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WOOL

:'(
I was just saw Pinks anti-wool video on the PETA site and it made me cry.
I'm a vegetarian, I don't eat eggs, I don't buy leather, drink soy but I'm not a total vegan. But I never knew how cruel the wool industry was.I'm shocked and disgusted.  So now I'm adding wool to my list of things not to buy any more. this list just keeps getting longer and longer....
I have to ask all you vegans out there, is there anything as warm as wool? I have to admit I just bought some new wool socks and a wool hoodie and now I feel terrible. Should I still wear them?  I prefer wool in winter cause it's so warm but now that i will be boycotting it can you give me some advice about keeping warm without it

I'm not exactly sure how I feel about some of PETA's ad campaigns. But that is neither here nor there.

There are a lot of garments made from synthetic and natural materials that are extremely warm. Fleece is very soft and warm - and considerably cheaper than wool. Fleece is usually made out of polyester or a cotton/polyester blend. My winter coat actually looks like its made out of suede and fur, but it's really made out of polyester. I guess just try on a lot of different things and see what you like best.

If you're looking for a more environmentally friendly alternative, you can purchase garments made out of hemp. I've never honestly owned a hemp sweater, but I've heard they're pretty cozy. I've also heard of companies making clothing out of bamboo, but I haven't heard anything about that.

You can also try contacting the manufacturer of a particular item you like and ask about their production process. There may very well be smaller companies out there that don't use cruel practices. Maybe hit your local health food store/head shop/art and crafts consignment store and ask them if they know anyone that produces wool goods while using sustainable practices. I would also suggest trying to stay up-to-date w/ industry practices. The wool industry is saying that it's trying to find alternatives to mulesling. Who knows if they actually are - but I would think that they would think up something pretty quickly if they received enough negative press.

If you have the stomach for it, you can also buy wool garments second hand.

Donate the stuff you just bought if you don't want to wear it. Personally, I try to avoid wearing and using products produced by inhumane means, but if it happens, then I try to find a use for it.

:)

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Do donate the garments to someone who can use them and needs them if you feel very strongly about it.
If you just bought the garments and don't have the budget to go out and buy a replacement, it would be much worse to waste the money and the garment than to use it and learn from the experience. It's there, and you spent your hard-earned cash for it. If you wear it and get the use of it, that's better than just putting it away and wasting the trouble and the resource.
This is analogous to KrochetnKat's experience with the turkey she had to cook for her meat-eating family...at the very least, don't let the sacrifice go to waste!

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I saw her video the the other day and I have to admit, I got very angry and cried as well  :'(. One of my old drum students plays drums for her and I've met her a few times( I'll give him a shoutout, he deserves it! http://www.marcslutsky.com ).  It is a brutally honest video (on PETA'S website). I am really glad she made this video and hope that it raises more eyebrows to the facts regarding all animals that are farmed for ANY reason. I was actually going to post the link here, but I didn't think I needed to convince anyone here about wool, leather, etc.  PETA campaigns like this can be very effective. It was actually 8 years ago that I first saw literature and a video about a pig factory farm in North Carolina and the slaughtering process.... I remember saying I'll never eat bacon, sausage, and ham again. I then started researching and reading about ALL factory farming, and within 2 months from when I first saw that video  I was a vegetarian,  well on my way to becoming vegan. (There were lots of reasons I became a vege at the time, it also had to do with changing my dog's diets to natural  food, and then becoming aware of factory farms, compassion for ALL animals, etc.....It still does not make sense to me that people think it's OK to eat a cow or pig, but not a dog or cat. What's the difference? There are those that are up in arms about dogs being raised for meat in Korea, but they can read about it while cooking a lamb chop! Same goes for the Horse Slaughter Act Bill that was signed by congress......it's horrible to slaughter a horse, but hey....cows are fair game?!...I'll NEVER understand it  >:().
As far as alternatives to wool, PETA's site has lots of links for alternative clothing options. Most high end hiking/outfitting stores carry alternatives to down jackets, wool, etc. Try these sites:
http://www.alternativeoutfitters.com/
http://www.thevegetarianchannel.com/directory/Shopping/Vegetarian_Clothing/
I also agree with what Issaspiders  & yabbitgirl both said about donating your non vegan items. I donated my grandmother's  (years ago when she passed away) Mink Coat to a farm sanctuary that uses the fur coats for orphaned farm animal babies (if that's what you would call them) to make bedding. Same thing with all my old down jackets, leather jackets and vests. I donated them all to a homeless organization. Better to do that then just throw them away. You live and learn and just try not to make future purchases of those types of items.

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I do now feel I need to share this with my fellow vegans and animal lovers......
I'm going to post this only because I think if there is anyone you can send it to that needs to be "schooled" on the horror of ANY type of commercial farming, this will make an impact....I think you should send it to them. I will warn you once only....It is the harsh reality of sheep production in Australia. It NEEDS to be seen by those that don't follow the same path that we follow with our vegan hearts.  WARNING  :-\ If you do watch it (boy or girl)...it WILL make you cry :'(....it's that real and honest to the horrors of wool production.
Here it is:
http://getactive.peta.org/campaign/pink_wool_video?qp_source=pinkpetagen

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I watched about 5 seconds of that video...  I had to turn it off.  I honestly hadn't given a lot of thought to wool.  I hadn't made a conscious decision to avoid it because I didn't really know anything about it.  Now I know, and I will not buy it!  There are probably lots of other new vegans, like me, on this site that still do not know all of the details of animal cruelty, so thank you for posting the link. 

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thanks so much for your replies :)
I fully agree with what you said about not letting what I bought and the lives of the sheep go to waste. I'll wear them for now, and thank the sheep when I do, and probably donate them later as I start to ween wool out of my closet.
I spent last night looking at the links Davedrum (thanks) posted and googling vegan/ environmentally friendly clothing. I read how cotton accounts for 22.5% of all insecticides used globally ( http://naturalhealthcare.ca/fashion.phtml ) so am not too keen on buying that anymore either.  I much prefer to wear natural fibres as opposed to nasty synthetics and man made fibres, so it looks like hemp is the way to go.  It's doesn't hurt animals or the environment.
Davedrum thanks again for that link to the alternative outfitters it's nice to see that some of the vegan clothing companies are actually using designers that have imagination without charging hundreds of dollars. Also one more thing; what is wrong with down? I'm getting a very cool down vest for Christmas is that bad too?

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Hey shantianti,
I guess the real problem with down is that geese and ducks have to give up their feathers (and lives) for our coats, vests, comforters, pillows, etc. Most down products are just some of the remnants of the food 'er' industry (nice word when talking about food huh?)...
Thinsulate is a really warm product as an alternative to down. Most pro skiers and climbers use jackets made from poly/nylon combos and gore-tex shells.
Just google away........

-Dave

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unfortunately, just about everything that is available for purchase in mainstream north american society (and everywhere else) has been manufactured with the intent to gain as much profit for as little output as possible. that usually equals some kind of inhumane, harmful or at the very least, thoughtless practices.
we can't come out and say that wool is bad, cotton is bad, leather is bad. all of these products have been used by humans for thousands and thousands of years, because we unfortunately don't have a natural covering on our bodies to protect us from the elements. i believe all these products, besides the more recent inventions of synthetic fabrics, are in themselves not bad... what we have to do is find companies that are willing to produce them without stampeding over the rights of others (i.e. other living beings). restraining yourself from indulging in any product (that includes buying more clothes than you need) that might cause harm is important.supporting the sustainable use of products that serve a real purpose is even more important. 

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Very good points rachandra. The production of synthetic fabrics and fibres often leads to dumping of toxic waste in the water supply...maybe not in the US but certainly in Europe and China. And of course synthetics are often not biodegradable and can cause contamination in the removal process as well. So one has to weigh pros and cons of every choice.

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On that same note, the electricity running our computers right now is bad (the production of...depending where you live....unless you produce solar energy). The manufacturing of the computer you are using is bad, and ruins the environment in its production and when it's thrown away. The trees cut down to build your house....etc. Of course we all have to survive. But when it comes to clothing and food, I take the path to the LEAST amount of suffering of animals and our planet. The organic wheat we eat often has mice and other animals caught up in the combines during harvesting. It is impossible to be totally 100% vegan. If I have to choose between wearing a wool sweater, down jacket,  leather coat, or nylon and thinsulate...MY personal choice would be the later. There are websites I posted above that are trying to make some evironmentally friendly clothing. Every little bit we each do to eliminate animal suffering adds up. Just we people here on this website alone are probably responsible for saving thousands of animals from suffering in the past year.
I'm saying that if we have to live here in the society that was created for us, at least we can make better, safer, and healthier choices then the general population....otherwise it's time to become Ted Kaczynski, and live out in the woods off the land, and bomb corporate America. I'm not willing to go that far.....yet!  :P Though the thought of living alone in the woods sometimes sounds nice ;)....I just don't  want to harm other animals or humans to get my point across.....
-Dave

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with all due respect, it seems naive to write wool fibres off, period.  especially when the issue is are around the treatment of animals.  isn't that like throwing the baby out with the bath water? what about the keen craftsperson who runs a handful of ewes on his/her property especially for the purpose of collecting and spinning/knitting/weaving the wool? would you not be happy to wear a warm, woolly jersey lovingly crafted under such conditions?  by all means, shun wool products produced in ways that offend one's sensibilities but please, don't deem wool, per se, as something to be avoided at all costs when exercising a little discrimination is all that is required.  :)  cheers!  and happy christmas to all.

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I know some people with a handful. . it's not that loving. They care for their animals, but the 'standard practices' are still practiced (e.g. chopping off tails. .).

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yes again I agree with you all. It is hard trying to be a conscious shopper and like Rachandra said it is best if we buy as little as possible, which I try to do. The less money I give to the consumer market the better. But there comes a time, like now when I have to buy new things. So I will continue to research and learn about what is the least harmful to my beautiful planet and all its inhabitants and shop with companies that are ethical and worthy of my money and support.
I'm so glad I joined this website, it's very inspiring and supportive. Thank you all for being such wonderful caring people

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I'm sensitive to wool products (migraines) so usually go with cotton or ramie blends.  I'm not crazy about the feel of polyester or acrylic sweaters but some microfiber stuff is OK (I have some silk stuff but I realize that isn't vegan), and I can deal with fleece.  I don't live someplace freezing cold, but when it is cold I just layer a lot or even change clothes as something gets wet.

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Wool and migraines--now there's a thought! I must suggest this to a friend who suffers terribly from them. I hear you about layers, it doesn't get below freezing here where I live, v. often, but with no heat and marble floors you notice the cold more I guess.  So we layer up...am I the only person who can't *bear* the feeling of wet sleeve cuffs? For some reason getting my cuffs wet just sends me into orbit, esp. if it's a ribbed cuff on a sweatshirt etc. It's been like that since I was tiny.

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Shantianti....I look at the whole wool and leather issue with this principle in mind.  Reduce, reuse, recycle.  Yes, I do wear the leather shoes I had before I became a vegan.  Will I ever buy any again?  No.  Same thing with my leather belt and wool blend sweaters.  I'll replace them with natural fiber ones as they wear out because I don't believe it makes any sense to go out and buy all new things as that will only increase the stress on an already overloaded earth.  The only things I didn't keep were my leather coats and those I gave to my sister.  Everything else, from personal hygiene to cleaning products, I replaced gradually with vegan alternatives when I used the old up.  I'm sure a lot of people wouldn't agree with doing it that way but I went vegan in college and didn't have the money to replace everything at once.  So good luck to you.

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I watched Pink's video and was horrified.  Here in Texas, we don't need really, really warm clothes.
I do have a suggestion:  A couple of years ago I went to the Netherlands in February!  I knew the cold would be bitter, so I bought these little "under garmets" that are super soft and fit very close to your body, but are very, very warm.  Different companies call them different names.  Mine were called cuddlers.  I have noticed that you can get them at Wal-Mart now. You can get a long sleeve shirt to keep your chest and arms warm and then the pants that are long.  I had also taken a pair of really old exercise pants that I had back in the day.  They are thick and the kind we used to wear with really long T-shirts to hid our bum.  These are exceedingly warm and as far as I know are vegan friendly.

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