So it just dawned on me that I'm not vegan anymore. My diet hasn't changed but I've been using wool longies and shorties on my ten month old son since he was born. Oh well, in a year or so he'll be in big boy pants and I will be a true vegan again....
Does anyone use woolies and still consider themselves vegan?
The clothing aspect is tough for me. I try to buy used and buy vegan whenever I can... I have a pair of Frye boots that I bought 8 years ago, which will probably last me another 50, they are indestructible... so glad I bout them before my vegan days! I have received wool/cashmere sweaters for Christmas, etc, from well-meaning grandparents and in-laws, and I wear them. DH and I buy second-hand clothes almost exclusively (I only get new ones for holidays/birthdays) and 95% of my wardrobe is cotton.
I DO want to be 100% vegan. That is my goal. I know I'm not there yet... but so far all the clothes I've bought for this baby (due in November) are vegan.
I've enjoyed reading the different responses. I love using woolies on my son because it breathes and keeps his butt clean even if he is wet ya know. Anyways if there was a vegan (an natural) equivalent I would opt for that but all the chemicals and plastics used for fleece just kind of scares me.
I still have all the wool (and lanolin) and leather items I owned before making the change and I'm not gonna lie that I'm glad I have them. I also don't have huge feelings about buying those items second hand if you really need them.
But while I use the term vegan a lot to give people an idea of where I'm coming from there are things I do that other vegans would not agree with, like eating honey or even fish occasionally and not have a problem with silk (though I don't own any that I know of).
If it's used, I will use / buy it. My point is to not perpetuate the torture...I would never buy a new pair of leather boots, I would never buy a new shirt made by little Indonesian children...if it's in an op-shop, I don't worry about where it's coming from...I'm not supporting the cause of the manufacturer, I'm supporting the little op-shop. Being wasteful is not my game. I have a pair of leather boots that I got out of a dumpster 10 years ago (born vegan...I've eaten meat twice in my life...otherwise, I've always considered myself to be vegan) and I have no shame in wearing them...
Very few people will ever be 100% vegan...I forget exactly what I'm talking about, but something about items transported in trucks...the item might be vegan, but the process is not, even if indirectly...movie theater screens are not vegan...I don't need perfection, as long as I know that I'm doing my best to help my cause. I have a necklace of cat teeth...a deer tooth on a string...one other tooth...a fox tail...some sort of bird foot, too. Did I kill the animals? Nope. Did I rip the teeth out of their mouths, or take a knife to their bodies? Nope. Did I pick up these items and choose to display them in honor? I sure did...just like I have three small canisters of (human) friends' ashes that I wear around my neck. I still consider myself to be vegan...even with cat teeth dangling about my throat...I didn't participate in the act of torture, but I felt compelled to in some way honor these animals. I would never buy an animal tooth...or a rabbit foot...or anything like that though...nor would I sell the items I have...that, in my opinion, is not vegan. I don't believe that animal consumption is ever vegan...both the opossum and the dog I ate were already dead, I did not purchase them, I did not kill them...I still ate them and that's not cool, not vegan.
It's all very complicated when you get into it and you just have to make your own decisions.
I recently started having some pretty serious problems with my feet, and to delay surgery I had to get custom orthotics to wear in my shoes. They're covered in leather. The doctor also recommended wearing Birkenstocks. The vegan ones didn't feel comfortable to me, so I bought a pair of leather ones. I'm sure there are other medical choices I may have to make that aren't exactly vegan. I know I'm not perfect, and most other people aren't either. I'm just doing the best I can.
I usually do not buy leather or wool although I too did buy wool diaper covers for my baby. I also use wool hand-me-down sweaters. I figure that eating animals products is the main problem. We have to eat three times each day. A wool diaper cover can last for many a year if the users are careful with it.
I am vegan, and I use wool. I also treat coughs with honey. Does that ruin my "vegan-ness?" I don't know. But I would rather that than buy synthetic fabrics laced with chemicals or give my kid Sudafed. To me, these are the lines where people start thinking vegans are radical nuts instead of people with a solid dietary habit, regard for the environment and committed to a compassionate life. Yes, my woolies are produced organically and sustainably, and by people I actually know. My honey? Raw, from the hive on the farm of our CSA. It's ethical and logical. I don't care if I DO have to turn in my "vegan" card.
Edited by NatureMom2Two - 7/24/11 at 7:50pm
Just wanted to let you gals know I have loved reading some of these responses:) I love being vegan but am not a militant straight edge gal! I really prefer taking the natural route even if it isn't vegan when the only alternative is a totally synthetic product. I have fallen in love with second hand vintage wrap dresses this summer and found out they were silk but will keep wearing them none the less after all they are made out of recycled dresses and then sold to someone who then sells it to me... Also thanks to this thread I have begun to eat raw honey again:) I've researched into agave syrup and it doesn't seem to be too natural after all. I love the way these threads get me thinking and make me look deeper into things than I have before. Much love.
Exactly, mamayogi. I went vegan, in large part, out of concern for the environment and my family's health. I agree that agave is essentially glorified corn syrup. My honey is from people who keep low-stress bees and never source them out during winter months. They treat the hive with respect, and the honey is raw with the propolis and comb intact. Much better, in my mind, than a processed sugar substitute, vegan or not. It's really about being mindful of your decisions. If you buy a beautiful, vintage second-hand silk dress, you've not done the world a bit of harm.
The concept of pure veganism is one I spend a lot of time thinking about. How is it better for the environment or animals for me to get my protein from soy or wheat that was grown thousands of miles away in fields that displace native wildlife, being watered by irrigation systems that deplete natural aquifers, on land that has been stripped of nutrient so that (probably) animal based, even if it's organic, fertilizer must be added, that must be trucked to me using thousands of gallons of fossil fuel than for me to raise my own chickens, interact with them daily, feed them vegetables I grow myself using their own waste as fertilizer, and eat their eggs? (Wow, hello run on sentence!) Similarly with dairy, is it better to drink soy milk than to purchase raw cow's milk from a neighbor on my road? There is no "right" answer to either of these situations and because of that after more than a decade of being strictly vegan I have given up on the word as a concept.
Do not fret about being a "true vegan". You are obviously living consciously and that is more important than any label anyone can give you.
I do the best I can,which is all you can hope for. Before I moved out of the country (US to Denmark),I only bought vegan things or,if they were from animal,it was only vintage clothes. Now,I find that it's so difficult to be picky because i don't have all the options I used to have. I very well may end up clothing my baby in wool,especially if others buy it for us not knowing. I will try my best not to,baby clothes tend to be a bit easier because so much is made from cotton,but who knows. In January,when our son arrives,I will begin that part of my journey. My best advice to you is to not sweat it. Do the best you can,anything you do is better than nothing. Most people don't even care a bit about what they use or eat,so you're already way ahead of the game.
So glad to hear from so many level-headed vegans!! I have to say we have been making the transition to vegan slowly since my husband became lactose intolerant and when my son had bad eczema from the cheese/dairy in my diet and while doing my research online it is very off putting to come across all the holier than though vegans who go over board. This is one of the many reasons we refer to ourselves as 'wannabegans' because I don't like the labels to begin with and don't really see the point other than to point out to everyone you come in contact with that you are superior to them because you've made this choice. I'm glad to know that there are vegans out there that think about it rationally!!
So many great responses already, so I don't have much to add. Except that I went vegan shortly after my first baby was born and was very militant about veganism for a good 6 years. My first two babies, I only used diaper covers like bummis and polyester fleece. Besides getting stinky and leaking more than wool (and thus being generally less effective), they were full of chemicals and also were less eco by being produced new.
By my third baby, my priority had shifted to avoiding chemicals and living as clean as possible, so I decided that wool was okay if I bought it used, because used is always, ALWAYS better for the environment, if only because we aren't paying a company to produce more "stuff". And better for the environment is better for the inhabitants of Earth as well, including sheep, and people. I used wool exclusively with baby number 3, and I will now with baby number 4.
It's easy to find lots of lovely wool used on various FSOT boards, or by buying sweaters at Goodwill and making my own covers. I even am using "used" lanolin from FSOT to lanolize the woolies (I put up an ISO for people's opened/out of date/parital tubes of Lansinoh).
I do still consider myself vegan, but it doesn't bother me if other people don't.
I'm not here to make anyone feel bad, or put anyone down. However, as a vegan, I personally wouldn't buy wool products, used or not. The thing you need to look at with used products is that you are perpetuating the idea that animal products are "okay" to use. If you are vegan primarily for health or environmental reasons, this obviously won't matter as much to you. But if you are vegan for ethical reasons, it is something to think about.
I see something like leather as very different than wool. Animals have to be killed to produce leather but sheep are simply shorn to get their wool. I have bought a lot of my wool from farmer friends and their sheep (and alpacas for that matter) have not been hurt in any way to provide the wool. The manufacturing process for polyester is anything but environmentally friendly or local so I feel that using something natural, simple and local is a more ethical choice for my family.
I agree with other posters that the bigger environmental picture is important to me - more important than being able to label myself as anything. I would rather purchase local raw honey from friends (it does help to live in a rural area!) than organic sugar that has been shipped thousands of miles. I will clothe myself and my children in simple wool over polyester any day.
I suppose all of this makes me more of a vegetarian than a vegan.