This blog is a celebration of the wonderful world of vegan cooking. Enjoy!

* The title of this blog refutes the dangerous idea that veganism is a weight-loss diet and that all vegans are skinny. Conversely, being a-not-so-skinny-vegan is also not the same as being overweight or unhealthy. All food intake must be part of a balanced lifestyle.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Second Hand Animal Products

I've been on the hunt for two new additions to my wardrobe lately: hiking boots and warm coats for British winter. Unfortunately the best boots are mostly leather and the best coats are mostly part wool. Now, I have a big problem buying these things because of obvious reasons but I also have a problem buying cheap, disposable fashion. Then I wondered if I could solve the probelm by buying these items used.

I discussed this a little with a friend but he seemed to think that even buying second hand is increasing the demand for leather and wool and will also mean someone else who may buy it new would miss out (mind you he eats meat, the bastard). But I can't really think of another way around it so am putting it out there for people's suggestions.

Geoff and I also want new slippers. Mine have been chewed to death by the dog and have been sewn and resewn and gaffa taped too many times. I've tried synthetic slippers but they are terrible; they are very sweaty and don't last a single season (especially if the dog gets to them). I don't want to buy wool but is there a more ethical alternative with the same quality? Pamela Anderson made some out of guilt for starting the UGG craze but it doesn't list what they are made of and I can't find any reviews for them (not to mention the price!). Pammy also suggests Stella McCartney or juicy boots but the later doesn't have any on her site and the latter is made for women who want to dress like Pamela Anderson. This is not me.

Please help me keep warm!


  1. I have no problem with buying wool products even first hand but I'm not a vegan.
    If I was then i would say it is a slight violation of my veganism. I would not buy meat second hand.

    Maybe i would be ok with crocodile leather
    those fuckers would do the same to me!

  2. Hey there Elise! It's Carmen! I'm reading your blog.

    This is an interesting question and one that I have considered a lot myself. Although I am not vegan, I have significant boycotts that prevent me from buying a lot of household products. Sometimes these products become available to me through dumpster diving or through being offered products my housemates don't use. I do use them but I know that it can make you feel weird. I justify it through considering my reasons for boycotts- i.e. I don't want to give particular companies my money as I think withdrawing capital can send a powerful message. Therefore, as long as I'm not contributing capital, there's no problem with using the products themselves if they are offered to me for free and do not lead to the person offering the product buying more of said product. If your issue is with the industry and its continuance then buying second hand is fine. However, if wearing animal products is so repulsive to you it makes you sick (as some of my more sensitive vegan friends claim) then perhaps that is violating your ethical framework. There is also the tricky issue with endorsement which is why I have issues with second hand fur- although you aren't supporting the industry monetarily, you're wearing that item out in public and thus will be seen to be expressing your support. I really feel this is the case with fur but perhaps not for more readily accepted animal products (wool, leather etc) as they are not considered as such a 'statement'.

    I am a bit confused as to how your friend thought buying second hand would increase the demand for animal clothing products. Due to the abundance of leather and wool in many items of clothing, and due to the significant cost of buying these new, I'm not convinced that you finding a second hand jacket or pair or boots would lead someone else to buy these products new (Perhaps, at best, it would lead them on to the next op shop!)I think most people shop at these stores because they do not want, or cannot afford, to buy new.

    As someone who avoids sweat shop labor clothes and shoes (by mainly buying second hand) I obviously have an agenda in encouraging you not to buy new cheap clothing or cheap slippers that you will need to replace every year. It's bad for the environment and probably made unethically. This can be avoided through buying second hand but I understand that you have to choose your battles and this might not be yours!

    In short, I think buying second hand is very ethical (although there is the discriminatory views of St. Vinnies and the Salvos that you have to take into account) as long as you're okay with being seen by the public as a person who has no problem with the items that you are wearing (even if this isn't the case). This is why I wouldn't wear fur, or Nike shoes (OR CONVERSE) even if they were given to me for free... but I am using the free Napisan Saran got from work!