Other Vegan Views articles
Pig Free Painting by Peter White, Vegan Views 87 (Winter 2000/01)
The next time it's necessary to slap some paint on the wall. bear in mind that most paint brushes are made using "pure bristle" - this actually means pig hair, usually sourced in China, where the hogs life and death can be imagined. Good reasonably priced synthetic brushes are now easily found, however, generally labelled as no bristle loss and sometimes, but not always, as synthetic. The shop should help, if in doubt. Most DIY stores now have them, and Woolworth's especially often has quite a range, some very cheap. With these brushes the bristles are either black or golden. They always seem to have rust free ferrules and robust plastic handles. It takes a little bit of practice to get used to the synthetic bristles and lay on a smooth coat of paint: try them out on a piece of board first.

Conventional artists brushes are also sourced from animals being hog, cow, squirrel or sable hair but vegan arty types are well provided for; artists' suppliers stock synthetic alternatives of the very best quality, which are clearly labelled. The Artists and Illustrator magazine gives these brushes full marks, although again you may need a bit of practice at first, to become accustomed to the different bristle texture. All brushes become more sympathetic after repeated use.

On the subject of decorating, if you want to do a good job and seal the knots in new wood before applying paint, the usual product is patent knotting, which, like real French polish, is made with the shells of a tropical insect. Vegans have no excuse for dodging the decorating however, (sorry!) because International Paints make a knotting lacquer, which is probably the only synthetic alternative. But watch out, you must obtain the one called Colourless Knotting Solution, which is synthetic - they also make a similar product called Knotting Solution that is still made from lac insects. Even the firms own information doesn't explain the difference. The synthetic one is not so easy to find but Sainsburys Homebase often have it or should be able to order it, or the manufacturer will advise on stockists: Plascon, Canute Rd, Southampton, S014 3PB. info@plascon.co.uk.

Related Vegan Views articles...
Cross-reference: Animal-Free Products