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What about acquiring used leather products free of charge?

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I don't know what you mean by 'ditch,' but the author buys the car, including the leather interior, and simply puts cloth on top of it so that in no possible sense could he be promoting leather cars.

"what will his seller think ? 'He bought my car because it had leather sits, next car I will buy will have leather sits because it will be easier to sell when I'll want to' "

I really have a hard time agreeing with this. There could be any number of reasons why the author bought the car. And the author could even tell the dealer himself, 'hmm I'm interested but I am vegan and that car has a leather interior. I will still buy the car, but in spite of, not because of, the leather interior.

"Buying used leather contributes to the market of used leather, and to get used leather you have to get new leather in the first place. It's the same as why the trade of ivory is now forbidden (in most countries ?), even old/used ivory."

Sort of, but this will likely be much more true in a more veganized future than it is now. Used leather represents a surplus because much of it is thrown away. As demand for used leather rises, eventually you are right that will stimulate demand for new leather. But if I walk into value village, many of the animal product clothing will simply be thrown away within a few months.

Not a bad point about the ivory, but that is slightly different because the main reason why ivory is banned is because elephants are endangered species. Cows and sheep are not.

If anything, it could be argued he is promoting a vegan lifestyle more than someone who simply drives a cloth interior, because if people do see it's leather covered with cloth, that will prompt the driver to say 'yes I am vegan and I don't want to promote products that necessarily cause animal harm'

This is a highly debated topic online. Here are a couple quotes I found. The majority of people who defended wearing animal products they purchased prior to becoming a Vegan say that they label themselves as Plant Based Eaters, as opposed to Vegan so they don't appear hypocritical.

"Is it vegan to buy products second-hand which contain leather or wool? After all, since they already exist, one is not causing additional suffering. It's important, again, not to think of this purely as an issue of "inflicting suffering." If you have seen the video of Herbie on the Why page, acting much like a puppy, ask yourself why a vegan would even want to wear that being's body regardless of the economic effect it has?

Being vegan means acknowledging the notion that animals are not lifeless objects which are on the planet for all of us humans to use.

So regardless of the amount of suffering you may not be causing to an animal, is it in line with your own beliefs to wear the body parts of murdered animals?"

"Although it's true that the cruelty has already been committed in the case of second hand leather shoes, why promote the material by wearing it when there are plenty of awesome shoes in thirft stores that are made of alternative materials?"

"we have to do what is right for us as individuals...I personally cannot be a part time vegan...past, present, or future..I will do with out before I buy,use,any product made from animals...."

"sometimes we strive tenaciously for values and principles but along the way mistakenly trade in these attributes for ego, and we ultimately but unintentionally leave the mission behind. Let us take responsibility and ownership of our principles of let us be guided by what is actually right for animals, not what we want to be right in our heads. There is sincerely a lifestyle that goes beyond vegan, but we are required to put our own veganism on trial in order to get there."

Thanks for your input. I am not saying I DO believe buying used leather is always vegan—I think it's a grey area in many ways, which is why I asked the question here. It is an important question for us to consider though, because synthetic wear is not without its own problems.

I hear a lot of people saying 'why would you even consider wearing a murdered animal's skin/fur,' to which I would reply: simply not wanting to wear animal skin because you think its gross or vile, that is a personal choice. It simply does not affect the deceased animal (may it rip) whether its skin ends up in the landfill or helps keep someone warm for a very, very long time. This is not about us, its about the animals (and the environment). We need to think according to logic, not simply by association. Your last quote resonates nicely with this view.

As to whether buying used leather supports the leather industry, I think in some cases yes and some no.

"As to whether buying used leather supports the leather industry, I think in some cases yes and some no."
For instance, buying a used flashy leather jacket I would say promotes leather jackets. But buying a used leather belt, well, leather belts are so ubiquitous already that no one is going to see it and say 'wow I've never seen something quite like that, I'd like a leather belt too.' The extreme example is, wearing a t-shirt does not promote the t-shirt market because they are literally everywhere. Wearing a specific brand promotes that brand because it is one of many other brands.

Austin, I think this is an interesting and complex question. It's one I often debate while standing in a thrift or consignment store. 

I respect those who say they would not choose to wear leather themselves. But that's not what I read in your question.

Obviously used leather is better than buying a new leather item, but beyond that, it gets murky. When we buy a faux leather (I have one coming tomorrow), what environmental damage was there in its making? How many animals may have been killed to truck something from far away to me? How does this damage to animals and the environment compare to the used leather item? Zoe Weil of the Institute for Humane Education (http://humaneeducation.org) writes about "MOGO" or most good. What is the most good you can do considering all factors, realizing that no choice is usually 100% positive.

Usually the best answer is to buy less or nothing, though that doesn't answer your question either. I try to avoid things that appear to promote the animal product. So I wouldn't buy a used fur. A pair of used leather shoes, unless they're somehow outstanding enough to draw attention, I might consider.

My faux fur, and the faux leather if I keep it, have "Fabulous Faux" or other pins to make clear it's a non-animal alternative.

If it is long lasting the environmental impact will be less. The main concern with regard to synthetic wear is that many materials break down after just a year or two of use, or less, and are thrown away ending up in landfill. And they are not biodegrading as leather is.

Additionally, I read somewhere (will try to find the source again) that emissions are produced for some synthetic leathers and other materials (I know PVC for instance)—I think having to do with them being petroleum based, i.e. that they're plastic derivatives. Granted, producing leather is highly emissive. But then again, that applies to buying new leather.

One of the reasons I posted this question is, being a cash strapped student, I simply don't have the money to buy new synthetic shoes, boots, belts every year or two and used leather represents the most economical option as it can last for decades. I have been looking into different types of faux or vegan leather to see if there are low enviro impact and long lasting options because that would certainly be the answer (along with those 'fabulous faux' tags you mentioned!) Definitely for general clothing and light jackets hemp is a great option, but shoes and boots is a little harder, and things that must be warm.

Being a recent vegan also (and living in cold Canada!), my winter coat, all my belts, my boots, my dress shoes, many of my sweaters, my suit and ties, my tuque, my gloves, and my wallet are all animal products or partly so, and for me to give those away would be probably mean a 3-4 thousand dollar loss...

Austin, I compliment you for such a thoughtful approach. I sympathize on those cold winters. I was a fur-wearing vegetarian in D.C. for several years, because I was so reluctant to give up that warm coat.

Anyway, whatever you decide, I think the most important part is that your heart is in the right place. You are trying to do the right thing for animals and for the environment in a realistic way. You are getting many good yet different opinions here. Whatever you choose, I think you can feel proud of what you're doing.

Thanks for this, it seems some people have very strong opinions on this subject. And while I think it's great to be passionate, we should not lose sight of the facts, namely that vegan leather and other synthetic wear are not perfect options themselves.

Regardless, it's good to get the debate going because I think this is more than a question of merely drawing the line arbitrarily at what should be considered vegan or not. With more discussion, and research into synthetic clothing alternatives, I think we can arrive at an answer that truly is best for animals, human and non-human, and our shared environment.  

There's never any shortage of very strong opinions on animal issues! I appreciate that the discussion here has been constructive. We share the same goal. We just disagree on the best strategies and approaches. I agree that it is valuable to have the debate, especially when it is done, as here, with a mutual recognition of positive intent. 

Freshenista, interesting about you wearing fur.  I always try to make eye contact with women I see wearing fur and I have found that they will not look at you!  I wonder did you feel weird wearing your fur?

"vegan leather and other synthetic wear are not perfect options themselves"

agreed because of the environmental damage as well as the fact it appears that you are wearing animal product.  best to wear obviously vegan  stuff and make them hip.  Nice discussion you've created! :)

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