buying 2nd hand non-vegan products - your thoughts?
i needed a jacket for a speech/performance that i'm going to be doing in a few days. I went to a 2nd hand store because i just needed the jacket to serve as more of a prop for the performance as opposed to something i have any intention to use on a regular basis. i was looking for something akin to a smoking or sport jacket. I had made up my mind beforehand that depending on the materials in the jacket - i might be comfortable to buy it 2nd hand.
I came across (and purchased) a suitable jacket for $9.99, it did have wool however. If it was leather, i probably would have been much less inclined to buy it. I'm not sure why - maybe because i don't want to promote wearing leather but i don't believe people can tell by sight if a jacket contains wool or not (although i could be mistaken on this).
Part of me did feel guilty, just buying something that had animal ingredients. Another part of me felt that i'm not contributing to the practice of using wool as i bought it 2nd hand and not new.
I'm curious if anyone has any opinions to share on this. Bear in mind, by putting this issue out for discussion - i'm not looking/hoping for validation, rather - i'm genuinely interested on varied views on this topic.
When i purchased the jacket it made me think of something else as well. I am hoping to get into acting and such - and if i'm successful - i won't have the luxury of choosing which items i can and cannot wear based on personal principles. I think that's an interesting position to be in - curious on any thoughts related to the same as well.
I'm definitely down for thrifting any items, for example I have a pair of birkenstocks that I bought second hand, not vegan but supposed to last a while. Also, a lot of thrift stores are charity based or (like Goodwill) hire people who might have a hard time getting a job elsewhere so, outside of the vegan-ness of the item, its supporting good causes too which I'm down for. You can't save animals by exploiting people :)
The Skinny Bitch lady, forget her name right now, has an opinion that I sort of agree with. She said that non-vegans are just looking for an opportunity to label us hipporcrits. While a wool jacket isn't easy to spot, suppose someone who knows you're vegan asks about it, how are you going to look to them. Also, people don't necessarily know that the items were purchased second hand, or were purchased prior to us becoming vegan and might be thinking to themselves without saying it out loud "vegans are such hippocrits".
Why not make a personal and public statement and not buy 2nd hand animal products. Surely you can support the humans in the thrift store by what you choose.
All that said, I'm a big hipporcit because I have some Birkenstocks for my bad feet I refuse to get rid of.
Another thing about vegan products (particularly fake leather/pleather) is that they can often be made out of petrolium products like polyurethane or PVC which are extremely harmful to the envrionment to make. Also many products which are vegan can still be made in ways that are exploitive of people; for example Chuck Taylors are made out of canvas and rubber, without leather, but they are still made by the Nike company in third world sweatshops. So just because these items don't have animal products in them, doesn't mean they're still ethical purchases. (Not to say that all vegan items are bad, just some, particularly the "accidentally vegan" kind.) So in that case, I would put the hierarchy at: used ethical vegan items, then new ethical vegan items, then used non vegan items, and leave out the new non-vegan items and the unethical varieties of either.
But having said that, I don't really like most non-vegan items anyway, regardless of whether I think they're ethical or not. I think leather is yucky and fur is tacky.
Personally I don't worry about what people I don't know are thinking about me, if they don't know me then they don't know I'm veggie anyways. People I do know may or may not know that I am veggie, but they also know that my husb and I work 3 jobs to support our kids and help our two autistic sons. They know I only shop second hand except for extreme circumstances, and that unfortunately for us right now, price outweighs the products origins or the material it is made of. SOme day we may be in more fortunate times, financially, but for now we do the best we can and be thankful for what we have. I have coats and hats and boots for my family for the winter, vegan or not; many people in this country don't.
I don't know. I'm allergic to wool and never have had any real leather things so I guess I'm no help but, I would be alright with buying non vegan things second hand. I wear mostly synthetic fibers. I personally don't care what others think of me anyways because I've lived a good part of my life trying to please others. And I've realized you can't and someones always going to have something to say about your choices. As long as you feel good about your choice go for it. I've started out by eating vegan and that change is enough for me right now.
I am currently wearing a pair of second-hand Doc Martens. Yeah, they're leather. I guess technically that makes me a hypocrite. But getting them from a second-hand store prevents them from going to waste, and prevents me demanding the consumption of new materials - not only is my money not going towards the slaughter of animals, it is not going to support the manufacture of petrol-product fakes or sweatshop-produced shoes. My Docs are warm, support my ankles and cushion my heels (I do a decent amount of walking in a day), and keep my feet dry. It would be nice if I could find a non-petroleum, ethically-produced, environmentally-friendly, comfortable, durable shoe within my budget, but I figure my three-dollar boots (that money helping to support charitable causes) are a pretty good compromise between what is awesome and what is currently possible for me.
With regards to omni perceptions - that's pretty much what I tell people who get all annoying about seeing me in leather shoes (not that many people are actually paying that much attention!). 'IMO, it's better to reduce and reuse what would otherwise go to waste than to buy new products. But I'd never buy any kind of animal product directly... ever.'