Faux Meat, Faux Fur, Faux Vegan?

It is now two days post-Thanksgiving and the leftover Field Roast Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute still sits in my refrigerator. Although I really enjoyed this Field Roast loaf and highly recommend it to anyone interested in trying a faux meat product, the truth is that I would have preferred my Thanksgiving feast to be one with no faux meats. However, my husband loves the Field Roast loaf because it “satisfies his craving for turkey.”

Personally speaking, having been vegan for over three years, I no longer have any cravings for turkey and feel absolutely no need for a dead bird replacement at the holiday table. On the contrary, the concept of eating a faux animal is now repulsive to me. For the record, I did not have images of a dead animal floating around my head while eating the Field Roast loaf. I pictured some hearty grains shaped into a log inside a puffed pastry which I liked very much. A fake meat product shaped into the form of a turkey would have been another story!

In any event, I have been thinking a lot about the following question: do I believe that faux meats, faux furs and faux leather products are helpful, ethical and desirable in the world of a vegan? I can only ponder this question from my own perspective.

Let me start with handbags and shoes. Finding quality replacements for my leather accessories has been a challenge for me since I adopted my vegan lifestyle. Don’t forget that I’m a princess and my wardrobe has always reflected this fact. I have no problems with buying vegan handbags that mimic leather since I do not find the majority of vegan handbags offensive in any way. I absolutely love Stella McCartney’s “Falabella” bags, although I would not opt to buy the bags which look like pythons, other snake skins, or pony hair. For me, they cross a personal line. Accessories made of real snake skins and pony hair bothered me long before I was vegan and they don’t suit my tastes in their fake form now. However, I would love some of the simpler faux leather Stella bags, especially the ones which are glittery (hint, Jeff!).

Similarly, I really love some of the faux leather shoes and boots out there. Many ethical companies such as Cri de Coeur make some hot looking faux leather shoes and boots. I actually own a pair of faux UGG boots by the brand Neuaura which I really enjoy. They do not offend me since they are not overly furry, nor do they make me think of dead animals. Once again, I would opt out of buying shoes and boots which mimic crocodiles, snakes or pony hair because it personally becomes distasteful to me.

My feelings about jackets and coats are consistent with my feelings about handbags and shoes. I have a faux leather jacket from the brand “Free People” which I really like. However, I know that I would not enjoy wearing a vest, coat or jacket which succesfully mimics fur. My entire life I have found fur coats and jackets to be distasteful and I would not choose to wear a faux fur coat now.

As I previously stated, I could really live without faux meats and faux vegan food products since my goal is to always try and eat whole foods in their natural state. However, there are times when faux meat and dairy products (Field Roast, Daiya and Tofutti are my “go-to” brands) are convenient and tasty and I will sometimes have them. But if a faux meat product looks too much like a real animal (for example, if  faux chicken meat looks like it has bumpy skin) forget about it! That is where I draw the line.

In conclusion, it is my opinion that you are still a “real” vegan if you consume faux meats and wear faux furs. The reality of the situation is that you are not eating or wearing real animals and that no animals were killed or harmed for these products (on a side note: some faux furs are made with dog hairs and other animal hairs so be careful). I believe that your decision as a vegan to consume or wear faux animal products is a personal one. I applaud anyone and everyone who made the choice to stop eating or wearing real animals and this includes those who eat faux meats and wear faux fur apparel!

The argument could be made that wearing authentic-looking faux furs, faux animal skin accessories or eating faux meat products promotes the idea that wearing real fur coats, crocodile boots and eating animals is ethical. This is a very strong argument and this line of reasoning is why I don’t wear faux fur coats. However, the fact remains that real animals are not hurt or killed to make faux animal products and the use of them remains a matter of personal choice.

Clearly, companies which make quality faux fur coats, faux animal skin accessories and tasty fake meats are taking a huge step in the right direction, and so are the people who choose to wear faux furs, faux snakeskin shoes and eat fake meats. I believe that there has to be an understanding that it has been drummed into our heads for a very long time that eating meat, consuming dairy products and wearing animal products is the “American” way of life. How many times have we seen the famous milk mustache commercials? If wearing faux furs and eating faux meat products helps people overcome these deep-rooted beliefs and stay vegan, then I say “yes” to all of it.

Now, I would like to revisit the question presented at the beginning of this article: do I believe that faux meats, faux furs and faux leather products are helpful, ethical and desirable in the world of a vegan? The answer to this question is an emphatic “yes”!

However, it is my deepest wish that as veganism becomes mainstream with the passing of time, the desires of most vegans to wear faux furs, faux animal skin accessories and eat faux meats will be gone. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if people became “vegan” in their hearts and faux fur coats or crocodile shoes no longer looked beautiful to anyone? Wouldn’t it be cool if people just craved plant-foods absolving the demand for fake meat products? A girl could could only dream, couldn’t she?

In the meantime, all I can say is “yes” to Tofurky, Tofutti, and faux python Stella McCartney handbags!

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