Why I’m Dropping the “I’m VEGAN” Label
I ordered my car this year with Leatherette and not Leather, making a conscious decision not to buy any more Animal Products or By-Products. After all I was Vegan – wasn’t I? I thought all of the Trim and Seats would be Leatherette. Unfortunately, as advertised wasn’t exactly that. Only the Seats were made from a sort of “Synthetic Leather” and not actually made from Animal Hide. When I asked the Dealership why this wasn’t explained to me and why my new shiny BMW still has some leather in it, I was told because they have to. What? Why? Because BMW hasn’t figured out yet how to make trim in Leatherette and besides, the Animal Hide used in Europe is from Non-Factory Farmed Animals. So that’s supposed to make me feel better? They are still Slaughtered aren’t they? Salesman – “No I don’t think so”.
And so, that doesn’t make me a “Vegan” technically and therefore, I no longer say I’m Vegan. For that, and for many more reasons ….
That Purse! That Belt!
I once prided myself for the expensive Designer Handbags, Belts and Shoes that I could finally afford and purchased (before I knew better). It was such a Reward for me after I sold a Big Home, to go into a store like “Holt’s” in Toronto, with my Pretty Pink Holt’s Card and buy shiny, luxury items as a token of Prestige, Success, Wealth, Reward and of course, a Fashion statement. Somehow wearing these items made me feel important, worthy, accepted, looked up to and envied.
Custom Mink Coat!
My Father always bought my Mother the most extravagant gifts and one Christmas he bought my Mother a White Mink Coat. OMG! I wanted one just like that! I got to wear my Mother’s White Mink Coat on a modelling shoot for BMW. Look at how as a young Woman I was primed for what Prestige, Power and Success meant.
When I really became successful (in my Real Estate world), which meant I made alot of money, more than I ever made before, I decided it was time to buy a Mink Coat – just like the other Successful Ladies I looked up to and envied. I had a custom Mink Coat made for me. It’s stunning. The workmanship and lines are exquisite. There is a “V” shape in the back with the belts for “V”eronica. The Sleeves and Collar are stunning and were made just for me. It was everything I ever wanted and dreamed about and imagined for so long. Inside the coat was sown my Name “Veronica” and rating for the quality of the Mink, the ultimate sign of arriving – the best you could buy, and I bought it! I owed my very own Mink Coat and Custom-Made just for me! WOW. I was so impressed and bold and proud. I felt Fabulous! I felt envied! I felt superior!
When the Furier called me that my coat was finished, I could hardly contain myself. I went to pick up my new coat, and as I waited in the Beautiful Fur-lined Showroom, someone walked into the store and was carrying probably 25 pelts over his back. He walked directly into the back of this Light-filled, music induced, pretty showroom. Behind a door, which I never went into. I saw the heads and the feet and the tails. I shuddered for a minute and then brushed it away and put that imagine deep into my mind because I had come a long way to earn and afford such a piece of Beauty.
I bought myself a Long Fox Coat when I was 16. I did a modelling shoot and earned more money for that one ad than I could even imagine at 16! That Fox Coat was the first item of indulgence I bought for myself. It was also very practical because I lived down by the Lake in Oshawa and had to take the bus to work. There was no bus shelter and there was a huge field between me and the lake. The harsh Winter Wind blew off the lake, across that field and right into my bones as I waited for the bus to arrive. Our buses back then ran every hour and if you missed it, it was a really long wait. It was the warmest coat I owned and loved wearing it. I eventually gave it to a friend.
My new Mink Coat was a step up from that Fox Coat, and boy was it warm. That Fox was so heavy and this Mink was so light, like I wasn’t even wearing anything. When I wore that Mink Coat, everyone wanted to feel it and then hug me. Wow, free hugs – I loved that even more. The best part of it all was, that a man didn’t buy it for me. I bought it by myself for myself with my hard earned money. What an Independent, Successful Woman!
Then one day, I woke up. That Mink coat that I purchased to show that I arrived – that I was a somebody, was now a coat of Death. I suddenly remembered that man with the pelts on his back and that imagine in my mind made me cry my eyes out. My heart was heavy with their pain. I shook my head in disbelief that I bought this coat, that Fox Coat and my Dad buying my Mom that White Mink Coat. I saw all those poor animals that were tortured and slain for these coats for what – for me? I cried for a long time looking at my now ugly coat, beating myself up for spending such outrageous money to advertise such cruelty. I haven’t worn it in years. I really don’t know what to do with it. I want to wear it for the warmth. I want to wear it as a reminder to myself to never fall into the money / success / material / cruelty animal trap again. I want to educate those that compliment my coat to tell them that I didn’t know better. I don’t want to sell it and profit even more from these animals. I don’t want to give it away, because then aren’t I promoting animal cruelty.
What would you do with this coat?
Is it OK to wear something you didn’t know about, but do now?
Am I Vegan?
The best answer I give to people who ask me if I’m Vegan is “I eat RAW Plant-Based Foods and now live an Ethical, Aware and Cruelty-Free Lifestyle”. As I mentioned, I haven’t been able to wear my Mink Coat since I changed, but still wear my leather Belts, Shoes, Boots and Purses. Somehow, I’m OK with these smaller items because I have made ‘peace with my pieces’. I have thanked these Animals for their lives and have apologized to them. There comes a time when you have to forgive yourself for not knowing better. Forgiveness goes along way to clear your soul and feed your heart with love. And when I do wear any of my leather purses or shoes that I bought before I knew better, and someone questions be about it, I simply say “I bought this before I knew better”.
I am fully Plant-Based, RAW and loving it! I’ve committed to a Facebook Page called KEYNRG where I post Awareness for both Animals, Food, Health and Beauty. I promote Maya Angelou’s Quote that I heard on Oprah “once you know better to do better”, and also promote to “Be The Change”. Change is coming. People are starting to know what Vegan means, although they may not fully understand.
Vegan / Veganism
To be Vegan is to be a Person who Does Not Eat or Use Animal Products.
Veganism is way of Living which seeks to Exclude, as far as possible and practicable, all forms of Exploitation of, and Cruelty to, Animals for Food, Clothing or any other purpose.
List of Non-Vegan Foods you may not know:
- Milk, Cheese, Butter, Cream, Yogurt from Cows, Goats, Buffalo, Sheep
- Eggs from Duck, Chicken, Turkey
- Meat from Beef, Lamb, Poultry, Fowl, Fish, Shellfish
- Honey and Bee Pollen
As I mentioned above, I am not fully Vegan because I drive a BMW, and sometimes wear leather boots and shoes and sometimes my leather belts. I eat fully Vegan Food. I live as much as possible a Cruelty-free Lifestyle.
I work in a very materialistic world as a Toronto Realtor where I only deal with people with money and a lot of it, to be able to afford a home in Toronto, so I am surrounded by successful people. When I go into some of these homes, I see such ‘successful rewards’ all from the cruelty to Animals. What I once thought was a reward, I now see as punishment towards Animals and not a reward for us at all. I often see Animal Skin throws on the floor used as a carpet and I want to cry. I see bar stools covered in Animal Hide. I see fruit cellars full of hanging Smoked Animals Meats. I see Animal Antlers as Chandeliers and Animal Skin Furs in the Closets. Animal Leather Couches and Animal Meats in Sub-Zero Fridges. Bar-B-Ques and Wolf Gas Stoves. At first, it all got to me when I woke up and it was so hard to show Homes with all of this Cruelty disguised as Success.
Once I got a grip so to speak, I used my platform as a Realtor to educate my Clients (when the opportunity presents itself) on what is really going on. So many people just don’t know. I get a lot of comments about my Food Choices and my Clients often want to know about it. This is the best opportunity to gently and kindly talk about the connection of our Food and where it actually comes from. I asked a 9year Client’s son where he thought Chickens came from. His answer “Metro”.
The thing is, I at one point didn’t connect with my Choices. I didn’t connect back to the Origin in Food or Clothing or Furniture. So everyone makes their Changes at their Pace. I think we should all be Kinder to each other and then we will all eventually end up being Kinder to Animals.
What do you think – I’d love to hear from you!