Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Dear other vegans...

... please stop saying things which make us all look mad and do nothing to help animals or turn people onto veganism.

This is prompted by a recent post made by Twila Jean at The Mysterious Life of the Metropolitan Housewife in which she was attacked for wearing a vintage fur-trimmed cardigan which had been her Grandmother's in her youth, and also for making a lighthearted joke about PETA (who in my wholly unrelated opinion are a bloody joke anyway, bunch of hypocrites that their bosses and look-at-me-I'm-so-ethical publicity-seeking campaign stars are).

Before anyone starts: I don't wear fur. Not vintage fur, not any fur. I don't personally think it's OK for someone calling themselves vegan to buy fur, even if it is vintage. I also feel that way about leather, silk and wool/hair. But, I DO think that if a person isn't vegan and is going to wear an animal product anyway, better it be recycled or reused, supporting a small local vintage shop and NOT creating a demand for new animal products.

We don't go around attacking every blogger who buys a 1940s wool coat or a pair of old leather shoes, or digs a 1950s angora sweater out of their granny's wardrobe, so why pick on girls who wear vintage fur? It seems to me that fur is somehow seen as 'worse'. This isn't just true of vegans though, I know plenty of people who wear other animal skins or fibres but would recoil at the thought of wearing fur. I don't know if it's because fur looks like the animal and thus serves as a guilty reminder to a society of 'animal lovers' of what the animal went through for it to be obtained, but the fact is, wearing fur is no worse than wearing leather or sheepskin or silk or cashmere; it's just as bad. And it's all bad. But, that's MY PERSONAL OPINION as defined by what my perception of veganism is and my own personal morals. Most people don't think the same way, and we can do our best to debate, educate and change the views of those who are open to it, but the fact is most people use animal products, and always will.

I've heard countless times from many girls that they would never buy or wear or otherwise support the production of new fur garments. These girls who wear vintage fur aren't gangsta-rappers parading about in a freshly killed coat made from abused Chinese animals, making young boys think wearing fur makes you look like a 'pimp' (like that's a good thing). They're not some arse-shaking American songstress making young girls think fur equals sexy (not that there's anything wrong with some consensual arse-shaking - I'm covering allll my politically correct bases here). They're our friends and peers, most of whom would seem to the general populus like they were dressed like little old ladies. And it's only us vintage girls who think little old ladies are the coolest people around. They're not influencing anybody else to take up wearing fur - they're exercising their right to a personal choice, whatever we as vegans might think about the ethics of those choices.

The thing that bothered me most about the attack on Twila Jean was the fact that the cardigan was inherited from her Grandmother, and as she stated in her post was one of the very few things that had been kept from when her Grandmother was young, and is the only piece of fur she owns. This piece was obviously treasured and valued by her relative, as it is now by her. An animal died horribly sixty-odd years ago to make it, but it was a long, long time ago when wearing fur was commonplace and people didn't think about these things; we can't do anything about the events of the past, just work to change things for the future. For the girl involved, the cardigan is a treasure, a link to her grandmother and to times gone by.

I'm pretty sure I have some pieces of bone China amongst the articles I inherited from my Nanna. I'm not going to get rid of them because they're not vegan. To me, they're so, so valuable, just as everything she passed down to me is. I don't use them as the thought of drinking from a cup made from ground bones replulses me, but I'll keep them always as they're a link to a person I loved very much and think of every day.

Nobody is going to turn vegan, want to learn about veganism, or understand why we are vegan if all they hear from us are torrents of abuse directed at people who own a bit of ancient fur. Get over yourselves and realise we're not an elite club, we're not inherently better than people who eat or wear animal products, and being horrible to people makes you no friends, gains you no support, and does not make anybody want to listen to your point of view. Also, it takes a lot more balls to say something to someone in real life than to launch into a tirade via the internet, so get off your computer and go make a difference in the world instead of sitting there feeling smug because you upset somebody by insulting them on their blog.

The targets of rage should be those directly involved in cruelty: vivisectors, hunters, seal clubbers, animal abusers. I'm all for Direct Action and don't believe there's anything too 'extreme' for those human animals who perpetrate violent and sickening acts against other defenceless animals.

Those who are just ordinary people, living in the same worldwide society as us, a society where the use of animal products is endemic and ingrained and where it will take a lot of work and a long time to change society's views, do not deserve your diatribes or your hatred.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. when i say anti fur band waggon, I mean in relation to vintage pelts.........

  3. I just removed my rant, but I agree with your post!

  4. I didn't see the rant! Hehe :)

    It just annoyed me - being abusive to someone because they own a bit of decades-old fur does nothing for animal welfare today, and being horrible and rude on someone's blog is going to do nothing but make other readers think all vegans are nuts.

  5. I don't wear fur myself, but I can understand why someone would want to keep an old fur garment. like you said, the animal died upwards of 50 years ago. I can't help but feel to destroy a bunch of fur old fur clothing makes the animals demise even worse. Back in the day people didn't think twice to animal welfare etc, and wore a lot of fur and treasured it. I'm not saying that its right to start wearing fur again, least not new pelts, but to destroy something that has been worn and loved for years and years seems like another waste. As you commented above, it does nothing for animal welfare today.