I tend to talk about food and eating healthily a lot on this blog. I think the reason why, is that as a vegan parent I sometimes worry (unnecessarily) about my kids getting everything they need and also feel the need to defend myself for raising them vegan (which I really shouldn’t have to do). But of course there is much more to veganism than just food! We are vegan for the animals, not for health reasons or any other reasons (though the health benefits are a bonus!). So I wanted to do a blog post to talk about the other things that I think are relevant when raising a vegan family.
Other than food, we don’t use any products that contain animal products (where possible), so I avoid buying cleaning products, cosmetics, furniture, and anything else that is made from animals or animal products. This takes a bit of research at the start, but you get used to it.
And it’s not just what is used to make products, we don’t use products that are tested on animals. I have to do a bit of shopping around to find products that are cruelty-free, but it’s so worth it. (The obvious exception to this is necessary medication, which we do use.)
We avoid clothes made of materials like leather, suede, wool, fur and silk. This is pretty easy, usually just a case of reading the labels. It can be harder to tell if there are glues used, in shoes for example, that are made of animal products, although I’ve read that this is rare. One way around that is to only buy from vegan companies if you can. It may not be always possible to avoid animal products like glues 100% of the time, but we can try to avoid using animal products as much as possible.
We don’t visit zoos, aquariums, pet farms, or circuses that use animals. We prefer instead to learn about animals from documentaries, books, getting outside in nature, and visiting sanctuaries.
Even though I have bought animals in the past, I now feel extremely uncomfortable about domesticated animals being bred when there are animals being put to sleep every day, and I feel wrong about animals being bought and sold as commodities. As a mother I also hate the thought of people taking baby animals away from their mothers, unless necessary. I find it much more rewarding to adopt rescued animals, and will always adopt animals, when we are ready to add to our family.
Teaching my Kids
I also feel that as a vegan parent, I should teach my kids to do what I believe is right, to treat animals as equals, including treating all groups of humans fairly. Just as all parents teach their children what they believe, I want to teach them to be kind, caring and compassionate. Some people may criticise vegan parents for even having children, but I think it is such a good thing to raise vegan children, who will hopefully make the world a better place.