Is There A Health-Based/Environmental reason to Not Wear Fur or Leather?

I often heat that health-based and environmental vegans are not as good as ethical vegans because they have no reason to avoid fur, silk, or leather. This is odd, noting that I am a person highly allergic to pet dander and dust, that is the main reason I stay away from using fur items that even resemble fur, but always from wearing products made from animal fur, even if it is claimed to be hypoallergenic.

In terms of wool or alpaca yarn I don’t buy them, not only because they can easily be full of pet dander, but because many people can be allergic or sensitive to wool containing clothing, including myself, who often find them extremely itchy because I have sensitive skin.

In terms of leather it is important not to purchase it due to the horrid health effects that the tanning process has on unprotected workers, and the environmental impacts that leather has not just due to the tanning process, but also due to the fact that a lot of leather is created using fur mined from dead cattle in factory farms, and animal agriculture is very harmful to the environment, and ultimately the health of the people, including myself.

In terms of cosmetic, many of them are inadaquately tested, and there are no studies on the long term effects cosmetics may have on health, and many cause pretty severe allergic reactions, such as Nair, which can literally burn through your skin, so on a health-standpoint, it is actually more logical to steer clear of beauty products altogether. For instance, the only beauty products I use is deodorant, shampoo, and conditioner, and I don’t wash my hair on a daily basis for other reasons.

The same goes with silk production, in which the purchase of silk products contributes to the health issues faced by many workers in the silk industry. Uncontained pollutants released through the creation of fur, leather, and the like hurt the environment, which in turn is a potential or direct health harm to me personally, so you can be a health-based vegan and still not wear these products.  For instance, that is why I often try to buy second-hand clothing or products from thrift stores/tossed out items when possible or practical. Meanwhile, you can be a fur and leather wearing dairy consuming ethical vegan. As Vegan Advocate Melanie Joy states:

If not living in perfect alignment with your values 100 percent of the time makes you a hypocrite, then yes, I’m a hypocrite. We all are. I do my best to live in accordance with my values, in a way that feels sustainable to me. And giving myself permission not to be perfect, to live a life that feels sustainable, is in accordance with my values: it is practicing compassion toward myself. I wear leather shoes that are leftover from my non-vegan days. What’s most important to me is not how “pure” I am, but how committed I am to authentically reflecting on my choices and to working toward decreasing the gap between my values and practices as I grow, over time. If we all did this, the world would be a very different place.

The purchase of a second-hand fur-coat from your local thrift store or a leather couch found in a dumpster, or the consumption of roadkill, or honey from an abandoned beehive can be considered ethically vegan, according to the definition of vegan by VeganSociety:

Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

I am sorry, but not contributing to the suffering of animals while wearing your dads 60 year old leather coat that was handed down to you as a gift doesn’t exactly disqualify your veganism.

For instance, there is a more ethical stance on diet than veganism, and it is known as Freeganism. Freegans usually go dumpster diving for most of their food, and as a result, even if they consume dairy-based products or egg-based products foraged from the trash, they are still contributing to lesser animal suffering than vegans like myself who still harm animals and low-paid workers through the farming practices of the agricultural industry. So ethical veganism is only the most ethical diet in terms of a corporate-based viewpoint. Or as one blog puts it:

When vegans are challenged on the impact that their consumer vegan lifestyles have on the planet — the destruction to animal habitats caused by supporting agriculture, the fossil fuel burned in all stages of food production, the animals that are killed in the harvesting of grains, etc. — they typically admit that their diets are not entirely death-free, even though there are no dead animals on their plate. “But,” they will add, “at least I have less of an impact than you.”

Sure, the industrial production of vegetables, grains and beans is often deadly for insects, mammals and fish, and it’s certainly not carbon neutral, but compare the damage caused by eating these foods directly to the suffering and destruction wrought by omnivores who inefficiently funnel those grains and beans through animals first. Veganism isn’t perfect, vegans admit, but it is the best way for anyone to reduce their negative impact on the world while still surviving.

Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Freeganism would reduce their impact even more… even if they were still eating animal products. 

So you don’t have to be a huge animal advocate to help your own health or worry about the health of other human beings through the elimination of consuming or wearing animal products, and there is a health-based, environmental-based, and even economically-based reason for full-fledged veganism that is just as valid, despite a lack of an argument for the ethics consuming animal products have on animal welfare.

So in short, all those vegans out there that are bashing legitimate vegans for not being 100% based on animal ethics can suck it. The elitist and condescending view of vegans who care more about health, the environment, or are trying to save money through anti-consumer means.

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