, you will likely come across an increasing number of brands and companies that are choosing to use recycled materials and even upcycled goods.

Recycling Vs. Upcycling

Many of us are well aware of recycling, but can become confused about the difference between recycling and upcycling. Here is a quick explanation of each.


Recycling is the process of breaking down and reusing common materials that would otherwise end up in landfill.

Recycling has become a standard practice in waste management with recycling initiatives being successfully managed in most developed nations.

Recycling has resulted in tremendous benefits for the countries that have embraced it. A country with a national recycling rate of 30% can reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to removing 25 million cars off the road!

Businesses are also getting increasingly involved in recycling schemes to mitigate their own impact on the planet and save money.

The most common materials that are recycled include:





Some plastics





Recycling has become imperative as a means to limit the amount of waste we create worldwide. As our population and unhealthy addiction to consumerism continues to grow, recycling can help control the number of materials we are using and disposing of.

Human-made phenomenons like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch are proof of why we desperately need more worldwide recycling initiatives.

Recycling also helps to boost the economy, making the production of new goods cheaper and more efficient. Recycling initiatives have also contributed to an increase in employment rates worldwide.

A study by Friends of Earth in the UK found that 51,000 new jobs could be created if we recycled 70% of our waste!


Upcycling is a lesser-known term than recycling but is becoming a common term among eco-conscious consumers, designers, and business owners. Upcycling is the process of using old items for new purposes.

For example, using unwanted pallets from the shipping industry to create wooden furniture like beds, coffee tables, and even vertical veggie gardens.

Upcycling wooden furniture has become increasingly popular and can be very cost-effective for homeowners.

Upcycling has become an increasingly popular trend with eco-conscious homeowners. Pinterest is full of incredible upcycling ideas for your home and garden. For example, upcycling plastic bottles into plant pots.

It's thought that upcycling accounts for anything between 5% - 40% of the £3bn UK crafts industry.

Upcycling is important because, like recycling, it helps to further reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.

Upcycling also reduces the need to produce new raw materials which are energy-intensive and come with a large carbon footprint.

Furthermore, upcycling is really fun to take part in! You can get your friends and family involved in some exciting DIY projects.

Some people have created entire businesses out of upcycling old items and reselling them to the public.

Recycling in the Consumer Market

Just over the last few years, the number of brands creating new products from recycled materials has spiked enormously.

Millennials are the driving force behind this movement, and they're not afraid to abandon their favourite brands if they are not willing to adapt to sustainability. This has forced even the biggest brands in the world to rethink their materials.

Most notably, top fashion brands such as Adidas, Nike, Stella McCartney, Patagonia, and Vivobarefoot have all recently created products by recycling or upcycling bottles made from PET plastic. All of these products received a welcome response from customers.

Here at ethicalWARES, we have just successfully created a pair of sneakers using recycled car seat covers. The laces are even made with recycled polyester filling!

Car Seat Recyled Vegan Sneaker

We also sell the Diogenes vegan sneaker and the Vesica sneaker, both made from a variety of recycled materials, and the Free Tibet squash sneakers which feature soles made from recycled tyres!

Vegan squash sneakers with recycled tyre rubber soles

Expect to see many of your favourite brands experimenting with recycled materials for their new products over the next decade.

Upcycling in the Consumer Market

Upcycling is not quite as popular as recycling just yet, but the potential is starting to be realised gradually by some companies.

Startups appear to be more interested in upcycling methods than existing brands and there are examples of companies taking advantage of upcycling techniques, by successfully creating new upcycled home decor, upcycled jewellery, upcycled t-shirts, and upcycled jeans that are durable, affordable and stylish.

Upcycling is not as straightforward as creating new products with recycled materials however and while the upcycling industry is growing, your favourite brands may take a while longer to embrace this method for their new products.

One disadvantage of upcycling is the length of time it can take to create a new product. The sourcing, disassembly and reconstitution of items is not easy and may be deemed less financially viable than recycling.

The Future of Recycling and Upcycling

As the pressure mounts on both individuals and companies to reduce their impact on the planet, it is highly likely that both recycling and upcycling will become the standard for future design.

Our mindset surrounding consumer goods is changing. We are learning that nothing ever really goes away. Every raw material we take from the earth remains on earth in some form or another.

It is important then, that companies continue to salvage whatever materials they can instead of producing new raw materials.

In the future, recycling and upcycling will likely be the two primary forms of production with as little waste as possible. This is the only way that can we be sure we are limiting our adverse effects on the planet to a complete minimum.

Soon, when people look to buy a new product, they may only do so when completely necessary. When it is time to buy something new, purchasing products made with sustainable materials from an eco-friendly brand like ethicalWARES will be of top priority. Check out our online store for amazing recycled footwear, clothing, accessories and more!

Vegan design: 4 tips for transitioning to cruelty-free furniture in your home

28 Feb 2020
by Ethical Wares

Ethical WARES have been around for a long time now – it was lonely at times being a Vegan company 27 years ago now, but we were pleased then, as now, to have been flying the flag for a more compassionate world.

We get approached by many other companies, tentatively on the way to producing animal free products, so were pleased to have been contacted by Sofas by Saxon who now have some Vegan furniture in their range, and made in the UK too

vegan sofas

Whether you've recently turned vegan or have been following this lifestyle for a while, welcoming cruelty-free furniture into your home can ensure you're buying as ethically as possible. Here, Matt Deighton from Sofas by Saxon shares his tips for introducing animal-friendly furniture into your home.

Our homes are our pride and joy: a place we like to make our own and show off to our nearest and dearest. But, in the current state, where vegan interiors are lagging a couple of years behind vegan food development, it can be tricky trying to find alternatives to furnish your homes with. But, if you're looking to overhaul your home with cruelty-free furniture, there are some ways you can remain ethical and still have a beautifully decorated home.

Whether you're looking for a new sofa, armchair or dining chairs, there are ways to ensure you're only choosing the most animal-friendly interiors for your home. Here, I will be sharing my top four tips for transitioning to cruelty-free furniture.

Check the business' eco-credentials

Before buying anything from interior companies, it's important to look at their eco-credentials, and get clued up about their impact on animals and their habitats. Businesses that are dedicated to preserving both of these will usually mark their products with an eco-friendly label.

For example, if you're after wooden furniture, consider buying forest-friendly wood and timber. These are named so because they're responsibly sourced from well-managed forests, and those selling this type of furniture have complied with legal, social and environmental standards. Similarly, look out for businesses marking their products as made from 100% recycled materials, as these will have removed the need for any harmful processes to take place again. This means there's less water or air pollution to damage animal habitats, making these furniture pieces significantly more ethical than their alternatives.

Choose faux and vegan leathers

vegan furniture

Leather sofas are extremely popular given their durability and aesthetic, but unfortunately don't fall into the animal-friendly criteria. However, if you love the look of your leather furniture, and don't want to change to fabric, you'll be pleased to hear that buying faux or vegan leathers can give your home the same beautiful look, without using animal products.

Faux leather is typically made from polyester and finished with wax, dye and PVC to imitate the texture of real leather, so you can guarantee you'll still have somewhere soft and comfortable to relax after a long day. If you're trying to limit the environmental impact your home has, vegan leathers made from natural materials may be more suitable. These can be made from cork, as well as glazed or waxed cotton so forego any harmful chemicals.

As well as being better for the environment, and cruelty-free, you can save some money on your interiors by opting for faux or vegan leather furniture.

Look for sustainable fabrics

Some of the most common fabrics can be damaging to the environment, and therefore have a knock-on effect on animal life. So, if you're considering investing in some new fabric furniture, it'll be important to look at organic fabrics which have been made using fibres from plants. This could include raw cotton, linen, hemp, muslin and jute, among many others, meaning you'll be spoilt for choice. Plus, as many of these are biodegradable, you can ensure they don't disrupt animal habitats.

Buy British

vegan upholstery

When you buy furniture from overseas companies, it may require planes, trains, lorries and other forms of transport to get it to your door. And, with data from EPA revealing that 95% of the world's transportation energy comes from petroleum-based fuels, your purchase can indirectly contribute to environmental issues, such as global warming and air and water pollution. As well as being hazardous to people, this can destroy animal's habitats and affect their wellbeing.

When you buy British, you reduce the number of miles your goods need to travel, and therefore limit the harm on the environment and animals. Additionally, supporting British companies can strengthen and support the UK economy, as well as reduce delivery and customer service response times from the company you buy from.

Transitioning to animal-friendly furniture needn't be complicated. Simply follow my top four tips and watch your interiors quickly match up with your vegan lifestyle.

Fairtrade Products: What Are They & Why Should I Buy Them?

21 Feb 2020
by Ethical Wares

Theres no doubt you will have seen this infamous logo printed on the side of much Fairtrade food or Fairtrade clothing products in your favourite retail stores.

Whilst we all recognise the Fairtrade logo as a symbol for an ethical good, do we really know what it means?

Fairtrade sets strict working standards and agreements that help to ensure farmers and workers get a fair price for their work and produce. By doing this they help to empower some of the most vulnerable people on the planet, uplifting entire communities and improving their everyday lives.

So, next time you pick up a Fairtrade product just remember that you are helping hundreds of hardworking people to live better lives.

Here is everything that the Fairtrade logo stands for and why it’s so important.

The History of Fairtrade and Their Mission

The Fairtrade Foundation was launched in 1992 by CAFDO, Christian Aid, Oxfam, Traidcraft, Global Justice Now, and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes.

Today, there are many more member organisations from all around the world who support The Fairtrade Foundation.

The Foundation is the UK member of Fairtrade International which encompasses over 20 labelling initiatives throughout the world, all dedicated to giving the people who produce our favourite goods a fair deal.

In their latest strategy ‘Fairtrade I Can, I Can’, the organization set out their vision to:

Increase their impact on the most vulnerable farmers and workers across the world.

Connect the UK public with those workers and farmers.

Improve and innovate their standards so that they can help even more people.

Build an even stronger organisation.

Fairtrade is on a mission to ensure that all farmers, workers, companies, consumers and campaigners get a fair deal.

Their current focus is specifically on coffee, cocoa, banana, tea and flower farmers.

fairtrade clothing

What Does Fairtrade Actually Do?

Fairtrade works tirelessly with companies, consumers and campaigners all over the world to help create a better deal for farmers and workers who help to produce the things we love.

They are on a mission to give farmers and labourers a fair price for their hard work and ensure that they have safe and legal working conditions.

By connecting farmers and labourers to the consumer, they hope to promote fairer trading conditions and empower those people.

Fairtrade accomplishes this by setting social, economic and environmental standards that benefit all parties involved - from the farmers, to the workers, to the businesses, to the consumers.

These include worker protection rights, environmental rights and the Fairtrade Minimum Price which ensures everyone gets a fair wage for their work.

All their standards are independently assessed and reviewed to ensure best practices are always maintained.

Fairtrade Facts & Figures

In 2017, Fairtrade paid over €188.8m in Fairtrade Premium to producers.

On average, each Fairtrade producer organisation received more than €118,000.

Workers on Fairtrade certified plantations invested 50% of their Fairtrade Premium into education and housing services.

Small producer organisations invested 50% into farming including agricultural tools and inputs.

Why Do We Need Fairtrade?

In our modern world of fast and excessive consumerism, we have created a system which negatively affects the people at the bottom of the supply chain.

People that live in some of the poorest communities in the world are not getting a fair deal when it comes to the purchase of their labour and/or goods.

Many farmers and labourers who produce goods such as cotton, linen, cocoa and coffee are squeezed by large corporations who want to drive down the cost of their goods for consumers in the developed world.

This demand for fast, convenient and low-cost goods creates a poor and unfair working environment for millions of people in foreign countries.

Many of these people work incredibly hard, for long hours every single day, for a tiny wage. Their working conditions are often sub-standard with frequent accidents and health-related issues being reported.

Slave and child labour are also huge issues within our current consumer system. Companies that have become successful on the back of extremely cheap consumer goods such as Nestle, H&M, Phillip Morris, Sports Direct and New Look still use child labour even today.

Children as young as 14 can work up to 12 hours a day in countries like China, India, Myanmar and Pakistan making consumer goods for some of the top high street stores.

These companies are complicit in crimes against humanity and need to be held accountable.

When you buy Fairtrade products you can be assured that the goods you are buying are not the product of human exploitation or human rights violations.

Fairtrade ensures that what you buy is the product of a decent working system in which all parties receive a fair deal.

fairtrade accessories

The Impact of Fairtrade

The strict Fairtrade standards put in place help to empower farmers and workers all over the world. They don’t just improve people’s working conditions and environment, they uplift entire communities.

This allows those communities to sustain a more prosperous life, allowing them to regain control over their own lives, feed their families, educate their children and live a more fulfilled life.

The impact of Fairtrade standards is not just measured in monetary gains but by the improvement to people’s standard of living also.

Fairtrade’s commitment to continuously evaluate and learn about its own impact allows them to further improve their operations - which helps them to help more people.

The Fairtrade Minimum Price allows farmers to become income-secure and less vulnerable to poverty.

Fairtrade empowers entire communities to uplift themselves out of destitution and helps them to organise into cooperatives. This allows them to improve their negotiating position within the supply chain.

The Fairtrade standards incentivise farmers to farm better, reduce carbon emissions, improve soil health, protect biodiversity and move away from harmful pesticides and chemicals.

Fairtrade standards also help vulnerable farmers and workers to understand their rights, improve their negotiations, protect their lands and help them to invest their profits into housing, education, medical facilities and sanitation.

Why Should I Buy Fairtrade Products?

We should all buy Fairtrade products because everyone deserves a fair deal in life, from the farmer to the consumer.

As conscious human beings, we should help to uplift the people that work so incredibly hard to provide us with the goods we know and love.

When you buy Fairtrade products you are voting for a fairer, more equal, sustainable and brighter world.

Together, we can make the world a better place, we just have to make the conscious choice to do so!

This can be as simple as buying products that use the Fairtrade logo.

How Do I Get Involved?

Here are some simple ways you can support Fairtrade on their mission right now:

Make a donation.

Create a fundraiser.

Join one of their current campaigns.

Join them at the upcoming Fairtrade Fortnight 2020 taking place 24 February - 8 March.

● Browse our online Fairtrade store for many great ethical products.

Happy birthday Aunt Dotty! A 20 year old cow rescued from the dairy industry

23 Jan 2020
by Ethical Wares

Who is Aunt Dotty?

Our magnificent Aunt Dotty was born 20 years ago on 24th January 2000.

She came to live with us when we heard she was due to be sent to the slaughterhouse as she could no longer produce the calves she needed to make the milk her previous ‘owners’ wanted. Such is the lot of the average dairy cow. We couldn’t allow this to happen so here she came, 12 years ago now.

Age has caught up with her this year and she has just got over a health scare which we didn’t think she would survive – but she did, bless her! We hope she’ll be celebrating many more birthdays with us for a long time to come.

Happy Birthday Aunt Dotty!

Please read on for more information about the cruel dairy and leather industries.

The Dairy Industry

In order for the dairy industry to continue operations, cows are required to continuously provide their milk. This milk is then processed and sold off to companies where it is used to create thousands of different consumer goods such as bottles of milk, cheese and yoghurts.

For a cow to keep on providing her milk she must go through a cycle of pregnancy and giving birth. To do this, farmers artificially inseminate the cows so that they can fall pregnant. There are a number of serious ethical concerns surrounding this cycle in the dairy industry.


Cows in the dairy industry are born into captivity and spend most of their lives feeding and being milked.

Many cows caught up within the intensive dairy industry may never set foot onto a beautiful green field as so often portrayed in many of the dairy marketing campaigns we see on TV.

During their captivity, they spend most of their lives immobilised, feeding and having their milk taken from them. This is no life for any animal.

Many cows never get to perform any of their natural behaviours or instincts. Life on a dairy farm is miserable for a cow.


When a cow gives birth, her calves are usually taken away within just 24 hours of their lives.

Should the cow give birth to a male, he could be slaughtered within just a few hours or sold off to be reared for veal.

The female calves are moved to their own confined housing unit away from heir mother and to be fed formula and prepared for the same awful cycle as their mother.

This experience is highly distressing for the animals with many mother cows crying out for days or even weeks after they have had their calves taken away from them.

A dairy cow will have to go through this process 4 or 5 times until she is no longer able to give birth anymore. At this point, the cow is considered ‘spent’ and she is sold to be slaughtered so that her body can be butchered and sold as meat.


The milk yield for dairy cows on an intensive farm is unnaturally high which causes over a third of all dairy cows to suffer from mastitis. This is a nasty and incredibly painful infection for the cow.

If the infection worsens the cow is usually culled as a result. In fact, mastitis is the number one cause of premature culling in the dairy industry.

Life Expectancy

Like Aunt Dotty, a cow free from exploitation may live to the age of 20-25 years. In the dairy industry, the average lifespan of a cow is just 7-8 years, at which time they are slaughtered.

During their short unnatural lifespan, they spend the majority of their lives pregnant and being milked continuously.

Even in the UK, a country with one of the highest animal welfare standards in the world, cows are still exploited, separated from their mothers, used and discarded when they can no longer produce milk.

Aunt Dotty in the barn recuperating

The Leather Industry

Once a cow has been slaughtered for the meat industry, her skin is sent off to the leather industry to be made into one of the thousands of common leather products such as handbags, belts, wallets and shoes.

Dairy cows might spend 7-8 years of their lives in confinement, giving birth multiple times, being milked continuously only to be slaughtered for meat and her skin then sent to a leather production facility.

This lifetime of exploitation and abuse is rarely mentioned when discussing the ethical implications of leather. The discussion mostly surrounds the issue of pollution created by the manufacturing of leather goods through its intensive use of natural resources and fossil fuels.

Some animals are purely bred just for their leather, as seen in the fur industry, which has almost been completely ostracised by the fashion world and general population.

There is Another Way

Veganism has gained serious momentum over the last few years with more people than ever committing to a vegan lifestyle.

This rise in demand has been heard by companies all over the world, creating waves of new alternative vegan products for both dairy and leather.

The vegan dairy industry has seen a huge number of new products come to market with tremendous success, most notably a wide range of plant milks, which can now even be bought in budget supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl.

Most major supermarkets now sell plenty of these vegan dairy products including entire vegan ranges of milk, cheese, yoghurts and ice cream.

The vegan leather industry is now seeing a huge rise in popularity too. Thanks to the recent surge of veganism, a bit of money and a splash of innovation, there are some remarkable vegan leather products on the market that are produced using mostly natural or recycled materials.

Non-leather wallets, non-leather handbags and vegan-friendly boots are the most popular products currently being produced. Here at ethicalWARES we’re proud to have been selling non-leather, cruelty free footwear and accessories since 1993.

Vegan leathers currently on the market are mostly made using eco-materials such as pineapple leaves, cork, apple peels, recycled plastic and paper and other waste materials.

It’s been predicted that the vegan leather industry could be worth as much as $85 billion by 2025.

The Bottom Line

The continued rise of veganism is inspiring new innovation which is helping to create wonderful alternative products that are not only cruelty-free but less resource-intensive and friendlier to the environment.

It’s clear that not only vegans but a lot of the general public also want to see more cruelty-free products to replace those that are a product animal exploitation.

As the world slowly wakes up to the exploitation and mistreatment of animals in the production of their everyday foods and consumer goods, it’s inevitable that we will continue to see new vegan alternative products being launched.

Great news for cows all over the world, as well as for us consumers!

We hope that you’ve found this article informative, and if you haven’t yet ditched dairy or leather goods, that you will seriously consider doing so. If you need some ideas for new non-leather shoes, belts or accessories, check out the ethicalWARES online shop for inspiration!

Vegan Accessories: A Guide to Cruelty Free Bags, Belts & Wallets

07 Jan 2020
by Ethical Wares

Trying to live a cruelty-free life can sometimes be tricky, especially with so many products on the market that don’t list all of the materials that they are made from. It is particularly frustrating when it comes to accessories, where leather products seem to be the default - in most instances with tags saying ‘real leather’ used to indicate the quality of an item.

Yet what if your want a bag, belt or wallet that is of high quality, but not made from animal skin? What choices do you have available?

non leather shoes

The Issue with Leather

If you want to live a life away from cruelty to animals, then naturally you will want to buy vegan leather alternatives. After all, so many animals every year are killed just to make leather for belts and high-end accessories - it’s not just a by-product of the meat industry, like many believe.

Lots of animals are bred purely for their leather, making the leather industry just as bad as the fur industry in this case. Nowadays, much of the public is against wearing real fur, so why isn’t the reaction to leather the same?

Environmental Impact

The environmental impact of leather production can’t go unmentioned. Not only are the cattle bred for leather adding to the emission of climate damaging gases, but the process of curing and tanning leather for use in accessories is also dangerous for our planet.

Real leather is very expensive to produce. The tanning process is the only way to turn it from animal hide, to a product that is usable. This uses a series of harsh chemicals, including one called chromium which has a potentially devastating impact on the environment.

Tanning leather also uses up gallons of water in this process, as well as in making the runoff from the chromium safe enough to be released. It is so toxic that it has to be specially processed, using up even more energy and clean water.

The Alternatives

What exactly are the alternatives when it comes to leather? It’s been around for so long simply because there hasn’t been a material like it. Yet if you look hard enough, companies such as our own have started to produce accessories that are 100% cruelty free, including the glue which previously was always made from animal parts!

There are lots of alternative materials out there that are perfect for creating everything from cruelty free belts to vegan wallets.

1. Vegan Leather

Vegan leather is improving every year, and it has now reached the stage where it is essentially unrecognisable from the real thing - good news for animals everywhere! You’re no longer stuck with cheap and peeling PVC but vegan leather of the highest quality that is strong, durable, and perfect for ladies’ purses and bags, as well as vegan men’s accessories like wallets.

2. Hemp

Hemp is another wonderful natural material that can be used to make the most amazing cruelty free accessories. It’s a traditional material that has been used for years to make rope. Now it is used to make canvas bags and even shoes in a sustainable and renewable way. Hemp is something of a wonder plant, and requires no pesticides to keep it healthy, further cutting down on its environmental impact.

recycled slippers

3. Recycled Material

If you can buy your vegan wallets made of recycled material, then you should. Not only can you find ones that are made from cruelty free material, they are also wonderful for the environment because you are re-using material that would otherwise have either ended up in landfill or incinerated. A fantastic new addition to our footwear range here at ethicalWARES are these vegan recycled slippers - which are made entirely from recycled plastic bottles and organic cotton!

What Vegan Accessories Can I Buy?

There is a whole range of options available for you if you want your accessories to be vegan. Here’s a rundown of some of the top products that ethicalWARES produces.

vegan purse

· Cruelty Free Wallets and Purses

Animal and eco-friendly wallets are just one of the popular items that ethicalWARES understands there is a need for in today’s market. Brightly coloured and inexpensive, we sell beautiful wallets made of a range of ethical materials including bamboo – a sustainable material that has seen a surge of interest in recent years.

vegan bag

· Vegan Bags

Do you dream of a cruelty free version of the school satchels that never go out of fashion? If so, look no further, ethicalWARES has you covered. Available in both black and purple, this satchel makes all of your vegan leather dreams come true.

vegan belts

· Eco-Friendly Belts

One of the most difficult items to purchase when buying cruelty free is a belt. While you don’t want it to be made of leather, you also want it to be high quality. Luckily, help is at hand with our beautiful range of vegan leather belts.

At ethicalWARES, we pride ourselves on providing only the best in cruelty free accessories. So, whether it’s for yourself or for a gift, you can’t go wrong with our range of vegan wallets, bags and belts!