I've been vegan for several months and most areas of veganism seem cut and dry to me. Eating meat, fishing, wearing fur, using make up that was tested on animals, and many other aspects are a no brainer for me. There are, however, a few grey areas which I crave the opinion of other vegans on. To be clear, I haven't actually participated in these things because until I can come to a sure conclusion, I'd feel hypocritical about doing so. Local honey (and beeswax): to be clear, I mean small scale bee keepers who only take excess honey (sometimes, bees do make more honey than they need) from their bees. Their bees are free to fly away, the bee hives are a reasonable size, the bees have a variety of flowers to sip from, and they only eat nectar or their own honey. If all of those things were verified (which is possible with local bee keepers), would that honey and wax be vegan? Why or why not? Small scale wool: in this case, I mean hair from an animal that is otherwise unnecessary to them. As a child, I was intimately familiar with small scale sheep, goat, and alpaca farmers (who sometimes had angorra rabbits, as well), who's animals spent their lives being well looked after. They had the freedom to graze all day long with shelter if they needed it in wintertime. They had a hair cut once a year (rabbits were different...their hair is more like peoples' - it just comes out on the brush when you're grooming them) in springtime and that hair was sold as a fleece (I learned how to wash, pick, card, and spin such fleeces). Sheerers were very gentle and animals weren't hurt any more than a dog might be nicked at the groomer's. Just as some dogs need to be groomed to be comfortable, some sheep need the same. Horse riding: I'm aware that bits, crops, and spurs are painful for any animal who experiences them. However, if the horse being ridden has none of these things, the saddle is either light (English style) or done away with, the horse is fully grown (so there isn't extra strain on their developing skeleton), is given the freedom of a large pasture (as opposed to the near constant confinement of a stable), has had positive training (my mother's a dog trainer who uses such methods, so that the animal - in her case dog - is given permission to communicate when they don't like something and is never forced to train against their will), and is communicating* that they're eager to be ridden, would that be considered a mutual, consensual relationship between horse and human, or would you still view that as exploitation? *I have heard the vegan argument that horses can't speak and therefore cannot tell us whether they enjoy being ridden. I hear the same argument from carnists who say cows cannot speak and therefore cannot tell us whether they mind having their calves taken from them. My experience is that, just because other animals don't speak our language, doesn't mean they cannot communicate with us - as long as we are listening and attuned to their methods of communicating. Infant humans cannot speak either, but their parents usually know whether or not they like something, and what they want and need. Second hand leather, wool, fur, silk, pearls, ivory, and bone: if one is purchasing something second hand, they aren't giving their money to those industries. The silk industry doesn't see a dime if someone buys a second hand silk tie. I'm not talking about antique shops (which often sell black market ivory, for starters), but charity shops, e-bay, and local rummage sales. I've heard the argument that by wearing fur (as one example), one sends the message that it is acceptable to do so...but then, what about faux fur (which most vegans are in favour of)? If one doesn't say what's it's made from, it's difficult to tell the difference between faux and genuine fur (or leather, pearls, wool, silk, etc.). Anyway, these are all ethical questions which I've not had an easy time answering. I go back and forth and have researched as well (hence all of the stipulations), and still not come to any conclusions. I've read and watched vegan arguments both for and opposed to each of these scenarios. I would love your well worded opinions. Please be kind and respectful.