I usually keep this blog light. It’s not a soapbox or forum for me to rant. Fashion is fun, right? But today, I want to explain the fur-free blog badge I added to the right column of this blog. It’s subtle. This post isn’t.
Fur is a cruel, cruel industry. I’ve been to mink and fox farms, and I’ve seen firsthand the horrors that these poor creatures endure day in and day out in the name of fashion.
No one can be 100% cruelty-free or eco-friendly, no matter how hard we try. My computer is made of petrochemicals. I eat avocados knowing they were shipped thousands of miles to get to me. But fur is an easy one. I can simply avoid it. It’s an unnecessary “luxury.”
It’s bad for the environment. The waste runoff from fur farms pollutes rivers and streams. Chemicals and feces are often found in waters near fur farms. Fur is natural, but in order to keep fur from decomposing like a dead squirrel on the road, it gets treated with a bevy of chemicals–from formaldehyde to ammonia. Trapping is no better. Deer, birds, dogs and cats often end up in traps meant for other animals. Plus, the ecosystem is affected when people mess with the balance of nature.
It’s cruel. Foxes are anally electrocuted before they are skinned. Mink usually have their necks broken or are injected with poison. Death is slow because their precious pelts need to be preserved. Their lives in filthy cages aren’t better. The foxes I saw were despondent. The mink ran endlessly in circles–driven insane by captivity. Mink that are free live solitary lives near water where they can travel for miles a day. Foxes are intelligent, social creatures. Watching them in the wild is amazing; seeing them suffer in cages makes me hate humanity.
From beavers, chinchillas, and mink, to rabbits, seals, and even dogs and cats, millions of animals needlessly suffer. There are no laws protecting fur-bearing animals. If you’re unconvinced, check out this video. If you wear fur you need to see it so you know where fur comes from. If you just wear “a little” like fur trim, remember that no amount is humane. Animals die all the same.
The good news is, fur is completely avoidable. If you think suffering and death is too high a price to pay for fashion, you’ve got choices.
First, you can support retailers and designers who don’t use fur. There are hundreds! From Stella McCartney to H&M, you’ll find something stylish that isn’t cruel. Here’s the fur-free list. If you’re buying faux fur, make sure it really is faux. Sometimes, real fur from China is labelled faux because so many people aren’t buying real fur and it’s cheaper to use the real deal.
If you really like the look of fur, visit Fabulous Furs, an online shop devoted entirely to high-end faux fur items, from pillows and throws to full-length coats.
If you’re concerned about the synthetics used in the making of faux fur, well, then don’t wear tennis shoes or lip gloss! They’re made with synthetics too. If you truly want an eco wardrobe, you probably aren’t wearing fur (real or faux). You’re most likely into alternatives like hemp and bamboo or recycled plastics like the ones Patagonia and Nulethics are working with.
Vote with your dollars. Fur sales are on the decline. Let your favorite retailers know that you don’t support fur and you won’t support them if they carry fur. You can be cool without being cruel.
If you have fur you can donate it. My mom and I were always sad that her mother wore fur. Oma was a wonderful person but never connected the dots regarding where her fur came from. The soft, wavy Persian lamb coat was once a fetus that was ripped from its mother’s womb. Two lives lost for a collar on a coat. We donated the coat to a wildlife center that uses them to line the beds of orphaned animals. It’s a nice way to give back to animals and keep fur (even vintage coats) from being fashion statements.
I wrote this post to educate and inform. I want to share my concerns–the things that keep me up at night and the images that haunt me. I want to increase the circle of compassion. So where do you stand on the fur issue? How do you incorporate ethics into your fashion choices?
- WSPA: Does Ethical or “Green” Fur Exist?
- Fur Bearers Defenders: Dedicated to protecting fur-bearing animals
- Orange County People for Animals: Trapping
- PETA: Facts about the animals used for fur
- HSUS: Fur-free Action Guide
- HSUS: Donating fur coats