A committed vegan has put her money where her mouth is - and spent more than $8,000 to fit out her new car with a vegan interior.
Rhea Bindra - who was born in India and is resident in Dubai - decided to buy a Lexus NX 200 T four-wheeler, but hers has a twist.
The interior is crafted from vegan leather, the lamps are LED (rather than standard Xenon) and the inner panelling is made from recycled wood.
Against animal cruelty
Bindra, who has been vegan for a year, says: "I am averse to animal cruelty and have decided not to consume or use by-products of animals. Now I am off meat, leather, eggs, dairy products, honey, fur, silk, wool or cosmetics and soaps that use animal fat.
"One has to think vegan to be vegan and use vegan products only. The good news is that there are a number of options in the market today.
"For a population of seven billion people in the world, 50-60 billion animals and 2.1 trillion marine life are killed every year for their meat, dairy and factory farming.
"These exclude animals killed in labs for testing or those killed for sports. If this is not sad enough, cows are artificially impregnated to produce milk to meet world consumption."
Bindra has convinced her whole family to become vegans too. Her mother Preeti says: "We are Punjabis and meat eaters originally. Going vegan has been a huge lifestyle change. Luckily the UAE is a vegan-friendly place and there are many things you can pick up off the shelves.
"It’s not hard to replicate Indian food with a vegan cuisine. Similarly, it’s easy to prepare Thai dishes in vegan style – one only has replace the fish sauce with a vegetarian one and creams with a coconut-based one. Italian food is also easy to prepare the vegan way.
"The pasta can be eggless and prepared using vegetables like asparagus, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, paprika and basil. Milk can be replaced with almond, rice or soya milk. Yoghurt also can be made from coconut."
Her customised car is just part of her Bindra's vegan lifestyle. She has also approached online shoe manufacturer Cazr to create cruelty-free footwear.
Sundeep Sen, who runs Czar, says: "[The shoe] is made of velvet from cotton – not silk. The inner sole is of rexine (artificial leather).
"It is old thinking that if something is vegan, it is not of good quality. But thanks to people like Rhea that concept is changing."