Why Are We Vegan?
Our ethos at Imperative is to end animal exploitation by making veganism simple. We want everyone to have the opportunity to access vegan alternatives and to inform people about why there is no need to take advantage of animals to make any kind of clothing, food, cosmetics and more. One of the most common questions we are asked is, ‘Why veganism?’.
Being vegan is the practice of excluding all animal exploitation via food, clothing, cosmetics, entertainment or any other purpose. Imperative takes an abolitionist approach to veganism, which means that we believe all animals and people share the basic right to not be treated as the property of others.
Everyday animals are mistreated and exploited for profit in a way that would be classed as illegal or inhumane if they were human beings. Animal abuse is normalized because animals are legally considered as ‘property’, this is often referred to as speciesism. As vegans, we resist practicing speciesist behavior by acknowledging that all animals are sentient creatures who have consciousness and feel pain. Vegans believe that an animal's skin, flesh, fur, feathers, body and physical property is not ours to take for our own gain.
Why is leather not vegan?
Animal skin becomes leather when dyed, treated and tanned using mineral salts, formaldehyde, coal-tar derivatives, and oils, dyes and finishes. Without the chemicals used throughout the tanning process, leather would gradually rot and disintegrate.
More than a billion animals are killed for their skin and flesh every year. Leather is a byproduct of the meat and dairy industries. It directly contributes to the exploitation of animals via factory farming which makes the leather industry complicit in the slaughter of animals.
As well as exploiting animals, the leather industry frequently takes advantage of the human beings working in factories and farms by exposing people to toxic chemicals. It is estimated that exposure to these potentially carcinogenic chemicals may accelerate the risk of developing cancer or long term damage health wise.
As vegans we always strive for the best alternative to leather that doesn’t exploit animals or humans - these materials include PU, microfiber, Pinatex (pineapple leather), teak leaves, and cork.
My shoes are faux leather… does this mean they are vegan?
Even non-leather footwear can be created with glue made from animals. If a shoe brand is not 100% transparent about the ingredients in their glue, they cannot be considered vegan. All of the shoes, boots and footwear at Imperative are checked and confirmed to be made with animal-free materials and glue.
I know that fur isn’t vegan… but why is wool not vegan?
The idyllic image of sheep freely grazing in a field is not the reality of the wool industry. Sadly because of selective breeding, sheep suffer the consequences by over producing their own fur that needs to be sheared. The shearing process for sheep can be traumatic as they experience cuts and, in some cases, near amputation of body parts. Like the leather industry, buying wool based products also contributes to the meat industry with many sheep being sent to slaughter when they are no longer viewed as being of use. Our mission at Imperative is to end the exploitation of animals, which is why we are dedicated to providing vegan knitwear made using hemp, organic cotton or acrylic.
Why is down not vegan?
Just as we call a skin or hide by the name ‘leather’ and sheep fur is marketed as ‘wool’, the harsh reality of down is disguised by its name.
Down is commonly used to fill duvets, winter coats and pillows, and is commonly taken from ducks and geese. It isn’t just any old feather on a bird, down is extremely fluffy and grows beneath the protective outer layer of feathers that enables birds to fly. While most geese naturally shed some feathers every 6 - 7 weeks, their natural shedding process cannot keep up with the demand for down and most birds are usually slaughtered after their first moult. It’s not just the process of plucking feathers that causes birds a large amount of pain, they are often starved the day before to ensure that their feathers aren’t contaminated with feces. Many birds have their feathers forcibly plucked while alive.
Imperative is committed to providing a range of vegan winter coats that are free from down and the exploitation of animals. The vegan alternatives to down include materials used to make sleeping bags like polyester and PrimaLoft Gold, as well as hemp. PrimaLoft is both waterproof and warm yet still breathable, while hemp is hypoallergenic and naturally traps heat inside its fibers.
My cosmetics and personal care items do not contain animals or their by-products...are they still vegan?
Imperative is committed to making the exploitation of animals history. Even if cosmetics do not contain any animals or byproducts like beeswax or lanolin (derived from wool), they may have been subjected to animal testing trials.
As vegans we ensure that all cosmetics, skincare, hair and personal care items that we carry are 100% vegan and have the ‘cruelty-free’ label - even though as abolitionist vegans, we find the term ‘cruelty-free’ to be problematic because it only encompasses animals.
Brands labelled ‘cruelty-free’ have eliminated animal testing from their manufacturing process after a fixed cut off date or they have never tested on animals in the first place. We believe that animals as sentient beings should not be subjected to any kind of product testing or exploitative practices for profit - even if it means they have not suffered any physical or emotional pain from the process.