Saturday, October 21, 2006


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At 3:47 PM, Blogger LotusBlossom said...

"Where have your boots been?"

I was fortunate to attend my very first World Vegetarian Congress 10 years ago in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, USA. One of the many things that struck me was the gentle appeal to a vegan lifestyle which had a broader meaning than just omitting animal products from my diet. I had the chance to examine my thoughts on such things as what animal products I might be wearing (leather, fur, wool, silk), what animals had been sacrificed to test cosmetics and other products and what animal entertainment was I willing to view, such as zoos or Sea World.
That was 10 years ago and it made me more conscious of the choices I have made since then. I have had a challenge in the last couple of years to find a winter coat suitable for business wear which contains no leather, wool, fur, or down feathers.
At the recent World Veg Congress in Goa, I heard a another gentle plea to stop wearing leather goods by a number of Indian speakers. It made perfect sense to me, but I happened to be sitting with a new vegetarian, who would be going back to the real world as a successful businesswoman and she was finding the idea very challenging. We talked about the fact that she should not go home and (in a fit of guilt) throw away all the leather items that she owned, but that she be patient with herself. Consciousness is a process, she is evolving and when the time came to replace the shoes or purse, she would be ready to look for suitable man-made substitutes, because the seed had been planted at the Goa Congress, just as it had been with me so many years ago. Since then I notice how often leather is the style- from pants, skirts, jackets, couches, and car seats- any color you can imagine. It sure is hard to imagine that a blue leather couch was once a cow-but it was!
One of our Indian friends in Goa told us the story of how they obtain calf skin from the baby calves for ultrasoft leather items and it is a story to break your heart.
If you are thinking of taking this step, I will tell you that here in the USA it is very easy to distinguish vegan items for purchase. Items with any leather on them very prominently display a seal with the words "Genuine Leather"--so that's easy-just read the labels. Luckily, man-made and natural fabric items are becoming more mainstream and I just may have found a suitable winter coat! There are many websites with vegan accessories, cosmetics and clothing for sale also.
Ten years ago I was pretty clueless, and it took me awhile, but today I can truly say that I know where my boots have been!


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