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Is it hypocritical for a vegan to own a leather handbag?

let's say they are a fairly new vegan, they bought this leather bag from a vintage place (so, it's not directly benefiting the people who made it)
would it be hypocritical for them to keep it, but not wear it?

It was.  This is a controversial subject, which, obviously, there are multiple points of view about, and yet, when people disagree there are posts like: I think some people are being kind of harsh.  No, it's not harsh, it's a different point of view.  Really, this is just about people who want to justify things.  Fine.  Justify.  Just don't expect me to get all kumbaya.

yeah i agree with you, we need people to not be all kumbaya, i was all my life until the truth hit me like a semi...people dont want t see things for what they are though

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It seems like I found this thread a little late and it is trailing off now, but I just wanted to say what I think;
I think that we can all agree that a leather bag is not vegan. Using the leather bag is not really vegan either, right? But what about the other values you hold?

I remember reading the cook book "How it all Vegan" and the authors talk about how they each own leather products, because they bought them before they became vegan and plan to use them until they wear out and then buy vegan replacements. I think this makes a lot of sense from an ecological perspective. Rather than consuming more materials to buy vegan replacements and giving your bag away (or throwing it in the landfill) I think it makes more sense to use it until it wears out.

However it sounds like you aren't really using it, so then I think there is no reason to keep it.

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I just bought a new purse this weekend, and the one I had been using was leather.  It had become a joke with all my friends on how long I would use the same purse.  I was gonna use it til it fell apart.  It never did fall apart, but I found a cute non leather one anyway.  No one gave me a hard time about it, and I didn't care anyway, part of my vegan philosophy is not wasting things anymore.  Do whats right for you, besdies....if your friends are like mine, they don't even understand that owning a leather purse isn't vegan!  They still ask why I can't eat fish, honey....etc

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I just bought a new purse this weekend, and the one I had been using was leather.  It had become a joke with all my friends on how long I would use the same purse.  I was gonna use it til it fell apart.  It never did fall apart, but I found a cute non leather one anyway.  No one gave me a hard time about it, and I didn't care anyway, part of my vegan philosophy is not wasting things anymore.  Do whats right for you, besdies....if your friends are like mine, they don't even understand that owning a leather purse isn't vegan!  They still ask why I can't eat fish, honey....etc

My sentiments exactly!

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i'm a little late on this one too...but i'll go ahead anyway...

i also have some pre-vegan things still lying around the house, and i, too, was torn as to whether or not i should still use them...my thing is, i don't have a ton of money lying around, so it's not like i can replace the big stuff...like, i have a wool peacoat that was super expensive and it is the only heavy coat that i own...do i like the fact that it is wool? hell no! but am i going to throw it away or give it away? not until i have the money to buy a new coat that is vegan... also, my car has leather trim on the seats...NOT selling my car or getting it re upholstered...can't afford that either...but if it is something small that i can afford, like make up or lotion, or a purse, etc... i do replace those things... the fact that you are even thinking twice about wearing a second-hand leather purse is great. and i think that with time, you will get rid of it. but that is your decision. if you feel guilty for having it, i think you should donate it. it'll probably make you feel better!

ftr: i totally understand everyone's point about the leather issue...it does come across as hypocritical...but what really matters is this: do YOU feel hypocritical? and if you do, is that feeling enough to make you get rid of the purse? when i wear the wool coat, i feel hypocritical...but when it is below freezing outside, the cold feeling outweighs the hypocritical feeling! 

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I almost bought a fake-leather type purse last summer... it was really good quality, a tad expensive for me, but I didn't buy it for two reasons - the price (hehe, primary), and the fact of (what others have already pointed out) it "advertising" the leather look even if it's not leather. My friends and family know I'm vegan and that I wouldn't buy leather/fur/wool/silk/so on, but it is theoretically possible that people who see you with said item are just the teensiest bit encouraged to get something like it (hey, my purchases have been influenced by what looks nice on other random people). That being said, I'm not one to tell other vegans they shouldn't get fake ____ just because of this, I just kind of avoid it myself.
If it just sits in your closet and you never intend to use it, it's not functionally different from just throwing it out - that's what will happen eventually. I had a relatively new pair of leather shoes when I first went vegan, and it was tough for me to throw them out (eventually they would up being bloodied, so then it was easy! Long story.). Even if some well-meaning relative gave me a non-vegan accessory, I wouldn't want to keep it around... too creepy, and reminds me of the pic posted by hh (which I think was probably the point of that pic - we know leather = cow, but usually when people see leather they don't think of cow-chained-upside-down-being-bled-out-via-knife-and-bucket. + all the other traumatic details. that's what i'd think if i saw leather in my closet, not "how cute!" or whatever. but that's me. I know i certainly wouldn't and didn't feel the same way when i first went vegan... it took time)

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Yes.

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I would say yes, if you bought it after you went vegan.

No, however, if you had it pre-vegan days. Personally, to me, (and I do realize this is not a popular opinion), but I feel like if an animal died to make something and that thing is then tossed, that makes the animal's death even more pointless. I can appreciate other points of view, but... I'd use it until it wore out or give it away.

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I think the people who wouldn't own a leather advocate donating items, not tossing them.

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I came across this topic when I searched "vintage vegan leather." Sorry to revive a dead topic, but I think a lot of interesting things were said and I wanted to add to them.

This is probably not a great first post for a vegan board, so let me preface it by saying that I have been vegan for two years, vegetarian for 2 before that, I don't eat honey, I work at a no-kill rabbit rescue, I buy cruelty-free, etc.

Only a couple people mentioned the environmental implications of keeping old non-vegan stuff. I agree that the leather industry should not be supported. But most kinds of manufacturing have a negative impact on the environment. In particular, most fake leather is produced using carcinogenic chemicals - not as bad as the leather industry, but still bad.

If the environment is high on your list (and remember, many animals - and humans - depend on that environment,) then instead of buying a whole bunch of new vegan things that took a lot of energy and materials and chemicals to produce, it's a good idea to keep all of that old leather stuff until it falls apart, and buy vintage or make stuff yourself whenever you can.

I agree with the people who said that most passers-by don't know the difference between real and fake leather. So, unless they ask you, they might go out and buy a leather look-a-like of what you are wearing. My point is that you can't be responsible for how others percieve your clothing and accessories.

Vegans almost always have to make some compromises - gasoline is tested on animals, tap water is filtered using bone char - you just try your best to live in a way that causes the minimal amount of harm. Everyone makes different choices of what to compromise.

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Good first post Dovo.....especially the last paragraph.  Welcome to VegWeb.  I hope you stick around.

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whoa, Dovo.

Don't make too much sense.  After all, this is teh intarwebz.

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Heres my opinion and how I have come to terms with my leather I guess.

I personally own a lot of leather products, when I went vegan the first time, I asked a lot of my vegan friends if it was proper to still wear my coats and shoes that were leather. They said no and that I should donate them to animal shelters as floor covers because thats all they were worth.

Personally: I refuse to get rid of my leather items. I have 2 leather jackets that I've had for a long time. One of them I've had since 6th grade, and the other since 8th. I am currently 22, if that tells you how long I've had them. 1 of them was a gift from my grandma who is very sick. The other was a gift for my 14th birthday from my mother. The gift from my mom is a full length leather trench coat. It cost 500 dollars. She saved for a long time to buy me that coat, her boyfriend chipped in some money. I just cannot donate my coat to have it torn to bit for "floor covering". I just can't. True: I'm probably selfish, but I have very few "nice" things in my posession, and normally I'm not a material person but I dunno, Its just not something I will do. My one leather coat is in pretty bad shape, and I rarely wear it, truthfully I thought about making a cat pillow out of it. But the trench coat looks brand new.

All of my purses are leather (all of like 2 lol), plus my wallet is leather. I have other things that are leather to. My point is, I think its being wasteful to get rid of them and buy more stuff. Not only do I 1.) not have the money to replace them. I also again see no need. However; if I get to a point where they are just not useable anymore (which for me will be a very long time) I will buy alternatives to leather.

So yes, I am probably very selfish, but I am okay with that. Also; there is no secret to everyone I eat a vegan diet, infact I'm very proud of it. I will openly talk about it, but its not something I go shouting to the world. And to 99.99% of everyone who will see me, they'll never know. And frankly I guess I just don't care. I would never force my beliefs on anyone else. I guess at this point I'm rambling but I figure you probably see where my point is.

To me its okay to use what you already have, but just don't buy anymore.

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