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 Leather Furniture 
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Joined: July 22nd, 2007, 6:34 pm
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What are other members' experiences of a problem I encounter from time to time (and recently), namely being faced with leather furniture in the home of a friend / family / waiting room / café, etc?

As I do not wear or use leather in any circumstance it is inconsistent to sit on leather furniture and anyway the idea of sitting on a dead animal's skin is repulsive. But of course, some people are surprised and sometimes not very understanding in their response. A half-hour standing at the dentist or sitting on their floor is not good preparation for treatment and friends / family can be offended at the rejection of their wonderful new leather suite!

Chris

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clayto


July 24th, 2009, 4:19 pm
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It doesn't really bother me. The only leather I have is a holdall I was given as a gift and would never buy anything leather. But I don't have any problem sitting on leather chairs. The smell in furniture shops turns my stomach, however.

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July 24th, 2009, 5:42 pm
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Gosh! I never even knew this could be an issue for vegans. How would you manage if the dentist's chair was leather? Would you change dentist?

Does the same issue arise with wool? (woolen chairs/throws/cushions/woolen stuffed furnishings etc)

How common is it for vegans to have problems with this?

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July 24th, 2009, 8:11 pm
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Is it OK if you don't actually eat the furniture?

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July 24th, 2009, 9:38 pm
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:pointlaugh:

It does all seem a bit.....
extreme.

Non?

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July 24th, 2009, 10:39 pm
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I see it as a continuum: red-bloodied carnivores at one end, then the omnivores, the 'white meat' (chicken/fish) only ones, then vegetarians and finally vegans at the other end. We all make a choice about what's acceptable to us. Some have no compunction in killing and eating whatever they want; some will only eat fish; some won't eat anything that once lived, etc.

I choose not to eat animals, but I also don't want one killed just so I can sit on it or keep my trousers up. I don't think it's necessary, so I don't do it or ask anyone to do it on my behalf. Milk is an exception, which requires animals to be killed regularly. Medicines are another: many have animal ingredients, and there is rarely an alternative. But it is my choice where I want to place myself on that continuum and where I feel happy. Others make different decisions for their own reasons. I fully understand someone not wanting to drink milk or eat eggs or have an aversion to leather wherever it is. It's up to them.

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Alan Henness

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July 24th, 2009, 11:24 pm
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Quote:
some won't eat anything that once lived


Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't that result in early death?

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July 24th, 2009, 11:37 pm
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For anyone who drinks milk I think this is just plain ridiculous. And it has nothing to do with mainstream humanism. I don't want visitors thinking that all humanists are fruitcakes.


July 25th, 2009, 1:15 am
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Well, I'm not a vegetarian so I probably shouldn't comment, but on another discussion the opinion is being expressed that "shouldn't" is a meaningless concept, so why let that stop me? :D

This discussion reminds me of several truly bizarre debates I have encountered on a Muslim forum. In one instance, it was asked in all seriousness whether, if shaving was prohibited by the Prophet, but shearing of hair with scissors was permitted, then would an electric razor (whose rotating or reciprocating blades are really tiny scissors) would be okay? Another topic which spurred great debate was whether the prohibition of drinking alcohol should extend to other alcohol based products such as mouthwashes and hand sanitizers. It was even asked if the aroma of fresh-baked bread (which contains traces of alcohol) was haraam (prohibited)?

Look, if you refuse to sit on your friend's leather sofa, it's not going to stop him from buying leather sofas. It's just going to stop him from inviting you to his home. It's your choice of course, but it's got nothing to do with saving animals.


July 25th, 2009, 3:05 am
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On this forum, humanists - and others - talk about everything. You don't have to be a follower of this or that ism to take part. It doesn't matter what you eat or sit on or wear. I think it is good to talk about it and to learn stuff that you didn't know before.
What animal products I do eat (fish and dairy) I try to stick to organic and free range.
I have leather products and I admit I never checked that they are organic.
Would you sit on a live cow?


July 25th, 2009, 6:05 am
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getreal wrote:
Quote:
some won't eat anything that once lived


Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't that result in early death?
Why should it?

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July 25th, 2009, 9:27 am
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Nick wrote:
For anyone who drinks milk I think this is just plain ridiculous. And it has nothing to do with mainstream humanism. I don't want visitors thinking that all humanists are fruitcakes.
What exactly do you find ridiculous? That someone who drinks milk doesn't want to use leather?

And who is the arbiter of what 'mainstream' is anyway? I — and many others — see it as a valid ethical issue and therefore open to discussion with those who want to discuss it. Who do you think is a fruitcake? I don't want visitors thinking all humanists are intolerant of legitimately held ethical stances.

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July 25th, 2009, 9:39 am
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Quote:
some won't eat anything that once lived, etc.



I think that Getreal was pointing out that this would also apply to parsnips etc :D

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July 25th, 2009, 11:40 am
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The discussion about what is 'alive' is elsewhere... :D

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July 25th, 2009, 11:46 am
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away the parsnips! :wink:

anyhoo.

The answer could be to carry one of these around with you.

Image

Made from reycyled rags - these may just be the most 'right on' bit of furniture ever made (my back gets sair just lookin at em right inuff )

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July 25th, 2009, 12:01 pm
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Alan H wrote:
Nick wrote:
For anyone who drinks milk I think this is just plain ridiculous. And it has nothing to do with mainstream humanism. I don't want visitors thinking that all humanists are fruitcakes.
What exactly do you find ridiculous? That someone who drinks milk doesn't want to use leather?

I really don't mind if people want to avoid leather. That's their choice. But to hold out against using leather as a moral position while still drinking milk is inconsistent. As you say:
Quote:
Milk is an exception, which requires animals to be killed regularly
but it is untrue to say that any cattle are killed purely to keep your trousers up or to provide a soft repose for your backside. Leather is always only a by-product.

Alan wrote:
And who is the arbiter of what 'mainstream' is anyway? I — and many others — see it as a valid ethical issue and therefore open to discussion with those who want to discuss it.

What is mainstream is not an arbitrary decision, but a matter of statistics. Mainstream does not of course mean 'right', either. Mainstream opinion may favour the death penalty; mainstream sexuality is not gay. There are times to be mainstream, there are times when that is impossible.

But as a campaigning humanist (even if not a particularly effective one), I want to concentrate on the major thrust of humanism, that there is probably no god, and that we should seek to find answers by reason. IMO, there is a very large proportion of the population who are there or thereabouts. I want them to feel at home and comfortable supporting humanism. I want to make it as easy as possible. Churches do not attract adherents by suggesting that being a Trappist monk is the only way to be a proper christan.

What I do not want to see is the central tenets of humanism continually being de-railed by questions like "Humanists are veggies, aren't they?" "Do they wear funny underpants, or is that Mormons..." Simplistic I know, but you get the picture. The Green Party suffers from this to a large extent. Bearded, sandal wearing, long-haired, with no style or colour, earnest geeks with ghastly hand-knitted pullovers do not attract the numbers or support required to change things. They also have some weird ideas, like not having a leader (they've now changed it).

(I can be that rude, as I am bearded, grey and hairy, wear flip-flops and possess a couple of hand-knitted pullovers... Perhaps I'm geeky too....)

I am all for open discussion. Anyone can choose any topic as far as I'm concerned. I would prefer it not to be segregated into a separate vegetarian group, but included under ethics and morality, say. And, in the spirit of open discussion, I've responded. :D

Alan H wrote:
Who do you think is a fruitcake?
It's not a question of whether I think veggies are fruitcakes, but whether humanism carries that impression, no matter how unfairly.

Alan H wrote:
I don't want visitors thinking all humanists are intolerant of legitimately held ethical stances.
Nor do I.


July 25th, 2009, 1:08 pm
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Alan H wrote:
getreal wrote:
Quote:
some won't eat anything that once lived


Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't that result in early death?
Why should it?


All food consumed was living once. Fruit, vegetables, rice etc.

as lifey said.

(sorry for the delay in replying.)

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July 25th, 2009, 8:11 pm
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Can we take it for read that by 'living things' I'm referring to members of the animal kingdom, not the plant kingdom? (Perhaps Paolo can give the proper terms?)

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July 25th, 2009, 8:37 pm
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would the word fauna cover it?

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July 25th, 2009, 10:34 pm
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Alan H wrote:
Can we take it for read that by 'living things' I'm referring to members of the animal kingdom, not the plant kingdom? (Perhaps Paolo can give the proper terms?)


Er... plantist? Or is it animalist?

Don't you have any compassion for parsnips?

If it's a matter of sentience and suffering, would insects be ok? Plankton? (I don't actually know whether they're plants or animals. Animals, I think.)

Incidentally, some people might say that my motorcycle is alive (well, after all, it's made of atoms and moves), but I wouldn't want to eat it.

Nick wrote:
The Green Party suffers from this to a large extent. Bearded, sandal wearing, long-haired, with no style or colour,


Well... um, green surely?


July 25th, 2009, 10:34 pm
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