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sea sponges
Diana Posted at 2010/01/03 10:48am reply to

Diana
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Sea sponges are technically considered animals. I was wondering if any of you have given much thought to whether or not using sea sponges is vegan. I've been reading about them but to me nothing really says 'sentience'.
Amelia Posted at 2010/01/03 3:47pm reply to

Amelia
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What are you using them for? Cleaning, bathing or tampons?
Ripe Tomato Posted at 2010/01/03 10:51pm reply to

Ripe Tomato
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I don't use them, just as a matter of personal preference, because it never occurred to me that they were an animal nature.  I think for me, it may depend on how they are harvested. Do they farm them?  I doubt they wait for them to die of natural causes.

I don't really like loofahs, either, but are they also animals, or are they plants? They always seemed so fibrous and plant-y.
christinablue Posted at 2010/01/03 11:19pm reply to

christinablue
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You know, I'm thinking there was a reason I didn't use them, but I made that decision so long ago that I don't remember what it was! I'm thinking that yeah, they are harvested. But they may farm them now. *shrug*
weigand Posted at 2010/01/03 11:32pm reply to

weigand
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Do they feel pain? Do they have an interest in staying alive?

- Steve
Ross Posted at 2010/01/04 10:20am reply to

Ross
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I haven't often encountered actual sponges being used anywhere. I thought loofas were sponge animals for a while, but it turns out they're just plants. Otherwise, pretty much all sponges you can buy these days are synthetic as they're easier to produce.

As far as the ethics of it, I gather that sea sponges don't feel pain as they don't have nerves, so I wouldn't so much be against using them if there's no environmental harm in extracting them. I'd probably still feel weird using them, though.
Moniker Posted at 2010/01/04 12:15pm reply to

Moniker
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Ross Posted at 2010/01/04 1:02pm reply to

Ross
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I actually have thought about growing them, Monica! Maybe I'll try growing them this spring
Moniker Posted at 2010/01/04 2:29pm reply to

Moniker
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: ) I could use a new loofah dealer!!
Daniela Posted at 2010/01/04 2:49pm reply to

Daniela
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"Otherwise, pretty much all sponges you can buy these days are synthetic as they're easier to produce."

My bf and I were having this discussion while buying new kitchen sponges. I thought they were all synthetic but did you mean these kind of sponges, Ross?? No materials were listed. Thanks.
Rayray Posted at 2010/01/04 3:08pm reply to

Rayray
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Anything less that 2 cells thick and depending entirely on diffusion is fair game for being rubbed on my dishes or butt in a guilt-free fashion.
Ross Posted at 2010/01/04 3:09pm reply to

Ross
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Monica- You have a seed source handy? Haha

Daniela- Yeah I don't think I've ever seen actual animal kitchen sponges for sale at typical stores, it seems like something you would get more at a specialty store(like below)

image
kelsi Posted at 2010/01/05 8:43pm reply to

kelsi
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that looks like the sponge store in key west.  i've bought them there as gifts (i hate that scratchy feeling too!) and then found out that they were animals.  i'm still up in the air about the whole thing *shrug*
Diana Posted at 2010/01/06 6:30am reply to

Diana
Posts: 207
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Well, There are easy and viable alternatives so there is no real "need" to use them. I just happen to be interested in how people perceive using life-forms that are technically classified as animals but lack what we would commonly call sentience. I often consider eating clams or mussels but don't want to confuse the definition of "vegan" and generally want to represent my ethics to the most consistent standard possible. Sponges however seem to be the last stop on the animal line to plantville. However, there are many different kinds of sponges. Most can escape noxious stimuli at speeds just over that of a plant (1-4 mm per hour), some of them are carnivorous, some of them reproduce by budding and can have motile life stages.
I was also checking out how they are harvested and it seems there is no bycatch. They have to be harvested individually by sea sponge divers (from what sites I checked out).
weigand Posted at 2010/01/06 11:35pm reply to

weigand
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Yeah, I'm in the same boat as you on this Diana. Sea sponges have virtually no real sentience to speak of. If you even kill just one insect on your way to work, it probably counts about as much as killing a nearly infinite number of sea sponges on the guilt scale.  And yet, we all probably kill a whole lot of insects moving around on a daily basis.

Like you, I just avoid these sorts of issues altogether by just not using any animal products.  I admit, that's dogmatic. And I despise dogma.  But it's just easier. And less confusing to others watching us and trying to understand what we're about.

I definitely wouldn't order the vegan police to lock anyone up for buying a sea sponge. happy

- Steve
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