Birthday Wishes for Donald Watson

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A comment was posted on an old entry that I thought I’d repost here to give it a little more attention (with some slight changes):

Donald Watson celebrates his 95th Birthday this year. Donald was born on 2nd September 1910. Please send birthday wishes and thanks for the inspiration to make the world a better place.

Cards and wishes should be posted to arrive no later than 29th August 2005.

Addressed to:

FAO Donald Watson – Founder
(Birthday Wishes)
C/O The Vegan Society
7 Battle Road
St Leonards On Sea
East Sussex
TN37 7AA

Fax Number +44 (0) 1424 717064

If you have a photograph of your vegan group or a vegan event (from last year’s World Vegan Day?) Donald would be very pleased to see these.

You can email photos and wishes suitable for printing to [email protected] with “Donald Watson Wishes” in Subject Line

No animated cards please.

More about Donald Watson & Interview with Donald Watson at http://www.foodsforlife.org.uk/people/Donald-Watson-Vegan/Donald-Watson.html

Donald Watson is the man who coined the term “vegan” and formed The Vegan Society in 1944. He hasn’t eaten meat or fish since 1924.

That’s the man right there.

Just a thought

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Does a vegan with a pet peeve have to call it a companion animal peeve?

What to do with old leather goods

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Over on Vegan Chai, the issue of what new vegans should do with old leather shoes is addressed. This is one of those topics that seems to come up a lot, including in the new Vegan Freak book, so I figured I’d chime in.

Even before I made the full transition to veganism, I decided to start to phase out my use of leather and other animal products. That said, I was still wearing shoes with leather in them a few months after I was vegan. I had made the vow to myself that, “I’ll continue to use my animal products until they’ve worn out their welcome and then I’ll replace them with an animal-friendly product.” The thing is, around my house, shoes can end up lasting forever. Just last weekend I went to the beach and couldn’t find my flip-flops (which is OK, because I don’t really like wearing them) so I grabbed a pair of old sneakers from the basement that date back to at least college. My “lawn-mowing shoes” are an old pair of sneakers-with-leather and I even wear shoes with leather when I volunteer at the farm. I worry that the cows hate me because of this.

For everyday wear, I sport my wicked cool hemp Superstars (and my matching wallet). I’m representing veganism well now, even if most people don’t take notice. Fortunately, they also didn’t take notice when I was wearing leather for those first few months I was vegan. I lucked out because, as Bob and Jenna point out in their book, defensive people tend to try and find any sort of contradiction when they realize you’re vegan. Most of us are too polite to point out the many contradictions our detractors have in their lives as well.

Everyone has to make the choice that’s right for them. I was comfortable with the notion of explaining to people why I was wearing leather, if they asked. Some people aren’t comfortable being put on the defensive, and for them it’s probably best to donate those old leather goods and get some new stuff right away. There’s also the school of thought that says, “If you wear leather at all, you’re sending a mixed message to people about veganism.” I think there’s validity to that point, but at the same I think that very few people will even take notice. And if they do, it’s likely they’ll say something and you’ll be able to counter it with a simple explanation.

I guess I should also take a second to address the idea that wearing man-made materials that look like leather, such as pleather, also sends the wrong message to people. After all, the argument goes, shouldn’t we be working to move people away from the entire leather “look”? Probably, but to me this parallels the “why do vegans want to eat things that taste and feel like meat?” question I get all the time. Just because we don’t partake in animal products doesn’t mean we stopped doing so because we didn’t like the way they looked (or tasted or felt). Personally, I’m trying to replace leather items with things that look nothing like leather, but that’s just because I’m not a leather type of guy. I have no problem with the pushing of pleather (though I do think we need to take a closer look at the environmental affect of pleather versus other alternatives).

Lamest salad ever

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I’m a diner freak even though there’s pretty much nothing for a vegan to have outside of a garden salad and grits. Generally, I go for the history and architecture. This past weekend, I went to a diner and had the standard “we can’t be bothered with you vegetarians meal” of spaghetti with marinara and a side garden salad. The salad was by far the lamest salad ever. It had:

  • Standard iceberg lettuce
  • A single slice of cucumber
  • Four tiny chunks of pepper

And that was it. What kind of poor excuse for a salad is that?