It might surprise you just how many things a Vegan ideology forbids the use of, and what substitutions are on offer.
There are the obvious things, such as meat, furs, leather goods; all things that involve the killing of animals to produce. But Veganism goes further than this, prohibiting the use of any products directly associated with animals. We have already discussed in some detail the exclusion of honey, so it will suffice it to list here a collection of products.
Wool is produced by sheep, and we are not talking about sheepskins, but wool that is shorn; it is a product of an animal and somewhere, somehow, some sheep will have been mistreated, so this is banned. Of course, sheep don’t have to be killed, and are not to harvest wool, but that’s beside the point. Some things, aside from wooly jumpers and scarves that wool is used in: Home insulation, blankets for a cold night!, carpets, coverings and upholstery for chairs, rugs, tapestries, fine clothing (suits, etc), outdoor (sports) clothing. We might as well include cashmere in this list, it is just made from goat hair instead of sheep, and there are other animals (llama, etc) who’s hair is used in this manner. Substitute: in many cases materials derived from oil, that oh so ethically sourced, environmentally safe product. Some cotton and hemp can be used, but these natural fibres lack the warming characteristics of wool as discussed elsewhere, and also raise concerns regarding their environmental impact.
We will have more to say about this in the historical view, as dairy is honoured as a gift of the gods by that most vegetarian of religions, Hinduism. Substitute with various manufactured products from soy beans, almonds, coconut, oats.
Chicken, ducks, quails, etc… Eggs are not only eaten, but the protein in the whites of the eggs are known as albumen. Albumen is used in an array of processes. Photographic paper used to use it (so any collectible photographs are likely printed on this kind of paper). Paints used in artwork for millennia use eggs (both yolk and whites), so there goes the museums. Wine uses albumen (you have to buy a special vegan wine that does not use animal products to finish the wine), some varnishes for wood, particularly older-style varnish, food (obviously). Some use in health conditions (the proteins in albumen can help with some human conditions).
What is an egg? An egg is not life. If the egg is fertilised, the yolk and white of an egg is food for the growing foetus to use. All eggs that we produce for human consumption are not-fertilised. What is a peach, an apricot, a grape…? It is a seed(s), surrounded by food that will be used by that seed to grow. An egg, a piece of fruit, are produced by organisms to ensure the survival and growth of their offspring.
That soft, sensuous, silky smooth fabric is of course produced by worms, who are animals. Satin, in its original form, is a weave using a particular technique, using silk. Sateen, uses the same technique, but with cotton instead. The pupae of the silk worms are killed in the process of making silk.
Not only can some products from animals be used in soaps and detergents, but there has been (and still is) extensive animal testing of these products. Not to promote a commercial enterprise, but “The Body Shop” has long been an outspoken critic of the use of animals in these products; it was founded in 1976 to provide an ethically sourced alternative, including packaging. At least in this regard there are many, clear-cut alternatives that can be used, it is a case of consumer awareness.
Micro-beeds, small balls of hard plastic, have been added to many cosmetics in recent years. They make their way into the oceans through entering the water system, where they can (and do) enter the marine food-chain.
One of the main fertilisers used in growing fruit and vegetables, including on many organic farms, is made from blood and bone. Now, if you have to ask, what is blood and bone made from… There are, of course, synthetic alternatives, that involve (again) the use of oil derivatives. This does go back to a fundamental problem with the essential nature of Veganism, a denial of the basic interdependency and web of life, dead animals provide food that ultimately plants use, which provide food for animals, which die and provide…. One can easily imagine abattoirs that, using the entire animal, provide blood and bone products to then use as organic fertilisers for those oh so yummy organic fruit and veggies, but can a vegan eat these?
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