Where Do You Draw Your Line?

By Published On: 17 July 2013Last Updated: 17 January 2017

I wonder what others do in situations where money and resources are nil.

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Desperate times call for desperate measures. That’s what they say, right? Well, my friends, my family is indeed experiencing desperate times, brought on by bad choices, broken systems, and lack of options.

I’ve written before about my dad. While not my biological father, he has been there in all of the ways that count for as long as I can remember. He stepped up and raised me when he didn’t have to, and for that he has my unending respect. We’re family, and family takes care of each other.

It is now my turn to help take care of the man who helped take care of me. Running errands, grocery shopping, and various other tasks are things I have started to do. And it has me questioning my choices.

This weekend I ran to the store to pick up a few things for my parents. Dad had been in the hospital all week and Mom was not comfortable leaving him home alone while she coordinated medications and other things. So off I went to Shop Rite with a list. I made it plain that I was not comfortable buying meat or dairy-based yogurt, and I didn’t. But I brought home pudding and non-food items like laundry detergent that may have been tested on animals (is Purex cruelty-free?). Does this make me a hypocrite?

I ask not so you can judge me, and I’m certainly not turning in my vegan card. But I wonder what others do in situations where money and resources are nil and caring for a loved one becomes part of your life. What would you do? How would you cope?

Photo credit: Lettuce via Flickr


  1. Daria Zeoli July 21, 2013 at 6:54 am - Reply

    Thank you all for your perspectives and experiences. It’s important to remember we’re all doing our best in a non-vegan world. I appreciate your thoughts!

  2. Robbie Lizhini July 17, 2013 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    There is a slippery slope as far as morals go. I have long had this law regarding “doing favours” if its my money, “That is someone wants me to buy something for them” its going to be cruelty free. I’ve had people get pissy regarding this, and I will admit to a time or two of having not followed this, but its heavily dependent on who is asking and their state. For example if someone dying I was very keen on asking me for one last glass of milk or something I probably would, and not feel bad about doing it. But if its someone who rings me up and asks me to pick up some milk they will be having almond milk with their morning cerals.

    Now if someone is buying and they want to, help in the murder of animals, I realize its not really affecting my personal choice to boycott such things, as it is not my money– and so i have a much easier time at it. Its by no means an easy practice and I try my best to play the vegan card, and explain the options they could have if they had me pick up some yummy vegan alternatives (usually including me offering to cook something, which even my non-vegan friends adore). But at the end of the day, I don’t feel doing such really compromises veganism, or your personal morals whatever they may be.

  3. Amy July 17, 2013 at 3:24 pm - Reply

    I feel like I’ve been in these types of situations many times, and you’re not a hypocrite! We live in a complex web of connections, obligations, and preferences. We do our absolute best. Your family is lucky to have you :)

  4. Karen July 17, 2013 at 2:19 pm - Reply

    I have some elderly neighbors that I would like to help out on occasion but the last time I offered, they asked me to pick up eggs and other disgusting items. I don’t offer anymore because I can’t do that again….

  5. Tracie B July 17, 2013 at 2:09 pm - Reply

    My parents are getting older, so sometimes I have to run out and pick up groceries for them. They’re not vegan, so they have meat, eggs, milk, etc on the list and I have no problems buying it for them.

    If the tables were turned and, for whatever reason, I was unable to go to the supermarket, I know they would buy me all vegan food because it’s what I eat. They’re not vegan, so why am I going to force my beliefs on them and not buy them the food that *they* eat. It’s all about respect – they respect my beliefs and I respect theirs. I wouldn’t like it if they tried to tell me how to eat and refused to buy me tofu or soy milk, so why would i even consider doing that to them?

    Same goes for dish washer detergent and other items. If it’s stuff that they’re using, then it shouldn’t be a huge deal. You’re doing it for your dad, not for you, so your conscience can rest easy :)

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HELLO! I'm KD Angle-Traegner.

Writer, activist, and founder of Four Urban Paws Sanctuary. I’m on a mission to help people live a vegan life. Read more about KD…