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?
17 responses to “Why I don’t Wear Fur”
Thinking about the animals that needlessly suffer just rips my heart out. Thank you Jean for posting about such an important fashion topic. I learned some new things, and I love the idea of donating second-hand furs to sanctuaries for orphaned animals.
Thanks for your comment! I’m glad you learned something. I hope I didn’t depress you. Knowing that orphaned animals benefitted from the old coats cheers me up. Look at this guy and you’ll smile: http://animalfreak11.tumblr.com/post/35129945592/what-to-do-with-unwanted-fur-donate-it-to-help?og=1
I am right there with you! I wouldn’t even THINK about wearing fur. Even vintage fur – fur gets a really visceral response from me and I find it impossible to separate animal suffering from fur, period, because it’s so obviously an animal (in a way that leather isn’t – not that I wear leather or think that’s a good choice, either).
Thanks for your comment and support! With a few exceptions (that I regret) I wear leather alternatives
or vintage leather. That’s a good direction. Fur creeps me out (I couldn’t even hug my Oma when she was wearing her coat). I’m getting that way with leather. It’s kind of gross. A little “Silence of the Lambs” if I think about it.
I like your comment about not wearing vintage fur to avoid making it a fashion statement. And yes, leather is just as bad! I used to wear vintage leather shoes, but after watching Earthlings, I just didn’t want anything to do with wearing animal skins, no matter how long ago it was ripped from the animal. And now it’s way easier to find vintage repros made from animal-free materials.
Thanks for the article, Jean! 🙂
You’re right: There are so many great leather alternatives these days. I was just perusing Matt & Nat and was wowed by all their bags and belts.
Thanks for mentioning “Earthlings.” That it’s an eye-opening film. Definitely worth learning about.
Thanks for your comment!
What I like about you is that you’re the real deal. You don’t message about fur, and then turn around and eat a bazillion cheeseburgers. You walk the walk, and I really admire and respect that. You are impacting me in ways – I have incorporated faux fur pieces into my wardrobe, and I’m thinking more about this issue than ever before. Thanks, Jean! You’re solid.
Thanks for your comment. I appreciate your kind words about my food and clothing choices. I do what I can but I feel like there’s always room for improvement. I’m happy I could start a dialog and get you thinking. And I have to say, I love your faux pieces like that cute handbag and your boot cuffs! You’re always stylish and you rock faux like nobody’s business!
Thank you Jean! Your blog has so much content about fashion and beauty, I am glad that you are including this topic of horror. I believe if women witnessed the slaughter of the animals they are wearing, many (if not most) would not wear fur.
I hope we’ll see the day when wearing fur will be as unthinkable as eating a family pet.
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I couldn’t have said it better myself, Jean. I’m sure you won’t mind me reblogging this post so we can spread the word further. Thank you for caring!
I appreciate you haring my post and spreading the word! Thank you! I love meeting other compassionate people 🙂
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I wouldn’t dream of wearing fur, for the very same reasons. It is just so unbelievably cruel and unnecessary. I had a look at one of the links, ‘Fabulous Furs’, and if anyone wants to keep warm and wear fur, there can be no reason for not wearing fake fur like this. Some of the coats looked great. Why on earth would anyone want an animal to suffer so horribly just so they can wear what they call ‘the real thing’. Fur belongs on its original owner’s back – not on the back some heartless, selfish, fashion-conscious fool.
Great article! Thank you. I can quite see why Emy wanted to post it on her wonderful anti-fur blog (which is where I found it) ~ Amelia 🙂
I’m glad to meet others like you who have compassion and wouldn’t dream of wearing fur. For others, it’s a matter of education and opening hearts and minds, I suppose. I don’t think a lot of people realize the inherent cruelty involved in fur production. Like you said, there are so many faux alternatives. There’s no need for fur! I’m happy that Emy shared my article and helped spread the word. Thanks for dropping by!
Thank you for posting this. I try to wear vegan when I can… hate having animals suffer for fashion! xo Andrea
Thanks Andrea! It’s great that you’re a conscientious shopper! And with so many options, it’s easier than ever to be stylish and cruelty-free. I’m going to have to check out your blog now!