any other VEGANS struggling with waldorf? - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 29 Old 04-05-2007, 06:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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my husband and i have been vegan for 2 years. he's a waldorf teacher. we like unschooling for our own kids but we incorporate much of the waldorf lifestyle and childhood ideal into our lives.

we're pretty darn strict as far as veganism goes. we will use a few animal products second-hand, such as, i harvest wool from second-hand sweaters for diaper covers, but i don't use lanolin, and i just decided not to do the harvesting anymore either since i've discovered that cotton works just as well. we get second-hand modeling beeswax from my husband's school whenever they buy a new batch, and we feel ok using that. (being vegan is just one aspect of a larger worldview and lifestyle for us. it's not so much about exploitation for us as health, cruelty, and being gentle on the earth. recycling is *always* gentle on the earth and it doesn't hurt anyone to use something second-hand. so please don't attack me for it. ) and other people have given us play silks and we feel ok about that too, since it's not *our* money supporting the industry. (and i make my own playcloths out of thin muslin hand-dyed - which is just as good, so we're phasing out the silks by passing them on.)

we really struggle within the waldorf community because we won't buy leather, wool, beeswax, or silk firsthand. i'm really annoyed that i want to buy my son one of those beautiful waldorf dolls but they're all stuffed with wool. i love felting but i guess it's imposible without wool. everything is about silk. and beeswax. "natural" materials. now, we love natural materials, like wood, hemp, bamboo, organic cotton, etc. but there isn't as much impression on those (except wood) in the waldorf world. there's a lot of pressure on us to conform, *especially* my husband. what's a vegan to do? how have other waldorf-y vegans dealt with this issue?
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#2 of 29 Old 04-05-2007, 11:39 AM
 
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Could you find some local wool raised by someone who has sheep as a hobby? If they are keeping the sheep more as friends than livestock I don't think the wool would be exploitive. I know someone like that where I work

I did have some anthroposophist friends who were very strict in their vegetarianism and I can remember that they did not wear leather shoes, but I can't remember anything else, as it was many, many years ago.

You need to keep educating people. For most folks, waldorf or not, the questions you are raising have never been considered at all. I can recall being shocked the first time someone explained that they only used raw silk because the worms are boiled to get the regular silk. The idea that someone would be concerned about the death of silkworms surprised me the first time I heard it, but now I can understand where they are coming from (although I am still okay with silk). You don't have to convert people, just wake them up enough so they don't hassle you over it.

Good luck. It is hard being different.

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#3 of 29 Old 04-05-2007, 04:37 PM
 
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I'm not Vegan but I do have a problem with the more dogmatic side of Waldorf. So you've got my support there! As far as how I deal with it when my personal choices don't fit the Waldorf ideal...Well they're my choices. Basically I'm a live and let live type (unless someone is being hurt) and I don't get too close to folks who are unable to also live and let live.

But anyway, I think Deborah's got a good idea on the wool. Can you just use humanely gotten organic wool?

Or are you using no animal products at all, regardless of whether or not animals were well treated etc? That makes it harder. You could make a doll using organic cotton and hemp. I bet you could also find one to buy on line if making dolls isn't you thing .

If you wanted, you could use clay for modeling or homemade playdough. I think the idea that wool or beeswax is somehow better than cotton or clay is a bunch of hooey. Different, yes. But not better.

So I guess I think anyone who's giving you a hard time about what kind of natural materials you are using in your own home in your own life...needs to step back. Why don't they go give a hard time to the guy who throws garbage out his back door?

If you have the patience and understanding to educate folks a bit that's wonderful. But you don't owe anyone an explanation for being vegan.

Thanks for living such a low impact lifestyle! I appreciate and admire it!
Good luck!
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#4 of 29 Old 04-05-2007, 07:39 PM
 
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Please don't even be tempted to compromise your values.

Michael Howard once shared at a workshop that there is absolutely nothing in Steiner indications to support that beeswax is better than clay. In fact, he seems to advocate for using clay instead of beeswax.

I once flew off the vegan wagon because of pressure from the anthros around me who told me I needed "warmth" and "ground" in my diet. Sally Fallon's traditions certainly did not nourish me. They made me ill and I gained a lot of weight. I'm back on a mostly vegan diet now and feeling myself again. I will never let another's pressure trump my own inner wisdom, especially regarding what to put in my own temple.

Read Dr. Joel Fuhrman if you get a chance. Somewhere I read his suggestion to "run" from Sally Fallon and others who make similar dietary claims. Now that I have my health back, I agree.

Eat your veggies! :-)
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#5 of 29 Old 04-06-2007, 02:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I once flew off the vegan wagon because of pressure from the anthros around me who told me I needed "warmth" and "ground" in my diet. Sally Fallon's traditions certainly did not nourish me. They made me ill and I gained a lot of weight. I'm back on a mostly vegan diet now and feeling myself again. I will never let another's pressure trump my own inner wisdom, especially regarding what to put in my own temple.
amen to that, sister. i can't even begin to describe the pressure on me to capitulate to that disgusting diet. i don't even consider it because i've analyzed it very closely (as a graduate student of naturopathy completing a holistic nutrition program). it's crap, the research is crap, and everyone i know who tries it looks like crap, feels like crap, and buries themselves in a crap-load of debt. i hate to say it, but IME those people running the WAPF and spreading all that scary disinformation are so hateful and negative. i'm a vegan, and pretty strong in my vegan values, for myself, but i would never presume to tell someone else that they must eat the way i do or suffer the consequences. i recognize different needs and different priorities across the spectrum and i respect that, even if i don't always agree with it. for me, being a vegan is just one aspect of a much gentler life, so calling the vegan police on other people or demanding certain things of them or saying nasty things about them because they don't eat like i do does not fit in with that. i do believe that diet itself is crap and if asked, i'll say so, but i won't make personal attacks on the WAPFers the way i constantly see them do to other people. :

ok, sorry for the vent. i deal with those people on a daily basis and they really get to me sometimes. i mean, hey, they think i'm wrong, and i think they're wrong, and that's cool, but i don't tell them how evil and nasty they are and call them child abusers for feeding their kids raw liver instead of breastmilk, the way i've been called a child abuser for not giving my kids cow's milk or brain soup...ya know?

just as a disclaimer...i don't really fault the people who follow the WAPF diet so much because they make a very convincing argument, especially if you don't recognize that all of their "research" is just them quoting each other, and especially if they're just telling you what you want to hear. my vent is mainly aimed at the people running the foundation and those truly angry WAPF zealots that i run across on a daily basis. it really makes me wonder what's in all that meat and dairy they're eating that makes those people so mad?
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#6 of 29 Old 04-06-2007, 02:18 AM
 
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I thought the reason for using beeswax as opposed to clay is that beeswax is warm while clay is cold. Clay is cold. It removes the heat from your hands. Wool is used for warmth also but I think it would be more easily replaced with hemp or cotton. Many people who do keep sheep or alpacas often gather the wool that is left on bushes. The animals will naturally lose much of their wool in the spring as it warms up.
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#7 of 29 Old 04-06-2007, 12:47 PM
 
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i'm really annoyed that i want to buy my son one of those beautiful waldorf dolls but they're all stuffed with wool.
I really think you could make a Waldorf doll with other materials. It may hold up a bit differently, but if you stuffed it tightly, I think you could achieve the same effect.

Check out your local fiber shops that teach spinning. They should have large supplies of various fibers (i.e. organic cotton). You could also find a farmer who has sheep who will let you walk his fields. It is not uncommon to use the bits of wool that get stuck on fences from when the sheep walk by for felting - but why not for doll making as well?

I know you can buy organic cotton jersey for doll skin - but you could just as easily recycle a tee shirt. Yarn for hair and embroidery floss are easy enough to come by using recycling measures.

I think you can do it!
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#8 of 29 Old 04-06-2007, 05:06 PM
 
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Earthmother123 wrote:
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just as a disclaimer...i don't really fault the people who follow the WAPF diet so much because they make a very convincing argument, especially if you don't recognize that all of their "research" is just them quoting each other, and especially if they're just telling you what you want to hear. my vent is mainly aimed at the people running the foundation and those truly angry WAPF zealots that i run across on a daily basis. it really makes me wonder what's in all that meat and dairy they're eating that makes those people so mad?
I'm going to have to look into this. Sounds like an interesting approach. I have The Fourfold Path to Healing at my library, bought to fill a patron request. I guess I should read it and decide if this dietary approach makes sense or not.

Rudolf Steiner, of course, recommended that people on a spiritual path consider vegetarianism. He favored the use of dairy products, but only from cows who eat fresh grass in healthy pastures.

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#9 of 29 Old 04-06-2007, 05:08 PM
 
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In terms of recycling, sometimes yard sales or church sales have wool yarn for sale at a low price. Yarn can be chopped up and used for stuffing. I've gotten lovely yarn at ridiculous prices this way. For example, four skeins of blue sport weight wool for $1.00--all four skeins for $1.00.

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#10 of 29 Old 04-06-2007, 06:18 PM
 
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Wow. I didn't know waldorf was that strict about all the specific materials for kids. We're vegan too, and I'd love to see our house filled with beautiful natural toys - vegan or recycled would be great. Although, I don't think my child would feel the same way about this esthetic.

Pretty much all of the toys are gifts. The few things that we've made for our children are always vegan. This week we dyed wooden beads with cabbage, tomato, grass and onions (instead of eggs). My dp makes toys out of wood and metal. I'd love to recycle some wool for a doll or rugs or something - that's a good idea.

But the truth is that most of our toys just aren't made of these whole, natural materials at all. People give us tons of plastic. As long as it doesn't make annoying noises, we use them for awhile, and then pass them on. My son's current favorite is a plastic Disney goofy doll. He has never seen a Disney movie, so he loves goofy in a way that he has made up himself. He'll spend hours making goofy bake bagels, take naps, go swimming, tell stories. I personally don't think the unnatural or vegan-alternative materials themselves are harmful, it's more the way the child interacts with them that's important.

For about a month, my son had a phase where his favorite thing to do was to collect "old pieces." He liked to go on walks, or stop by the side of the road when we drove somewhere, and find all the stuff that people threw out of their car windows - old cds, broken headlights, old paint cans, broken pens, plastic cards - trash really. Yet these toys were so important to him, and he learned so much from them. He made sculptures, different "machines," presents for people...They definitely weren't made of beautiful materials to me, but they were beautiful to him. If someone said that he would be better off playing with beeswax and leather, I wouldn't believe them.
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#11 of 29 Old 04-06-2007, 06:54 PM
 
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At a waldorf talk, one of the parents asked with great embarrasment about their child's plastic doll. The speaker smiled and said: "Your child has redeemed the doll by loving it."

So go Goofy!

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#12 of 29 Old 04-06-2007, 06:59 PM
 
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those truly angry WAPF zealots that i run across on a daily basis. it really makes me wonder what's in all that meat and dairy they're eating that makes those people so mad?
Lol, I'm not that bad, am I?
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#13 of 29 Old 04-07-2007, 04:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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oh katie...did you say something mean and then remove it?

my apologies again for my vent RE: zealous WAPers. that wasn't very peaceful of me, was it? it's just very frustrating to me to be involved with the waldorf community, which i love so much otherwise, but have this one thing. just the other day, i told one of the parents that i get donated breastmilk when she gave me a funny look for giving my daughter a bottle when i'm pretty obviously AP, and she started quizzing me on this friend's diet, and was basically horrified that i really don't know what she eats...i'm just grateful for every bottle i can give my daughter that doesn't have formula in it. she went on and on about how important it is for me to make sure that this friend's diet is "good enough" to produce "adequate milk" and if it's not, there's this awesome book that will tell me how to make my own from really nutritious ingredients...i was trying so hard to just be polite but ultimately i just said, hey thanks! and walked away. it's very frustrating. it's hard enough not being able to breastfeed without having people on all sides of me telling me that i'm handling it the wrong way...my in-laws that tell me that i'm probably giving my daughter diseases by letting her drink a stranger's milk, other people who give me dirty looks for feeding her with a bottle, like i'm just another mom who doesn't care enough to do it, etc. sigh.

we get tons of plastic too. my son is not terribly impressed with it, though. we have lots of very beautiful waldorf toys and i believe he can tell the difference. we've found a couple of websites with reasonably priced waldorf toys, plus we get a discount through my husband's school, so we're pretty lucky. when he gets yucky toys, we keep them around for a few days and then donate them when he loses interest (which is pretty much immediately).

i really recommend harvesting wool, for those who aren't opposed to using it second-hand. it's a bit of work but worth it. i've found some really beautiful wool sweaters at the thrift store that make equally beautiful diaper covers, hats and toys.

i've decided that i'm just going to crochet my son a waldorf doll myself. waldorf dolls are supposed to be simple so it should be easy. i don't know how to sew...yet...but this should work.
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#14 of 29 Old 04-07-2007, 05:18 AM
 
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oh katie...did you say something mean and then remove it?

my apologies again for my vent RE: zealous WAPers. that wasn't very peaceful of me, was it? it's just very frustrating to me to be involved with the waldorf community, which i love so much otherwise, but have this one thing. just the other day, i told one of the parents that i get donated breastmilk when she gave me a funny look for giving my daughter a bottle when i'm pretty obviously AP, and she started quizzing me on this friend's diet, and was basically horrified that i really don't know what she eats...i'm just grateful for every bottle i can give my daughter that doesn't have formula in it. she went on and on about how important it is for me to make sure that this friend's diet is "good enough" to produce "adequate milk" and if it's not, there's this awesome book that will tell me how to make my own from really nutritious ingredients...i was trying so hard to just be polite but ultimately i just said, hey thanks! and walked away. it's very frustrating. it's hard enough not being able to breastfeed without having people on all sides of me telling me that i'm handling it the wrong way...my in-laws that tell me that i'm probably giving my daughter diseases by letting her drink a stranger's milk, other people who give me dirty looks for feeding her with a bottle, like i'm just another mom who doesn't care enough to do it, etc. sigh.

we get tons of plastic too. my son is not terribly impressed with it, though. we have lots of very beautiful waldorf toys and i believe he can tell the difference. we've found a couple of websites with reasonably priced waldorf toys, plus we get a discount through my husband's school, so we're pretty lucky. when he gets yucky toys, we keep them around for a few days and then donate them when he loses interest (which is pretty much immediately).

i really recommend harvesting wool, for those who aren't opposed to using it second-hand. it's a bit of work but worth it. i've found some really beautiful wool sweaters at the thrift store that make equally beautiful diaper covers, hats and toys.

i've decided that i'm just going to crochet my son a waldorf doll myself. waldorf dolls are supposed to be simple so it should be easy. i don't know how to sew...yet...but this should work.
would you mind sharing some of those websites for reasonably priced waldorf toys? thank you!!

i'm just about to thin down dd's toy stash, and to donate most/all of the plastic stuff that we've received as gifts, and i'd like to get her a few new things that are age-appropriate (she's 17 months).

thanks!!
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#15 of 29 Old 04-07-2007, 05:29 AM
 
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oh katie...did you say something mean and then remove it?
I left the first part exactly as I wrote it, but I removed a link to my "looking like crap" kids. I knew that you didn't mean my kids looked like crap, and I figured that I was overreacting slightly to post that. But now that I explained it, I might as well have left it
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#16 of 29 Old 04-07-2007, 11:58 AM
 
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I had one more thought on wool, which I'm going to just throw out there for discussion. Domesticated animals present a moral dilemma and sheep a major one. They have been domesticated for 8 to 10 thousand years. The original animals from which they are derived had hair, not wool. Dogs and horses (well, probably not chihuahas) could return to wild life, independent of humans but there is no possibility for sheep to do so. If human beings stop raising and caring for sheep all the breeds would simply become extinct. For the breeds that produce a lot of wool, I'm not even sure that they could shed it effectively on their own--in other words, some breeds may be shearing dependent.

So, since human beings have basically created this species (with help from whatever powers that made the universe), what moral responsibility do we have to continue their existence?

Thanks for your thoughts!

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#17 of 29 Old 04-07-2007, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i don't have an answer to that one, deborah. i believe that since we've engineered sheep to be so horribly wooly, to the point of some of them not even being able to walk, in such a short time, if we left them alone they'd probably revert back to their true natures in a short time as well. but i don't really have any reason to believe that other than my own idea about "mother nature taking over."

we have always wanted to have a farm, partly to be a sanctuary for animals to live out their lives in peace. my husband wants sheep. we've argued about this since the beginning of our marriage. i told him that i don't want sheep if we have to do anything to them. i want animals that can live with as little human interference as possible. but my husband is very passionate about sheep. if he wins this one, i suppose we'll have to sheer them at least as much as necessary to allow them to live somewhat normally and comfortably. but we definitely don't have to do it like a standard industrial sheep farmer (who usually kicks the sheep in the head to keep it down and does the job so rapidly the sheep may bleed to death, assuming it didn't die in transport). and, i don't know much about sheep, but maybe there's a gentler way of going about getting them to shed more wool naturally. i'm willing to bet that, after a few years of doing that, the problem of wool overgrowth would disappear. just my own thoughts, though.
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#18 of 29 Old 04-07-2007, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I left the first part exactly as I wrote it, but I removed a link to my "looking like crap" kids. I knew that you didn't mean my kids looked like crap, and I figured that I was overreacting slightly to post that. But now that I explained it, I might as well have left it
oh katie, your kids don't look like crap. i shouldn't have said that. :

although, i must say, isn't it possible that you aren't *really* following the WAPF diet to a T? isn't that the explanation the WAPF gives for why stephen byrnes died of a stroke at 39?

ps: i'm ribbing you here, so you don't have to go looking for vegans who have died at 39 to make your point.

pps: i just found your posts about going vegan. you said that felt so good and clear after giving up dairy. i know you said that you didn't really follow the vegan diet very well, but what happened there anyway? what do you think about that feeling now? or is it like vegans mistaking a zinc deficiency for the spiritual "high" of dietary enlightenment?


ppps: again, i'm ribbing you. you know i love ya.
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#19 of 29 Old 04-07-2007, 04:25 PM
 
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pps: i just found your posts about going vegan. you said that felt so good and clear after giving up dairy. i know you said that you didn't really follow the vegan diet very well, but what happened there anyway?
Mostly I don't pay attention to how I feel at any time, especially several years ago. What I do know is that was the only year that I didn't have hay fever! Research about ways to prevent tooth decay led us to WAP/NT.
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#20 of 29 Old 04-07-2007, 04:52 PM
 
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I must have missed something. What is WAPF? or WAP?
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#21 of 29 Old 04-07-2007, 05:21 PM
 
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I must have missed something. What is WAPF? or WAP?
We're kind of OT here. WAPF is the Weston A. Price Foundation. We should probably be in the vegan or traditional foods forums, lol.
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#22 of 29 Old 04-07-2007, 06:05 PM
 
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: since becoming moreinto wadorf and just wanted to be close ot the earth and live more naturally some of my veganism has been compromised so to speak. i still am very strict in our diets but we now buy organic wool for our dd and have beeswax crayons.: im very interested in what everyone has had to say

Waldorf mama to Autumn DD 9/05 and my Spring DD 4/08 Winter baby due 2/11
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#23 of 29 Old 04-07-2007, 07:49 PM
 
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Thanks for the thoughtful responses on the sheep question. I do prefer to get my wool from local producers who only have a few animals. I think small farming operations are much less likely to treat their animals brutally than factory farms. Shearing doesn't have to be a violent operation, thank goodness.

Sheep do present us with a moral problem. I'm not sure they would revert quickly, although several generations of careful breeding might be able to take them back to something a bit more like wild sheep. The sheep at Sturbridge Village (?) have been reverted back to the sheep that the settlers in the 1600s raised. Still a long way from the wild variety!

As a handspinner, I like my wool.

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#24 of 29 Old 04-09-2007, 04:21 PM
 
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i watched a sheep being sheared at a waldorf demonstration and it was nothing like what the pp described. the man used old fashioned hand clippers and then a set of old fashioned hand crank clippers. i think he finished up with electric ones -demonstrating all the possibilities.

Anyway, sheep are known as being pretty docile creatures, and even tho they have to sort of lie on their backs or sit on their butt leaning on the shearer, i never heard one baaaa of protest. I doubt they were drugged or something insane like that as they were lively enough in their pen. One sheep did get a little knick on him when he wiggled one time -similiar to getting a knick when shaving.

FWIW I am veg. Yeah, it would be nice if sheep could live in the wild by themselves, but from my limited exposure to shearing, i didin't think it was so bad.
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#25 of 29 Old 04-09-2007, 04:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Attached Mama View Post
the man used old fashioned hand clippers and then a set of old fashioned hand crank clippers. i think he finished up with electric ones -demonstrating all the possibilities.
This has been more along the lines of my experience as well. Of course I've only been around families with a few sheep so maybe that makes the difference.
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#26 of 29 Old 04-09-2007, 04:58 PM
 
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I think as with anything else, it is always better to go with small, local farmers. This is true with vegtables and fruits so it only makes sense that it would be true for animal husbandry as well. We are omnivores in our family but we try to make a conscious effort to only buy animal products from organic, free range, no cage and local as much as possible. Not only is it better for the animal but it is better for the human.
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#27 of 29 Old 04-09-2007, 05:35 PM
 
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I'm always puzzled by people brutalizing valuable livestock animals, too. Sheep and cows only produce well if they are treated well, so you've got to be real dumb to beat on them. Unfortunately there are some dumb people around and also sadists, which is worse.

Just to go momentarily off topic, did you all know that there was a fashion in England in the 18th century to have portraits painted of prize livestock. So there is a whole slew of classy paintings of pigs, sheep, horses, cows, bulls, etc. Weird, huh?
here is an example http://www.rhc.rdg.ac.uk/olib/images...60s/64_52b.jpg

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#28 of 29 Old 04-09-2007, 06:01 PM
 
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This won't answer all your problems, but here is a vegan waldorf doll inspired line. Organic cotton too I might add. Best of luck. It seems like the more normal we try to make our Veg lifestyle the harder it gets. I've decided I'm in a stage now of not trying to fit any expectations for that exact reason, I'm just taking things day to day.
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#29 of 29 Old 10-18-2018, 04:36 PM
 
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Vegan means compassion

Never give in doing your best for this earth.


I too work in a school and I try not to mention that I am vegan although it does come up when they wanna get me to help with cooking or handling food. I have to ask if its ok that I don't participate. I tell them I can't handle certain things and they seem fine with that.

I will certainly be offering alternative ideas to them once I have my feet firmly established in my new role.

Waldorf are currently asking to see my CV. Ha that is what brought me to the link.

Any tips from your husband should be most welcome. I am not a teacher but an assistant.

Kind regards,
James
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