View Full Version : Vegan,not vegan
11-11-2005, 06:54 PM
I came across this pattern for a "vegan fox".
Although it is definitely not fur, which is great...it is certainly not vegan.
If I am reading it correctly, then it contains merino wool. Now I am going to get a lot of flak for this, but calling something vegan when it isn't just seems off. It could be calld "fox-free fox" or something. I am not playing "vegan nazi" (lovely term coined by people who compare us to Hitler), I am simply pointing something out.
I am not sure if anyone is aware of what a vegan really is...vegans are people who do not consume, use, or wear anything that comes from an animal (meat, milk, wool, silk, leather, eggs, etc), usually for ethical reasons. It is almost impossible to be 100% vegan but the basic premise is to be as non-violent and to reduce suffering as much as possible.
I am sure many sheep farmers do not hurt their sheep. However, (and many people are unaware of this) that there is a barbaric practice known as "museling" in which large chunks of a sheep's backside are just sliced off. No anesthetic, nothing. Just mass mutilation. This practice is used so insect larvae don't breed on the bottoms of the sheep, where it is wet. Also, sheep get sold and killed for food. This is why vegans do not use wool.
If you have your own sheep, fine. I am not telling everyone here, a bunch of knitters who have welcomed me in a friendly manner, what to do. Nor do I think people are "bad" for using wool. It is just something I wanted to point out.
I do like the septum ring though (on the girl in the picture)
11-11-2005, 07:14 PM
Well, luckily, Knittinghelp.com is a "flak-free" community. ;) But, I wonder if your point would be more productively directed at knitty.com, or even the designer of the pattern? There's nothing wrong with coming here simply to VENT....we've ALL done that in this welcoming and friendly community! In any case, I cant imagine the designer meant to offend anyone....
Knitty tries to be lighthearted and clever with their descriptions, I'm sure that's why they called the stole "vegan". You could point it out to them, but it has been on the site for quite a while under that name.
There have been discussions on this board about mulesing, you should check them out. The Australian wool producers are more likely to use this practice. My grandfather was a sheepfarmer in Iowa and I had NEVER heard of this before.
Many of us here at KH are concerned with the environment, and we are interested in cruelty free products. But when you purchase any kind of fiber, you are making some kind of decision. Acrylic yarn is made from polyacrilates, which derive from petrochemicals, which pollute the environment. If you're buying yarn made overseas, it could come from mills where the laborers are underpaid and working in unsafe conditions. The electricity that we use to keep the lights on and refrigerators going comes from power plants that are coal fired, nuclear energy, or obstruct natural waterways taking away wildlife habitat. We make these choices every day in every way, hopefully we make the best ones we can.
Thanks for the input. The folks here always seem interested in new information. You could pop over to the blogs, post your own thread (with a clever name of course!) and start your own dialogue about things that interest you. Welcome to KH!
11-12-2005, 04:35 PM
Thanks Pamela. You have given me some good insight into Vegan practices.
11-16-2005, 06:25 AM
along a similar line, i have been told by a wool farmer that shearing the sheep is something that is actually beneficial to their health, comfort, and well-being. I realize that still doesn't make it a vegan product, even if they do like it, but does anyone know if this is true? i was invited to this farm in the spring for shearing season and i told them there was absolutely no way i was going to be a part of it, but in trying to convice me, they shared the health and well being bit. i'm considering going and just doing the pre-bathing. my logic is that if you have to hold them down and they try to escape, they must not like it. i remember horseback riding one time and i wouldn't kick the horse to make it gallop because i didn't want to hurt it. the instructor insisted it didn't hurt the animal, to which i replied, then why does it run? <teehee> anecdote over. point of the story is, is the farmer pulling my chain? thanks all! :-)
11-16-2005, 08:52 AM
I recently read an article in the new Vogue that if you don't shear Merino sheep, they wouldn't be able to stand under the weight of all he fleece. I imagine other sheep would be quite hot, as well. We bred them over the years to produce fleece to be sheared, I don't think they'd fare well without having it done.
The mulesing is done to prevent a parasite that will kill the lamb, so it's a raw deal either way. Australian farmers, however, have committed to ending the practice in the next few years.
Now how about that tail/ear cropping we do for looks?
No I don't want to get into a big discussion on it, but everything's relative. I don't live on a farm, and never have, but some things are necessary, even if we don't agree.
11-16-2005, 10:05 AM
A family member and a family we know are vegan. They will wear wool if it comes from a humanely raised sheep. There are quite a few sheep farmers who treat their amimals with alot of respect and are not cruel to them in any way.
11-16-2005, 11:23 AM
As I said before, you are correct. I am sure many farmers raise their sheep well.
Mentioning the ear cropping- who is defending that? I surely hope people have enough information now to know that that is completely unneccessary and painful. If a dog was born with long ears and didn't ask you to get them, then leave them alone. Tail docking, too. And declawing could be added to that list. The ears, tails, and claws all came on animals, they need them. It is called "mutilation" but vets still do it because it makes money. No one is defending those practices here, and it is barbaric to go hack up animals, especially for asthetics.
I disagree that cruelty is a necessity. And yes, the museling is done mostly in Australia. Just because someone promises something doesn't make it true. Hopefully, their word wil be kept. Peta has done work to stop this cruelty
If you have a pet sheep and treat it humanely, then I personally don't see anything wrong with that. But people use the term "humane" to describe almost anything when indeed, the practices done are anything but. There are probably many kind sheep farmers around but I was referring to the original post about the wool in the "vegan fox" pattern not being vegan and why it wasn't vegan. Maybe one day I will be able t make the "vegan fox" myself. I wrote the pattern designer. It really is a cute piece.
11-16-2005, 01:32 PM
Let's be careful here, friends....we've never had an argument on KH! It would break my heart to see one. :heart: FEEL THE FUZZY LUVVVV :heart: ...whether it is made from acrylic OR wool fiber!! :mrgreen:
11-16-2005, 01:42 PM
thank you all for your information!
I did completely stray from the original post and I'm sorry! I really do appreciate all the valuable info on sheep, and that tidbit on them falling over from Vogue is really interesting!
TheRealPamela, I think I would look for something like Lion Brand's Jiffy that is 100% acrylic, but has a mohair look so it has the fuzzing and "fur" the pattern is looking for. It's a light bulky, so you might need to go up to a 17 instead of 15, but I think it would work for a luxurious 100% vegan product! :-) I'm sure they're not the only ones to have an acrylic wool-look acrylic either, so you might even be able to find one of the appropriate weight. Red Heart Symphony comes to mind and I think that would actually be a dazzling substitution!
My favorite place to buy the most ethical fiber you can imagine, is Tregelly's Fiber farm (http://www.tregellysfibers.com/index.html), in western Massachusetts. They are a small farm, with a wide variety of unusual fiber animals, and they are just the warmest and kindest people you'll ever meet, and take excellent care of their animals. They have a small yarn and fiber shop off their house, and the farm is a great place to visit, it's a small-scale Zoo, with birds (including a peacock) and goats, and camels, yaks, chickens, sheep, and more than I can name. Their yarns are all dyed with natural, earth friendly dyes. I believe they offer a catalog and yarn samples of their yarns, to order by mail.
11-16-2005, 06:41 PM
Good info for everyone.
I didn't view it as fighting. Although I will say that things written online sound a bit harsher if there is a disagreement because of lack of tone.
I thank everyone for expressing their views and allowing me to express mine, even if they are different. As someone who is vegan myself, I understand many people are wary to listen to that particular viewpoint just because it is a lifestyle they don't understand.
Regarding yarns- I have found some *beautiful* silky woolish looking yarns made out of arcylic just at the craft store...it was rather pricy though, $7 for a tiny skein...I still only have a cast-on so I can't invest in expensive yarn yet!
Is 100% cotton yarn commonly used in knitting? I have read that you can spin your own pet's hair and make stuff out of it. (But also that dog hair is very warm and wouldn't make a comfy sweater bc it gets too hot). It would be neat though!
Yeah Pamela, I've got two bags of white dog-undercoat (softest stuff imaginable) in my basement, waiting to spin some day! You can totally spin it if it's long enough. :D
Don't worry about expressing yourself here, lots of vegetarians and probably vegans as well, among us. I'm a vegetarian myself, although not vegan. I was macrobiotic at one point, but I lost 20 lbs. in 3 months (not a good thing, on me!), so I stopped!
I'm particular about what I knit with, too. I'll buy wool without hesitation, but I don't like to buy silk, because the silk worms are killed in the process. Also, I avoid knitting with cotton because of the very very high pesticide use in cotton crops. Unless it's organic, but it's HARD to find organic cotton. In fact, that's the reason we don't currently have t-shirts for KH, because I'm holding out for CafePress to carry a feminine organic t-shirt style. They say they'll probably have one eventually, so I'm holding out!
There are heaps of patterns that call for cotton yarn. You can use your best judgement to substitute yarn on any pattern, keeping in mind how it may drape or be too hot, etc. That just takes a little math to get the gauge correct.
There are also soy yarns, but they are pretty pricey. Some people buy recycled silk yarn off eBay.
And last but not least, you can go to your local thrift store and buy sweaters, pull them apart and reuse the yarn. There are some really good directions floating around here for doing that. I'm off to study for tomorrow's French test, but I'll try to find the link for sweater reclamation for you tomorrow.
11-29-2005, 02:34 PM
amazing, this was such an informative subject, i learned an incredible amount. Thanks for bringing light to topics, Amy very fascination along with Pamela. I also didnt see anything harsh or any inkling of fighting, but rather enlightening. I didnt realize the worms were killed and about cotton yarns. I love cotton yarns, never realizing. The recylced yarn sounds like a brilliant idea. I just wanted to say this was a a great thread to read and learn something new from and I really enjoyed everyones perspective and facts. I guess we dont as a whole realise or think about where our products we purchase come from or how we aquire them.
11-29-2005, 02:58 PM
Elann has Pakucho Organic Cotton (http://secure.elann.com/productdisp.asp?NAME=Pakucho+Organic+Cotton&Season=&Company=&Cat=&ProductType=5&OrderBy=&Count=8) at a really reasonable price! Not a lot of colors left, but it is fabulous to work with! :D