Palm Oil. The secret behind the ingredients.

Most people would ask themselves what their favorite box of cookies has to do with the plight of the orangutan species. And while this isn’t a simple connection to explain, we must try our best to understand it.

Palm oil is a vegetable oil obtained from the fruit of the African oil palm tree. Palm oil is used in many foods, household products, and cosmetics. Below is a more detailed list of common products containing palm oil. It has even surpassed the soybean as the most wildly produced edible oil.

Products that may contain palm oil:

~Soap   ~Chocolate   ~Toothpaste   ~Cookies   ~Cosmetics   ~Muesli & Breakfast Cereals ~Snack Foods   ~Frozen Meals And Fish   ~Frozen Snacks, Pies, Pizzas And Pastry    ~Frozen Fries And Wedges   ~Margarines   ~Spreads & Peanut Butter   ~Instant Noodles   ~Shampoo   ~Moisturizer   ~Laundry Powder

There are only two places in the world where the orangutan lives in the wild, Borneo and Sumatra. These forests are also home to a growing number of palm oil plantations. Rainforests are being cleared at a rate of 300 football fields per hour (yes, you read that right) to make room for palm oil plantations. Orangutans are sentient beings just like humans and all animals. They share 97.8% of our DNA, and are gentle intelligent creatures. Orangutans are highly endangered and the palm oil  and timber industries are pushing them to the brink of extinction. As the industry has expanded, palm oil cultivation is directly responsible for the slaughter and mass killing of thousands of individuals. When an area of forest is to be cleared adult orangutans are usually shot on sight, beaten, burned, and even eaten as bush meat. Young orangutans are ripped away from their mothers and sold on the black market as illegal pets. These are not isolated cases, and incidents like this  are documented time and again. Orangutans aren’t the only victims of the palm oil industry, any species that calls the forests home are in danger.

The palm oil industry has done an excellent job at deceiving the public. There is no labeling requirement for palm oil on consumer products. Some companies will clearly label palm oil as an ingredient, but unfortunately this is usually not the case. Palm Oil goes by many names and it can certainly be confusing to know them all. Here is a list of common names for palm oil so you can do your best to avoid it. There are companies who do not use palm oil in their products. Check them out here!

Show your support for the orangutans with the choose palm oil free sticker from Rare Tee


Say NO to the Rodeo!

When someone hears the word cowboy they might picture the frontier days when men would lead their cattle for long distances and have to learn practical skills like roping to manage the herd. Today’s rodeos are a far cry from the old west, and everyone should take a closer look before they think about attending one.

Most people don’t understand that the majority of the animals used in rodeos such as bulls, broncos, steers, and calves are completely domesticated. (Besides the fact that every single rodeo will boast it has the wildest and meanest animals.) Since these animals are domesticated and not naturally aggressive, their wild behavior at the events is induced. Some animals have their tails twisted, while others receive shocks from electric prods. Rodeo participants say broncos will naturally buck, but this is a false statement. The horse only bucks in a rodeo because they tighten the “flank strap” that sits just below the rib cage. This pinches the horses abdomen, causing them to buck to try to remove it.

Most rodeos feature a calf roping event where “cowboys” show their ability to rope and tie up the baby calves in the shortest amount of time. These calves are usually no older than four to five months old. They are kept behind a gate where they have their ears and tails twisted by handlers until they are released. Racing out of the gate to escape the abuse, a “cowboy” will lasso the calves around their neck often snapping their heads back as they come to an abrupt stop. Participants then slam the babies to the ground and tie all four legs together. ESPN won’t even show this part of the calf roping event when it’s broadcasting a rodeo, it will always cut away before the calf is slammed to the ground.

Since these event are so rough on the animals, they are often suffer very serious injuries such as broken bones, fractured horns, torn ligaments, internal bleeding, and even severed spinal cords and tracheas. There are medics on site for humans, but Rhode Island is the only state that requires a veterinarian on site. This means most severely injured animals die due to lack of medical attention, and are then  sold to be slaughtered for human consumption. So think twice before attending this cruel event, and avoid supporting animal cruelty simply for entertainment and prize money.

What you can do:

  • Ask your lawmakers to enact stricter laws on rodeos that come to your area.
  • Educate others of the cruelties involved in rodeos.
  • Hold a ( peaceful) demonstration outside of a rodeo to make attendees aware of the brutality that goes on at the events.

Get a Rare Tee!                                 Like us on Facebook                            Follow us on Twitter

10 Reasons Why To Always Adopt and Never Buy.

Who doesn’t love a cute  animal? They are  adorable and thirty-nine percent of Americans consider them part of the family. But what a lot of people don’t know is how important it is to consider the source of where your animal companion comes from. Here are 10 reasons why you should always adopt an animal instead of buying one.


1. First and most importantly you will be saving a life. A life that would have otherwise been destroyed. Between 3 and 4 million dogs and cats are killed each year in shelters across America. More than half are owner surrenders. Only nineteen percent of Americans have adopted from shelters.

2. Your animal companion will be healthy. Most shelters and adoption organization give the animals  thorough exams and vaccinations. Most are spayed and neutered before being adopted, so shelters are packed with healthy animals waiting to find a loving home.  Many are screened for behavior and temperament  to find the perfect family for them.

3. It will make you feel great! Knowing that you saved a life will put a smile on your face. Shelter animals have an extraordinary appreciation for life and are sure to be your best friend for years to come.

4. You won’t be supporting puppy mills, pet stores, or breeders. Puppy mills are ghastly factory style facilities that always put profits above the welfare of the animals. Puppies are stacked on top of each other in small and poorly constructed cages. The breeding dogs are kept in a cage to give birth over and over again for years with no hope of finding a loving home. Once the animal can no longer give birth they are discarded by being abandon, killed, or auctioned off. Puppy Mills sell the animals to pet stores, over the internet, and in newspaper ads. They will sell a puppy to whoever is willing to pay for it and most buyers never see the conditions their puppy come from. Many puppies have behavioral  and health issues. Some issues won’t become apparent until later and can cost thousands of dollars in medical bills. Most people don’t know they are supporting an extremely cruel industry by purchasing an animal from a pet store, over the internet, or from a breeder.

5. By adopting you will decrease the demand to buy animals from pet stores and breeders. Most people have the insatiable desire to purchase a pure bred simply based on the misunderstanding that you can’t find a good dog at a shelter. There is a variety of dogs of all ages and sizes and some that are pure bred in shelters everywhere.


6. When it comes to exotic animals, it is advised to steer clear. Although, if you have the time and care for one of these animals there are adoption organizations for specific species. Wild exotic animals are hard to care for and need special attention. They need very specific diets, a controlled climate, and miles to roam which very few households can provide.

7. Owning an exotic pet is harmful to the animal. Stress, malnutrition, trauma, and behavioral disorders are all common in exotic animals kept as pets. Medical care can be extremely difficult, it is not easy to find a vet that will treat an exotic animal.

8. When people purchase an exotic animal, more often than not, they have no idea what they are getting into. Soon most realize that it is near impossible to meet the animals needs or they start to realize the cruelty of holding a wild animal captive. Faced with very few options the owners will often set the animal free. That animal can spread disease and kill the native wildlife or free roaming pets which disrupts the ecosystem. They are also very vulnerable because they are not in their natural habitat. It cost taxpayers large amounts of money to recapture or have an animal seized.

9. Most exotic pet owners do not think twice about where the animal may have come from. It is extremely difficult to breed most exotic animals in captivity. Even experts don’t understand what these animals need to survive. Most exotic animals are stolen from their native land and families. Pet trade is modern-day slavery, and the reason to blame for many species becoming endangered and threatened.

10. Be a part of the solution by not supporting pet trade. It is highly advised to avoid owning exotic animals. It is stressful for both animal and human.

I hope this information was helpful when choosing your next member of the family! Most importantly be kind to our animal friends!

Adopt from petfinder!

Find a shelter near you!

Get a Rare Tee!

Gulf Disaster Update 2: One Year Later

Photo from uctv

It’s been a year and a month since the Deep Horizon oil spill. While some have pushed it into the backs of their minds, others still worry about the long term damage the spill has caused. It may seem on the surface the water is clear, but it’s possible problems still lie beneath.

The Gulf ‘s health wasn’t in great shape before the spill either, it is a victim of human greed. There are other oil rigs and natural seepage, overfishing, and American farms and urban run-off cause massive dead zones because  it’s absorbed from the Mississippi river. Louisiana State University professor and oil spill veteran, Ed Overton, now gives the Gulf the same grade as before the spill, but surprises keep coming and the long term effects are still worrisome.

Wildlife Update:

(Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Initially wildlife was thought to be ok, but in recent months the amount of dead animals washing on shore would say otherwise. Many dolphins, mostly young and even fetal, have washed up on the beaches. Nearly 300 of them, which makes it four times more than the “normal” amount. Sea turtles and young whales have also been seen washed up dead on  beaches in Mississippi and Alabama. The sea turtles are endangered, and the amount washing up dead is seven times more than  “normal.”

In these two photos you can see oil smeared pelican eggs in the same place on May 22nd 2010 and on April 8th 2011. You can also see the erosion of shore line and loss of marsh grass and mangrove trees. (Gerald Herbert/AP)

Though the clumps of oil and huge rainbow-colored slicks are not there anymore, scientists are still worried about what’s under the water. Georgia researcher Samantha Joye, found dead patches on the sea bottom near the well that are covered in oil. This will probably mean bottom dwelling animals will be most vulnerable to long-term effects. She has taken photos of crabs suffocated from oil and brittle starfish, which are usually bright orange, now pale and dead.

Photo from AP

The Gulf still needs volunteers and wildlife help. It’s time to transition from rescue to restoration. Eco- system restoration is huge part, because the animals need clean and safe habitats to recuperate and thrive. Here is how you can help:


Volunteer in the Gulf

Raise Awareness

Back To Rare Tee

10 Reasons Why You Should Never Go to The Circus.

Some us have been to the circus before, but little of us know the dark side under the big top tent. Most patrons would never attend the circus again if they knew of the abuse they were paying for. Here are 10 reasons you should avoid circuses that use animals.

1.) Most of the animals used in circuses were captured from the wild  and taken from their natural habitats. Some babies are born on breeding farms and stolen from their mothers.

2.) Baby elephants are tethered with ropes, they fight to break free, and then give up in exhaustion.  They are kept in isolation until they start to fear their trainer’s.

3.) Elephants are beaten with bullhooks from the time they enter the circus. Bullhooks are used to force the animal to do tricks.

4.) Most elephants live their entire lives in the circus and then die in the circus. Ringling has four elephants who have spent 43 miserable years in their possession.

5.) Elephants and Big Cats are chained inside unsanitary and poorly ventilated boxcars for up to 26 hours straight. When the circus is traveling they can be forced to stay in the boxcars for up to 60- 70 hours straight.

The circus is advertised as a family event, but there is nothing wholesome about it.

6.) Tigers are beaten and struck with  sticks so they will perform hard and confusing tricks.

7.) “At least 26 elephants, including four babies, have died since 1992, including an 8-month-old baby elephant named Riccardo who was destroyed after he fractured his hind legs when he fell from a circus pedestal. Elephants are not the only animals with Ringling to suffer tragic deaths. In 2004, a 2-year-old lion died of apparent heat stroke while the circus train crossed the Mojave Desert.” Source

8.) Most circuses like Barnum & Bailey and Ringling Bros. fail to meet the minimal federal standards for the care of animals used in exhibition as established in the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

9.) When you buy  a ticket to the circus you are paying for captive animals to continue living a life of abuse.

10.) Attending the circus will only reinforce to others that it is ok to capture wild animals and force them into a life of human entertainment.

How you can help:

Write to the Secretary of Agriculture

Sign a Pledge

Start a Campaign

Contact your local and national legislators

Animal Free Circuses:

Cirque du Soleil

Cirque Eloize

The Bindlestiff Family Cirkus

Earth Circus

Fern Street Circus

New Shanghai Circus

Neil Goldberg’s Cirque

Mississippi Floods: Animals Seeking Higher Ground.

This spring has brought devastating floods to areas along the Mississippi river. Many families have been displaced and homes have been destroyed. , but the people are not the only ones feeling the effects of the rising waters. Wildlife and domesticated animals have also been displaced and sadly many have perished.

Photo from Reuters

       Here a snake swims through the flood waters in Holly Grove, Arkansas. Snakes can be a problem during flooding because they search for shelter in homes and sheds.  Most people who come in contact with snakes will just simply  destroy them, so the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is advising anyone who encounters a snake to wait it out or call to have it rescued

Photo from Reuters

     These cows are looking for higher ground as they trudge through the flood waters near Turner, Arkansas.  Wildlife has also needed rescuing such as deer, coyotes, and other ground animals. The wild turkeys have particularly had it the worst because this time of year they are nesting.  Most of them will be displaced or lost meaning countless new birds may not survive.

      Hundreds of cats and dogs have also needed rescue assistance. The HSUS has announced it will have a temporary shelter for up to 300 displaced and lost animals.

Here is how you can help flood victims, both humans and animals:

Help People through Red Cross

Help Animals through HSUS

Back to Rare Tee

Political unrest in Egypt. Animals in crisis.

Photo from Care2

In the past few weeks the TVs, newspapers, and the internet have been flooded with coverage of the protests in Egypt. The media has made the situation its headline story almost every evening this month.  But amongst all of the chaos we have heard little about Egypt’s other citizens…the animals.

Photo from Desert Living

Egypt’s animals are in crisis and  in dire need of help. Egyptian Society of Mercy to Animals seems to be the only source of up to date information on the conditions of non human animals in Egypt. ESMA is also the only organization in Egypt working hard to help rescue these animals and continue to care for the ones already in their shelter. The IFAW is helping Egyptian Society of Mercy to Animals by setting up a relief fund on their website.  According to ESMA an estimated 3,000 horses used to carry tourist to see the pyramids are starving and have been abandon. When the protests started, tourism stopped. Being their only source of income, they can not afford to feed them. Some owners couldn’t even reach the stables because roads were blocked during demonstrations. Street dogs and cats  being gassed alongside protesters.  People fleeing their homes leaving their animals behind in a panic. Some pet shops were closed for days with helpless animals inside.  Animals in zoos such as donkey’s and camels have been left alone to starve.  Egyptian Society of Mercy to Animals desperately needs help. If you would like to help you can donate here. Anything helps because ESMA operates solely on donations.  They are also in need of supplies at their shelter. Here is the list they provided for shelter items needed. They have a Facebook page where you can get the up to date info on the situation in Egypt. We wish all of Egypt’s citizens, human and non human, to be safe.


Back to Rare Tee.

Gulf Disaster Update:

Photo by Chris Graythen

General News

August 20th marked the fourth month since the Deep Horizon spill, but the people, wildlife, and economy are still drenched in its oily aftermath. BP is supposed to “kill” its well next month. While everyone is waiting patiently for it to be pronounced dead,  Interior Secretary, Kenneth Salazar guaranteed Gulf residents federal help for not just months, but for years to come. BP has agreed to fund a three-year study of the Gulf oil spill effects on fisheries in shore, near shore, and on the continental shelf. After four months some residents are slightly relived to see BP taking responsibility, but the question still looms: Is it enough?

Photo by Charlie Riedel, AF

Photo by Sean Gardner, Reuters

Wildlife News

Efforts to rescue and clean wildlife are slow and will take some time. There are organizations who’ do care about these animals and are doing their best to deploy volunteers where they are needed. Nature conservancy is working in partner with the coalition to restore coastal Louisiana, Barataria Terrebonne National estuary Program, National Wildlife Federation, and Audubon Society to put in place an effective volunteer response. National Wildlife Federation have organized teams of volunteers to study more than 10,000 miles of coastline. Volunteers will make daily visits to key sites to notify rehabilitation teams of oiled or injured wildlife, and look for signs of the spill in new areas.

Efforts to rescue marine mammals such as dolphins and sea turtles that are stranded are underway. Some boating captains involved in these rescues have reported that BP has been preventing their boats from coming into these areas to rescue the turtles.  BP uses a controlled burn technique to contain the spill, burning off any oil or marine life that may have been gathered inside the booms. This means the sea turtles were burned alive. Could this be destroying evidence, keeping liability down? The majority of sea turtles that were and are effected by the spill are a species called Kemp’s Ridley’s, which is listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Criminal penalties for harming one of these turtles is possible prison time and fines from $25,000- $50,000. For more information on this subject click here. If you live in the Gulf coast area and want to volunteer follow the link below for your region.