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What to do with old fur

by Scarlett Carolina
(Austin, Texas)

I became a vegetarian about a month ago and have recently transitioned to a vegan lifestyle. I was prompted to change after researching the horrible slaughtering practices and animal rights abuses and now am embarrassed to say that I purchased several vintage fur coats BEFORE I had refrained from all animal products. Now, I am trying to live a cruelty-free lifestyle but what do I do with these "skeletons in my closet?"

Thank you for submitting this question, and for putting yourself out there by showing your skeletons!

First of all, don't be too hard on yourself. Before you know about these animal abuses, there's no way you could know. With fur you could probably guess something bad happened to retrieve those skins, but you probably assumed they just took already dead animals and simply used those.

I'm guessing you know now that the fur industry is absolutely horrid. (For anyone reading, if you're at all skeptical and don't want to take me at my word for that, just google a few videos.) I will absolutely never get out of my head the image of a mink having its skin cut off its body while still completely alive. The look in his eyes and mouth of pure, unadulterated pain and pleading for mercy is something I can't focus on or I will cry right now, years after first (and last) seeing it.

But, some vegans look at previous purchases as sunk costs. In order not to create more waste, they sometimes keep those old fur and leather belongings. Especially for vintage pieces where the damage was done many years in the past, you could see it as not creating more animal abuse and simply make peace with it in that manner.

For me, I think of clothes as advertising who I am and what I stand for, so I got rid of my old leather shoes and wool sweaters. I didn't want other people saying, "Oh I love those shoes, where did you get them?" and having to contend with the guilt in my head about that item. Gradually, over time, I donated those old belongings and got new fake leather shoes that I can feel good about, that created no harm to animals.

I firmly believe each person has to make these decisions for themselves, but those are a few thoughts to consider. Anyone else have comments on what you did with old fur or old leather?

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