Buying Alpaca: A Buying Guide For Vegetarians

Somehow, they look like furry little miniature albino giraffes to me. Must be the necks. Anyway, cute, aren't they?

Social and environmental responsibility are intrinsic to the mission of Object Mythology. We don’t claim to be perfect by any means, but OM makes a concerted effort to do some good in the world with each and every transaction. We upcycle found objects and put them back out into the marketplace rather than taxing finite resources to create new products through industrialized means. We support global welfare by empowering disenfranchised or under-served women, giving them flexible, rewarding work that enables them to support their families and practice their cultural trade. And most of all, we sell alpaca.

Alpaca fiber is fleece shorn from alpacas, which are members of the camelid family along with llamas and camels. They look mini llamas, and they’re generally happy, pretty clean little pack animals. They’re shorn annually in a cruelty-free process that does not harm nor endanger the alpacas; actually, by most reports, they usually rather enjoy being freed of their heavy fleeces in time for the heat of the summer.

Alpaca is still an animal by-product, even if it’s gathered in a humane manner, so many vegans and vegetarians think twice about buying it. Here’s the key, though. Not only are alpacas not harmed during their shearing, but alpacas aren’t raised for eventual slaughter. These are not “food” animals that are shorn for a few seasons and then used for their meat the way most sheep are. Rather, alpaca fiber is a humanely obtained material that comes from non-endangered animals raised in natural environments (you won’t find them in little pens!).

If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, each animal-related purchase tends to be a carefully considered one. What do you think about buying alpaca as a vegetarian? As a vegan?

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