There was no house cleaning of old animal un-friendly products when I became a Vegetarian. No ritualistic ceremony to cleanse myself of all past wrongs committed against animals. No, I’m not an evangelizing vegetarian, I’m not an asshole about others lack of morals. I was much more subdued about becoming a vegetarian. It probably helped that most of my close friends and co-workers at the time were already or became vegetarians along with me at the time.
I did not cut all animal based products out of my life: I ate eggs and drank milk (and aside from a shot time when I drank Soya and ate no cheese or eggs I still partake of milk products and eggs. Because it is simply too hard not to unless you live across the street from a Whole Foods [wholefoods.com]—which I did for a time, but now I’m just making excuses,) I had leather good; gloves, a coat, wallet, etc. and over the year I have continued to accumulate leather goods. Both goods I purchased and goods that were given to me.
Last summer I re-read Animal Liberation [amazon.com]. It was the first time I have re-read the ‘book that started it all’ since I became a vegetarian. Just afterwards I read Fast Food Nation [amazon.com] which may sound like it has nothing to do with animal rights, utilitarian ethics or being a vegetarian but if you suspect that I suspect you have not read Fast Food Nation. After reading these two books and thinking about it for a while I decided that I would make a concerted effort to replace all my leather goods (not ready to call a 100% moratorium on eggs and dairy yet—thought soy milk is easy to get over here so we’ll see, protein might be hard to come buy with out some dairy)
I started my long delayed house cleaning some time ago. I purchased a new totally synthetic wallet from The Wallet Shop [thewalletshop.com] here in Singapore where I also purchased a business card holder—now I just need to replace my passport/travel wallet anyone got any leads? I also went ahead and replaced my leather dress shoes and my Birkenstocks with new ones from Moo Shoes [mooshoes.com]. I replaced my light leather jacket (which I bought in Italy only a few years ago—bad, bad, vegetarian!) with a black PVC one from the Human Rights Campaign, and it only cost me $5.00! Non-leather goods tend to be cheaper that the ‘real’ thing.
I guess now I can count myself as a good vegetarian, thought not a vegan (still debating that egg and dairy thing.) I still have some leather in my possession—the handle on my otherwise nylon business bag is leather. So maybe the transformation is not yet totally complete but I’m much closer to being leather, and wool, free than I was a few months ago. Now if I could just convince my girlfriend to give up those high priced leather purses and handbags!