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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Fur Fashion Week 2006 - Here's my 2 cents!

Julie, Phil and Jennifer over at Coutorture are covering Fur Week in America. They have invited bloggers to have their say. Here's mine...

I am not interested in wearing fur and making products using fur. If people want to wear a dead animal to keep them warm, that’s fine by me. I believe in freedom. People should be allowed to wear what they like. I’m not the kind of person who’s gonna throw red paint on them! I just think about doing it instead. Your probably saying ‘here we go…not another animal rights person getting on their soapbox!’ Yes it’s true, but I will admit I am not vegetarian, which makes me hypocritical. So if I eat meat, then why complain about fur?

See, I use to be vegetarian. For about 5 years. At the time there was not much out there for vegos. I was forever soaking lentils overnight and cooking them for hours! But that’s not the reason why I stopped. I like cooking!. It was because I was constantly lethargic, lost heaps of weight and struggled to put it back on. I consulted a dietitian about it but it still didn’t work for me. I decided that my body was not built for being a vegetarian, and gradually went back to eating meat. Now I eat meat about once or twice a week. I don’t really like doing it. I also think it stinks during the cooking process. Usually I eat minced meat as it looks like it didn’t come from an animal. So that’s my vego background! And vegos and vegans, please respect my eating habits, like I do yours. And don’t leave nasty comments.

Okay. Back to fur.

There are some facts about fur from the
Animal Protection Institute. Some of these you may already know.

More than 50 million animals are violently killed for use in fashion every year.
Methods used to kill animals for their fur include gassing, electrocution, and neck breaking. Fur-bearing animals are also caught and killed in barbaric body-gripping traps.

Neither fur nor fur trim is a byproduct of the meat industry. Rabbit fur is often falsely identified as a byproduct of meat production. The truth is, few rabbit skins are obtained from slaughterhouses, which more often dispose of the undesirable pelts of rabbits bred to make meat. Fur comes from animals who are factory-farmed or trapped purely for fashion.

Cat and dog fur can enter the U.S. market undetected and be sold as fur trim. While there is a ban on the import of domestic dog and cat fur in the U.S., the animal’s fur may be mislabeled or the item may be valued less than $150, and thus not be required to carry a label identifying the source of the fur.

And here is some information from the
International Fur Trade Federation

North American beaver (Castor canadensis)

This large, semi-aquatic, wild animal is from North America. The long guard hairs are very dark brown to reddish or “blonde”. Beaver is often plucked or sheared by designers to show the soft underfur and reduce the weight of the item. It is often used for trimmings and full fur garments.

Chinchilla (Chinchilla lanigera)

Originating from South America, the chinchilla is now totally protected in the wild. It is farmed in North and South America and Europe. This very soft and silky fur is mainly grey, but there are some black, white or beige-white natural colours. It is used mainly for small articles and trimming but also for full-length garments.

Finn raccoon (Nyctereutes procyonoides)

Today, finn raccoon is predominately farmed in Finland. A thick and luxurious fur with a natural colour range from beige to brown to reddish brown, it is often used in trimmings and sports coats, including menswear.

This site also contains information about farming methods. It states

‘Mink are generally housed in sheds four metres wide. These sheds are open-sided with roofing panels. They provide normal temperature and light conditions, while protecting against direct sunlight, wind and rain. Wire cages are placed in rows in the sheds. Foxes are housed in similar sheds. In both cases, the cages are raised off the ground to ensure good hygiene. These cages give the farm animals sufficient space for normal movement and investigative behaviour.

So the sheds are four meters wide, but what about the specifications for the cages themselves? That’s what I want to know. It leaves me thinking ‘maybe these animals are caged like battery hens? And what about the slaughtering methods? I couldn’t find any. There should be a bit more transparency for an industry like this one.

So that’s my rather rushed 2 cents on the subject. What’s yours?

Thanks for putting the facts like they are.

And I wouldn't throw paint on anyone either!

I really think the fur industry is a black and white issue. If there are millions of animals being brought up in the most inhumane living conditions possible, brought up just to be slaughtered- and for something like clothing? It just...it doesn't make sense.

And I agree with the "it's not a byproduct" comment, but so many people believe that it is...
Thanks for this post Jason , I was going to write a post about this too, but due to the amount of work I have on I thought I'd leave it alone. I'm surprised at the lack of response over at Almost Girl, I thought it would be a real hot issue. It appears that either no one cares or or that people are too reticent to speak out, which is a shame, it should be a lively debate.

I agree with your sentiments and think that there really is no moral justification for this industry. I am not a vegetarian either but was for several years but stopped for the same reasons as your self. I often feel guilt for eating meat, I eat organic and limit the amount I consume. I do think that as a meat eater I still have the right to disagree with this industry and I don't see that as a contradiction.

Good on you for speaking out!
Thanks guys! I was too surprised about the lack of response too. Hence my post.
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