I’m going to be completely honest, the aim of this post is to dump a host of diverging opinions into your lap and then have you tell me what my stance is. Because I can’t figure it out for myself. It’s something I absolutely cannot make my mind up on, no matter how much mental floundering around the issue I do. So, I’m generously tasking you to form my opinion for me. You’re very welcome.
The issue I’m stumbling over is whether or not to buy second hand animal products. As a vegan, I currently don’t buy any leather, silk, wool or anything that comes from an animal. I do, however, still own clothes, shoes and accessories that do because it would have been criminally wasteful of me to oust them when I made the leap to being vegan. So, yes, I still wear a few pieces made from animal products, most of which were bought second hand, but would I be willing to buy them?
If they’re new, the answer is a staunch no but if they’re second hand? I just can’t make up my mind. Every so often, I’ll spot a great pair of leather boots or a wool jumper in a vintage shop and consider their place within my wardrobe, but I’ll almost immediately discard any thoughts of buying them because it just doesn’t feel right to spend my money on something that’s come from an animal. BUT. When I always advocate for 1. buying second hand over new and 2. reducing reliance on synthetic fabrics, is buying a new or synthetic alternative really the best workaround?
I’ve talked it over with vegan friends and have, unsurprisingly, got opinions from both ends of the spectrum. Some super devout vegans are completely happy to buy a second hand leather bag, for instance, because they know it will last and, because it already exists, takes less toll on the planet than creating something new. Others, though, don’t feel comfortable even wearing animal products and will turn to vegan-friendly alternatives every time.
Yes, contrasting opinions bestow us with interesting and enlightening discourse but I would appreciate, just this time, for every single vegan in the world to agree one way or the other so that I can blindly follow their lead. I want a unified vegan committee to release a very specific press release with a definitive decision which tells me exactly which lane I’m in because, honestly, it’s exhausting making not only the big moral decisions but tiny, seemingly ineffectual micro-decisions every single day.
There’s no denying that life would be a whole lot easier if I just didn’t care. I could buy easy food that comes ready-prepared, wear whatever I want, shop with any brand I feel like. But I can’t do that. I have to scan the back of every food packet not only for any non-vegan products and nuts (allergy life) but palm oil. I scroll through Netflix and disregard any film or series that has been made by or that stars a sexually abusive man (that list is growing fast). I skip huge swathes of the fruit and veg aisle because everything is wrapped in plastic. I meticulously research whoever I’m buying clothes from to make sure the way they operate meets my moral standards. I choose not to give in and get a takeaway tea when I forget my reusable mug.
I’m overloaded with decisions to be made, so what I’d like to do is sit back, pop a couple of episodes of Murder She Wrote on then come back when you’ve made this one for me. So, second hand animal products: yes or no?
Find out what I decided and read the follow-up to this post here.
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