Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A good point of Converse-ation?

So, I got some new shoes! Vegan shoes ^_^ I love Converse but haven't had a pair in years. I've had canvas Addidas ones for ages and I loved them but there are holes in them now because I've worn them so much. I still have a few pairs of leather shoes (Nikes, Golas, Adios) and I do feel a bit of a hypocrite when I wear them. But just because I'm vegan am I going to throw away all my old shoes and belts? In a way, to me, that would be even worse, like an animal had died in vain. I know a vegan who has her favourite pair of shoes (leather) re-heeled, she has had these shoes for years, and I think this is a good and considerate thing to do. This also raises the question that if I found a really nice pair of shoes in a charity shop, would I buy them if they had some leather on them? I think I would, because I don't really see how recycling someone else's cast-offs can be so bad. Just like I wouldn't mind buying a jumper or a hat made from wool if I came across a second hand item somewhere and the profit went to a charitable organisation. Of course, I would totally draw the line at an old item made from fur, sheepskin, etc. even if it was handed to me for free! Some things just *aren't right*.

It's hard to know where to draw the line when you're a vegan, especially when I only really started out being a dietary vegan for health reasons... but the longer you're a vegan the more you begin to realise that there is no end to the evil in this world, and no matter how hard you try to buy totally cruelty free, there are going to be mistakes you make without even realising it :(


  1. I'm fascinated by your comment about wool. Sheep need to be shorn every year or they can overheat and die. I understand the objection to leather and sheepskins, but the wool puzzles me.

    Incidentally, I completely agree with the point about reusing other people's items - you;re cutting down on waste AND giving money to a good cause.

  2. Hi Jo! I totally understand where you're coming from. In fact, I don't actually really comprehend the whole wool debate myself in all honesty. There are two main factors for vegans to be concerned about though:

    1. There are certain breeds of sheep that have been especially bred for their wool, meaning that if they aren't shorn then they definitely WILL overheat and die. Imagine sheep before humans became involved - they wouldn't just keel over and die because a human wasn't there to shear them when the weather got a bit hotter! There is also a huge industry of sheep farming in Australia, where a lot of wool and sheepskin comes from. These animals are bred to have especially wrinkled skin (more wool & skin this way, see) and of course flies get in between the wrinkles, lay their eggs, and the sheep get eaten alive! Farmers have been known to literally cut chunks of flesh out of their sheep to get rid of these maggots! more info here: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2010/01/pulling-the-wool-over-our-eyes-gary-smith/

    2. All vegans believe that animals should not really be there to "serve" humans. Now in my eye, I do not really see much harm in someone keeping a cow for a bit of natural milk/cheese/yoghurt if they desire and do not hurt the animal. I mean, it's unrealistic in a way to expect the world to suddenly change and for animals to have equal rights. Most HUMANS don't have equal rights to other humans for Christ's sake!! :-0 So the way I see it is they should be treated with respect and not harmed in any way. Vegans would normally avoid wool because it HAS generally come from a large industry where the sheep ARE generally just "used" / abused.

    So there's my explanation! Of course, there are small farms like yours and this is obviously the way to go.

    I started out as a dietary vegan (hence this blog is mainly a food one), for my own health and my own beliefs. I was hardly ever very preachy or worried about what other people thought of me, or worried that I'd believe in one aspect of veganism and discard another... but as time has gone on, I've realised that there's some awful things going on in this world that need to be stopped, and I need to let people know what they can do to help! But I do recognise that there are a lot of kinder, more ethical farmers out there, and some products/food ARE fully traceable, so I advise my boy to buy these things as he is not a vegan or even a vegetarian :) x

  3. It just threw me, that's all. :)

    Of course, there is the counter point that although you are quite right in that the moulting gene has been bred out of sheep, the fact remains that the majority of sheep would become extremely unhealthy if we stopped shearing them, and since the alternative is a mass slaughter of all sheep, shearing them once a year has got to be a better solution for the present, regardless of the past.

    Sorry, just playing devil's advocate!


  4. No worries, I like to discuss these things and get different people's opinions. To be honest I'm pretty new to the whole "animal cruelty" aspect of veganism. I don't know much about it at all and every new thing I find out does shock me, seeing as growing up in rural wales (getting eggs from our own chickens, growing our own veg, buying homemade cakes from the W.I. sales, eating locally produced honey and getting meat from local resources) things were nowhere near as bad as what they are when you look at the bigger picture of things. At first I just went vegan for more selfish reasons - my own health - but I guess since having lived in a couple of cities my eyes have been opened a lot more to the way people behave and bad things that go on in the world. And I don't just mean in regards to animals, but to humanity in general. Even how people treat eachother on a daily basis. Very disheartening!!