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 Post subject: Leather hand-me-downs?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:11 pm 
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Tofu Pup
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I guess this is the place to post this. So my husband and I are moving soon and we don't have a couch. His parents just so happen to be getting rid of their furniture to buy new, so they offered us their old ones. It's a couch and a recliner, which is totally amazing and generous of them. But they're leather. I don't know how to feel about it and I certainly wouldn't want to tell my husband (who isn't vegan) that we can't take them because of it. He really likes the furniture. Any advice or thoughts on this? How to handle it? I don't know how I feel about taking it...I mean, it's leather, but it's also second hand so we didn't pay to have it and it would otherwise just get thrown in the trash. Wah! Conflicting emotions! Haha.

So seriously. What would you do? What do you think?


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 Post subject: Re: Leather hand-me-downs?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:13 pm 
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If they're just going to throw it away, that seems okay. If the leather bit bothers you, you could cover it with blankets or something. It seems like, since it's already been done (and you're not eating it), it might as well not be wasted.

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 Post subject: Re: Leather hand-me-downs?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:18 pm 
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That's what I would also suggest. The damage has been done, so this furniture might as well get some good use. If the feeling of it bothers you, then definitely add a blanket or find a cover of some sort.

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 Post subject: Re: Leather hand-me-downs?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:41 pm 
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If it's in good shape, they can always give it to a local non-profit thrift store, plus most cities have charities that provide used furniture and other household goods to homeless or immigrant families who are finally getting housing. But if you want to accept it, slip covers are a good option.

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 Post subject: Re: Leather hand-me-downs?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:03 pm 
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In this scenario I would most likely take them and then use throws and what-not so I wouldn't have to feel the leather. As other posters have pointed out, the damage has been done and you can put the couch and recliner to good use. But that's me. Others wouldn't feel comfortable with it.

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 Post subject: Re: Leather hand-me-downs?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:22 pm 
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Or if they're nice, you could sell them and buy a couch you want, especially since cloth-covered furniture is usually much less expensive than leather.

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 Post subject: Re: Leather hand-me-downs?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 5:01 pm 
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Personally I wouldn't be happy with even a second-hand leather sofa as I would feel unhappy sitting on it and would be constantly remembering what it is.

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 Post subject: Re: Leather hand-me-downs?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 5:06 pm 
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solipsistnation wrote:
Or if they're nice, you could sell them and buy a couch you want, especially since cloth-covered furniture is usually much less expensive than leather.


Yeah, I was thinking this option or at least try and see how much you could get for them.

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 Post subject: Re: Leather hand-me-downs?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:56 am 
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I have a bunch of leather hand me downs. My mom buys bags uses them once and then gives them to me.
Like others have said the damage is already done.

From an environmental point of view re-using an item has the least environmental impact. You are keeping something out of a landfill and not consuming more raw resources. Unless you find a way to source the most environmentally friendly couch on the planet (which I doubt exists), somewhere in the creation of new non-leather couch wildlife and animals were probably harmed. Did obtaining the wood aid in deforestation somewhere? The cloth? Were the flame retardant chemicals tested on animals? Is there treated or stained wood? Was that wood stain and polyurethane tested on animals? Does the polyurethane have animal ingredients?

My point is that even though the couch may be leather, by re-using it instead of buying new, your helping the environment and sparing animals, even if the sparing animals part is more indirect and not obvious. A new fabric couch may not be animal free and may have hurt wildlife in the process of harvesting the raw materials.

I guess I'm comfortable with it because to me both a fabric and leather couch hurt animals, one in the obvious way of being made from leather, and the other in a much less obvious way that has to do with where the components of the couch come from. Not that the other materials in the leather couch don't have the same issues.

I'd take the couch, and get a couch cover like others suggested. if you get a used cover, then you've like won in all aspects.


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 Post subject: Re: Leather hand-me-downs?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:07 am 
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Alaina wrote:
From an environmental point of view re-using an item has the least environmental impact. You are keeping something out of a landfill and not consuming more raw resources. Unless you find a way to source the most environmentally friendly couch on the planet (which I doubt exists), somewhere in the creation of new non-leather couch wildlife and animals were probably harmed. Did obtaining the wood aid in deforestation somewhere? The cloth? Were the flame retardant chemicals tested on animals? Is there treated or stained wood? Was that wood stain and polyurethane tested on animals? Does the polyurethane have animal ingredients?

I agree that a cloth couch doesn't necessarily mean avoiding an environmental impact, I think it deals with comfort level. If you are able to sell the couch to someone who wants a couch and may otherwise buy a leather couch, then you are potentially preventing someone from buying a new leather couch and getting something you can feel comfortable with. You also don't necessarily need to buy new as you can look at second hand shops and what not as well.

Which is also the mentality I use when I gave away my leather shoes is that maybe someone who would otherwise buy leather now has a resource to do so and I'd buy shoes I'd feel comfortable wearing.

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 Post subject: Re: Leather hand-me-downs?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:43 pm 
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Thank you so much for all the replies! We generally buy things from thrift shops anyway since we're living on such a low income, but I've always enjoyed giving items a second life as well! As for the couch, my husband (dear sweet man) told his mom that she should offer it to his sister, since he didn't know if I was comfortable with it being leather. So, either way it will have a new home! Love the suggestions for a slipcover or throws, that would be nice. If his sister wants it, it'll be off to the local thrift shops in search of a couch! Thanks again, everyone! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Leather hand-me-downs?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:51 pm 
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Your husband sounds like a great guy!


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 Post subject: Re: Leather hand-me-downs?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:01 pm 
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He's awesome, super supportive. When I decided that a vegan lifestyle was it for me, I mentioned maybe we could cut down on buying animal products for him and he was all about it. Now we don't buy any, only vegan-friendly food. (He still eats meat and dairy while at work/at a restaurant, although I can tell it's much less! And he was a major foodie and in love with bacon, so this is progress!) Then he agreed that we should raise our daughter vegan and is slowly moving that way himself. I'm so proud of him and so happy to have so much support. :)

But he farts a lot. So there's that.


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 Post subject: Re: Leather hand-me-downs?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:54 pm 
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The farts seem pretty manageable in comparison! :) Sounds like you have a great husband.


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 Post subject: Re: Leather hand-me-downs?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:45 pm 
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Good to hear it worked out for you. Personally, I have a problem with the hand me down leather argument because a few years ago I met a "vegan" who used the same argument for wearing fur. If she bought it used she used "the damage is already done/it's recycling" as her defense. It is a slippery slope. Really, isn't leather just fur with the hair removed?


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 Post subject: Re: Leather hand-me-downs?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:28 pm 
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Slightly Melishus wrote:
Good to hear it worked out for you. Personally, I have a problem with the hand me down leather argument because a few years ago I met a "vegan" who used the same argument for wearing fur. If she bought it used she used "the damage is already done/it's recycling" as her defense. It is a slippery slope. Really, isn't leather just fur with the hair removed?

Well it's better then buying new fur. Buying new enables the market for that product. Buying second hand doesn't.

I inherited furs from my grandmother. We were the exact same size so all her clothing fits me perfectly. I don't wear them really. I don't like the look or the style or anything about them though. I wore one once to my brothers wedding. If I were to sell them or give them away my mom would kill me. My grandmother would too, if she were here. She loved them. So basically their closet stuffers that come out for an occasional winter wedding because my mom doesn't shut up about how I should wear them. They don't fit her, which sucks for me. But I would also feel somewhat bad if I was to give them away, since they were my grandmothers, even though I don't care for them.


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 Post subject: Re: Leather hand-me-downs?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:51 pm 
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Alaina wrote:
Well it's better then buying new fur. Buying new enables the market for that product. Buying second hand doesn't.

Your logic is faulty. As long as people want fur there will be a market; your keeping the fur means that someone else will buy new rather than secondhand. Plus if you wear it, it's an endorsement for others to buy/wear fur. And normally I try not to be the vegan police, but if you tell people you're vegan but wear fur, it sends a very awkward message. If you don't label yourself vegan, that's not so mixed message.

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 Post subject: Re: Leather hand-me-downs?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 4:23 pm 
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Jill wrote:
Alaina wrote:
Well it's better then buying new fur. Buying new enables the market for that product. Buying second hand doesn't.

Your logic is faulty. As long as people want fur there will be a market; your keeping the fur means that someone else will buy new rather than secondhand. Plus if you wear it, it's an endorsement for others to buy/wear fur.

Well I don't have the option of giving it away, because it was an inheritance and my mom would be really upset. I would too, my grandmother wouldn't like for her things to be given away to people outside of the family. I can't really do anything with it that she wouldn't have approved of, cause I'd feel bad, and so would my mom. I wore one once, that's not really endorsing anything. If any asked me about it, I would tell them it was my grandmothers and I wouldn't buy new fur.
Someone could also buy fake fur that looks real. I wouldn't call that endorsing real fur. I think fake and second hand show that you can get the look without aiding in the cruelty, especially if you tell people that.
Not only that your logic is circular. If some is looking for second hand fur they are going to buy one weather it comes from me or not. And then that person is wearing it and "endorsing" it. I'd rather take it out every now and then when I have to get super dressed up, even if I don't like it, then give them away and go buy a fancy warm coat, so I can replace one closet stuffer with another closet stuffer, THAT WASN"T MY GRANDMOTHERS.
I don't think you can apply such black and white ethics when it comes to things people inherit from deceased relatives. Somethings remind you of the person and you can't just give them away because your vegan and the item is an animal product. I don't like fur and I don't agree with it, and I would have been happier if my mom could wear them, or they were in bad condition, but my grandmother wanted me to have them, she deceased and it's a tad upsetting to hear someone say I should give away something that she wanted me to have, regardless of how much I like or use the item, there's still an emotional attachment. It's like disrespecting her.


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 Post subject: Re: Leather hand-me-downs?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 6:06 pm 
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I think it does depend on your comfort level though. Like even when I was a young leather wearing, meat eater, I thought fur was gross. If I had a family heirloom, I'd either give it to a relative that would appreciate it or put it away. Now though a leather hand me down would disturb me enough that I'd react the same way. Others may feel differently though.

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 Post subject: Re: Leather hand-me-downs?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:30 pm 
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I disagree that fake fur that looks real does not "endorse" the use of real fur. In fact, as we've discovered through undercover investigations, many, many retailers are selling real fur as "fake" fur. I think wearing fake fur sends the message that fur is a cool thing to wear, or looks nice (or whatever). I would never wear fake fur.

In the situation of an inheritance, I would know that my deceased grandmother loved me when she was alive, and trusted me to make good decisions, so I would donate those furs to animal sanctuaries that take them and put them to good use. I would feel that I had honored both my grandmother and the animals that were tortured and died for those furs by doing that.


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 Post subject: Re: Leather hand-me-downs?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:43 pm 
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marmoset wrote:
In the situation of an inheritance, I would know that my deceased grandmother loved me when she was alive, and trusted me to make good decisions, so I would donate those furs to animal sanctuaries that take them and put them to good use. I would feel that I had honored both my grandmother and the animals that were tortured and died for those furs by doing that.

That's what we did with family furs we inherited - my niece was working at an animal sanctuary that took them. We also had lots of beautiful antique Oriental rugs that we gave away to non-veg relatives. That was a bit hard to do, but made easier because we have a moth problem!

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 Post subject: Re: Leather hand-me-downs?
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 5:29 am 
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I think that this is a personal decision and whether or not I would do it I still respect Alaine's choice.

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 Post subject: Re: Leather hand-me-downs?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:08 pm 
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lobsteriffic wrote:
I think that this is a personal decision and whether or not I would do it I still respect Alaine's choice.

Thank you. My grandmother would "turn over in her grave" as they say if I were to donate, sell or otherwise rid myself of the furs. She didn't want non- family to have them ( or most of her belongings) and was very clear about that. So i would rather use them, albeit very rarely, then give them away because that's what she wanted. Eventually they'll deteriorate and they will not be replaced. I've only worn them to fancy family things and every knows whose they were.


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 Post subject: Re: Leather hand-me-downs?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2013 7:32 pm 
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I don't like the look of fur or faux fur and have never owned any myself. In Lousiana it's not even really a thing to see other people wearing it. But I think if the argument that you're endorsing it by wearing it can be applied to faux fur then how is it also not applied to everything else non vegan? Don't people assume your shoes are real leather? That your vegenaise is mayonnaise? That your peacoat is wool? You can't really control what other people think they're seeing.

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