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Where's your line?

Ok,so I'm a newbie.  Started off just eliminating dairy because of a respiratory problem that an Ayurvedic consultant thought might be due to dairy.  So I quit it, and since I want to lose weight anyway, started trying to keep a more vegetarian diet.  Heading right toward vegan, actually; I love the idea and the consequences for myself and the planet. 

However, I've come crashing to a wall or two that I'm not sure I want to bust down and become truly vegan.  Animal products, fine; I get that. But honey?  What is the rationale behind not eating honey.  Is it a non interference thing?  And then, I was thinking; omg; wool is an animal derived product, as is alpaca, silk... are they verboten too? I'm trying to make a living spinning yarn from natural fibers, and knitting things to sell from them.  And natural dyeing; several of the natural dyes I would use are insect or other animal derived.  Where is  the line?  I mean, I know I have to decide for myself, but I'm wondering if anyone else has had these issues, and how they were resolved.

there are a few threads about all this that you should definitely read.  Very informitive!

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Moving this to food fight, the forum where you will find several threads about honey, wool, etc. Read those.

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Hi! Welcome, & kudos for thinking things through... most folks don't, so right away you're ahead of the curve!

I don't call myself a vegan, or 'a/an' *anything* regarding food choices (unless it's a term I made up, which I know no one but me will presume they understand)... if pressed I say 'I'm happily herbivorous,' or 'I'm basically a planteater'... b/c  I think group labels are inherently divisive; my goal is to do the least harm I can, not to match any set group criteria. So to me, the lines are: ABSOLUTELY nothing that plays, dreams, cares for its young, or any substance from same if the critter is harmed by me having it; generally nothing with a nervous system; beyond that, nothing for which I can find a less-harm alternative, which generally depends on local resources available... Of course 'less harm' is a subjective call; but humans have relatively large frontal cortexes (sp?), and I think that's what we're s'pose to use them for, so I do my best to figure it out. Sometimes I may be wrong, but all I can do is give it my best effort...

If I (or my friends) had pet sheep that needed haircuts (it's freakin' HOT where I live, so they might!) I'd feel ok about using the wool for something vs throwing it out; I've got no prob w/ eating the eggs of pet chickens, who are loved and cared for regardless of egg production and leave the things lying about at no cost to themselves. I'm ok with local/ small-scale-hiver honey, but not corporate/ industrial honey; this has been done to death in other threads, but PM if you'd like to talk more about this without reading all 2 billion pages of the honey thread! Basically I can see both sides of this one, but feel like local honey does less harm to the bees themselves AND the other creatures in the surrounding ecoweb than mass-produced commercial sweeteners (or industrialized honey production)... hmmm what else... won't buy leather or wool, drop the ball sometimes on silk (maybe 'cause I know less about it... we're all works in progress, right?!)... buy cruelty-free soap & shampoo; still working on cosmetics (don't wear 'em much, so haven't run out of anything to replace with better, since I started actively trying to get the cruelty out of my stuff as well as my diet.

Idk if that's helpful... but that's how it looks to me. Like you say, everyone draws their own lines, & in the end you just have to make your best call & keep thinking through the stuff you're on the fence about... like others have said, just find out all you can about it & see how you think about it then. Knowledge is power, & all!

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Cortices.

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On the topic of using animal products like leather shoes and belts or using wool - I'm guilty. I have two pairs of leather boots that were given to me. The boots were going into the dumpster if I didn't take them and I made the decision not wasting was just as important as not killing a new cow for a new pair of boots. That being said, if I need new clothes or accessories, I don't use animal products of any kind. I will not take a new cow's life for my use.

I'm currently a lacto vegetarian. I still use cheese when I shouldn't and I know I shouldn't so that is why I'm trying hard for veganism. So to answer your question - I think the idea of veganism is to not use animals for anything. They are not for us to take their life nor should we take their resources like milk. Bees are the same way. We shouldn't be taking the honey they make for themselves just as we shouldn't be taking cow's milk they use for their calves.

Soon and very soon I will be vegan! I gave up meat so easily so now I just have to get away from cheese. It's hard when I've been eating it for 27 years but I'm sure as hell ready for the challenge. :)

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Cortices.

Ha! thanks... had it that way, then changed it -- so, was *deliberately* wrong (forehead smack)!  o well, live & learn... thanks to your help & my cortix! (teehee)

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@hotcookinmama :  I feel very similar to you. When I buy wool to spin, I buy directly from small family farms, where the sheep are few enough to have a name (I think it's awesome to know the name of the sheep who gave the wool that I wear!).  The shepherds treat the sheep well; they cry when the lambs are born, and cry when they die; they don't force them to lamb out of season or sell them for meat.  I know that in some minds that's not enough, that they're still being exploited.  Maybe so.

I have Reynaud's Syndrome and Hypothyroidism, and wool is the only thing that keeps my toes from pain in even mild weather.  I've tried cotton, even microfiber, which only makes my feet sweat and still be cold.  So I knit my own socks.  I guess it's something I'll be considering for a while in this journey.

I do appreciate everyone's comments.  It does help to sort things out.

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I'm with other people on this, there are times when things are okay to use. Like wool, as long as it's not from some giant corporation where they produce a mass amount of sheep I'm okay with it. Especially if it's from a local, small farms. Same goes for honey....and I think I've heard that local honey is actually more beneficial for you than mass produced honey. There is one time when I do buy something with honey in it and that is when I'm buying bread. I try to stay away from HFCS so when I buy bread, most of the natural (and least processed) brands are sweetened with honey so I would much rather eat that over HFCS.

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I've been anti-wooll for nearly 4 years, three years before I became vegan. I visited a small-ish wool factory (farm?) in New Zealand and watched one of the most disturbing things of my life.  The sheep were brought in by the ears, bucking, etc and then forcefully held down, while obviously trying to get away and shaved. Then they thrown down a chute and back into their pin, shaved. It was sick. I could never buy wool after that point.

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Do what makes sense to you... You're already making a huge effort!

I do what makes sense for me. I eat totally vegan and I don't eat honey just cause basically it's not vegan to eat honey and I never really used it much anyways. Plus use agave nectar and your not missing a thing. I love me some Vegan "Honey" Mustard Dressing. It uses agave nectar and tastes AMAZING

The eating part of veganism was easy for me... The lifestyle part has been more challenging. I'm working on it.

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You should check out "Vegetarian Food for Thought," a podcast my Colleen Patrick Goudreau (on iTunes or on her website: www.compassionatecooks.com), and she addresses the wool issue. There's also a short video by Peta, narrated by the singer Pink about wool production.

Bees are in the animal kingdom, they make honey. It's not exactly akin, but very similar to why vegans don't drink the milk of mammals.

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I've used the term vegan to describe how I eat to friends...since many of them knew someone at one point who followed an entirely vegan lifestyle, they take that info and don't tell me something is vegan when it has crabmeat or skim milk in it. I find that older people I have to be waaaay more specific or I get a plate of fish lol.
But I"m totally guilty of committing mindless bonehead acts of nonveganism like buying a wool bag that I didn't realize was wool until I had been using it and went to wash it. I always think of 'vegan' in terms of eating, so I forget that for many people it is far more. For me, I'm most comfortable with not eating any animal product no matter what the source. I can always find a non-animal substitute or just a tastier, healthier option and that's worked for me! I try to stay aware of what I'm buying and what companies and materials I support financially but I know I must let some things slip through simply out of not knowing enough yet.
Similar to many of you, if I had a pet alpaca or sheep (which would be awesome) in my backyard and he needed a trimming I would have no qualms about using the trimmings to create myself a lovely alpaca outfit....but the sheep that get diseased flaps of skin because of growth hormone stuff and whatnot? Not okay for me....once I am made aware of it. LIke I said, I sometimes do bonehead things.

Like you said, it does come down to what works for you and it is awesome that you're thinking about all of these things. I think just continuing to educate ourselves and reevaluate our decisions as we do this makes us more thoughtful and less harmful human beings.

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I've used the term vegan to describe how I eat to friends...since many of them knew someone at one point who followed an entirely vegan lifestyle, they take that info and don't tell me something is vegan when it has crabmeat or skim milk in it. I find that older people I have to be waaaay more specific or I get a plate of fish lol.
But I"m totally guilty of committing mindless bonehead acts of nonveganism like buying a wool bag that I didn't realize was wool until I had been using it and went to wash it. I always think of 'vegan' in terms of eating, so I forget that for many people it is far more. For me, I'm most comfortable with not eating any animal product no matter what the source. I can always find a non-animal substitute or just a tastier, healthier option and that's worked for me! I try to stay aware of what I'm buying and what companies and materials I support financially but I know I must let some things slip through simply out of not knowing enough yet.
Similar to many of you, if I had a pet alpaca or sheep (which would be awesome) in my backyard and he needed a trimming I would have no qualms about using the trimmings to create myself a lovely alpaca outfit....but the sheep that get diseased flaps of skin because of growth hormone stuff and whatnot? Not okay for me....once I am made aware of it. LIke I said, I sometimes do bonehead things.

Like you said, it does come down to what works for you and it is awesome that you're thinking about all of these things. I think just continuing to educate ourselves and reevaluate our decisions as we do this makes us more thoughtful and less harmful human beings.

This happens, especially at the beginning, I've found. But you learn from your mistakes and move on. I've accidentally eaten products with milk, because I didn't even THINK that there would be milk slipped in there. You can read labels 99 times, but the 1 you forget will get it! It happens, and you learn. It's great that you realized it later, and I'm guessing you won't buy another wool bag again! We all do bonehead things, unless you're HH or AC or fb and you've been vegan since the world began! :)

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I have Reynaud's Syndrome and wool is the only thing that keeps my toes from pain in even mild weather.  I've tried cotton, even microfiber, which only makes my feet sweat and still be cold. 

I hear you on this.  I had the same problem with my Reynaud's when I lived in Michigan.  I even had special boots that supposedly were comfort rated to -25 degrees and my feet would still be icy and blue.  I didn't feel I had much of a choice in the matter.  Either I wear the socks or I was on Plavix and aspirin to keep the circulation in my feet going.  Thankfully it's not an issue at the moment since I now live in Texas but I'll be moving back to Michigan sometime next summer so I'll be facing it again.  Not sure what I'll do when that happens. 

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I've used the term vegan to describe how I eat to friends...since many of them knew someone at one point who followed an entirely vegan lifestyle, they take that info and don't tell me something is vegan when it has crabmeat or skim milk in it. I find that older people I have to be waaaay more specific or I get a plate of fish lol.
But I"m totally guilty of committing mindless bonehead acts of nonveganism like buying a wool bag that I didn't realize was wool until I had been using it and went to wash it. I always think of 'vegan' in terms of eating, so I forget that for many people it is far more. For me, I'm most comfortable with not eating any animal product no matter what the source. I can always find a non-animal substitute or just a tastier, healthier option and that's worked for me! I try to stay aware of what I'm buying and what companies and materials I support financially but I know I must let some things slip through simply out of not knowing enough yet.
Similar to many of you, if I had a pet alpaca or sheep (which would be awesome) in my backyard and he needed a trimming I would have no qualms about using the trimmings to create myself a lovely alpaca outfit....but the sheep that get diseased flaps of skin because of growth hormone stuff and whatnot? Not okay for me....once I am made aware of it. LIke I said, I sometimes do bonehead things.

Like you said, it does come down to what works for you and it is awesome that you're thinking about all of these things. I think just continuing to educate ourselves and reevaluate our decisions as we do this makes us more thoughtful and less harmful human beings.

This happens, especially at the beginning, I've found. But you learn from your mistakes and move on. I've accidentally eaten products with milk, because I didn't even THINK that there would be milk slipped in there. You can read labels 99 times, but the 1 you forget will get it! It happens, and you learn. It's great that you realized it later, and I'm guessing you won't buy another wool bag again! We all do bonehead things, unless you're HH or AC or fb and you've been vegan since the world began! :)

You always have something kind to say! And, case in point, I was in Target and saw these little hard lemon candies and I just happened to look at the label and there was MILK in them! I would expect it in a butterscotch or something but lemon? Sometimes I think the milk people just go around and drizzle it on everything to be a pain lol.

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You always have something kind to say! And, case in point, I was in Target and saw these little hard lemon candies and I just happened to look at the label and there was MILK in them! I would expect it in a butterscotch or something but lemon? Sometimes I think the milk people just go around and drizzle it on everything to be a pain lol.

RIGHT??!! WTF do you even DO with milk, when making m'f'ing LEMON CANDY?? or... so many things!! *potato chip*s, for f**k's sake??!! I personally have made potato chips on numerous occasions, without any milk product anywhere nearby. I honestly don't understand how or why it gets in there, other than aggplanta's vandalism theory... now it's all becoming clear... down with milk vandals! free the lemon candy! set my potato chips free!!! (dairy bastards, grumble grumble...)

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