Do you have questions about being vegan? Send them
to Jo using this easy form.
She would be happy to address your individual concerns
as well as general inquiries about vegan ethics, philosophy,
practical applications, and living compassionately.
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answer questions that have already been addressed in
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personally, however, due to her schedule, this may not
be possible. If a reply is forthcoming, it could take
up to a few weeks, so please be patient. It is also
possible that your question will be answered directly
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What should I do if someone gives me
a nonvegan gift, for instance something that is made
of leather, wool, or silk? Even if I tell people several
times that I don't eat animal products or wear leather,
they somehow manage to forget. Am I justified in alerting
them that these gifts are inconsiderate, especially
since they are well aware of my ethical stance?
We all hope that our beliefs will be
understood and respected by those with whom we are close,
even if they don't personally subscribe to them. Yet
frequently this is not the case. Vegan principles are
important to vegans, but they often mean little to people
who aren't vegan. Sometimes it takes several attempts
to expound what being vegan entails, but unless people
have a genuine interest in veganism, they may not fully
grasp what we tell them.
If you receive inappropriate gifts from
close friends or family members, bear in mind that they
probably had the best of intentions at heart. They simply
may be unclear about what is off limits for you, even
though you feel you've clearly explained your beliefs
countless times. Another possibility is that they think
your veganism is "just a phase" you are going through;
thus they don't realize the magnitude of your commitment.
If the gift-givers are people with whom
you interact regularly or who give you presents throughout
the year, then it is pertinent to talk to them as soon
as possible. Be sure to express your gratitude for their
thoughtfulness. After all, they may have carefully selected
this present with you mind, in spite of it not being
vegan. Politely tell them that you don't use items that
contain animal products, without going into an explanation
of why, and ask if there would be a way for you or them
to exchange it for something that is animal-free. Although
it is proper to apologize for the inconvenience and
hassle, it is unnecessary and unwarranted to apologize
for your convictions. Show your sincere gratitude, and
let them know that their generosity means a lot to you.
If they love and care about you, they will appreciate
your honesty. It will also help to prevent another onslaught
of unsuitable gifts in the future.
On the other hand, if you receive presents
from people you do not know well, have very little contact
with, and do not anticipate seeing much, if ever, again,
then going through this process is unnecessary. Just
send them a thank-you note emphasizing their thoughtfulness
rather than lavishing artificial praise for the gift.
Then find an appropriate means to dispose of the present
such as giving it to a nonvegan family member or friend,
a shelter for unhoused people, or a thrift store.
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