Forums
back to main | back to forum | view rules | page: 1 2
Transitioning
Ross Posted at 2007/02/07 5:40pm reply to

Ross
Posts: 4574
message
Alright so here's a topic I want to get some viewpoints on, it's been grazed over in the past but we haven't discussed it in depth very much as the topic usually changes swiftly.

I know that for many vegans, truly transitioning is sometimes a long process. Getting rid of all your leather, wool, etc. sometimes takes folks a while as you have to find replacements or find a way to deal without whatever article it was.

Most of us have at one time or another been snapped at by a person who upon hearing that we're vegan looks down at our shoes and goes "Are those leather!?" In the case that you are wearing leather as you haven't gotten rid of everything yet,  is it doing a disservice to the movement? I think leather is the most obvious one for most people(other than fur of course) that can be recognized easily as a potentially non-vegan item, so people will try to call you out on it if they think it is (which is certainly acceptable, though sometimes they seem to do it because they think you're ridiculous in the first place, whether or not you are actually wearing leather). And if you are wearing(or eating) something not vegan does this further decrease people's respect for the ideal of veganism?

In response to this, do you think we should refer to ourselves as "working towards" or "transitioning to" veganism during that period? If veganism is abstaining from animal products of any kind (besides those beyond our control in tires and the sort), maybe people should hold off on calling themselves vegan until all's clear. What do you think?
chris Posted at 2007/02/07 6:16pm reply to

chris
Posts: 340
message
i don't think you need to add any more adjectives to a description of yourself during the early phase of becoming vegan.  i sometimes used the term "dietary vegan" until i got rid of all my non-vegan shoes, clothes, and even (accidentally) my non-vegan car.  a short explanation of the transition seems to mollify most reasonable questioners...unless you've been vegan for 5-10 years and haven't switched everything over.
non-luxury items that cost a lot of money can take a while to replace, but if you haven't replaced a $40 pair of shoes after calling yourself vegan for years, that's a little lame.
jen Posted at 2007/02/07 7:43pm reply to

jen
Posts: 1075
message
labels are dumb.  i use the term vegan for myself so that people don't assume i eat cheese, milk, etc.  if you call yourself anything other then vegan while transitioning people are going to assume you eat non-vegan things.  if you tell them you're transitioning and they don't get it then they're an idiot.  i get questioned all the time about my synthetic shoes.  i don't even know why people give a crap what i'm wearing. i'm not a preachy vegan, so i don't uderstand why people try and "catch" me.  but i'm not going to live my life in fear of them catching me accidentally eating l-cystine one day.  i could go hiking and borrow a friends non-vegan shoes.  to me that is fine...to others it might not be...but craig better not try and pull my vegan card if i doawesome

as a vegan it's important to be okay with yourself and how you live.  who gives a crap what others think you should be doing and how you should be doing it.  veganism isn't a club that you have to follow a certain vegan guru's set of rules.  there are plenty of gray areas to veganism. as we've discussed it's impossible to be 100% vegan.  not in this world.  the tires on your car are not vegan.  should we start calling anyone driving a car an omnivore?

the best way to do a disservice to the movement is to be narrow-minded.  

Craig? Posted at 2007/02/08 12:04am reply to

Craig?
Posts: 1796
message
nope.  unacceptable.  turn in your card now jen.

it's weird.  I've never been questioned about my shoes, and they are swede.  they are vegan for sure, I bought them off of mooshoes.com, but no one has tried to call me on it.

maybe people who are aspiring to become vegan should call themselves a "vegan in training".  second thought, that might look kinda dumb if they are eating a hamburger.

I think it's funny and sad at the same time how people try to marginalize someone's efforts in any respect to justify to themselves why they do the horrible things they do.  bringing veganism up at all makes most people feel attacked, like you are calling them a murderer to their face, so obviously they are going to try and point out inconsistencies in your philosophy to help them feel better about their own.

I think the only vegans who are doing a disservice are the perpetual dietary vegans who have no problem wearing animals... and say stuff like "I'm vegan, but I like to look good".  like a certain rap artist I used to respect.
Ross Posted at 2007/02/14 1:16pm reply to

Ross
Posts: 4574
message
yeah mr. outkast is a complete joke. and you must have lucked out, craig, because i've had people do that to me a million times, and so has yael. i just think we're giving them more fuel if we are saying one thing and acting another. it's one thing for it to be stuff like car tires which we have no other options, but for it to be things that could easily be replaced with an alternative, i dunno. sure, it's easy to say who cares what people think, but i for one want people to take me seriously when they hear that i'm vegan, and not just think that i'm some over-enthused kid who has too much time on his hands. i know we're a long ways from most people respecting and understanding this lifestyle, but i still think it's a good goal. it makes me think of the people i've known who called themselves vegan, and then would eat anything as long as someone else bought it. it always frustrated me because if that's what people come to expect vegans to be like, then they're not going to know what the hell i'm talking about when i say i'm not going to consume any dairy, etc., even if you buy it for me.

anyway, thanks for your comments, guys. i want to get a few more viewpoints on this.
CharlesV Posted at 2007/02/19 4:00pm reply to

CharlesV
Posts: 103
message
As far as global impact, I would say hold on to what you've already consumed and paid for until it wears out? It's making the same statement to the world on you as it does on whoever buys it from goodwill, and you're at least not using whatever resources it took to make that pleather skort.
seine_waters Posted at 2007/02/19 10:35pm reply to

seine_waters
Posts: 2
message
I don't believe in being wasteful, so I intend to wear my non-vegan clothing items until they wear out, or if I find replacements early on, they will be going to the neighborhood Goodwill.  I do refer to myself as vegan just because it is easier than saying "I'm a vegetarian that is lactose intolerant and can't have eggs".

In my expirience, total strangers have been much more tolerant then my own family.  My transition started as lactose intolerance, and I decided that giving up dairy altogether would be a lot easier than taking pills.  This part has been going for months before I decided to give up meat and eggs, and my mother still has yet to remember that I can't have cheese or milk.  I have other food allergies/intolerances that I've had since I was a child that my mother forgets about, so I've given up on my family, and I usually just eat something before family functions, or bring my own main dish.

As far as other people knowing that I am vegan, my fiancee and a couple of close friends are the only ones that know I'm working toward adopting a vegan lifestyle, which is all that matters to me.  I feel if I insist on wearing or advertiesing a particular label, people are going to expect me to live up to whatever expectations they have in their own heads, correct or not.
. Posted at 2007/02/20 10:33pm reply to

.
Posts: 142
message
Ross Posted at 2007/02/20 10:37pm reply to

Ross
Posts: 4574
message
that's where that thread was! i couldn't remember what thread that discussion came up under
jen Posted at 2007/02/21 9:41am reply to

jen
Posts: 1075
message
while i agree with heidi's argument that giving her non-vegan shoes/clothing away will prevent someone else from purchasing new products and therefore decrease (in theory) the demand for animal products, i don't think it makes someone "more vegan".  and isn't that what this thread is about?  by using the word "transitioning" we were trying to classify if someone is vegan or not during their changeover.  

i feel like it's one thing to alienate ourselves from the rest of the world, but it's totally another when you begin to alienate yourself from vegans.  i believe vegetarianism is pretty black and white.  you eat flesh or you don't; however, when it comes to veganism YES! there are gray areas.  kind of an extreme scenario...but what if i had a sheep in my backyard and the capability and skills to turn his wool into a sweater.  i'd shear him in a humane way and that wool sweater would be vegan, in my opinion, because there was no animal harmed in the making of that sweater. would i still be "not vegan" because i wore this sweater and some idiot might question me?  maybe in theory the concept of veganism is black and white, but living in this world there are many gray areas.  ross mentioned that it's not reasonable to think we can get away without using tires.  hrm...i bet there's some johnny walker vegan dude out there who's thinking you're not true to the cause.

basically for some the line is drawn somewhere around tires.  others have drawn their line somewhere else.  let's face it...to 95% of the world we are all extreme to our cause.  i believe my friends/family know i take veganism seriously. yes, non-vegans try and catch us with the leather thing because most people don't know about things like glycerides and stearates.  but, if a transitioning vegan explains their reasoning in a mature manner and they do not except it...no, i really don't give a crap what they think.  those people are not going to understand our cause no matter what we do.

my biggest question to you all is why do we feel the need to divide ourselves when there are so few of us?  and why are we trying to judge our own?  
Ross Posted at 2007/02/21 10:11am reply to

Ross
Posts: 4574
message
well first of all, i don't think healthy discussion is equivalent to dividing ourselves. and that's exactly how i see this- healthy discussion. i think it's important that we bring up these things and clarify different viewpoints. i'm well aware that we're not all going to come to a consensus on this stuff. i think that wearing leather and other directly-derived animal products sends a different message than hidden and practically unavoidable animal products in things like tires. i don't expect everyone to agree with me, and yes, you're right that there are probably people who would think we're not true to the cause for driving cars. i'm not trying to point fingers through this and i'm not trying to turn people against each other, i just think it's good that we talk about these things.

to leave off, here's the vegan society's definition(who originally coined the word "vegan":
__________________

Q:   What is a vegan?

A: A vegan is someone seeking a lifestyle free from animal products for the benefit of people, animals and the environment.

A vegan therefore eats a plant-based diet free from all animal products, including milk, eggs and honey. Most vegans do not wear leather, wool or silk.

__________________

So from this definition it's obvious they realize that it ultimately is an ongoing process to eliminate animal products from your life and one that will likely last until the end. I don't feel I have an absolute answer for my question, but I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing.
saintimothy Posted at 2007/02/22 4:43am reply to

saintimothy
Posts: 30
message
i dont know a person who is totally vegan, and this is more of a club or something that gives people identity than anything....

gasoline is tested on animals..... so how hardcore are we gonna get?

do the best you can to model a lifestyle that is easy to attain and for the most part, mainstream.....

i am not talking about your taste in movies or music.... i am talking about a lifestyle that is so easy to do and so sensible, that those around you begin to realize that reducing animal suffering is pretty simple and tasty....

when you live on the fringe, you will never achieve your goal of reducing suffering in animals... people want to discredit you as a vegan, and groups like peta are not helping our cause in my opinion.... if i call the green bay packers the green bay six packers, how many animals are saved? 0....

we deserve a lot of the criticism we receive, and a lot of people in animal rights sound like born again christians, with the same self righteous bs..... what do you want to achieve?

if you want to save as many animals as possible, let's do it... if you want to be part of an elitist club, join peta.....
Tiffanny Posted at 2007/02/22 12:22pm reply to

Tiffanny
Posts: 34
message
I completely agree with Jen, 100%.

The very day I became vegetarian, I was caught off guard with a dear friend calling my hypocritical for still wearing my running shoes. I was sad at first, but I shot back. I told him, I am doing the best I can to ease/prevent suffering and excuse me if I have overlooked a few things.

Veganism to me has a much deeper meaning than merely not eating/wearing animal products. what about a person that never wears and eats animals but experiments on it? that person is a TECHNICAL vegan, but not a vegan at heart. To me veganism is extending mercy as far as you can. Easing suffering as much as you can. Extend your mercy to all, humans and animals alike. In other words, veganism is in your mind. Veganism is saying no to cruelty. a vegan at heart is being better than a vegan by technicality. the moment you have it in your heart that you will try to inflict as little suffering as possible to humans and animals, you've become vegan, at least at heart, even before you have gotten rid of your wools and leathers.

The focus of veganism is the animals, but I think we should never overlook human beings too. For instance, sweatshops, and slavery. I try not to by products that cause humans to suffer too. i wouldn't be my own definition of veganism if i did.

hope my ranting made sense.
Jacob Posted at 2007/02/26 5:49pm reply to

Jacob
Posts: 2479
message

>to leave off, here's the vegan society's definition(who originally coined the word "vegan":
>__________________
>
>Q:   What is a vegan?
>
>A: A vegan is someone seeking a lifestyle free from animal products for the benefit of people, animals and the environment.
>
>A vegan therefore eats a plant-based diet free from all animal products, including milk, eggs and honey. Most vegans do not wear leather, wool or silk.
>
>__________________
>

That is complete bullshit.  Vegans do not use any animal products, whether eating them or wearing them.  Why would the vegan society think that vegans would be supporting leather?!? That's just stupid.  I can understand if you just decided to go vegan and you still have some leather shoes you haven't gotten rid of yet, but just because you decided to get rid of your leather shoes doesn't mean you're vegan.  What if you bought a years lifetime supply of beef jerkey and then decided to go vegan?  Would you call yourself vegan even though you eat beef jerkey until your supplies have run out?  Would you go around public smacking on jerkey saying "Man, it feels good to be a vegan."  I can understand why some people think it's hard to be vegan when there's half-assed vegans walking round town calling themselves vegan with their leather hi-tops on.  Though the truth is, it's really not that hard to be vegan.  You just go out and buy vegan shoes and vegan food and vegan clothes.  Just as Steven the Vegan said, "If it comes from an animal, I don't eat it!", I say, "If it comes from an animal, I don't wear it!"
And besides, who wants to walk around with their feet inside a cow's ass?
saintimothy Posted at 2007/02/28 4:47am reply to

saintimothy
Posts: 30
message
it is not easy to achieve the level of perfect veganism that jacob has attained.... and many strive....

but if i wanted to (which i dont) tear his life apart and look for the inconsistencies, i could.... we all are imperfect.....

so if this club serves you the purpose of feeling superior, that is one purpose.... or we could look at achieving goals for reducing animal suffering that are realistic....

when you become enlightened to this movement, it is easy to look like a born again christian, someone all of us can and have torn apart for their inconsistencies while they look down on others....

this is hurting the movement, people.... not everyone is where you are or does it for the same reason, but who cares???? do you want less animals to die? me too.... so if someone is doing it for selfish reasons, i couldnt give a shit..... less animals die....

so as those self righteous of us look for which impure products to ban or which restaurants arent doing it perfectly, let's try not to forget that a person who eats vegetarian is still on the right path.... dont turn them off with this bullshit.... please......
Jacob Posted at 2007/02/28 10:49am reply to

Jacob
Posts: 2479
message
>it is not easy to achieve the level of perfect veganism that jacob has attained.... and many strive....

It's not as hard as you think.  You might have to go to a few more shoe stores to find the perfect shoe you want or maybe shop online, but that's not really that hard.  Sure cars may be impossible to get 100% vegan at this time, but simple things like shoes are easy to get.

>but if i wanted to (which i dont) tear his life apart and look for the inconsistencies, i could.... we all are imperfect.....

Veganism is all about trying to do the best we can for the animals.  If you know something I'm inconsistent about, please tell me.

>so if this club serves you the purpose of feeling superior, that is one purpose.... or we could look at achieving goals for reducing animal suffering that are realistic....

I don't know anyone who joined this club to feel superior.  Most of us come so that we can meet people who think like we do and to feel like we have a place where veganism is "normal".

>when you become enlightened to this movement, it is easy to look like a born again christian, someone all of us can and have torn apart for their inconsistencies while they look down on others....

Not really at all.  I don't look down on others and most people in this group don't either.  I have many non-vegan friends, and while I would like it if they were vegan, I'm not going to look down on them.  We are just trying to defend the definition of veganism and prove that it's not something so hard that people should be scared away from it.

>this is hurting the movement, people.... not everyone is where you are or does it for the same reason, but who cares???? do you want less animals to die? me too.... so if someone is doing it for selfish reasons, i couldnt give a shit..... less animals die....

I'm always glad when less animals die or when their quality of life can be increased.  If someone goes vegetarian from an animal eater, I'm happy about it and not angry that they aren't 100% vegan.  I'm just not going to call someone vegan when they eat animal products or wear them.

>so as those self righteous of us look for which impure products to ban or which restaurants arent doing it perfectly, let's try not to forget that a person who eats vegetarian is still on the right path.... dont turn them off with this bullshit.... please......

Hopefully we aren't turning anyone off the right path.



I was a transitioning vegan for a long time myself.  In fact, I was only "mostly vegan" until after joining this group.  Sure, when I went to a restaurant and ordered something, I would ask if it was vegan and say I'm a vegan because it was a goal I wanted to be, but when I was with friends (who were all non-vegan at the time) I would tell them that I'm "only mostly vegan" and I wasn't ashamed of it at all.  The reason I joined this group and helped start the website was because I wanted veganism to be easier for people in Austin and to help people who were interested in veganism become vegan.  Knowing which restaurants are vegan friendly and which restaurants are anti-vegan is pretty important to us, as well as which grocery stores have the best vegan options.  Having other vegan friends I can talk to and ask questions has helped my understanding of veganism as well as the world as a whole.  I've learned a lot from people like Gabriel and I think others can learn a lot too.  It's sad to see some people scared away  from the group because we are too strict.  It's also sad to see some people being scared away for trying to defend veganism on a pro-vegan website.  I do miss seeing you and others at the meetups and hope that I or anyone else haven't scared you away for seeming too strict on veganism.  I just figure that if I'm going to call myself vegan and run a vegan website that I may as well do it 100%.

I sorta wish Ross hadn't started this thread because I knew some people would get upset and I'm worried that our group might become divided.  I hope we can all be understanding of eachother's reasons because in the end, we are all here for the same reason:  the animals.
mark Posted at 2007/02/28 8:08pm reply to

mark
Posts: 105
message
As far as strict vegans "hurting the movement" by discussing vegan minutiae, this argument has been used to discredit every revolutionary movement throughout history by the more moderate reformers.  Sure, many people are going to use the excuse that they're not vegan because vegans are inconsistent, but do you really think these types of people are going to be receptive to going vegan anyway?  They might be just as turned off of the movement if the vegans they knew were mostly hippies or punks or-heaven forbid-middle class white people (which of course we mostly are), yet no one ever claims that these are legitimate characteristics which need to be purged from "the cause" because non-vegans are turned off by them.

I believe that a variety of tactics are healthy for a movement, whether that means deciding to not eat meat, go vegan, supporting "animal welfare" groups (e.g.Humane Society), "animal liberation" groups (e.g. ALF), PETA, ASPCA, or even disecting vegan issues on a vegan message board.

I agree with Ross that there is a place for healthy discussion of this stuff, and agree with Jacob that this site is specifically taylored to it.

I for one was attracted to veganism by people who were strict about what they chose to eat and wear, so there's at least one person who wasn't turned off the movement because of it.
peter Posted at 2007/03/01 2:40pm reply to

peter
Posts: 1535
message
If there's a site for healthy debate on veganism, this is it. So please don't be turned off by our discussion. It gets heated sometimes, sure, but remember that we're all friends in the end. Or maybe that's just something Hitler would say, right Chris?

As for my personal opinion, I think the "holier than thou" attitude needs to stop. Believe it or not, there are omnivores out there that we can learn from on a variety of issues. Some may even have a lower global footprint than we do. Sure, I would want to wring their necks for the inconsistencies between their dietary choices and the other areas that they are active in, but I won't. We can learn from them, as they can learn from us.

I think it's best if we focus on our entire lifestyle, and not just that related to veganism, in order to bring about the most change. We can help the planet the most this way, and therefore, the animals. In other words, take the best parts of "freeganism", apply it to our own daily choices, to make the best impact. For example, I'd much rather buy shit secondhand at a thrift store, most of the time, than buy the brand new vegan counterpart. Why, you ask? Well, for one, it's a hell of a lot cheaper, so I can afford it on my tight budget - freeing more of my money to go towards good vegan food. Second, I'm recycling, and not increasing the world demand for whatever the shoes, etc., are made out of - the vast majority of which is petroleum. So there are larger scopes to see how we affect the world with our actions, not just related to not consuming or wearing animals. I may have my feet in a cow's ass, but the cow's long dead and unprofitable, and buying a new alternative won't help bring the cow back. It may be easy to buy everything vegan in today's world, and to not cut corners in one's lifestyle - but is it truly BETTER, or just more purist? My dress shoes may be used leather, my suit may be used wool, but am I a vegan? In my humble opinion, yes.

There's a lot more I want to go into, but I'm not up to it right now. If you want to tear apart my words, go ahead - for real. *Constructive* criticism makes this board go 'round.
jeff Posted at 2007/03/01 4:13pm reply to

jeff
Posts: 468
message
You're cool in my book Pete!  And it would be really small-minded to ever argue that buying used wool isn't vegan but buying new animal-fat car tires is precisely just "vegan enough" or unavoidable enough to call oneself vegan.

Honestly I used to love the word "vegan", but I am getting really sick of all the ego issues it has come to connote.  As Jacob said, we are all in it for the animals.  And as Pete said that value doesn't always neatly overlap with total avoidance of contact with dead animal products in the real world.  I don't care if people dumpster dive, eat road kill, whatever--and neither do the animals, the universe or anyone with perspective on cause & effect.  

There comes a point in worrying about portraying total consistency where you reach Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  In other words no one else is obsessing over whether we're hypocrites for eating a possibly bee-waxed apple.  I do prefer to avoid those things and I don't mind talking about it, but if we started seeking definitions for each level of vegan (car tire consumer, once per year accidental beeswax fruit consumer) I would rather not be associated with such a group.  

Timothy is right on this--ego is part of everything, even "altruism", and we are all trying to make ourselves feel as good as we can about ourselves intuitively, all the time.  There is always a subconscious group-think/wish fulfillment in a niche group to differentiate from others, and we can't help but want our identity to be validated as "the best".

Anyway, I'm all for free speech, but nobody is naive enough to think there aren't character judgments implied or otherwise in these explorations of 'vegan identity'.  It WILL contribute to divisions in the group as Jacob speculated, but people will always naturally affiliate with people who either share their perspective - OR are socially adept at coexisting in a mutually enlightening way, and don't make vitriolic rants that, while ostensibly untargeted, predictably make people feel marginalized.

We can all speak our minds, and then we can all associate with who we are comfortable with.  I would rather talk about things other than this, and while this may be the place for vegan minutiae, it can be toxic to define yourself primarily by what angers you and what you DON'T do.

That why I choose to focus on what unites us, and what we all DO DO: DOO DOO.
Ross Posted at 2007/03/01 6:01pm reply to

Ross
Posts: 4574
message
"I sorta wish Ross hadn't started this thread because I knew some people would get upset and I'm worried that our group might become divided.  I hope we can all be understanding of eachother's reasons because in the end, we are all here for the same reason:  the animals."

I'm glad Jacob said this. I think this crew has an amazing positive energy and I definitely think that whatever each of us believes on issues like this, everyone's here because they're passionate about the animals and what they have to go through in life. I posted this out of curiosity to see what other people's ideas were, as I like to challenge my own ideas and see if maybe I'm not thinking about things in a productive way, so I'm glad I've gotten to hear what everyone thinks. I also think sometimes I don't realize that when I just throw things out to get people's views, some may feel like I'm challenging them personally, and I don't realize that my method of inquiring may hit people in the wrong spot. Regardless, I definitely value all of your responses, so thanks. And I also wanted to say, like Jacob said, I never intended to diminish people's efforts for living a more animal-friendly lifestyle, regardless of what level. I think any step towards reducing our dependence on animals is wonderful, as I know that not everyone finds it plausible to stop using animal products completely.
kimchee Posted at 2007/03/01 8:13pm reply to

kimchee
Posts: 119
message
right on peter & jeff, i agree 100% with you both!
Post a comment
page: 1 2
What's new in Austin

Follow UsFacebook icon
nothing planned


RuneScape Gold onlin...
replied by webtechcoupons @ 6:26am ...
Vegan Shawarma at Maoz
replied by kanawa @ 12:51am ...
Chuy's
replied by kanawa @ 7:27pm ...
0 users logged in: