Do Batteries Contain Gelatin? (If They Do, Are They Vegan?)

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Instead of taking a hard look at themselves, a lot of people try to discredit vegans, to justify their positions.

One of the latest arguments that I’ve seen popping up is:

Batteries contain gelatin, so if a vegan uses a battery, they’re hypocrites.

Let’s start with the first part, do batteries in fact contain gelatin?

It’s hard to find a good source for this.

The most common statement I’ve seen is: “Gelatin is used in metal processing to improve metal’s structure, such as cadmium in batteries.”

This appears to come from a book called Veganissimo. Honestly, as someone with common sense (and a chemical engineering degree), that single quote isn’t very convincing that the author understands what they’re writing about.

In addition, I found a single research paper that described testing gelatin “as a water-soluble binder for sulfur-based electrodes.”

Is gelatin used in some batteries? It definitely could be, but I have no idea what percentage of batteries would use it, and I couldn’t find any sort of credible source for the claim.

Can Vegans Use Batteries if They Contain Gelatin?

Questions like this always relate back to the general definition of veganism.

The Vegan Society defines it as:

Veganism is a way of living that seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing and any other purpose.

Almost anything we buy has some sort of negative effect on others, either directly or indirectly.

For many, batteries are part of our everyday lives (for computers, phones, smoke detectors, etc.) and are often needed for work.

It’s not possible or practical to avoid them, which is why it’s completely reasonable for vegans to use batteries

It’s also not possible to know if gelatin is used in the batteries you own (not exactly common information).

As more people go vegan, product information in niche cases like these will become more available, and clearly vegan substitutes will be developed.

About the author

Dale C.

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance writer. Trying to do my small part in making the world better by writing about the wonderful world of veganism.

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