Personal Choice and Animals Used for Clothing

I have never really known the source of wool, leather, or fur clothes. I think it is very easy to forget about these products because we don’t see everything that happens to the animal before it is made into our clothes. I avoid leather products because I want to apply my choices in diet to my choices in clothing and avoid animal products in both. At the same time,  I’ve never really given animal clothing much thought as a separate issue from animal meat. I’ve never realized what it truly means to support clothing made from animal skin. I found some basic information here: http://www.idausa.org/facts/leatherfacts.html. What I found was scary because I had never actually seen the cruelties of skinning and leather production. What I started to think about was not the horrors of the leather industry specifically; I realized that the mistreatment of animals and the environmental harm that goes along with it reaches so many different aspects of our lives as consumers. After everything we do to other living things, more animal friendly and earth friendly alternatives are easily available if we just go out of our way a little bit. Still, it is disheartening and overwhelming to think of how ever-present these industries are. Many times, the individual choices we make seem inconsequential. After all, what change in factory farming does it bring about to buy the veggie burger instead of the hamburger? When I question myself and the affect of my choices as a consumer, I can’t honestly say that my avoiding meat makes a deep impact on worldwide factory farming; I can say I put my individual beliefs into action and choose a lifestyle based on what I know is right. When one person decides to avoid a product because of moral or environmental reasons, no animal is saved in that moment. However, that person will tell their friends and soon there will be a few more people who truly understand the carelessness with which we treat the earth, a few more people who know the destruction that our actions cause. For me, choice is about what I avoid, but more importantly what I support. There’s nothing better than going to a friend’s farm and picking vegetables and eggs to eat that night. And there’s nothing better than being a part of my own food and seeing the living things that surround it. The choice to avoid animal products has to be a meaningful, personal one because we can’t see an instant, worldly change. We have to have faith in our choices and look toward the future when our decisions will really start to count. We have to know that the personal choice of diet or clothing isn’t always a big thing, but it will always be the right thing.

-Simon

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