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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.

In my eyes,  I think this is totally fine.

Only because since you are buying it second hand, you aren't supporting the wool or leather industry which wouldn't put a dent in the supply and demand factor of it, if that makes sense. It all just depends on your personal views.

I know vegans that bought leather belts or shoes before being vegan and decided to keep wearing them until they are worn out, instead of just throwing them out. It's the same concept, IMO.


In terms of environmental impact, I think buying second hand is always better. If given the choice, I would buy a second hand non vegan belt over a brand new vegan belt. I think.
I haven't done it, but I think if those were my only two choices, that's what I would do.
I hate the thought of all the resources that have to go into making new products from production to sale-vegan or not. I'm really on a second-hand kick lately. But I also wouldn't feel comfortable wearing leather. hmmmmmmm.


I also think it's fine. I would personally have no problem with this. Fur, sure. But wool? Who would know? No sheep shall be harmed because of your decision!

I also agree that second hand is a great way to recycle and is far more environmentally friendly. I also think it's important to keep the real picture in mind and not get too hung up on minutia. I've known so many people who get too extreme and lose sight of what's really important. So, I also try to be generally laid back about this sort of thing. Of course, when I first became vegan 18 years ago, I was much more militant about the details. But, looking back, I don't think it helped anyone, including me!

So, although you aren't looking for validation, I still must validate you...can't help it.


I don't have a problem with it either.  I love thrift stores!


I'm a thrift whore. Personally, I still avoid non-vegan items second hand--but I've been in the situation to buy them. I think using resources is awesome--could you imagine how crazy it would be if people stopped buying new products for one year? Hmmm...I should try doing that...


thank you everyone for taking the time to reply on this thread.  I really enjoyed reading the responses and not only that, but i gained a new outlook as well.  I really like the concept that buying 2nd hand can actually fall more in line with the "spirit" of being vegan then perhaps that of even buying a vegan, but new product. I'm not sure what to think just yet but, i can say it's not something i've thought about before.


I'm with you there SirDid, for some reason I would be happy to buy a second hand wool item, but I wouldn't be comfortable buying a secondhand leather item.

For me, I would rather buy a non-vegan (but not leather!) secondhand item than a new vegan item.  I'm really on a secondhand kick at the moment.  I was chatting to a girl at work the other day about buying new items, and realised I'm not sure when the last time I bought new clothes was.  I only just bought a new pair of shoes this week and that's the first new item since potentially the beginning of this year.
Actually that's a lie, I bought 3 new bras recently.  I'm not going to buy secondhand underwear!!


I love thrift stores too. We have a nice sized one right next to the bank, so every trip to the bank includes a trip to the thrift store. Sometimes, you get some great finds.
I agree that reusing non-vegan & think buying & wearing a used wool jacket is very responsible.

How about this? My sister in law redecorated her house a few years ago with new furniture. She had a leather chair that she was going to throw away. It is in perfect condition. In my mind, the cow that died to make that leather chair was being victimized again. It's life & the manner of it's death meant more to me, so I couldn't let her do it. Does reusing a leather chair (or giving it a second home) make me a hypocrite? I wouldn't pay money for it & she didn't want to sell it anyway. She was going to take it to the dump & chuck it. It doesn't belong in a landfill. So, it's now in my living room. I never sit on it but our cat likes to curl up & have a nap on it.


I don't really care about the issue/what other people do, but here's my personal reaction to animal products:

I had wool sweaters that I got rid of because when I wore them the smell of the wool was equivalent to smelling the suffering.  

Some of the businesses I visit for work have leather couches in the waiting room.  It usually happens that it's the longest wait to see someone at those places and I'm left standing, because sitting on a leather couch is sitting on someone's skin.


Yeah, I went to the laundromat the other day, and it has this cafe area with a leather couch and tv.  I was like, eeeeeeeeeeeeeeh gross.

I don't really care what other people choose to do either, but for me there's no way I would buy secondhand leather or wool.  I wonder if the same people who would do that would buy secondhand fur.  I'd bet no.  I just don't want those things to be clothing.  And even though it's secondhand, I don't think that gives a person a free pass to take it without guilt.  Like, if a leather store were giving away free leather coats, I wouldn't take one!  And it absolutely does contribute to the practice of using those things for clothing.  I just think the boundary there is kind of artificial. 


We have a leather couch and chair =[ my mom got rid of our old fabric ones... its so grosssss. and it makes me sad when i sit on them. bleh

I know i'd never buy second hand leather/fur/whatever. Just because it would creep me out. Now, i dont think wool is AS bad as fur/leather, but still plenty weird/gross/sad. It would just bother me, so personally i'm not down for it.


Actually that's a lie, I bought 3 new bras recently.  I'm not going to buy secondhand underwear!!

i second this emotion!!! My "boys" don't swim where any boys have swam before - eww, just eww!


We own a secondhand store, and I work there.

anyways, I don't like the impression that wearing non-vegan items gives off.
It makes it seem like all vegans wear leather or wool.
example: one "vegetarian" eats fish; people they know now assume all vegetarians eat fish.
you and I may know not all vegans are the same, but does some person you see on the street know you bought that item from a secondhand store?

I would never wear leather, whether or not it was secondhand.
I wouldn't even wear it when I ate meat.

but wool is a bit different, but only when secondhand.
I don't like the feel or look of wool, however, and I still would avoid buying.


Mmmmhmm.  Wool really isn't that different.  I don't see how you can justify one and not the other.


I still wear leather and wool, although I do not purchase new items that contain them.  Most of  my shopping happens at thrift stores, so I get what I can, but if my only option to find a winter coat that fits at the thrift store has wool or down in it then yes I will buy it, because I can't afford to go and buy a brand new vegan one.  If I can find 2ns hand vegan items, great, but it doesn't always happen.  I like being able to extend the life of any product, and donate all our grown out stuff.  I love shopping and see someone buying a sweater my son grew out of last year, it makes me happy.


I have some leather shoes that I have had for going on 4 years now.   I only wear them to cut grass and I only have wool because my mother has bought me coats that contain some wool ( a few years back). People think it is crazy and weird that I am who I am and still wear wool even though it was given as a gift. I think that it is already there and made and although I am not going to buy it brand new and support it, the poor animal is already dead(shoes)  or void of most of it's fur ( sheep) it would be a shame that the animal died for nothing.   Not that I am happy that the animal had to die to begin with.   I am about to donate some coats that I have been keeping around for years for some reason. Some of them happen to be suede that were given to me when I was about 14, now I am 23 and these things were hardly worn.      


I still wear leather and wool, although I do not purchase new items that contain them.  Most of  my shopping happens at thrift stores, so I get what I can, but if my only option to find a winter coat that fits at the thrift store has wool or down in it then yes I will buy it, because I can't afford to go and buy a brand new vegan one.  If I can find 2ns hand vegan items, great, but it doesn't always happen.  I like being able to extend the life of any product, and donate all our grown out stuff.  I love shopping and see someone buying a sweater my son grew out of last year, it makes me happy.

I used to be crunchy granola and I had a. lot. of wool, but when I was still omni I switched to (polyester) fleece and a rainjacket.  Fleece is still insulative when wet and it doesn't stink when it gets wet.  Most of the time, it's a great layer on it's own.  If there's a cold breeze or rain, I layer my (well, for me, Gortex, but any rain shedding layer would do) rain jacket over it.  If you have one fleece jacket and one rain layer, you're good to go.  A good place to find a rain layer is at colleges.  If you live near one, call the campus police and ask if they auction off the lost and found.  I got my Gortex jacket for cheap at a campus auction.

Being an obsessed fan of blankets, I also think a fleece blanket wins hands down over a wool or down.  That's independent of my being vegan.  Fleece is great.


i probably wouldn't buy the wool jacket... i would just try to find something else I liked... i would feel guilty wearing it.


Personally I am a lover of thrift stores and other used goods shops. I do still wear my leather and wool products. I haven't purchased any new leather/wool products, but I do not see the use in throwing out something that is still wearable. I do purchased wool products at second hand stores, and i have been know to purchase used shoes that contained leather. I am trying very hard to never purchase such products new, ever again... but as for used, I am still ok with it since it is in a sense recycling and reusing goods. :)



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