Congratulations on your choice to become vegan! After only six weeks it is normal to find yourself struggling with details. Be assured that like all of us you will develop appropriate strategies to handle situations as they arise. As time goes on you will be very proud and confident that you are doing the right thing.
Most of us struggle with the issue of using clothing that has come from animals. It is a personal thing. Some of us choose to keep our leather shoes for example, since the harm has already been done and we feel there is no point in throwing them in the garbage when they could be useful. Some of also purchase used leather from places like Goodwill, feeling that it might as well be put to use.
Others however do not feel comfortable wearing used leather. The one thing that you must keep in mind is that it is impossible to be completely vegan. You can not entirely avoid animal products because they are found in so many necessities; our computers and cars for example. So unless you want to drop out of society entirely you will have to live with that reality.
Ultimately it is your choice and you have to do what makes you feel comfortable. It is true that giving clothing to Goodwill is giving others exposure to animal clothing, however we know the harm has already been done to the animal and that it would be a waste to throw out these items when some unfortunate people could make use of them. I personally do not believe this takes away from the vegan movement and does not make you less of a vegan activist.
I am not aware of any animal welfare or environmental group that has programs for leather items. If it comes to a choice of throwing them in the garbage or giving them to the poor I believe the best would be the ladder, however that is your choice and you have to decide which feels more ethical to you. You should do the very best you can while keeping your own quality of life in mind.
This is true when you face the decision to take medications that contain animal ingredients; a topic that is debated a lot among vegans. If we want to help the animals we must be alive and well to do it. Some medications are absolutely essential to maintain our health or even keep us alive. Since there are far too few vegans in the world to fight for the animals, and considering that we can never be entirely vegan, it is necessary to take these medications if we cannot find alternatives.
Purchasing cosmetics should not be a problem for you once you have done a little research. Two companies that come to mind are The Body Shop and Estee Lauder. They both claim their products contain no animal ingredients and have not been tested on animals. A simple Google search will bring you many websites that list all the companies that are cruelty-free. Also if you have a favorite product like a moisturizer or shampoo, you can alway contact the company and ask if their products are animal free. We did this with toothpaste and found out that only the Crest Regular is vegan, so that's what we use.
Just know that your choice to become vegan is helping a lot of animals, the environment, and most likely your own health. You are also influencing others just by your example. Do your best and don't worry too much about every detail.
> I'm a newbie vegan (6 weeks now), and a 6 year vegetarian veteran. I live
> in Dallas, Texas (USA) and have chose veganism for animal welfare concerns.
> I have some questions and I hope I might get opinions from a few
> experienced vegans...
> - I would like to dispose of my old non-vegan clothing (mostly
> leather/suede items). Everything is in very good shape, but I have
> reservations on donating it to Goodwill or Salvation Army as I will be
> exposing (and enticing) others to wear or purchase leather. Honestly, I
> would rather pitch everything in the garbage than give it away. What is
> the ethical way of disposing it? I know PETA has a fur coat donation
> program, but does any animal welfare or environmental group have such a
> program for leather items?
> - Texas is dry as hell. I need a good vegan skin moisturizer. Whole
> Foods grocery carries many vegetarian-labeled lotions, but only one
> hemp-based vegan lotion. However, it's not very moisturizing and I'm
> needing something more heavy duty for the dry winter months. Any
> recommendations would be appreciated.
> - Any recommendations for cosmetics/makeup would be appreciated as well.
> The cosmetic brands at Whole Foods and Central Market are absolutely alien
> to me since I've always purchased the big brand names at Target. Remember,
> I'm a newbie and although I carry my list of animal ingredients with me at
> all times, cosmetics is a tough one since all the ingredients sound
> mile-long and terrible.
> - What do you folks do when a physician prescribes medication that is
> animal-deriven?...in both the medication itself as well as its vehicle?
> Gelatin capsules are easy to empty, but some tablets/caplets have a thin
> gelatin coating. I would love to hear some opinions on this particular
> Thanks all!
> (By: Kitty)