Due to the fact that this blog is written by and attracts the frail or in pain, I will not include any graphic information on the subject of the animal industry, though a few sources have been listed. I also am not speaking for the Lyme community and their need for meat, just my own lack of it.
Leather. It was a large question for me. In my mind, transforming veggie would rest quietly in the cooking of a meal- a hopeful intuitive process filled with with the hazard-less meat crumbs of yore.
I was wrong.
What did occur over the past two months in which I have veggified was a nutritional quandary, a desperate plunge toward what once was, coming to the firm resolution that, indeed, I do want to be here. Mind you, this was before I began to fully educate myself in the ways of the animal industry. And this, ultimately, was the nail in my edible coffin. I needed to make these acts and tolerances more tangible to me, in my Lyme-solation, in my cubicle of a mind.
Now, the food aspect came easily (aside from the Lyme-ish-Vegetarianism). I have abandoned myself fully to the lack of representative flesh on my plate in lieu of the delicious (well...) quinoa, beans, rice, etc. It was the leather, and I guiltily admit, I hesitated to remove from my closet. Here's why: though I am a lover of cuisine, I am also intrinsically tied to clothing and its play in my functioning. Unlike your average twenty-three year old female, who may enjoy or tolerate fashion, I become it. I not only dress my emotion, but the buried and raw inner life that feeds on this cloth-based portal for the air in which to cope. So, I thought, this is a sacrifice I must grudgingly, hopefully learn to live with.
Then I saw the footage and read the literature.
An hour ago.
I'm shocked/mollified and know I cannot make a core decision until this settles and my remaining regard of what to do with my current leather stash is known. But, I am no longer wearing the skin (or consuming goat dairy/eggs until I can find a local farm to my standards- in my area, they are plentiful). Goodbye Ferragamo, Valentino, and Louboutin, I miss ye already. To me, they're tokens of different stages of my healthy life. Giving them to a zipped storage bag on the floor seems...like I am sacrificing what I hold onto about the life I had, before Lyme kicked bulbous and cracked.
Here are a few reasons I refuse leather, graphic and violent information aside 1) Leather is a 1.5 billion dollar industry, upholding slaughterhouses as 25% of their profits. This is not a side industry and would certainly exist, based on profit, without the need for meat. I want to kill animal cruelty, not animals. Because this works as an independent from the same cows as meat, I cannot take part.
2) It doesn't make sense for me to refrain from eating the same cows that are killed for their skin- same treatment, same process. I would still be killing that cow with an added bonus of separation between me and the source. If I was able to watch the videos and make a conscious choice as to my consumption, then yes I could go on wearing leather. The point, I simply can't. Through attempting understanding of the acts of cruelty, I concretely see not only the deep wrongness of abusing an animal in this way- but a concern for the feelings, the experience of the individual animal. I can't wear leather, I can't consume it. And now, I know this to be true as material. Personal conviction is rare to me these days- something with and without designer label. So, Prada, I think not.
The Internet is burgeoning with information of the industry and due to the fact there are sick people reading this blog, I will not include any here. The documentary Vegucated shows footage of this ilk. The website for the vegan shoe company Olsenhaus maintains a succinct, accurate, and picture-laden educational page regarding leathers, furs, and skins called 'The Truth'. Waltz with caution- it is graphic.
Personal need to watch the videos rests in the gut desire to banish personal ignorance/walls and aid in the education of others. I feel the ignorance regarding Lyme Disease is as prolific as the ignorance surrounding the American food industry and any tactics I maintained to help spread the word with this particular disease could also be utilized with this issue as well.
Like war, I do not know if the issue of regulated and widespread animal cruelty will abate. They are both kinds of violence. I do know this- I became vegetarian for me, for the animals I would have consumed, for the sake of living the life I want to lead, and for taking back from Lyme what is rightfully mine.