Let’s talk about fur
A paper wrote and edited by Alexandra Bucur
Fur is ‘the skin of an animal with the fur still on it, used especially for making clothes.’ (Oxford learner’s dictionary. 2020). It is one of the oldest forms of clothing with lots of traditions and meanings along the history. Indeed, in past years there started to be more of a concern due to its morality, building up a conflict of opinion. What is the conflict about and is it all right to wear fur?
Fur had different meaning for humans throughout time. Aboriginal people believe they partake of animal power, by wearing their fur and as a ‘gift’ through which they show respect to the animal so that humans survive. Fur also conveyed status in society, as in the Golden Ages it represented luxury. Nowadays as some proclaim that fur is a crime against nature, others attest that wearing and admiring fur should remind modern society our dependency on nature for our survival. (Herscovici. 2014)
As even Peter Singer, in his book Animal Liberation, attests that it’s hypocritical to protest the fur trade while most people eat meat daily; more animals are killed in North America daily for food than are used for fur in a year. (cited in Herscovici. 2014) Only 8% of the population identifies themselves as vegan, vegetarian or something between, out of them only 3% are fully vegan. (Williams. 2020) The difference between vegetarianism and wearing fur regarding morality would be who is wearing fur- mostly being upper-class people, as the fur apparel is expensive, making it easier to be considered an ‘unnecessary luxury’. (Herscovici. 2014) Most activists are part of the working class, therefore we can understand that the fight against fur might be as well a fight against the social class. Moreover, there is a problem regarding which animals are being killed. Fur in high society usually refers to luxurious or rare animals. In the 1960s the most popular kinds of fur were silver mink, stripped fox and red fox, cheaper alternatives being pelts of wolf, Persian lamb or muskrat. (Wikipedia.2020) In past years more countries banned the killing of animals for fur and in 2018 BFC banned the use of real fur in Fashion Week London. (Pitcher.2019)
The What?, How? and Why? of the Fur Industry
There are alternatives for real animal fur called faux fur, which is usually made from synthetic materials. The main problem about this is that 35% of the oceanic primary microplastic pollution is produced by fashion industry (Rissanen and Gwilt. 2020) and 100,000 marine animals die as a result of plastic ingestion. By 2050, the ocean is expected to contain more plastic than fish. (Lonely Whale cited in Pitcher. 2019) Regarding this, it can be observed that even the alternatives for a much more moral option, are not sustainable and it destroys animal habitats.
In conclusion, neither fur or faux fur is ‘good’ or fully sustainable for the environment. The controversy depends strictly on the points of view as both options are making a negative impact on nature as presented above. A preferable option for the sake of environment would be to do an in-depth research on the materials that the clothes we wear or make are made out of, trying to be as sustainable as possible through our practice while leaving a smaller footprint to the nature.
Killing animals for fur is legal
Killing animals for fur is illegal
Killing animals for fur is legal,
but strict anti-cruelty regulations
make fur farms uneconomic
Killing animals for fur is legal, but importing or selling fur is illegal
WILLIAMS, Sage. 2020. ‘Vegan Statistics- New Data Investigation for 2020’. Future kind+. Available at: https://www.futurekind.com/blogs/vegan/vegan-statistics [accessed 16.10.2020]
OXFORD LEARNER’S DICTIONARY. 2020. ‘Fur’. Available at: https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/fur?q=fur+ [ accessed 16.10.2020]
WIKIPEDIA. 2020. ‘Fur clothing. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fur_clothing [ accessed 15.10.2020]
HERSCOVICI, Alan. 2014. ‘Why is fur so controversial and why should it matter?’. Truth about fur [online]. Available at: https://www.truthaboutfur.com/blog/why-is-fur-so-controversialand-why-should-it-matter/ [ accessed 14.10.2020]
RISSANEN, Timo and Alison GWILT. 2020. ‘The environmental price of fast fashion’. Earth & environment. Nature Reviews. Available at: www.nature.com/natrevearthenviron [accessed 14.10.2020]
PITCHER, Laura. 2019. ‘Faux Fur vs. Real Fur: Which is more sustainable?’. TeenVogue [online]. Available at: https://www.teenvogue.com/story/faux-fur-real-fur-which-is-more-sustainable [accessed 16.10.2020]
Figure1. Unknown maker. 2020. Worldwide laws regarding the legality of killing animals for fur. Wikipedia [online]. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fur_clothing [accessed 15.10.2020]