Ranging from ice cream to burgers, to cosmetics and apparel, seven companies were awarded this year for their "animal-friendly achievements" in the first ever "Proggy Awards" launched by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia-Pacific.
Among the winners were cosmetics retailer Beauty Bar for "Best Variety of Cruelty Free Products," Scents & Blends for "Best Animal-Friendly Scents," Bench, a clothing company, for "Best Animal-Friendly Retailer," and VNC for "Best Animal-Friendly Shoes and Bags."
Dubbed "animal-friendly fashion," these companies were chosen by PETA because their products are not tested on animals and are not made from animals. VNC and Bench, for example, only feature products made of pleather, a synthetic plastic fabric, used as a substitute for leather or animal hide.
"We believe there is no need to use the skins of animals because there are a lot of other compassionate alternatives. Products like leather, for example, look just as good as leather but don't fuel the slaughter industry which fuels the meat industry, and are actually cheaper," PETA campaign manager Rochelle Regodon said.
Those awarded for their vegan or vegetarian-friendly menus, meanwhile, were 70's Bistro for "Best Vegetarian-Friendly Bar," Good Burgers for "Best Veggie Burger," and Pazza Gelato in Rockwell for "Best Soy Ice-Cream." These restaurants and shops were recognized for their lactose-free and meat-free food selections, which are in line with PETA's campaign to promote vegetarianism as one of the ways to stop animal cruelty.
"Throughout history, and even medical studies show, that you can live healthily without eating animals. Studies show people who go on vegetarian diets can actually live 8 years longer. You're also doing better for the environment. Factory farming is actually the major cause of pollution in the environment, even more so than all the cars combined. So this is the best thing you can do for human health and for the environment," Regodon said.
The "Proggy Award" winners were given plaques and certificates and were featured in a page one PETA Asia-Pacific's website. The awards are in line with the organization's campaign to educate consumers about animal rights issues and provide them with resources to help animals, as well as to show alternatives to processes that hurt animals.
"We hope that the publicity that the companies get will also be a positive thing not just for consumers but other people as well in choosing cruelty-free products," Regodon said.
Although this is the first time that the "Proggy Awards," short for "Progressive Awards," was launched in the Philippines, Regodon said PETA has held a similar type of activity in the United States for three years now.
"The animal rights movement is expanding and this is our way to thank the people who pioneered and helped make this possible," Regodon said in a statement.
PETA, an animal rights group was established in 1980, reportedly operates under the principle that animals should not be eaten, worn, experimented on, or used for entertainment. It is the world's largest animal rights organization with more than 1.6 million members and supporters all over the globe.