Soon autumn will be upon us and with it, we can expect the return of pumpkin-spiced lattes, trick or treaters and dreaded deadlines. However, there is a much darker version of Autumn which the select few aren’t telling you. This version involves unimaginable pain, violence and suffering for the sake of fashion. It’s supported and sourced by brands such as Canada Goose, Saks Potts and Moncler. It’s in your autumn coat, your local shopping mall and attached to your pet. In 2019, fur has no place in fashion.
In prehistoric history, fur was worn for warmth, protection and for survival. In the nineteenth century, fur was popularised as a symbol of wealth, privilege and prosperity. In the 1950s, Hollywood celebrities wore fur in their movies while designers came up with new functional designs. By the turn of the millennium, wearing genuine fur was a huge faux par. The development of faux fur was welcomed and supported by animal rights organisations like PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). However, in the last decade, the rise of faux fur has ironically created a demand for the real thing. Celebrity culture has played a huge role, from Rihanna wearing fox fur to Kate Moss wearing mink. As welfare standards have improved, fur sellers and companies have claimed sourcing fur can be done in an ‘ethical’ and ‘humane’ manner. Such a claim is deeply troubling and repulsive to say the least, especially when we consider the victims of the industry.
It is estimated that forty-five million animals are slaughtered annually for the production of fur coats. For instance, unknown to many Canada Goose wearers, the average parker contains fifteen dead animals. The lining is made from the feathers of fourteen dead geese and the real fur trim is from one dead coyote. Despite Canada Goose claiming their process of sourcing fur is ‘ethical’ and conducted in a ‘humane’ matter, several animal rights groups have begged to differ. For the fur trim, traps are used to catch wild coyotes, which can range from steel leg clamps, neck snares to head-crushing traps. In excruciating pain, many will attempt to chew off their own limbs to escape and get back to their pups. They will die of dehydration or will be bludgeoned or beaten to death by the trappers when the traps are checked. Once caught, they will be skinned, and in some instances whilst they’re still alive.
Despite such brutality, Canada Goose and other fur sellers have defended their decision to source and sell fur. In the wild, the trapping of animals for their fur has been approved by government organisations in order to cull overpopulations of birds, geese, wolves, rabbits, etc. However, I reject that claim wholeheartedly: what moral or ethical standing have we to do so? It is not our responsibility to disrupt the patterns of nature for our own benefit. The lives of animals are not ours to muddle with or exploit for the sake of vanity. In recent years, fur has been praised for its use as an eco-friendly material. However, this argument fails to acknowledge that the fur industry obtains eighty-five percent of its fur from fur factory farms – establishments which are responsible for air and water pollution. The process of fur dressing has also been ranked within the world’s most detrimental industries for toxic metal pollution. If there is a demand, there will continue to be a supply. Vintage and new fur coats continue to promote and perpetuate the cycle of unnecessary suffering.
So this autumn choose compassion over fashion and donate your fur coat! PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) always welcome donations. They have shipped unwanted fur coats to Syrian refugees, women and children in sub-Saharan Africa, animal sanctuaries and the homeless. Your unwanted coat could be helping those directly in need. PETA’s address and contact details can easily be found on their website and they are more than willing to help! Give animals a voice, and make the right choice.