People love to make fun of vegans almost as much as CrossFitters. We see memes taking aim at the idea that vegans can’t go five seconds without telling someone that they’re vegan. I’ve heard crusades against the herbivores along the lines of “God put animals here for us to eat.” And the most popular critique, “But where will you get your protein from?” People are intensely emotional about their food. If you are in the unfortunate position of challenging the merits of someone’s diet, you will soon find out just how deeply people are attached to their feeding habits and rituals.
In spite of all the insults and joke making, it seems like there are more and more vegans popping up everyday, so I looked it up, and found out that veganism has risen by 500% since 2014. A widely regarded report conducted by GlobalData calculated this to mean that about 16 million people in the United States are currently vegan, and the number continues to grow. With all these people going to such great lengths to stick to this strict lifestyle, it would be a mistake to write off this demographic when it comes to tattoos.
Many tattoo products either contain animal products, or they were tested on animals. For instance, many inks contain bone char, gelatin, and shellac. There is a long list of tattoo supplies that violate the rules of veganism; one category to pay special attention to is skin cleaning products. There were lots of supplies I didn’t even expect would have animal products such as latex gloves, which contain casein, a milk protein, so it will truly require an in-depth look at all your supplies if you want to get or give a tattoo that is 100% vegan.
But do not fear, other people have already compiled lists of everything you have to watch out for, and replacement products that fit into the vegan lifestyle. Chances are these products will be a little bit more expensive, so expect to pay slightly more if you are seeking a vegan tattoo. On the subject of veganism and tattoos, there are a lot of people who get tattoos proclaiming their veganism and their love for animals. Once again making tattoo headlines, Miley Cyrus recently got a vegan tattoo, so you can be sure that more of the ilk will become popular this summer.
The good news is that it isn’t hard to find vegan-friendly supplies. As the need and demand for it has grown, the products have become more readily available. However, unless you are actively trying to achieve a setup that is entirely vegan, you are almost certainly not carrying vegan products. I was surprised to find that even sharpies and razors with a gel strip are not considered vegan. The current consensus among vegan tattoo artists following the vegan trend is that they have almost everything needed to be vegan except the sterilization products. They don’t want to take any chances regarding the sanitization of their tools and the safety of their customers, so until some research comes out demonstrating the efficacy of vegan sterilization products, that is the one aspect of the tattoo process that you might not be able to go fully vegan on.
It is interesting to watch this lifestyle extend into areas of culture outside of food. We use products everyday that are not animal friendly, and as the number of vegans in the world continues to rise, I think we will see vegan products in more and more aspects of our daily lives. Fortunately, PainfulPleasures carries a variety of vegan-friendly products, so if you are in need, head over to the Tattoo Supplies section and search for "vegan" to get your animal-friendly fix.