I once had a vegan whine at me for wearing a leather jacket, telling me I was a hypocrite. Yes, I'm a vegetarian, and yes, it's for moral and not health reasons. I'm honestly not much of an animal lover but basically (though I do not project my values onto others), I have a problem with eating something that runs from pain, and dislike the idea that killing dogs and cats for meat would be considered cruel in many countries but killing a pig for a yummy ham sammich is okay. (And if you want the long version of why I'm a vegetarian, you can read about it, but for the purposes of this essay I won't go into it.)
The vegan girl told me that if that was so I should not be wearing a leather jacket. Well, I wouldn't buy a leather jacket, for the same reason that I wouldn't eat the cow it once was. But this jacket was bought secondhand by my mother and given to me as a hand-me-down type thing later. I have no moral objection to wearing it. The cow is dead, and someone else supported the leather industry by buying it. Someone else bought it secondhand and bestowed it upon me. It does not disgust me. So why object?
This particular vegan gave me a snotty response mentioning that SHE got rid of HER animal-made items when she was in HIGH SCHOOL, completely glossing over my explanation of why I thought wearing this particular leather jacket was okay. Because as we all know, it's a lot more important that everyone knows what you stand for than it is to actually stand for it. That's why more people will buy the bumper sticker or the lapel pin to advertise that they gave "a portion of the proceeds" to charity . . . rather than quietly and anonymously giving ALL of their donation to charity without acquiring a token to show for it.
And today I own a suede couch that I bought from a secondhand store. I wouldn't have bought it new since that would indeed contribute to the industry I don't want to support, but since that industry doesn't see a penny when I buy it used, I don't have a problem with it whatsoever. In fact, I think it's better that the couch--and the aforementioned jacket--now belongs to someone who cares that the animal it came from died. Not that it makes any difference to the poor thing now. o_O
But I guess if someone decides they want to get in another person's face in order to feel righteous, they can throw their half-assed attacks all they want. I'll continue engaging in MY activism where it actually makes sense to do so.
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Comments from others:
Ukia: I'm a vegan and I loathe meat, and cringe at the thought of wearing dead skin that was stripped off an innocent living, breathing thing. If only you went to peta.org and milksucks.com and saw exactly HOW they did it...how'd you like it if someone mercilessly deprived you of your flesh to prove their dominance? Empathy, people, empathy.
Ray: My my...vegans attacking vegans. What ever happened to the 60's notion that "eating meat makes you aggressive"? Apparently, this is not the case - stupidity does the same thing, and isn't as bad for your cholesterol count...
Being almost primarily a carnivore myself, I honestly can't empathize with you 100%. I can understand the morality issue from an objective standpoint, but I look at it as everything eventually has to die sometime. We kill plants for food as well, not to mention cutting trees to pieces to use in constructing our dwellings. The concept of "killing the defenseless" works both ways.
Best we can do is agree to disagree. I do appreciate that you can stand your ground against such viciousness.
Ana: I'm not a vegetarian. Way I see it, we're just animals and animals kill for food all the time. I take an unsentimental view, as you can tell.
Anyway, who said animals were innocent? I mean, how can you tell?
Heather: I've met some of these myself - it rather bothers me when some of the most 'militant' as you say try to convince me that veganism is the next evolutionary step and not being so is making me ill.
On the other hand, some friends I have are vegetarian for various reasons, and I find that we are able to maintain our separate views yet get on just fine. These people I have a lot of respect for.
What bothers me most is seeing something wasted - having worked in a chicken store as one of my first jobs what made me feel terrible was seeing large quantities of meat thrown away.
Saz: I am not vegetarian, but almost everyone in my non-immediate (is that a word?) family is: My grandad on my mother's side, my cousins, uncles and aunts on my mother's side, and my cousins, uncles and one of my aunts on my father's side. They're vegetarian for different reasons: my grandad for health reasons, and the rest for moral reasons or religious reasons (some of my cousins are Hindu)
I have no problem with vegetarians. It's just a lifestyle choice that i do not follow. I do not like militants of any kind because i do not believe that people should force their beliefs on others.
While i understand the reasons for being vegetarian - that eating meat involves the killing of living creatures, i believe that this is part of life. Carnivorous and omnivorous animals kill to eat. Humans are omnivorous animals and therefore we kill other animals to eat meat. Okay, so we are omnivorous and can CHOOSE to stick to vegetables, but why? If we decide to stop killing animals for food because we want them to live to the full extent of their natural lives, it is not going to stop an omnivorous bear from killing the same creature that we saved. Life is a cycle, animals must eat other living things in order to survive. Plants are living too, why should we kill that cabbage to make coleslaw? It is a living thing! How DARE we? It's because we have to live.
This is coming from a non-vegetarian: i see that plants and animals are both living. we need to eat plants/animals to survive. why should we only eat plants - the poor defenseless things! :P
Anyway, there's bound to be an argument against this, but the point is: Vegetarianism is a choice. Some people choose it, others don't. It's not up to vegetarians to be militant in their views, or for non-vegetarians to ridicule vegetarians for not eating meat.
Angel: I know exactly what you're talking about, I'm also a vegetarian and I've definitely encountered many "militant" vegans and vegetarians. I've witnessed several vegans and vegetarians yell at people eating meat in public and I always feel ashamed. In fact, there was a girl in my highschool who liked to walk around at lunch telling people they were gross and yelling about how meat was murder. I told her she might as well go ahead and eat some animal flesh if she was going to act like that because us REAL vegetarians would rather not be associated with people like her.
Derrick Mace: Arya has nothing.
Noelle: "It's a lot more important that everyone knows what you stand for than it is to actually stand for it."
I love that. It says a lot about people in this day and age, doesn't it?
Chastity White Rose: Although I am an ethical vegan, I completely see this example of someone picking on you about a secondhand leather jacket a disgrace to the cause of veganism. There are those who exist not to be good people but to make a show trying to prove to others how much better they are.