Does wearing faux animal skin and fur products encourage the use of real animal products? Lets discuss.

Fur? In 2018?! I know..

It is fair to say, despite my rage, that fur is making a comeback. A study by Copenhagen University has found that real fur is more popular in the UK than it has been for decades, and that UK fur sales had doubled in the last five years (cited by The BBC in 2016). Despite efforts from animal rights activists across the UK the fur trade seems to be booming. I only have to step onto Reading high-street and within seconds I’ll spot someone wearing coyote, mink or rabbit. It’s both disgusting and heart breaking.

So why is fur making a comeback? Well, it’s largely to do with the fashion industry and their celebrity endorsements. Whilst it gave me some hope to hear in the latter part of 2017 that Gucci pledge to go fur free in 2018 I am still worried by how many influential fashion companies are still buying into the cruel fur industry.

On the topic of celebrity endorsements, the Kardashian’s are apparently the most photographed family in the world and therefore their obsession with wearing dead animals is seen by millions through their social media accounts, as well as on TV and in the press. The Kardashian’s aren’t the only guilty party though, there are many other celebrities on the cruelty waggon, including; Lady Gaga, J-Lo, Kate Moss and Rihanna. But lets not just target women here because men are certainly just as bad. Kanye West, Justin Beiber and Kid Rock are openly proud fur wearers.  It seems for many celebrities that parading around in the skins of dead animals is one of their favourite ways to flaunt their wealth. Whilst members of the public, desperate for some sort of status among their peers are copying the ‘trend’.

The facts about fur

According to Last Chance For Animals each year, more than 1 billion rabbits and 50 million other animals, including foxes, seals, mink, cats and dogs, are raised on fur farms or trapped in the wild and killed for their pelts. Because we import from China and other countries with poor regulation, it can often be mislabelled as “faux.” Depending on the size of the garment, up to 100 animals or more may be killed for a just one coat.

Common ways that animals are trapped involve leg holds, drowning sets and conibear traps which can all leave an animal suffering extreme pain for a lengthy time before they die. Animals are known to chew through their own limbs just to escape.

Please head over to Last Chance For Animals website for more facts about fur.

How can you tell if you’re wearing real fur?

How to spot the difference:

  • Separate the fur at the base. If it’s fake, you will see fabric webbing. If it’s real, it will be attached to skin.
  • The burn test: Clip off the tip of the fibres and set light to them. If they melt like plastic, it’s fake. If they singe and smell of burning hair, it’s real.

How not to spot the difference:

  • Don’t be fooled by the price. It can be cheaper to produce real fur in China than synthetic alternatives.
  • Don’t assume fake fur must be poor quality. It can be difficult to tell fake and real apart because fake fur can be of such good quality.
  • Don’t believe everything you read. Complicated labelling rules are often flouted and the label only has to reflect 80% of the item’s composition so a fur trim may be omitted. Labelling laws do not apply to accessories such as shoes and handbags

So, with all that in mind..

..are we helping or hindering the anti-fur campaigners by wearing faux fur, considering how many people are buying real fur mislabelled as faux? When confronted by activists many members of the public try to defend themselves by saying that they are not aware they are actually wearing real fur. Let’s assume all these people are in fact innocently telling the truth and they didn’t know, they’re still showing us that faux fur is very popular and as long as we continue to import from countries with poor regulations we can’t promise faux is ever really faux.

‘But what about leather?’ I hear you say – and rightly so! There are so many synthetic leathers available now. Whilst this is fantastic and I adore my vegan Doc Martens I do find myself wondering if I’m actually fuelling the ever-popular leather trade in the same way that faux fur might fuel the fur trade. I have noticed myself subconsciously choosing only to wear them around close friends and other vegans, or if I’m out in public not waving the vegan flag. Here’s why…

I go out on the streets and get involved in activism when I can to try and educate the public about the ways in which animals are exploited by humans, as well as to try promote a vegan lifestyle. On occasion I have worn my vegan Doc Martens and I have had members of the public accuse me of being a hypocrite because ‘[your] wearing leather boots!’. My response is usually that if you are that convinced my shoes look like real leather, then I have proven my point that we don’t need to kill animals and wear their skin! However, I can tell that sometimes they just think i’m lying. I find myself wondering if for every one person that spoke out about thinking I wore leather how many other passers by are thinking the same thing without saying anything? So am I really getting people to consider stopping wearing animals or to listen to me about animal exploitation at all? This could apply to any other activist wearing faux fur, wool, suede, silk and so on.

Now, I just want to stress that I am not claiming that we should or shouldn’t be wearing the synthetic alternatives and of course, if we are wearing synthetics we aren’t directly paying for animal cruelty. However, I can’t help but wonder if we are unknowingly persuading others to go out and buy both faux fur (which could and often does turn out to be real) or if people are just going straight for the real fur because they think everyone around them is wearing real fur and therefore it must be okay. If so, should we consider not wearing the alternatives? Again, this post is more me thinking out loud than dictating what other vegans and animal rights activists should do. I would honestly love to hear other peoples thoughts on this topic.

Nxx

fur

2 thoughts on “Does wearing faux animal skin and fur products encourage the use of real animal products? Lets discuss.”

  1. Great post and good question…I think I will need to think for a while about what you have asked, before I answer. I wear desert boots made by Vegetarian Shoes and I have noticed people look at my feet to see what I am wearing. The label is on the inside, so ‘they’ don’t know what they are made of, because it is not obvious. I think may be we need to turn the tables on those who challenge us and instead of us feeling the need to be defending our choices, we question there’s. I am tired of the ‘Where do you get your protein?’ and the like. We are doing the right thing and when the Vegan Police, or the unenlightened, the ignorant, dim or ambivalent begin to probe, for whatever reason, I believe we can simply have one answer ; ‘ I am trying to make the world a better place. Nicola Rose, I haven’t answered your question, but I will re-read your post, give it some thought and get back to you. Well done, Kidda. x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Ella, thank you for reading and commenting 🙂
    You’re absolutely right. I see it all the time when I do activism. People often approach us and say well what about human issues? And I say ‘well, what about them? I cook for the homeless, I march for women’s rights, lgbt rights and the rights of people of colour. Because believe it or not you can care about more than just one issue at a time.’ and usually they’re thrown by this so I say ‘please tell me what you do for humans though’ to which they usually fall silence or admit they do nothing and there the argument is won and they are left to reflect on themselves. We don’t have to defend our right to wear synthetic alternatives to animal skins, but I wonder if we just avoided them when interacting with the public about veganism whether it would make our argument stronger? Because people quite often point these things out in a way to deflect from the issue you’re trying to raise. They can avoid answering your questions by saying ‘yeah but you’re wearing leather!’. By not giving the opportunity to deflect, perhaps we can get our point across to them more effectively? A friend of mind read this post and asked if we should then be standing against faux fur wearers and my answer is no, we need to tackle those wearing the real deal but if we can make that easier by not wearing them ourselves then why not? I think perhaps we need to call for tighter regulations, because this country shouldn’t be allowing the sale of goods to be labelled incorrectly.
    Thanks for having this conversation with me, I find it really interesting! 🙂 xx

    Like

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