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Teen Vegetarian Confused About Animal Welfare

Going vegetarian, will I contradict myself by wearing leather & wool?

hello, im a teenager conscious of animal welfare, so have decided recently to become a vegetarian, but eat dairy products, eggs, and fish for health as opposed to moral reasons.

i am confused as to whether or not i will be completely contradicting myself by going vegetarian wearing leather shoes, woollen clothes, etc.

and also drinking milk because i have read that the cows are treated really poorly. What are the basic guidelines and morals on becoming a vegetarian? - G.

Savvy Vegetarian Advice

Dear G.,

I don't believe there is one set of rules for becoming a vegetarian. You work it out as an individual. I would just say, take it gradually and take it easy, and enjoy yourself. It isn't good to be full of guilt and anxiety over your food. Going vegetarian is a big transition, and takes time. You are already doing a lot for the planet.

If you want milk, try to get organic - usually organic dairies are kinder to the cows. The smaller the dairy, the more likely the animals are to be treated well. I'd have some questions about animal treatment if it's a large organic dairy owned by a big corporation. You could try enriched rice or soy milk.

Here's an organic dairy that does it right:

Got Local Organic Milk?

Re wool & leather: Wool is warm, but heavy cotton works, synthetic insulation, fleece fabrics et. Do what feels right to you. If you can find non-leather shoes that fit your needs and your budget, go for it. Keep in mind labor practices and fair trade for the non-leather shoes.

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But please, don't beat yourself up over all this. Life is full of contradictions. That's one of the things that makes it interesting.

Judith Kingsbury, Savvy Vegetarian

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