Vegan stuff

Bill Ditchburn Bill Ditchburn
something I've always wondered about - why do we call materials that contain no vegetable derived element "vegan"? I get that there's no dairy product in them, but really...

Petro chem products are the basis of almost everything classified as vegan, and that's one of the most environmentally destructive industries there is.

As a manufacturer who uses both leather and petro-products, I'm curious how material derived from, ooh, say, the Alberta Tar Sands (where, in one single incident, 1600 ducks were killed instantly upon landing on just one tailings pond) can be seen as more animal friendly than leather. I'm not about to try and defend the use of fur, but leather is different.

What do you think?
09/21/2009
  • Weekly Special: Sexy Savings
  • Save 15% on Luxury Brands
  • Annual Clearance - Save 30%
  • Buy Cascade vibe and save 50% on lubricants!
  • Save 20% on self-lubricating Cascade vibe and sleeve kit
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
All promotions
Sir Sir
I understand what you mean completely. Leather is sometimes more natural and better for the environment (though it does come from animals' backs).

Personally, I always go for leather. I love leather too much to give it up.
09/21/2009
Bill Ditchburn Bill Ditchburn
Petrochemicals are pretty evil. I'll admit the leather industry does have its issues, particularly in places where environmental protection is lax; ie all the places tanneries relocated to from North America and Europe, but they pale in comparison to the devastation wrought everywhere by the petrochem industry, from exploration and production of the raw material to disposal of the final product. There are jurisdictions in the USA where it is illegal to dispose of PVC (for example) in landfills (because it leaches insanely toxic dioxins into the groundwater) or in incinerators (insanely toxic dioxins are released into the air). Airborne dioxins travel inexorably to the poles, where they wind up in the fatty tissues of the unsuspecting creatures that live there.

Leather on the other hand, is a byproduct of the industrial meat process, and while I loathe that with a passion, it is not something that is going to end any time soon. So there is a choice. We can use those cowhides to make beautiful clothes, furniture and toys, or we can leave them to rot in great festering heaps. If the latter, you can bet it won't be too long before the meat industry figures out some profit from them either by feeding them to us in some nuggety form, or more likely, by dumping them on the third world as "infant protein supplement", ot something equally hideous. Not a very difficult choice from my perspective...
09/21/2009
spicywife spicywife
I am technically vegan because I don't eat any animal products due to allergies and intolerances.

I used to be on the side of the fence where I got rid of all my leather shoes and etc because I don't approve of the meat industry. However, after many years my husband and I both became tired of the chemical-laden vegan alternatives.

Of course, there are many vegan alternatives that are safe and environmentally friendly.

Leather definitely has its issues, but some companies are using vegetable tanning instead of other methods. (for shoes, at least)
09/21/2009
Sir Sir
Quote:
Originally posted by Bill Ditchburn
Petrochemicals are pretty evil. I'll admit the leather industry does have its issues, particularly in places where environmental protection is lax; ie all the places tanneries relocated to from North America and Europe, but they pale in ... More
That's exactly my point. Why not use every part of the animal if people are going to be using them for meat anyway, rather than being wasteful?

I saw something on the telly where tons of people got rid of their fur coats to protest using animals for food and clothing, but it was more wasteful than the act of killing the animal (those types of coats last for many, many years). Personally, I don't like it when people throw things away to protest the use of something. Keep using what you have, let it live its life, but don't buy anymore of it if you're going to protest. That's just me going on a little tangent, but in relation to this topic, I am all for using leather and using the animal to its full extent.

If we stop killing animals for food or the numbers decrease, then I'll definitely reconsider that. Currently, I eat meat little (like four or five times a month), so I'm alright with that amount. I just wish that tofu was less money so that I could eat more of that than meat. I prefer its bland taste, nice to work with in cooking.
09/21/2009
spicywife spicywife
Quote:
Originally posted by Sir
That's exactly my point. Why not use every part of the animal if people are going to be using them for meat anyway, rather than being wasteful?

I saw something on the telly where tons of people got rid of their fur coats to protest using ... More
That's odd, organic tofu is way less costly than meat here.
09/21/2009
spicywife spicywife
I was under the impression that most tanning processes used heavy metals. Can anyone clarify that for me?
09/21/2009
Saraid Saraid
Quote:
Originally posted by Sir
That's exactly my point. Why not use every part of the animal if people are going to be using them for meat anyway, rather than being wasteful?

I saw something on the telly where tons of people got rid of their fur coats to protest using ... More
Sir, for tofu try your local asian market. I get it at .99-$1.49 per pound.
09/21/2009
Saraid Saraid
Well, I don't think that petro-chemicals are the greatest and wish there were other alternatives, but I, as a vegan, cannot in any way support the use of another being's skin for cosmetic or clothing purposes.
09/21/2009
Bill Ditchburn Bill Ditchburn
Quote:
Originally posted by spicywife
I was under the impression that most tanning processes used heavy metals. Can anyone clarify that for me?
You are pretty much right there. the modern tanning process is a bit hideous (no pun intended). First off, the skins are cured, generally with salt, to arrest decomposition. They are then desalted and limed, to remove the hair.

Liming is not remotely environmentally friendly, and can include chemicals such as arsenic and cyanide. After dehairing, the leather is treated to a nice mix of table salt and sulphuric acid, which permits flexibility.

Only then is it actually tanned, with either vegetable tannins derived from tree barks, or with chemical substitutes, usually chromium. Generally speaking, veg tans are firm and are used for saddlery, harness making and anywhere you need that firmness. Chrome tans are flexible and tend to be used for furniture and clothing applications.

Here in Canada, there used to be literally hundreds of tanneries, but since the advent of environmental regulation, most have closed, to the point where there are probably less than ten in the entire country. The ones that remain have spent the money to minimise their deleterious effects and to dispose of their wastes in an approved manner, rather than just dumping them in the nearest creek. I suspect the same is true in the USA and Europe, though likely not so much in the rest of the world. Uruguay for one has huge groundwater contamination from its beef and tannery industries.

It is possible to dehair hides with dung and urine, tan them using smoke or brains and soften them by chewing, but who's going to apply for that job?

Billy
09/22/2009
Bill Ditchburn Bill Ditchburn
Quote:
Originally posted by Saraid
Well, I don't think that petro-chemicals are the greatest and wish there were other alternatives, but I, as a vegan, cannot in any way support the use of another being's skin for cosmetic or clothing purposes.
Saraid, thanks for the response. I hear you and I agree, up to a point. I personally won't support the fur industry, because those animals are bred specifically for their skin. I think that's pretty distasteful, though I would agree with Sir's comment on second hand fur coats, and I think it can be extended to describe the leather supply, in that it's something that's been created as a byproduct of the main transaction.

I eat meat very rarely and never supermarket meat. Luckily, I have friends nearby who live in a very Happy Valley indeed, and they raise happy free range grass fed sheep. When they're not making horny sex toys...

My main issue, I guess, is really with petrochem products being described as "cruelty-free" in contrast to leather. It seems lazy thinking to believe that because one cannot see specific individual damage to a particular animal, there is none taking place. In fact petrochems come with a huge, negative ecological shadow for a vast range of plants, animals and entire ecosystems.

Ultimately I think avoiding leather and embracing plastics and rubber is a personal choice. We decide what we can and can't support. More earth friendly raw materials would be great. Unfortunately, we seem to be locked in a cycle of cheapness, in which our industrial wages limit us to purchasing primarily industrial products, so as things stand, I can't see when them being "economically viable" on a large scale.

Billy
09/22/2009
Bill Ditchburn Bill Ditchburn
Quote:
Originally posted by Bill Ditchburn
Saraid, thanks for the response. I hear you and I agree, up to a point. I personally won't support the fur industry, because those animals are bred specifically for their skin. I think that's pretty distasteful, though I would agree with ... More
Oops, inadequate editing. That should read "I can't see them becoming "economically viable" on a large scale."
09/22/2009
spicywife spicywife
Quote:
Originally posted by Bill Ditchburn
You are pretty much right there. the modern tanning process is a bit hideous (no pun intended). First off, the skins are cured, generally with salt, to arrest decomposition. They are then desalted and limed, to remove the hair.

Liming is ... More
Does your company used vegetable tannins for any of your products?

I guess that makes since that vegetable tanning is used for more firm leather... since I've seen some shoes made that way.

Overall, we try to support companies that have the least impact on the earth. There are materials that we won't buy, like PVC.
09/22/2009
spicywife spicywife
and thanks for the response regarding metals used in tanning.
09/22/2009
Sir Sir
Quote:
Originally posted by Saraid
Sir, for tofu try your local asian market. I get it at .99-$1.49 per pound.
Thank you! You're right, I should actually check there.

But no, meat isn't a lot more here. Tofu here is like six or seven dollars a package (not sure the weight of that, I think that that's like one and a half to two pounds?)
09/22/2009
Sir Sir
As an aside, I love Leatherbeaten's collars. They're absolutely beautiful.
09/22/2009
Bill Ditchburn Bill Ditchburn
Quote:
Originally posted by spicywife
Does your company used vegetable tannins for any of your products?

I guess that makes since that vegetable tanning is used for more firm leather... since I've seen some shoes made that way.

Overall, we try to support companies that ... More
We use veg tans for harder strap gear, such as belts and paddles, and we have a new wrist and ankle restraint coming out with veg tan straps. Most of our floggers use chrome tans, because a veg tan flogger is a very severe thing indeed. Closest we get to that is a light belting flogger, cut from a composite chrome/oil tanned leather which is firm but not super hard.

We can't tan leather ourselves, but we do buy all of our leather and rubber from North American sources, so as to ensure they at least have to conform to some degree of environmental regulation. It makes it difficult to compete sometimes with the product pouring out of India and China, for just two examples, but there you go - that's the world we live in...
09/22/2009
Bill Ditchburn Bill Ditchburn
Quote:
Originally posted by Sir
As an aside, I love Leatherbeaten's collars. They're absolutely beautiful.
Sir! Thank you Sir!
09/22/2009
TinyTease TinyTease
I think every part of the animal should be used - it is less wasteful leather wears and lasts a whole lot better than chemical products. I actually found myself wondering about this several years ago, whether it was better to buy an essentially plastic pair of boots or leather ones. Well, as I concluded, plastic is not only a forever product, but the process in which to make it is horrible for the environment. While, as you said, there are issues with the meat industry (severe issues), it isn't about to stop (If consumers really want to change that, we as a whole have to make that happen). Leather is, IMO, a much better choice than any petro product. It's better for the environment and it's healthier for you. Waste not, want not.
09/23/2009
Bill Ditchburn Bill Ditchburn
Quote:
Originally posted by TinyTease
I think every part of the animal should be used - it is less wasteful leather wears and lasts a whole lot better than chemical products. I actually found myself wondering about this several years ago, whether it was better to buy an essentially ... More
You are so right on plastic being a forever product. In fact there is a distinct possibility that no plastic has ever truly gone away; it just keeps getting smaller and infesting the food chain at even the most basic levels.

polymers are forever I have no idea if that is going to work - it's an attempt to insert a link to an article that appeared in Orion Magazine in 2007, and was subsequently published as a chapter in a very interesting book called "The World Without Us", written by the lovely Alan Weisman.

I would highly recommend it to anyone curious about how long it may take the world to recover from human endeavours of varying degrees of idiocy. The chapters on plastics, the petrochem industry and the nuclear legacy are instructive...

so if that link doesn't work, try this with my apologies for the lack of faith
link
09/23/2009
SassySam SassySam
Quote:
Originally posted by spicywife
That's odd, organic tofu is way less costly than meat here.
same, plain tofu is super cheap in Ontario. it's the processed soy products that are expensive.
11/09/2012
Total posts: 21
Unique posters: 6