Misconceptions of the fur industry
Opinion piece 4 20/02/17
Animal rights activists PETA and their supporters have stormed London Fashion Week this year calling out on fashion designers who use and wear animal fur on the catwalk. This year, it is expected that 5000 industry guests will attend including the press, media and video bloggers who broadcast these events to the public. However, the question is:
What is the problem with wearing ethically sustainable fur?
Fur has been used in the fashion industry since the 80’s promoting the comfort, warmth and versatility it provides and has extensive laws and restrictions in place that protect the import of animal fur and skin into the UK. The British government has specified that the fur and skin of endangered animals or fish, or goods made from them, such as jewellery, shoes, bags and belts are banned for trade import into the UK, unless you have a valid permit. This law applies to a list of thirteen species of fur-bearing animals including badger, lynx, raccoon and wolf fur.
Still, many people will find the idea of wearing fur clothing repulsive, and even worse in major clothing lines.
But, the fur industry actually represents less than one-quarter of 1 percent of animals killed for human consumption.
That’s very little.
The meat and leather industries represent many, many more animals: some 200 million cows, several billion chickens plus millions of pigs, sheep, goats… and this is just in North America alone… Compare this to about 6 million farmed and wild fur animals. It is strange that the fur industry seems to get so much criticism, when it is such a small business.
The production of fur also supports the economy. In fact, the international fur trade is a responsible and growing industry that remains buoyant despite the slow global economic growth. Organisations like the international fur federation are also a responsible and growing industry with more than one million people employed in the industry full-time worldwide and many more on a part-time basis.
Popular discussion forum Quora has many questions surrounding this issue. One user describes using real fur for fashion as ‘a way to connect with nature, and to affirm our position as different being belong the other animals… like we have a little of each animal within us’ another says ‘wearing fur is one of the most natural things for humans to do. We have always hunted animals for the purpose of wearing their fur and eating their meat’.
But is it suitable for the runway?
London fashion week seems to be getting popular by the year and fashion lines and style icons such as Rihanna, Cara Delevingne and Kate Moss — all role models for young girls — are also regularly seen wearing fur. I think that after reading further into the fur industry, there’s a lot of misconception on why people perceive it as so very inhumane.
Many have discerning opinions about fur used for clothing but the realities associated with raising beef cattle or wearing leather are equally as appalling, if not worse, yet no one seems to react in the same way. Why is the focus of fur wrong when people harvest other animals for their skin as well? Fur is becoming the height of fashion with more designers choosing to feature the material in their collections and people wearing fur in greater numbers, as consumers are expressing their freedom of choice. Whether you agree with wearing fur or not, it should be important consider how all animal products are used and consumed.
“In a meat-eating world, wearing leather for shoes and clothes and even handbags, the discussion of fur is childish”- Karl Lagerfeld