What exactly is the feeling when you meet someone vegan and thinking if their leather is real, or fake?
As vegan, there exists that commitment for animal rights and welfare. So is veganism and wearing fake leather compatible in the advocacy? So is wearing shoes and clothes of fake leather acceptable?
In recent years, there are signs that it’s becoming acceptable again to wear faux fur. It is disappointing. One reason maybe is that the public can no longer tell on sight if someone is ignorant, unethical or simply a fur wearer. Thus, these wearers are no longer judged publicly for their lifestyle, which is immoral. Though the look has been normalized again.
Ignorant was mentioned because it may be hard to believe for anyone who is aware of what is happening in the industry be a part of supporting it financially. In China, mainly, animals are skinned alive to get the fur. Therefore this number of people may not be aware of this situation that’s why they still patronize fur. Travelers and vegans may still choose to spread awareness instead.
So is leather now the fur before?
So if you connect the two, and accept that fake fur wearing makes it acceptable to wear animal skin, then vegans are acceptable to wear leather?
How about luxury leather. Let’s take a closer look at the luxury leather industry first. Is wearing fake leather more acceptable? In the luxury segment, animals are specifically raised and killed for its leather. This is opposite of cheap leather goods which are mere by products.
Compared with wearing fur, the wearing of leather is so global that we don’t even notice it anymore. People don’t usually think of leather as animal skin too. That is quite an important difference. People tell the difference with fur as the rich traditionally wear it and it involves harming of animals. Unlike with fur that it makes people uneasy as it really looks like animal was sacrificed to produce it.
Not same as leather
The same is not true with leather. Vegans wearing faux leather will not impact the difference in social acceptability given that leather is universally used and accepted. The next best thing to do is to fund awareness in campaigns to remind the public of where the product came from and was produced.
If at one point tomorrow, it becomes controversial as wearing fur and not a universal behavior anymore then it might become a separate argument. If it becomes the same as fur– awareness of the animal killed for the product, only a minority are wearing it then we may look at leather way differently than how we look at it now.
Bad for animals
The most obvious reasons to avoid leather. Once you’ve started eating more plant based and imagine the horrors of factory farming for animals, then you will realize it carries the same burden. When choosing leather home goods, it’s same as sitting on top of a dead animal’s skin. You will look for alternatives.
Bad for the Earth
Processing leather is a complicated process.It’s production includes dyeing, finishing etc. And every step of the way, chemicals are involved. This is what makes it terrible for the environment. Not only is it energy consuming but the amount of formaldehyde, coal tar derivatives and cyanide based oils, dyes and finishes is too much for the person creating the leather.
Bad for You
Consider the health impact of the leather home goods when it was being produced. Off gassing happens when you use these goods over the years. Off gassing is the evaporation of chemicals, which are volatile in non metallic materials. And the evaporation continues for years. So breathing it is part of your daily grind.