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I am a vegan and a figure skater. I
have been figure skating since before I was two, and
I would like to continue. I have also been vegan for
a few years. About a year and a half ago I bought a
new pair of skates that are made fully of leather. I
have been angry at myself ever since because of my selfishness
to care more about my personal enjoyment than an animal's
life. Since then I have become more and more strict
and would never do this again. But, I would love to
continue my figure skating; it is a large part of my
life. Over time, though, my feet have grown and my skates
have broken down. In order to keep up my skating I must
get new skates. The problem is that I need high quality
and very supportive boots. I have failed to find any
supplier that produces vegan figure skates of this quality.
I have considered trying to find a way to get them custom
made, although I know this would be extremely expensive.
Do you know of anything I could do?
To make a decision you can live with,
you need to weigh the options that are available to
you. You could investigate the synthetic leather custom
boot possibility to see if they are as expensive as
you expect. Perhaps you will be pleasantly surprised
to discover they are less costly than custom leather
boots. If the cost is prohibitive and completely out
of the range of your budget, then realistic vegan options
are limited to nonexistent.
I would never suggest that you abandon
your lifelong enjoyment of figure skating because you
are unable to locate acceptable or affordable vegan
skates. Taking care of yourself and ensuring that you
have creative outlets that give you pleasure is not
self-indulgent. In fact, this is vital for maintaining
self-respect, self-esteem, and enjoyment of life --
all important aspects of being wholly compassionate.
If you are unable to find satisfactory vegan skates,
then try to make the new leather ones that you purchase
last as long as possible by repairing them and taking
good care of them so they won't need to be replaced
too soon. Maybe by the time they need to be replaced,
better options will have come on the market or you'll
be more financially able to invest in a custom vegan
Don't spend too much time worrying over
this one issue. There are more valuable ways to use
your gifts and energies to further the cause of vegan
compassion. Within many of the arts that vegans enjoy
there are elements of lingering animal products for
which no replacements have yet been devised. If we removed
these simple joys from people's lives, they would feel
bleak and empty. Uplifting our spirits and the spirits
of those around us makes for a kinder and happier world.
This is an important factor in vegan living, too, and
no less significant than removing products of suffering
from our lives.
By no means am I advocating buying a
wardrobe of leather shoes. However, when essentially
no feasible vegan options exist, buying one pair of
leather skates is perhaps less debilitating to you than
not skating at all. Stop fretting and do what you must
to purchase the best choice of boots given your present
circumstances. Then, with an unburdened conscience,
put your talents to task and skate to your vegan heart's
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