Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Ethics of Veganism – A Question

December 9, 2013 by  
Filed under Going Green, Lita's Full Blog

before you begin reading, you should be warned this post is a departure from my typical posts…..now, please continue…

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Guilt vs. Practicality…

….that’s kinda what I’m talking about here today…and I’d love some input on this dilemma and where guilt (if determined) should be placed and the thoughts of other vegans / new vegans, and, well, anyone actually.

So, I’ve been a “developing” vegan for a few years now. I also am a minimalist in progress. Which means, over the past couple of years, each season, I remove items that have not been used (or are no longer needed) from my possessions. I pass these items along to others either directly or though donating them.

BUT, there are some items that I’ve had for years now, that I use often, that I purchased “pre-vegan” that I wouldn’t buy today, and that I question getting rid of because of well, their practicality.

Now, feeling as a somewhat “compassionate” vegan, I wonder if other “newbie-vegans” feel the same way?

Example, I have these black boots….um, yes, they are made from leather. They were bought in the “pre-vegan” years – purchased on sale even. Now, I’m not excessive, I don’t have a gagillion pairs of boots – I have in fact 4 pairs. 1 black pair (the ones I’ve mentioned), 1 brown pair that were handed down to me, 1 waterproof pair (vegan) and 1 pair of Uggs….which we’ll discuss further down in this post.

So, this black pair (made of leather – that I would not buy today, which I’ve had for years and years now and which I wear quite often (for warmth and style AND comfort) and which are nowhere near being ready for the recycle heap…well, do I just keep wearing them? I would feel very frivolous and very wasteful if I got rid of them.

Let’s just say, they were bought before I was “enlightened” and joined the vegan world. So, what would other “vegans” do? I’m curious.

I mean it’s not an “end-of-the-world” decision, but it is something I give thought and concern to. If I didn’t actually wear them (use them) well, then the answer would be obvious. But I do wear them…they keep me warm and they serve a purpose.

Next, the Ugg’s. Oh my goodness, yes, I’ve seen the recent posts about the horrors of Ugg’s. Well, I haven’t read them in detail, mainly because I can tell they would be absolutely traumatic to read, but again, these Ugg’s that I own (my only pair) were bought 20 (yes, 20) years ago. My hubby (Pops) bought them for me then, when, I would spend hours and hours on Northern California beaches (with very cold feet) as he was in the water surfing. I still own and wear them. They are, in fact, in a color that few would recognize as being Ugg’s – they don’t even offer this color now, or in the past (many) years. Again, I still wear them – they keep my feet warm. I’ve taken care of them and question the ethics of getting rid of something that I would then, somehow, have to replace.

Are these the common questions of recent veganism converts?

Is it reasonable to just dispose of items you have (and use) because of your change in beliefs – even if other beliefs conflict with these (i.e. eco-friendly, minimalist, wasteful, being-green) beliefs?

I’ll admit it…I’m not perfect…never have been and most-likely never will be. I have drawn lines in the sand though….lines I believe in….especially in my vegan beliefs. I encourage others to love, care for and show compassion for other living creatures. I am not outspoken though, in fact, I strive to show others what I believe in through my actions believing if a person is aware enough to be paying attention, then they will see…. and those who are not, well, they’re probably not ready to see anyways. (The only way that seems to work for me also).

I also admit I used to be more of a “shopper”, an excessive purchaser, a frivolous spender of funds…but I strive to be more conscious, more ethical, more “green” and yes, more vegan.

Is there a place and some compassion in the vegan and eco-friendly and minimalistic world for someone like me?? Is there room to also be human and flawed?

There, I’ve confessed my sins…and shared my dilemmas….

What is my penance?

I’d love the input and comments on this….please be kind.

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Comments

3 Responses to “The Ethics of Veganism – A Question”
  1. 1
    Kimberly says:

    Hanging in my closet and sitting on my closet floor are a beautiful handmade matching set of the most gorgeous brown Italian leather boots and purse. My husband bought them for me while on a business trip to Genoa, Italy. He has not the slightest clue that I wouldn’t buy them for myself because they are made of animal flesh. Now, I’m not Vegan. I’m not even Vegetarian. But I don’t want to contribute to the over production of animal slaughter. Unfortunately, it’s a thriving business but I do my part to be a “minimalist” about it. I eat meat, but not regularly. I do wear the purse and boots, because they are very thoughtful and gracious gifts, not only from my husband but of the animal who was sacrificed. In Italy, all parts of the cow/cattle/bull is used, none wasted and that is admirable if such a practice is going to exist. What is done is done. Handing them along won’t change that. I think it’s natural for humans to eat meat, to use animals to serve us. It seems to run in our heritage in all cultures. The problem is, as we grow as humans and gain knowledge, we find that we become lazy and excessive. No longer needing animals to keep us alive, we thrive on their flesh. No longer needing their fur, we thrive on their luxury. And so forth. The excessive is what bothers me to the core. For example, I heat my house and no longer need to hunt a fur to keep me warm and survive harsh winters. So that feat should be eliminated, but it’s not. Fur is still fashion. If leather were eliminated, I’m sure we’d be just fine as humans, but it’s not. Everytime I use my purse and wear my boots, I do think of this and I do feel guilt. There’s just no way I can get rid of them and not be a hypocrite, oh yea, and not hurt the feelings of my husband! So I comfort my mind in telling myself that I’m not perfect and I’m not a human who excessively thrives on animal products. I give myself a Free Pass on this one. I think you should too! What’s done is done and harmful intention is not at all who you are. Besides, practicality isn’t a bad thing and neither is having a conscience about the animal who became your boots.

  2. 2
    Kizz says:

    Seems to me, and I’m not vegan, that it would be more of an insult to the animal not to wear the items until they all but fall apart, you know? The damage has been done so it’s important to honor it by not being wasteful.
    Kizz recently posted..Feeling Understood

  3. 3
    Lita says:

    Thanks so much for your reassuring comment – I truly appreciate it! I definitely wouldn’t want to be wasteful at this point. Hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season!