Q: I have considered myself vegan for five and a half years now, consuming only plant-based foods and doing my best not to purchase products tested on animals or containing animal-derived ingredients unless absolutely necessary (such as pharmaceuticals). Lately, though, I've been wondering where to draw the line with the effort I make to live a compassionate lifestyle.
An important part of parenting is teaching children how to make smart decisions.
Q: My two children, ages eight and nine, and I have been vegan for five years. We love animals and feel a deep happiness knowing that we will not spend our money on anything that would increase their suffering. However, my children tell me “Mama, it's okay if we can eat the cupcakes at birthday parties because we didn’t buy the animal products, and it won’t lessen the animal’s suffering if I reject this one cupcake.”
Gifts should be given freely from the heart, with no reservations.
Q: Where should vegans draw the line on issues such as gift giving? For instance, what should I do if a family member requests a nonvegan present, such as leather gloves, and adamantly rejects a vegan alternative, such as fiber fleece gloves? Is it unethical to buy such a present if it is truly what the person wants?
Without self-love, our circle of compassion is incomplete.
Q: I've been a strict vegan for many years in all respects but one: prescription medicines. If I don't take certain medications, I'm unable to function normally. So I continue to take them even though I know they contain animal products and were tested on animals.
In terms of environmental ethics, which is worse: leather or synthetics?"
Q: Since I became vegan, I have refused to buy leather or any other items made from animal skins. However, I'm very concerned about synthetic materials. In terms of environmental ethics, which is worse: leather products or synthetics?
Being vegan demands compassion for all life, especially those with the greatest need and the least resources.
Q: I just started the transition into veganism. Rather than take it slowly, I'm jumping right in. I can't bear the thought of ever consuming animal products again, but I have a problem because I still possess items of animal origin.