View Full Version : Almost convinced...

05-01-2009, 09:38 AM
Hello everyone, this is my first post (I JUST registered). I am quite new to the idea of Animal Rights and veg*nism. I am not a vegan; after finally learning about the horrors of the factory farms system and doing some serious reading & thinking about just how much right we have to use animals for our own purposes I gave up meat, eggs, & dairy and am working on discovering & eliminating the stuff with animal products or tested on animals elsewhere in my life.

We would (obviously) all agree animal welfare is a crucial issue in today's society; however, I am not yet convinced it should always take top precedence. For example, and this is purely hypothetical(I don't even golf): suppose I am going to buy a pair of golf clubs. I can buy them from Company A which uses absolutely no animal products in their product or manufacturing process, but pays their workers poorly, treats them poorly, and has a horrible environmental record. Company B pays close attention to providing excellent working conditions, pay, & benefits, as well as is vigilant about their influence on the environment. However, there is animal products in both their production process & final product. (Again, this is all purely hypothetical).

In this case, would the most ethical choice still be Company A? This is the issue I am wrestling with. I would really like anyone's thoughts; is this a valid point? or am I looking at this the wrong way? Has anyone else had this same dilemma?

I realize this problem would only arise in an incredibly small number of cases; still, I am not going to go all the way and label myself a vegan unless I am actually going to be a vegan.

Thanks for any thoughts! And Happy Friday.

La Végétalienne
05-01-2009, 10:37 AM
Spooter, one thing (among many!) that I :heart: about VRF is that the people here are open to debate and consideration of many sides of an issue. I don't think anyone draws a hard and fast vegan/not vegan line. Many (most?) of us care about environmental and humans rights issues as well as animal rights. I find it quite convenient that very often, all three concerns tend to align. As you say, examples such as your hypothetical one are rather rare. As for "going all the way"- remember that while, of course, going vegan may be the most direct and efficient way of eliminating animal cruelty, any contribution you can make has a positive effect. If your heart and mind are genuinely committed to veganism, fear not adopting the label. We're all human and we all make mistakes and move on.

That being said, here's a real dilemma that I face and have been wanting input on, so if you don't mind my hijacking your thread, I'll put it out there for consideration, so you can at least have a real example to illustrate your point:
There are several Mexican restaurants in town. Some of them are small, authentic, family-owned establishments. I don't speak Spanish and therefore find it difficult to ascertain whether or not the beans or tortillas contain lard, for example. When I eat at these places, I accept that my food may not be 100% vegan. Alternatively, a chain fast-food Mexican restaurant has moved into town. They clearly distinguish the vegetarian options from the vegan options. But they're a chain. And not very authentic. So which is better?

Your query also reminds me of this post (http://www.veganrepresent.com/forums/showpost.php?p=324343&postcount=1823). If you go to the thread (http://www.plantbasedpeople.com/showthread.php?p=324343#post324343), you can see the responses (page 122).

And finally, welcome to VRF! :sunny:

05-01-2009, 11:44 AM
I don't have time to spend researching how a company treats its workers for every small purchase I make, but if the tag says "leather," I know there was cruelty involved in making it, and avoid it. Simple as that.

I noticed you used the phrase "uses animal products" but talked about treating workers poorly, rather than "using cheap labor" and "abusing animals." This makes me think you might be a troll. We've all heard the "but what about human rights" or "more important causes" argument and it's flawed; you can support both.

In any case, I wouldn't knowingly buy from either of those companies. If I were informed about what was going on I would find an alternative to both.

05-01-2009, 12:02 PM
I wouldn't buy from either company. If I couldn't find a vegan and ethical alternative, I probably wouldn't make the purchase. This really only holds for major purchases that I could do without (like your example of golf clubs - not an essential item to own unless you're a professional golfer). There are some purchases that are even more major where I haven't had the ability to avoid either unveganness or cruelty to humans. And that really just hurts, but I don't know that there's a way around it in the world we live in.

For smaller things like food and clothes, I think it's usually much easier to know if something is vegan than if it was produced by mistreated workers. So I always obviously err on the side of veganness when it comes to those products and then I avoid companies when/if I find out they mistreat their workers. I think most people here strive to succeed in both areas.

05-01-2009, 12:41 PM
I'd probably go buy a set of used golf clubs, then you have the whole reuse/recycle thing going. that way you're not re-hurting animals OR people involved in production, and you're using less resources. Probably not the point you were looking for, though.

05-01-2009, 12:45 PM
The questions you have are questions that will probably continue to come up as you go about your life, whether you consider yourself vegan or not. If you're trying to be an overall ethical person, there are always tough choices. Starting by giving up animal products is one giant step towards ensuring that your choices are at least likely to be more positive, but it's not a guarantee. There's often no way (or not enough time) to figure out exactly what impact your purchase will have on the world, so you do the best you can.

Whatever you choose will depend on your own set of values and ethics. Many people are vegan out of concern for animals, with other considerations being less important. Others are motivated by concerns for the environment, their own health, or human rights. Many vegans have concern for all those areas.

My point is, these are decisions you will untimately have to make for yourself. However, I wouldn't let it get in the way of considering yourself vegan or not. If you're avoiding animal products and animal testing, that pretty much fits the definition. Anything else you choose to consider (fair-trade, sweatshops, environmental impact) is just really delicious icing on the cake!

There are actually a number of threads here about some of the things you seem to be concerned with, like human rights, sweatshops, fair-trade, environmental issues, used leather/wool, and so on. You might enjoy reading those and seeing how other people face these issues. There are no easy answers... unless of course you just decide not to think about them!

05-04-2009, 10:23 AM
The longer I am vegan, the more knowledgable I become, and make more and more ethical choices, not only for the animals, but for the environment. I call myself vegan even though I know I probably use some form of animal product or another in my personal care products, but it is unintentional, based on my lack of knowledge on the subject, and if I read something like a tip from someone about a product, I usually test it out and then switch to the ethical choice. As an example, I have stopped using disposable tampons and pads after reading the cloth pad/menstraul cup thread here. I plan on switching my fiance's disposable razors for a good one that you just replace the blades, not throw out the plastic. Every little bit helps. I plan to continue to wean off of using anything that has or could harm someone or the environment, or an animal. And I am proud of myself for doing that. :)

05-06-2009, 11:44 AM
Thanks for all the thoughts everyone- that local vs. surely vegan is a great example of the issues I have been turning over in my mind since I came to learn about our treatment of animals and the philosophy behind why we should do things differently. I appreciate the thoughts.

Wow first post and already called a troll, off to a bad start!

05-06-2009, 11:57 AM
Don't let it deter you, there is a lot of good advice and many reasons to stick around here! :)

05-06-2009, 01:13 PM
Well, golf clubs, unless you are a professional golfer, are not an essential item. If those were the ONLY two choices, I'd probably just do without. But usually you can either buy used (not adding to environmental damage and not contributing to the company) or maybe freecycle them. It amounts to about the same thing. You have to figure out which you are most comfortable with. :)

Veganism is not about being perfect, but about avoiding products that exploit animals (including humans) and their products. It's about living your best to reduce suffering. If you are doing this (and it sounds like you are), I wouldn't worry about being perfect before calling yourself vegan. If someone asks if your shoes are leather (for example), just explain that you are using up what you had before you became vegan and once those wear out you'll get some non leather ones.

Welcome to VRF! :)

05-06-2009, 07:52 PM
Wow first post and already called a troll, off to a bad start!

Hey there Spooter. As you can imagine, sometimes a troll sneaks in and attempts to taunt us so some members are suspicious. Sorry about that, it was a mistake. You're off to a fine start so no worries. Welcome. :)