And just when you thought this topic already got discussed so many times that nobody wants to hear about it anymore the internet soldiers of hate-posting arise yet again to write their bloody fingers off…
“Whaddaya talkin about?!”
Simply put: Pagan music groups like Omnia wearing leather and fur.
To put things straight: I’m not siding with Omnia and bands like them because I don’t know them personally.
But here’s the thing.
I consider myself a nature-loving, animal-rescuing, flowers-for-bees-planting, peace loving, sports-hunter-hating person. I rescued tons of birds and all of my cats came from problemtatic circumstances, abusive owners or animal shelters. I support local farmers and buy milk and vegetables preferably directly from them instead of multi-million-€-companies. I’m not perfect in what I do because sometimes I do indeed go to the supermarket but I am in no competition to be morally more right than others. And although my lifestyle’s very down to earth, muddy, crafty and more often than not grubby (because that happens when you have two cat boys and try to make a living by working with your hands) and I try to combine what I do with eco-friendlyness with sticking to materials I feel good about using them. But still I do use and own fur and leather.
How can that be?
First of all: I’m no friend of artificial shit. I mean I do have plastic stuff. It’s what I write this text on, some of my tools consist of it, some of my food comes wrapped in it but I openly boycott stores which wrap every single bell pepper in its own little plastic mantle (because seriously…I know they argument that vegetables harvested under eco-friendly circumstances should not come in contact with normal ones due to contamination issues but in no way is wrapping everything and their mother in plastic the right countermeasurement. At least in my opinion…). I dare say if more people came down to my amount of waste production there’d be a lot less waste. I don’t go to fast food chains, most of my clothes are second hand (if not third- or fourth hand. I mean I wear stuff my late grandma wore 40-50 years ago), my towels and dishcloths belonged to my family for 10-20 years (and with proper care and the right materials they can easily live this long) and even my cleaning cloths were undershirts once. It’s not because we were poor as fuck, it’s because we are like that. I inherited the complete tool collection of my father which is 30-40 years old and except for motors that got a bit weak over time this stuff is perfectly fine (honestly, how can a hammer not be fine? Or nails, or pliers, or saws… 😉 ).
Second: I don’t think nature owes me one because I live kinda eco-friendly. The fur I own came from animals that were cared for and loved by their owners, and then died. Some got attacked by wolves, some were eaten by humans, some just died of old age. That happens when you live far away from the cities, where hungry beasts lurk behind your fences and although you have the largest dogs they might not always be able to protect the herd. And you gotta live. And eat. And while people in the cities are able to just jump into the next grocery store with a wide arrangement of tofu and soy products present in the shelves some people can’t.
Third: Comparing your own to other peoples circumstances is a tricky thing. While I’m often able to get my hands on bones and stuff because I’m quite attentive other people maybe can’t pull that off. I keep the bones of our meals for example, collect feathers from the ground while strolling along somewhere, people sometimes just give me things like pinecones, old jewelry and stuff. And because all this is highly individual I could never judge people who are not living and working like me. Which doesn’t mean that everyone else has the right to littler around or loot the whole forest just because they don’t live like me. But most of the times the circumstances are different for people. Which means some can be strictly vegan, some can’t. Some can give shelter to animals, some can’t. Some can get their hands on ethically sourced leather, some can’t. Some can make up their minds and work with materials which once belonged to a living being, some can’t. Just because you can do something it doesn’t mean anyone else can, too.
Fourth: Less is more. There’s stuff made from leather that’s really useful. Like leather pants when it’s cold outside, or a leather coat to keep you warm and the rain from your clothes. I own exactly one pair of leather pants for 17 years now. They’re still great, like on their first day. The same goes for my coat, 10 years old, also still great. On the other hand I owned at least 4-5 plastic pants looking like leather, all just tore apart after four to six months because the softener just disappeared and the seams just made these whole things even more brittle. I can’t help but thinking that it’s better to own something sturdy which was handmade by a craftsman than to buy the same shit over and over again made from plastic that may or may not ooze some stuff nobody can pronounce right away.
Fifth: When I collect the bones and feathers of other people’s (or animal’s 😉 ) meals I’m literally collecting trash. The spine I’ve made a necklace from was on its way to the garbage can before I grabbed and cleaned it. The problem is that feathers, teeth and bones often come from sources I’d highly suspect of taking stuff by really violent force. I know of regions in the world where they do insane things to animals in order to get their “wolf fangs” for your necklace. You have to do your research. And even if you did, it doesn’t prevent people from lying to your face. Nevertheless I like to trade stuff and money for things other people don’t need. One man’s trash is one girl’s treasure.
This list could go on, I could ramble about a lot of topics related to using animal parts in art, craft and for magic purposes. But I think these points are enough to make one thing clear:
All this shit is hella complicated. It’s hard as fuck to make a living with anything. It always was. And by claiming bands like Omnia follow some sort of double standard because they use fur and leather you just make very clear that you haven’t informed yourself enough. Sure it’s important to raise awareness amongst people that leather is likely a product of agony considering the circumstances animals are mostly kept. But don’t go spreading your message in a way that sane people who don’t have the knowledge you have get repelled by you. Don’t go around attacking people because if you do they will not follow you but go into the opposite direction. Not only that. Their friends will follow them too. And soon your good intentions will become corrupted and regarded as ill.
I don’t expect anyone to agree with me. And my bitchy ass doesn’t tolerate any hate, spam or plain trolling on my blog. I just felt like I could make this statement to clearify that nothing’s only black and white or good and evil. And maybe someone might read this and stops feeling guilty about not being perfect. Just do the best you can.