Do you think it's hypocritical to be a vegetarian and wear leather? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 06-16-2011, 03:27 AM
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Do you think it's hypocritical to be a vegetarian and wear leather?

I've been a vegetarian for about a year, and I'm still learning. I recently bought some shoes because I like the way they look and they're in my price range. Now I'm starting to rethink the purchase because according to the hideous red tag on the shoes, they're leather. Without getting too graphic, do you think it's cruel to support leather manufacturing? Or do you think it's okay to wear leather? Thanks!

Thanks a lot for all of your replies. I'm really glad I posted this thread, and you're all definitely helping me craft who I am as a vegetarian. I returned the shoes today.

Also, I've been considering becoming a truck driver for a while. Through this whole shoe conundrum and a recent road trip I took, I've decided that if I do, I will not transport meat or livestock. Any thoughts on that would be great too.
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#2 Old 06-16-2011, 03:32 AM
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Personally I think its a tad hypocritical.
If youre not going to eat the cow, why wear it.

There are a great deal of good show companies who make vegan shoes (that includes glue that contains no animal by products too)
You can check out Rocketdog (their manmade shoes contain vegan glues-watch out as they do make leather shoes aswell)
Draven are vegan
Inamagura are vegan
Iron Fist are vegan
and Irregular Choice have a vegan range
Also check out http://www.bboheme.com/

Hope this helps.
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#3 Old 06-16-2011, 03:36 AM
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Yes, providing someone is veg*n for ethical or environmental reasons. If they're veg*n for health reasons only, then it's not hypocritical.


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#4 Old 06-16-2011, 03:39 AM
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Thats very true aswell. We assume people are veg*n for the same reason we (or most of us) are. Caring about animals.
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#5 Old 06-16-2011, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by imtomj View Post

I've been a vegetarian for about a year, and I'm still learning. I recently bought some shoes because I like the way they look and they're in my price range. Now I'm starting to rethink the purchase because according to the hideous red tag on the shoes, they're leather. Without getting too graphic, do you think it's cruel to support leather manufacturing? Or do you think it's okay to wear leather? Thanks!

Yes it's cruel to support leather, especially leather from India, and no, I don't think it's okay.

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#6 Old 06-16-2011, 08:02 AM
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Hypocritical isn't the right word. To many vegans all vegetarians are hypocrites because they're eating dairy products and using animal by-products and they believe all of that is unethical. But vegetarianism is about doing the best you can. Don't throw out your shoes, but next time you go to buy new shoes, see if there's a non-leather pair that's in your price range.
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#7 Old 06-16-2011, 08:04 AM
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Hypocritical isn't the right word. To many vegans all vegetarians are hypocrites because they're eating dairy products and using animal by-products and they believe all of that is unethical. But vegetarianism is about doing the best you can. Don't throw out your shoes, but next time you go to buy new shoes, see if there's a non-leather pair that's in your price range.

Or buy online, you can find anything in any style animal free, online.

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#8 Old 06-16-2011, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by kpickell View Post

Hypocritical isn't the right word. To many vegans all vegetarians are hypocrites because they're eating dairy products and using animal by-products and they believe all of that is unethical. But vegetarianism is about doing the best you can. Don't throw out your shoes, but next time you go to buy new shoes, see if there's a non-leather pair that's in your price range.

Great answer.

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#9 Old 06-16-2011, 08:40 AM
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vegan shoe websites don't seem to go up to my size, so I have to buy leather...not much I can do about that.
I emailed the vegetarian shoe site, and they said that their shoe sole suppliers don't make them in the larger sizes.

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#10 Old 06-16-2011, 08:45 AM
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If you're primary concern is animal rights then yes most people on this forum will tell you it's hypocritical to use leather, but no more or less so than you already were by consuming eggs or dairy. I'm not AR myself so the term doesn't really apply. I guess you can call me cruel if you want, but not a hypocrite.
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#11 Old 06-16-2011, 08:49 AM
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I would think everybody is hypocritical to some degree or another, none of us can be completely consistent in our views and actions, no matter how well intentioned they may be. But I still believe it is hypocritical to wear leather as a veggie/vegan no matter what your reason(s) are for being veggie/vegan.

Leather is a very profitable business. According to various sources an animal's skin represents about 10% of the animal's "value". Making leather the most valuable part of the animal.

Buying new leather items you are directly contributing to the whole sorry business of the farming/meat industry.
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#12 Old 06-16-2011, 08:56 AM
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My personal view is that if you have leather bought before you went vegetarian/veg*n then it's OK. But now do try to find products that are leather free. Unfortunately for me, the only shoes that my very bad back like are made with some leather on them, not alot, but some. My back will not tolerate any other brand of shoe, so I'm stuck buying leather products for my feet, whether I want to or not for the sake of keeping my back happy.
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#13 Old 06-16-2011, 09:30 AM
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Or buy online, you can find anything in any style animal free, online.

For those of us with odd sized feet, that's not an option. I have extra wide feet, so 95% of shoes that I try on don't fit. I'd never order shoes online, because I know I'd have to order 10 different styles in 3 different sizes each just to find one pair that fits, and end up returning the rest.

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#14 Old 06-16-2011, 10:15 AM
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Ugh, I've been thinking about this, myself. I am trying to weed out any animal products in my... uhhh.. life. I never really wore much leather, even in dress shoes, so that isn't an issue. However, I ride horses & it is so hard to not use any leather in the equipment! Synthetic saddles are available but they are far inferior and I have always hated riding in them. In the show ring they are practically taboo. Boots, bridles, it's all leather!!! Fortunately I won't need to buy any new equipment for a long time, so I guess I can postpone this issue indefinitely

Personally, I do think it is hypocritical.
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#15 Old 06-16-2011, 12:05 PM
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For myself personally it would be hypocritical and more than a little disgusting. I guess it depends on just how dedicated to veg*ism you want to be, how much hassle you're willing to put up with from those you meet or the impression you want to make to others; and the amount of ick factor it has for you. I did used to wear a leather jacket when riding my motorcycle, but, when better non-leather motorcycle gear became more available I gave it away. It makes shoe shopping harder but since I have very large and wide feet; shoe shopping has always been an issue any how.
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#16 Old 06-16-2011, 12:16 PM
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But I still believe it is hypocritical to wear leather as a veggie/vegan no matter what your reason(s) are for being veggie/vegan.

Well, it's not necessarily hypocritical if you're vegetarian for purely health reasons.

But if you're vegetarian for ethical or ecological reasons, it is, because you're supporting the industry.
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#17 Old 06-16-2011, 01:05 PM
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Well, it's not necessarily hypocritical if you're vegetarian for purely health reasons.

But if you're vegetarian for ethical or ecological reasons, it is, because you're supporting the industry.

I agree. If you could not care less about animals and are only vegetarian for your own health, then I don't see how that could be hypocritical. Mean, yes, but not hypocritical.
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#18 Old 06-16-2011, 02:43 PM
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It wouldn't be hypocritical if a person was vegetarian for some other reason than ethics. Technically those people are vegetarian too.

I'm a pretty strong ethical veg* n but every now and then at work, on certain jobs, I have to wear insulated gloves and the ones they provide are leather. I do usually bring my own non leather ones though.

It's harder to find good steel toed boots in my size without leather, though. Gotta special order those. Still looking for a brand that's both comfortable and long lasting. Any other factory workers here? Suggestions? I have size thirteen feet. I'm a quite large specimen.

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#19 Old 06-16-2011, 04:43 PM
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If you care about animals, it doesn't really make sense to be buying leather shoes just because they're cute. I can definitely see that if you have hard-to-fit feet or need a specialized kind of shoe, you're kind of stuck.

But, for the rest of us, there's really no need to be buying leather shoes, especially now that websites like Zappos, shoes.com and Endless exist. Some of them even have a "vegetarian" category, although not ever non-leather shoe is listed -- possibly the glue is of questionable origin, but that's not a big deal for me. I just look for synthetic/manmade or fabric shoes (watch out for leather linings though).
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#20 Old 06-16-2011, 04:49 PM
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Of course it's hypocritical, leather comes from a dead animal which was killed for no good reason. Even if it does come from one that was killed primarily for its meat, that's still supporting what we supposedly disagree with. HOWEVER, I do understand that it is hard to avoid leather and/or just get rid of everything leather you own when you become a vegetarian. I have no idea if my Adidas shoes use real leather, but I got them before I turned vegetarian so I think it'd be even more of a pointless killing if I just threw them away. I'm trying to avoid buying into these huge companies though anyway. My aunt and 2nd cousin were trying to call me a hypocrite because my belt was "leather", yet it was tattered and so obviously fake leather because of it.

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#21 Old 06-16-2011, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by imdead-goaway View Post

Well, it's not necessarily hypocritical if you're vegetarian for purely health reasons.

But if you're vegetarian for ethical or ecological reasons, it is, because you're supporting the industry.

+1

When I first became a vegetarian, it was purely for health reasons. I was largely unaware of the ethical reasons, so ridding my life of leather and similar products never crossed my mind. Now that my views are shifting, I don't buy anything new in leather, but I have bought used items that were leather (e.g. my sister's leather couch when she was desperate for money and I needed to furnish my apartment).
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#22 Old 06-16-2011, 05:44 PM
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It's impossible to live without harming animals. We all have to make our own decisions as to exactly where we draw our own personal lines. Even fruits and vegetables (both organic and non organic) use pesticides that are designed to deter and/or kill animals that are deemed to be pests, and are harmful to the environment beyond their intention.

I personally avoid purchasing leather shoes, but as long as I'm in the military I'm going to get leather shoes and gloves issued to me regardless. I wear them without complaint.

Figure out what is right for you, and what is realistic. Some things are more obviously harmful than others, but to truly live a life that is harmless to animals is impossible.
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#23 Old 06-16-2011, 10:50 PM
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(mod edited)

As for me, I identify as vegan but I still have to purchase leather shoes occasionally - I have very large feet and finding anything in my size is hard enough, but vegan? And less than 180€? Yeah, I wish I could get through life wearing only chucks all day every day, but sadly I haven't been able to find other shoes for formal occasions (which, sadly, do come up sometimes) yet that are vegan as well. It's very frustrating and if I could I'd stop wearing leather shoes immediately, but as it is all I can do is try my best and take good care of the two vegan pairs of shoes I have so that they'll last me a long while.

Edit by me: Eh, sorry guys if I upset anyone. I just got a warning, I suppose I worded my opinion badly. I didn't mean to say that vegetarians are hypocritical for eating eggs and dairy - I made the comparison to say that I think that they're not necessarily hypocritical for eating eggs and dairy, just the same as they aren't necessarily hypocritical for wearing leather. I see those two things in kind of the same way, "steps after vegetarianism" or something. Hope you'll forgive me and my not-up-to-scratch English skills!

Edit2: Gosh, sorry again - can't believe I typed "meat and dairy" instead of "eggs and dairy" up there! Someone hand me a dictionary, please!

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#24 Old 06-17-2011, 09:00 AM
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I usually get myself in trouble for posting this, but I'll do it again anyway....I have a 10 yr old leather motorcycle jacket, chaps, boots and gloves that I wear, and No, I'm not going to replace them because other people tell me I should.

I watched a fellow biker, non veg, go down right in front of us, and thank god for his heavy coat he was wearing, and a good helmet. Enough said. When it comes time to replace any parts of my ensemble, I'll buy non leather stuff, and we don't buy any new leather since I've gone veg. I never bought real leather shoes or purses anyway, so that was never an issue.

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#25 Old 06-17-2011, 03:13 PM
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I usually get myself in trouble for posting this, but I'll do it again anyway....I have a 10 yr old leather motorcycle jacket, chaps, boots and gloves that I wear, and No, I'm not going to replace them because other people tell me I should.

I agree with you. I have a leather jacket that's been in my family for years. I'm not going to get rid of it. It was purchased before I was even born. Even if I'd bought it myself before going veg, unless you can return it, it doesn't accomplish anything to get rid of such things. I'm ok with just not buying more leather in the future, so that's what I do.
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#26 Old 06-17-2011, 08:00 PM
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I personally stopped wearing all animal-based clothing and shoes when I began calling myself vegan, and donated my old things, but I wouldn't judge others for not doing the same. However, I do think there's a difference between wearing old leather and buying new leather. If someone identifies as veg*n, and does so for ethical reasons, then I just can't get my head around why that person would purchase anything leather that's new.

ETA: I do understand the issues with hard to fit feet, specialized gear, etc., and wouldn't judge anyone for that kind of thing. I'm talking about normal situations where there are good alternatives available.
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#27 Old 06-19-2011, 10:41 PM
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Leather is just a material used because it's plentiful and cheap regardless of its origins, and if it were not so plentiful and cheap, it would rarely if ever be used.

Honestly, it's still a gray area, but I personally look at it like this: No one is going to slaughter a cow just for leather. Yes, buying leather supports the industries involved with factory farms and all that, but if no one ever ate beef, no one would make leather materials, at least not unless the price was jacked waaaaay up to make it economically prudent (and I suppose since there are people dumb enough to spend $2k on a pair of shoes or $4k on a jacket, it might have a tiny market).

Thus, even though I always prefer to buy an alternative if I can afford it, if I buy a leather belt from a thrift store or some discounter I'm not gonna feel bad about it (and I know there are vegan alternatives but to this day I've never found a single one that wasn't obscenely expensive, fell apart almost right away, or both - suggestions would be welcome for non-crappy products though!), nor am I gonna cry about getting leather workboots (same thing as the belts for me; ordered twice from vegetarianshoes.com and both were uncomfortable and honestly terribly made shoes - suggestions also welcome!).

Same goes for food additives, really. Geletain has a few alternatives that work perfectly, but they're not as cheap because the huge, swollen, federally subsidized beef industry makes so damn much that it's far more economically sensible to use it. This in mind, I'm not concerned about the implications of buying a tin of mints unless I buy a purposely veg*n version for usually two or three times the price, which, when I actually have the income, I do.

Same with flavorings an additives: If no one eats chicken, no one uses it in soup bases. In fact, what goes into a genuine article 'chicken soup base' is not 'edible' chicken so much as bits of the chicken would normally be thrown away, like bones, scrap and gristle. Sure, it's actually chicken, but unless nothing on the menu is made with meat, you are in no way supporting the meat industry by eating a soup made with 'meat stocks'. If you are avoiding such things altogether (since it ain't a bad health plan), you'd best just go to veg*n-only restaurants, but those are hard to find even in SoCal.

Personally, though, I don't like to drive myself batty by reading every label, I just try to buy and support 100% veg*n food and products when I can find/afford it. Otherwise it's not a big deal to me whether I've bought a tertiary animal by-product or not.

Besides, if you pay taxes in the US, you're already supporting all animal industries. Very, very sad, but true, so make damn sure to vote, people!

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#28 Old 06-19-2011, 10:59 PM
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No one is going to slaughter a cow just for leather.

You are mistaken.

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#29 Old 06-20-2011, 10:48 AM
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Technically, it's not hypocritical of vegetarians to wear leather because vegetarianism by definition is just about what you eat, not what you wear. It would be kinder to animals if they chose not to wear it though and many vegetarians don't wear it, which is awesome.


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I agree with you. I have a leather jacket that's been in my family for years. I'm not going to get rid of it. It was purchased before I was even born. Even if I'd bought it myself before going veg, unless you can return it, it doesn't accomplish anything to get rid of such things.

Yes it does. Every person who stops wearing the old animal skins they own is helping to collectively send the message out that it's no longer acceptable to use animals as "products".


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Originally Posted by Photojess View Post

I usually get myself in trouble for posting this, but I'll do it again anyway....I have a 10 yr old leather motorcycle jacket, chaps, boots and gloves that I wear, and No, I'm not going to replace them because other people tell me I should.

I've posted this before and I'll do it again. Vegans do not eat, wear or use any animal products. End of story. Whether you bought your leathers ten years ago, last week or only wear them on Sundays, the wearing of animal skins is not a vegan practice.

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I watched a fellow biker, non veg, go down right in front of us, and thank god for his heavy coat he was wearing, and a good helmet. Enough said.

My BF and I have come off his bike and the Kevlar suits and synthetic boots and gloves we were both wearing protected us perfectly well. There is some great vegan gear on the market thesedays, so using the safety aspect as some kind of argument to keep wearing bike-leathers is no longer justifiable.

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#30 Old 06-20-2011, 03:25 PM
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i just replaced my old leather wallet with one made from old bicycle inner-tubes.

its very nice.
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