Vegans do not use any products of animal origin. This means: no leather shoes, nor anything made of wool, silk, fur or down.
To put it simply, wool is not vegan. By definition, vegans do not participate in any form of exploitation of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose. This makes wool firmly not vegan.
There's one question we get a lot: “Is silk vegan?” and unfortunately, the answer is no. Because silk is made out of silkworms, even if it's with the fibron produced naturally by the insect in cruelty-free silk, it's still not considered vegan.
There are lots of ways to stay warm during the winter months, but pulling on a big woolly jumper or cardigan sits snuggly at the top of many people's lists. But for those following a vegan lifestyle, wool is certainly something to be avoided.
And while you would already make a lot of (furry) friends by just doing that, veganism means much more. Vegans do not use any products of animal origin. This means: no leather shoes, nor anything made of wool, silk, fur or down.
But what about wool and cashmere? Cashmere isn't vegan because it's made from goat's wool coats and involves animal exploitation. Instead, vegans wear the many animal-free alternatives available today, like organic cotton and lyocell. Goats naturally produce the right amount of wool they need.
No, the majority of the world wouldn't consider pearls to be vegan. As the wide mollusc family who are responsible for producing pearls, of which oysters are the most notable, are part of the animal kingdom, their pearls too aren't strictly suitable for anyone on a plant-based diet.
We know that cotton is produced from natural fibres, but this isn't always a conclusive indicator of if something can be considered vegan or not. However, in the case of cotton, it can be considered vegan as no animal by-products are used in its manufacturing process.
Although marketing it as vegan cashmere is new, soy-based fabric is not. Leftover soybean pulp from tofu production has been used to make a fabric that is soft, biodegradable, pills less than cashmere wool, and is machine washable. Soybeans have their own environmental impact, but using waste material is always a plus.
Is Silk Vegan? Silk fibers are produced by silkworms, which are actually not worms but caterpillars, for their cocoons. These cocoons—along with the metamorphosing caterpillar inside—are boiled and processed into silk threads and fabrics. Since it comes from caterpillars, silk is clearly not vegan.
Once their cocoon is complete, the sericulture process traditionally includes killing the silkworm by boiling or steaming it alive. This boiling step also blunts a natural chemical substance known as sericin, which otherwise would cause the cocoons to harden, resulting in a fabric that's not as soft.
Is the mulberry silk vegan? No. The silkworms are farmed to produce the cocoons for the silk yarn, wild mulberry silk is not available as the silk worms are domesticated.
Honey is by definition not vegan, since it a bee product, and bees are animals. Here's a nuanced article about how the ethical issues surrounding this sweetener fit into the broader concept of vegan living.
For these reasons, the consensus is it's okay for vegans to have pets. However, there's a lot more debate surrounding this question. Some people draw a line and think it's not vegan to keep animals as companions, while others believe that the pet-human relationship can be beneficial for both parties.
Wool is not vegan, and its production entails a staggering degree of cruelty and animal suffering. Sheep produce more than 90 percent of the world's wool supply. Nearly all the rest comes from goats, alpacas, and rabbits.
Is fleece vegan? Yes, contrary to popular belief, fleece is actually vegan since it is a synthetic fibre. It can get confused with wool, but in reality, fleece provides a vegan-friendly alternative to wool clothing.
Lyocell is an ethical and vegan fabric made from cellulosic fibers. Other semi-synthetic cellulosic fibers include viscose-rayon, acetate, modal, and cupro. These textiles use cellulose-based resources such as wood and plant fibers to make eco-friendly and cruelty-free fabrics.
Birds like geese, ducks, ostriches, peacocks, and many others are often farmed and prematurely slaughtered to produce meat, eggs, leather, feathers, and down. For this reason, outside of some rare natural occurrences, feathers and down aren't vegan-friendly.
Land-mined diamonds are widely considered as 'not vegan' due to the harm traditional mining brings to the land and animals in the excavation process.
Pearls, silk, wool, and other animal-based materials used in the design process and packaging. A non-vegan approach also extends to design, with pearls being incorporated into jewellery, silk to accompany pendants, and wool within packaging. The glue that is used on stickers may also contain animal derivatives.
While most jewelry is already vegan due to the materials used, there are some exceptions. For example, some brands encase insects, like bees and butterflies in resin, and use them to make earrings or necklaces.
Denim is already vegan, yet the company continues to use cows' skin for the patches on its jeans. The cows endure confinement, extreme crowding, diseases, and food and water deprivation. They're branded, castrated, and their tails are docked—often, without painkillers.
The rubber is used to create the outer soles of shoes as well as other parts. The rubber from shoes can be recycled for making new products, including new shoes. Rubber is surely vegan as it does not contain any animal-based products.
Look for Our 'PETA-Approved Vegan' Logo
Similar to PETA's “Cruelty-Free Bunny” logo, our “PETA-Approved Vegan” label allows clothing and accessory companies to identify their animal-friendly products. All companies that use the logo must sign PETA's statement of assurance verifying that their product is vegan.