Source: Orin Zebest's photostream

I’m working towards making my household (read: me, myself, and I) vegan. I’m finishing up remaining non-vegan foods, bookmarking vegan websites and resources, and reading as much about the day-to-day practicality and politics of veganism as I can. One seemingly unresolved issue that comes up in the vegan community is vintage/thrifted animal products. On the one hand, throwing away perfectly good, usable animal products is wasteful, and their vintage equivalents don’t always age as well (scuffed leather looks like it has history; scuffed pleather looks like it belongs in the trash). On the other hand, wearing vintage/thrifted fur or leather goods sends the message that animal products are fashionable, and encourages non-vegans to buy them, thus continuing the exploitation.

I’ve made a commitment to stop buying new products made with animals. But I’m torn about what to do with my existing things. I could give them away and look for vegan replacements, although some may have to be bought new (which isn’t sustainable). Yet giving them away says “animals products aren’t appropriate for me, but here, you can use them,” which would make me more like PETA than I care to be. And this doesn’t even get into wool, something I’ve grown to love now that I’m living in a colder climate. I thought like getting a hair cut, shearing sheep wasn’t necessarily harmful or exploitative, until I did more research. Ignorance is bliss, ain’t it?

So, no more new animal goods for me (bye bye wool). I may continue to buy thrifted leather and wool articles (namely shoes, sweaters, and skirts) after looking for thrifted vegan alternatives. These would not obviously look like they were animal products (unlike fur), so as not to visibly encourage others to buy new animal products. I thrift maybe 60–80% of what I wear and use and I want to increase that number. So non-vegan may have to be the way to go for now.

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