It seems like an incredibly obvious first step but I haven’t yet addressed what veganism is exactly. I was clearly too busy rambling!
So what is veganism?
There are many reasons why people choose to embrace a plant-based, cruelty free lifestyle, but first I’d like to make a distinction. Being a vegan isn’t just about eating vegan food, it’s also about trying to cause the least amount of suffering possible.
That means rejecting products (like makeup and skincare brands, for example) that don’t adhere to a cruelty-free policy. It means thinking consciously and making ethical decisions in regards to everything in your life, from the shoes on your feet to the dye in your hair to buying a car with seats that aren’t leather.
It’s up to each individual vegan to determine their own ethical boundaries; for instance, some vegans may not mind consuming animal derivatives in products as long as they’re not eating meat/dairy/eggs directly, but many vegans do not consume any derivatives at all. Nobody is perfect, but the goal is to try our best to live ethically.
Personally, I don’t eat meat/eggs/dairy/honey and I also don’t consume products with animal derivatives in them. I don’t buy or use products with animal derivatives in them nor products tested on animals. I’m currently working on using up the rest of the cleaning products around my house so that when they’re used up I can buy ethical brands, but it’s incredibly difficult (and very expensive) to overhaul all the non-vegan products in your life overnight. In fact I’d go as far as to say it’s impossible for most people. Veganism doesn’t happen overnight. The decision does, sure, but in practice it is tricky.
Another point of contention between vegans is that some (like myself) will use a product that has already been bought (before going vegan) until it’s used up or rips rather than throwing it out. As someone who cares about the environment, it’s very wasteful.
Another example is a pair of leather boots that you may have worn for years. I personally think it’s fine to continue wearing those until they’re not fit for purpose, and then they can be thrown out. As long as you don’t continue to buy leather/products using animal skin then I think that’s fine. But it’s up to you. Draw your own line.
If you have any questions or if I’ve missed something, please let me know in the comments!