Fur? Seriously?

I hope you don’t mind receiving this blog post again. We received such a positive response that we are re-posting. Thank you for your support!

That question fired up my brain when an acquaintance mentioned an item in her new “luxury” product line – a sleeping bag lined with the coat of a silver fox. I stepped away from the conversation quickly, before my grief and dismay could move from my mind and escape my mouth. This was the socially acceptable thing to do at the time, but the sorrow of that moment has refused to leave me. Take a look at just one reason why. silver+fox+5

This is a silver fox. He’s beautiful, isn’t he? And smart.  And conscious, sharing many of the sensations we humans experience, including pleasure, fear and pain.  And yet the silver fox and dozens of other animals graced with what should be their own personal furry protection are made to suffer horrendous fates in order that we might usurp their skins.

The fur trade is a ghastly, grisly business.  I will not be too graphic here (the links are more explicit), because if you care one iota about animals, the reality of it is terribly difficult to stomach.  But – the weather is turning chilly and we’re reaching for warm garments, fashion continues to include fur, and new “luxury” lines are being launched that may increase the number of animals currently being skinned in the name of human indulgence.  I want you to know about it.  I want you to be able to make a conscious decision on whether you will participate.

And it is a choice:  we do not need fur.  We are not cavemen headed out with our clubs to try and score a pelt in which to survive the winter. We have a plethora of stylish synthetic fabrics available to keep us warm – I wear them in winter temperatures that sometimes reach 30 below.  Yet an estimated 50 million animals die each year solely for their skins.  These animals include dogs and cats. Some of them – and this is one of the most horrible things to think about – are skinned alive.  Most of them are bred, born, and butchered on fur farms.  The housing here is commonly a stack of barren wire cages. Clausen8 Their captives may be housed individually or crammed together. Conditions can be so horrendous that many of the animals go insane before they meet their ends.  And their ends are brutal – humans don’t want to damage their “product.”  So slaughter methods that leave the animals’ pelts intact are used, such as electrocution via a rod in the anus, and gas chambers.  (And remember, these are the more fortunate ones.  They are dead before their skins are sliced off.) Sometimes, if it’s not deemed too costly for the eventual bottom line, lethal injection is used.  The animal may be paralyzed but still conscious when the skinning starts.

Furry animals in the wild don’t fare much better when it comes to the end of their lives. Traps range from the purely terrifying to the exquisitely torturous.  lynx in trap You’ve probably heard stories about animals who will do almost anything to escape, including chewing off their own legs.injuredfox And then there is the annual wholesale slaughter of baby seals in Canada; this is done pretty much caveman style.

Heard enough? There is faux or fake fur on the market, for people who want to make a more ethical or even a less expensive choice.  But beware:  not all the fur is actually fake.  Sometimes the labeling is simply false. There are ways that you can discern the truth before you decide whether to purchase. And if you want to steer completely clear of the issue, you can patronize fur-free retailers.

We humans enjoy many luxuries.  Among them is the ability to make considered, conscientious decisions about what we will and will not indulge in for the sake of fashion (and food, and fun, and so forth).  The ultimate luxury may be living in a place and time (Here! Now!) where we are free to make the compassionate choice.  I hope you will.  I hope you do.  Because I promise you:  a clear conscience feels a whole lot better than fur.

“You can judge the morality of a nation by the way the society treats its animals” –Mahatma Gandhi

Note:  I appreciate all of you who e-mail me with your comments – but if you are comfortable leaving a reply here, please do so.  It contributes to community discussion. Thank you!

18 thoughts on “Fur? Seriously?

  1. Glenn Buckley, DVM

    We all make decisions everyday which impact our world. We need to think about those decisions and chose a path which is not selfish or inhumane. Think about the people, animals and the environment impacted. Know what goes on behind the curtain. Many either do not care or do not know the reality. For those who do not know, search and you will find answers. For those that do not care I am at a loss. We are not perfect creatures. Getting better I believe is part of our purpose in life. Thank you Cathy.

  2. Michele Phillips

    Without people like you, Cathy, willing to share the truth about where the unnecessary so-called luxury items like fur come from, people will be happy to be ignorant about it. Like anything, once enlightened, many may make the right choice for animals – not all, but some. I am sure this article will make a difference in several people’s decisions in the future, and we who do not condone selling, purchasing or wearing animal fur are grateful you wrote it.

  3. Barry

    Cathy, Idon’t see a lot of guys commenting so I will be among the few. you are one of the most sensitive people I know. We can learn a lot for you. Keep on teaching.

  4. Jean Bellaire-Kivlen

    Very good article, Cathy. What kind of people exist in this world who can do this kind of thing to innocent, beautiful animals? I, too, thank you for giving voice to the voiceless. What kind of people are able to don these garments in good conscience, most of them knowing what happened to make them? Thanks to you for putting the word out and making more awareness of this crime against nature. I will also share this in hopes of helping in some small way.

    1. Cathy Unruh Post author

      Thank you Jean. It is the ability to put it out of their minds that makes it easy for them. That is why we need to keep getting the word out. The images are graphic but perhaps that is what a potential buyer will see when they look in the mirror.

  5. Lynda Patton

    In this day and time, I am constantly shocked (yes, that’s the word!) that people still purchase animal furs! The pain and anguish these animals endure for their fur is simply not worth it. The death of a single creature for their skin or fur is totally unacceptable. Thank you for sharing on your blog, Kathy. I have seen photos and documentaries on the subject that make my stomach roil with the unfeeling, uncaring manner in which these lovely creatures are used and abused. Keep up the good work!

  6. Susan Green

    Love the piece, Cathy, and am sharing on FB. You already know my stance on fur — I won’t even patronize CONSIGNMENT shops that sell fur and I am now limited to shopping at Beall’s and Beall’s Outlet for my clothes! I agree with Julie — share your piece with your acquaintance if possible!! xoxoxox

  7. Julie Hanan

    Thank you so much Cathy for sharing the gruesome facts about the fur industry. If your “acquaintance” isn’t on your blog’s feed, I would have no problem at all forwarding it to her. Sometimes, designers and manufacturers need to hear from potential consumers how offended they are that compassion isn’t part of their business plan. It sounds like your “acquaintance” needs to be educated about the reality of fur sourcing. High fashion and status doesn’t necessarily equal fur. I hope you’ll find a way to share your excellent piece with her, one way or the other. Thank you for continuing to give a voice to the voiceless ♥

  8. Alyce McCathran

    Very good article, as usual, Cathy. Even though I haven’t made a decision to become vegan, I am and always will be totally fur-free, faux included. Doubt that you remember that beautiful sweater I bought at a fashion show from Georgette’s. Later, I found out the trim was “faux fur,” most likely from raccoon dogs that had been skinned alive. It broke my heart, but I returned it (at a considerable financial loss) because I could never wear it.

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