So I was a vegetarian for years that started eating meat again, just out of frustration. "I wear leather shoes, so it's really not helping anything to not eat meat" was my logic. I can't save enough animals from pet mills, I can't do this or that -- so I give up. I realize that was silly.
So, I get back on the veggie diet and have recently gone completely vegan. I did this because I want to feel better, shed a few pounds and because I was raised around cows and I don't want to think of what happens to them in dairy farms. No matter how you look at it, it's just not right.
Now friends are starting up with the questions such as, "well, you're still wearing your boots, so you're just as bad as we are for eating steak. That's sorta hypocritical, don't you think?" The questions go downhill from there, all the way to asking me to "prove" that dairy cows aren't as happy as they are on the California cheese commercials. Sheesh. Misery loves company, right?
Ok, so I haven't buried the boots I have owned for years. I don't see the point in throwing them away. This doesn't mean that I am going to buy more -- or that I asked for anyone's opinion in the first place. I'm not trying to convert the whole **** world, just trying to do what I think is right. And -- guess what -- I feel a lot better inside and out than I did when I was munching away on steak nachos.
I don't think it's hypocritical to do what you know is right. So if you are around any of those that keep nagging that it's not good enough -- even when they aren't doing anything good -- maybe it's time for new friends?
Just remind yourself that every animal you don't eat from here on out is another life saved. If your friends nag you about being perfect, explain that you are not. If they persist, maybe you need to look at new friends.
Every leather or suede item from the past is a sunk cost. You can't get it back.
Some people will get rid of them; I have seen people bury them as one last act of respect. Others will use them until they fall apart, which to me seems like the best bet, so as not to waste the sacrifice the animal already made, and to keep from consuming more until you need to. Overall, this is, in my opinion, the best thing to do for yourself, animals and the planet. And when you no longer can, or want to, wear those boots, bury them and thank the animal that long ago gave them to you.
Tell your "friends" that while you are continuing to appreciate the sacrifice of one animal, they are consuming dozens or scores more.
On a side note, I have "special needs" feet and have as yet been unable to find shoes I can wear that are vegan and affordable, as in under $40 and under $30 is even better.* So yes, last week, after a miserable experience with some pleather shoes, I had to get leather ones. I saved a little bit, so I made a $10 contribution to an animal rescue group.
*I have large, wide feet (either size 11 or size 10.5 wide) with serious arthritis issues. I cannot wear heels, even small spongy heels. I need arch support, although not much. My shoes must nonetheless look professional with slacks. I have had a hard time finding shoes that even those drug store orthotics can fit in. I am supporting 3 adults on $12 an hour, live 40 miles from my job, am in grad school, and my husband's meager unemployment is running out soon after just a few months because we live in hell. If you know of a vegan option under $50, I'd love to know because frou-frou 8" stiletto platform shoes in pink plastic just ain't my thang.
Remind your friends that, as Colleen Patrick-Goudreau says, just because you can't do everything, it doesn't mean you should do nothing. Am I- or you or most vegans- Perfect Vegans?? No. It's not about being perfect, it's about doing the best you can at any given time. I can't argue with people who do nothing then get on my back about not doing everything perfectly. At least I can sleep at night with a clear conscience knowing nothing had to die for me to live today. If they have a problem with what you are doing, it's probably just their own guilty conscience talking...
Regarding shoes...the damage has already been done, why not wear the crap out of them so the animal's suffering wasn't for naught? Throwing them away seems so incredibly wasteful.
Just keep doing what you think is right and try not to let the naysayers bother you...I know it's easier said than done. :)
I agree with all the responses above ... I also have struggled with the shoe thing because I have found it hard to find vegan shoes around me and I'm not sure I want to buy online from overseas when I can't try on etc etc as I have trouble getting the right size when they're right in front of me at times ; ).
I just say that I do realise it's leather but that I had them before I went vegan and I am not going to just throw them out as that's wasteful. That way they know that we have thought of it because sometimes they look at you with that smug 'I've got you now' look. I am trying to choose more eco shoes from now on but you can only do your best and it's a slow process finding alternatives sometimes.
I find it amazing the different reactions we get and it really reflects the person ... how open minded they are and how eco conscious. So remember it's their problem, not yours. Just stick to your beliefs and ignore them, even though it's hard at times. : )
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