We are told that 2 million domestic and stray cats are bludgeoned to death annually in China for their fur. Dogs are also killed for their skins in the same cruel and unacceptable way. Other animals also give up their skins to consumers by the millions. That’s the premise upon which you have to say that all fur, both fake and real, is unacceptable and I will tell you why fake fur is as unacceptable as real fur.
Promoting the wearing of fur
Fake fur has been promoted as the ethical alternative to the real stuff. It cannot be an ethical alternative for two main reasons. Firstly, it still promotes the concept that wearing fur is a good idea – fashionable. This in turn promotes the creation of consumer products using real fur. Fake fur opens up and promotes the market in fur generally and part of that market must be real fur.
Orsola de Castro of Fashion Revolution said that fake fur, “glamorises all fur use”. She is correct. Also, shoppers are often misled about the origin of the fur. Research indicates that fake fur is sometimes real fur.
Timo Rissanen, assistant professor of fashion design and sustainability at Parsons School of Design in New York, said that people should ask themselves why they want a garment that looks like fur. I believe that it could be a throwback to a bygone age hundreds of thousands of years ago when our ancestors had to kill animals to wear their skins as clothing. We do not seem to have shed that history. Or at least some of us haven’t.
And it has to be said with the utmost vigour and passion that because so many animals are slaughtered annually for their skins, real fur can sometimes be cheaper than fake fur. That might sound extraordinary to some people but it is factually true. Therefore unethical commercial enterprises in the fur market will prefer to kill animals for their skins rather than create fake fur out of plastic.
A parallel example is tiger farms. China likes to create tiger farms where tigers are bred to be slaughtered for their body parts. This encourages the poaching of wild tigers in India.
The second reason why fake fur is unacceptable is concerned with the environment. As mentioned, fake fur is plastic. When you wash plastic garments they shed plastic microfibres which are flushed into drains. It may also surprise people that a study tells us that more than 700,000 fibres thinner than a human hair are flushed into drains from a single washing machine load of polyester or acrylic clothing.
We know how the oceans are being choked with plastic. Every turtle in the oceans has plastic in his or her gut. It is estimated that every turtle has 150 pieces of plastic in his gut. Whales are ingesting plastic bags in high numbers and it is suggested that they are dying as a result.
If you go to the deepest part of the oceans you will find sea creatures in that pitch dark place with plastic in their gut. It’s everywhere and we have a duty, a very pressing duty, to stop flushing and chucking plastic into the oceans. And it must happen now. There is no time to wait to change our habits.
If people insist upon wearing fur it should all be fake and all of it should not be made from petrochemicals (which creates plastics). The raw materials should come from renewable sources.
I would suggest that even wearing an old item of clothing with fur on it is also unacceptable because it still promotes the wearing of fur. This must stop. The attitudes of humans need to change.
It doesn’t need to be spelt out again. Real fur is pretty much universally accepted as totally unacceptable in the modern age. Chanel, Burberry, Gucci, Versace and Michael Kors have committed to going fur-free. This appears to be the beginning. Much more needs to be done because every aspects of its creation is terribly cruel. We simply do not have the right to abuse animals this way. The amount of pain caused to animals far outweighs the passing pleasure that a person gets from wearing an item of clothing trimmed with their fur.