Compassionate Fashion: It’s Cool to be Kind
Denial is vast and deep, and it tends to manifest itself in the excuses we tell ourselves to justify our behaviour – not only to feel better about what we’re doing but also to feel good about it. When it comes to leather we often declare that it is just a by product of the meat industry, and say we feel good knowing they’re at least doing something with the leftover parts of the animals instead of having them go to waste. As much as we like to believe the leather industry is motivated by waste-conscious altruism, it is not the case. The U.S, leather industry is a $1.5 billion business tanning over 100 million animal skins every year; worldwide its even bigger, representing $46 billion, ranking amongst the most importantly traded commodities.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, 30 Day Vegan Challenge
Day 28 moves out of the kitchen and into other areas of the house, in particular the wardrobes and furnishings. It is unnerving to think about how much of the fabric we use is skin. This is still an issue for me. The shoes I wear every day and my handbag are leather, as is my wallet. The dog and cats have a sheepskin to sleep on. Though fortunately one of the cats threw up on that, and now it is outside getting weathered, which means I should be able to throw it away soon when the cats are finished with it.
For the moment, my policy is to keep everything I use, and when I need to replace it, do so with synthetic or plant-based fibres. The problem is that I tend to keep things, including clothes, for years and wear them out.
The end of my ‘vegan year’ is approaching and as a gesture of commitment, on that day, I want to throw out everything I can. A new wallet and handbag shouldn’t cost too much to replace. My everyday shoes are starting to wear down anyway, Not many of my clothes have animal fibres, so I can just live without the ones that do. However, the leather on the top of the padded storage baskets in the bedroom will have to stay – I don’t even know if they are true leather and we can’t afford to frivolously go and buy new furniture.
My policy, when I have to buy things, is to make my purchases as vegan as I am aware of. I can’t change the past. I have accepted that I will most likely keep making mistakes for awhile yet; I am still coming across new information on all the insidious ways animal products infest our lives. Just how deep does this business go?
I have changed over the household cleaning or personal care products I can to plant-based ones. But I am aware that some companies we still financially support (by buying their brands) test on animals. I need to spend more time looking into what we buy and what alternatives there are. Dr Gregor recommends using green tea as a mouthwash as it out performs commercial ones containing chlorhexidine. According to Peta, Johnson and Johnson, who own Listerine, makers of the mouthwash I have been using, test on animals.
Here are a list of common fabrics and whether or not they are vegan.
Day 28 is frustrating because it is US based and so much of the information on companies, alternatives and labelling is not useful, though some of it is. I will still have to do my own annoying research on what the situation is and what is available in New Zealand – dam it!