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Ethical Commitments

Posted by Jacob Shwartz-Lucas on

Before we add new products to the store, we ask our suppliers to send us back the following commitment, which has continued to evolve as our business has:

“I, the supplier/manufacturer, guarantee that all of the products in question are vegan and thus do not have any material derived from animals. All products do not contain: down/feathers, wool/hair, tendon, skin, genuine leather, split leather, patent leather, glue with animal derivatives, or any other animal substance in any items or their variants. Furthermore, all laborers in the supply chain were treated with dignity and respect as per ILO constitutional labor standards regarding safe working conditions, fair pay, nondiscrimination, etc.”

Our goal is to save as many animals as possible. Part of that means selling the highest quality products at the least expensive prices. The more expensive we make our products, the fewer animals will be saved. If Vegan products are less accessible to consumers, who might instead opt for a less expensive animal skin product, that will tend to hurt the widespread adoption of compassionate lifestyles. Our prices could be much higher, but we feel that if we want to make a real impact, we have to make the most ethical choices price competitive,  something we have found sorely lacking among other Vegan retailers.

Many of our products are made in China, just like everything else you buy. This conjures varying negative associations depending on one’s politics. There is a somewhat racist, or at least nationalist notion that Americans and their jobs are more deserving than Chinese people and their jobs. The median Chinese household is much worse off financially than the median American household. Why is it such a bad thing if Americans specialize in industries requiring more advanced training, and let poor farmers from the Chinese countryside take some jobs that pay them more than farming will? Everybody will be better off if we don’t boycott Chinese workers in this way, raise tariffs on Chinese goods like Trump has pushed for, and instead focus on improving demand for high-skill US jobs and access to advanced education, research, and job training.

We are all people. The idea that American jobs deserve more protection, even if they are coal mining jobs or something else that is actively harmful, is deeply incompatible with widening one’s circle of compassion to include all humans and non-humans. If one believes that speciesism is wrong, that same person can not claim to be morally consistent if they also believe that humans from certain countries deserve more moral consideration than humans from other countries.

There is also the false notion that all Chinese products are cheap and “made in America” means that a product is automatically high-quality. That is obviously not true. Of course, some products in China are made more cheaply than elsewhere, but that is just because nearly everything is made in China, high-quality and low-quality alike. If ever you feel like the quality of one of our products is not up to standards we are very likely to issue you a refund. We appreciate this feedback as it helps us better curate our collection and help more people make the compassionate choice to shop with FoeLeather.