October 29, 2010
Over the course of the past week, I have watched three documentaries/videos about factory farming – Food, Inc., ‘Glass Walls’, and ‘Meet Your Meat’. After I watched those movies, I made the decision to switch to a vegan diet. I just did not feel good about contributing to that industry any longer.
Well if I am truly going to do the whole vegan thing, it includes more than just the food I eat (or don’t eat). Vegans also don’t wear or buy anything that is made of leather, suede, wool, fur, cashmere, or silk. They also don’t use body products that contain any animal byproducts. So today I pulled everything out of my closet that is made of any of those materials, and piled it all up on my bed. I’m talking silk blouses, cashmere sweaters, wool coats, and leather handbags/wallets/belts/shoes. The pile was stacked pretty high. And I know this is going to sound like I’m being all dramatic and emotional, but when I looked at the pile on my bed, all I could see was a heap of animal carcasses. It looked like an animal crime scene. What can I say? Those documentaries had a powerful impact on me.
I just never thought about it before. I never really thought about where all that fabric comes from. All I knew is that certain materials are supposed to be “better”. Leather shoes and handbags are “better” than those of man-made materials. Some of those materials – leather, cashmere, silk – have almost become status symbols. When I think of all the handbags that I love, and those that I would love to have (but can’t afford), they’re all made of leather! And every year for Christmas, my mom gets me and my sister a cashmere sweater, because cashmere is something you splurge for. But I never stopped to think about what goes into the making of those sweaters, or handbags, or my favorite pair of leather boots.
So I made a decision to really do it. If I’m going to switch to a vegan diet, I may as well really commit and adopt the vegan lifestyle too. So I sorted through the heap of clothes I will no longer be wearing, and made two piles – items that will be donated, and those that I will sell on eBay. Of course some things I will hang onto, until I can replace them with something else. Let’s not get crazy here! But I made this decision, and did this big purge, and felt all good about my choice to change my life, and then got in my car (with leather seats) to run an errand. Oink. This is more involved than I thought.