Thinking Aloud on A Sunday.

Fur.

Earlier this week, I saw a feature on a BBC programe. It appears that many items being sold as ‘fake fur’ are nothing of the sort. They are real fur. Unimaginably, it appears that raising animals in awful conditions, then killing them for their fur, is cheaper than producing the fibres needed to simulate it as fake fur. The TV show had distressing images of rabbits and Raccoon Dogs (I had never heard of Raccoon Dogs) being kept in abysmal conditions. Crammed into wire cages, and stacked on top of each other. As well as coming from the Far East, this animal fur is also widely produced in Poland, a member of the EU.

Is it used to provide warmth at least? Perhaps to help people who live in very cold places survive harsh winters. Of course not. It merely provides decoration. Bobbles for beanie hats, facings on sweaters, and adornment on the sides of handbags or on the toes of high-heeled shoes. Those poor animals endure pitiful lives, painful deaths, and all for something that serves no purpose on top of a winter hat, or fashionable bag. That’s appalling.

But when I woke up today, I was thinking of a time when fur was not only desirable, but acceptable in the mainstream. A time when my aunties coveted a fox-fur stole, worn around their neck with the head of the poor creature still attached. Fashion. Fur collars on the overcoats of wealthy gentlemen. Fashion. Chinchilla-fur wraps covering the shoulders of starlets, who never walked outside anyway. And let’s not forget the mink coats, the ultimate symbol of sexuality and wealth; worn by film-stars, and the girlfriends of sugar daddies all around the world. Worn in the heat of a Californian summer, not the desolate wastelands of Siberia. White Arctic Fox, one of nature’s most beautiful animals, Reduced to a bolero jacket discarded at the entrance to a film festival in the south of France.

The poor made do with dyed rabbit skins, even dog fur. But they still had their furs. Fashion.

Then came the backlash, and rightly so. Protesters threw blood or red paint at models and actresses wearing fur. They mounted permanent demonstrations outside shops selling furs in big cities like London. We signed petitions against the fur trade, and the companies began to listen. Over the decades, they changed to fake fur, using man-made materials. These eventually became so convincing, only an expert could tell the difference between the two. Fashion was changing, and reflecting the sympathies of a better-informed public. A public learning respect for the small animals previously bred for an early death, and just for their skins.

Now it is 2018, and you might have hoped that the fur trade was a memory, outside of places in certain countries where there is little or no alternative for warm clothing. But profit rules, and if it’s cheaper to kill a rabbit to provide a bobble for a hat, or slaughter a Raccoon Dog to have some bits of fluff to stick on the front of some high-heeled shoes, than to use commercially-available alternatives. Market forces rule, and the animals are being caged and killed once again, in ever-increasing numbers.

I am not a vegetarian, I hasten to add. And I wear leather shoes, as well as owning leather furniture. But when it comes to breeding animals for adornments to woolen hats, shoes, or handbags, then surely that is a step too far in animal exploitation?

Let me know what you think about the Fur Trade.

And if you feel inclined to do so, please share this post on social media, to spread the word that fake fur is mostly real fur.

55 thoughts on “Thinking Aloud on A Sunday.

    1. Thanks, Lara. It is the specific breeding for ‘decorative’ items that really go to me. I cannot contemplate buying any ‘fake fur’ item ever again. In fact, all I have is the ‘fur’ around the hood of a winter anorak, and I never attached that anyway, as it got too wet. Now I have no real clue if it was real animal fur anyway.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Ironically, my niece and I talked about this subject yesterday. She had ordered some :fake fur” cell cover and was horrified to find out it was real rabbit fur. I can not repeat her horrific account of the process-it is as sickening as anything! What an awful practice. and like you ancient folks may have had to use fur, but they were not nearly as cruel. Some folks are a cruel lot, it seems. Bet I do not buy any kind of fur!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Like you, I had no idea that fake fur was actually real and cheaper for manufacturing. Fur trading and trapping has been around forever, for warmth, not for fashion. My feelings depend on the use and how the animals are treated. The same could be said for animals used for food. Best to you, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree about the use for warmth and trade in the past, Jennie. In this case, the use of the fur is merely for decoration, and serves no practical purpose. The animals are also reared outside of any humane legislation that might make their short lives more comfortable.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. These particular animals are bred in captivity, in awful conditions. I can understand tribesmen in remote countries hunting for fur and meat to survive, but to breed them just for accessories like bobbles for hats makes me sad.
      Cheers mate, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So sad. It’s terrible to reduce animals to a life of misery and suffering for the vanity of wearing fur and who knew that meant ‘faux’ fur too? Even worse as you don’t know what you’re getting! Reminds me of entire populations of animals that were eliminated here in the Pacific Northwest during the fur trade. We should have learned by now.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s a horrible industry, Pete, as you point out. Here in the US, there continues to be a great debate about how to humanely raise animals for food – and steps continue in the right direction in that regard. But the business of raising them just to “wear” is barbaric and obsolete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had no idea either, Mary. It was featured on the BBC programme ‘Watchdog’ this week, and was a huge surprise to me. More than six out of ten ‘fake fur’ products turned out to be real animal fur.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Quite a contentious subject very much in line with the new world view of animal welfare, which I’m all for. However I have no real issue with using the skin or fur of an animal that has slaughtered for food, rabbits included. Although I do believe it should all be done on a far smaller scale and more localised.
    Unfortunately, as you say, commerce is the driver here, much in the same way that we have different cows for milk than for beef, its more economical that way. You dont want to know how many bullocks are killed in the dairy industry. Not to mention the leather industry, which I believe is served mainly by cows from India (whose population doesn’t eat the meat).
    Its all a big mess really and people dont want to know the truth, but the majority of us are the people who demand low cost food at the supermarket, so who is guilty?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Eddy, I have no problem with using products from animals killed for food. I am not in a position to be on a high moral ground when it comes to eating all kinds of meat, and using leather products too. I have to rationalise my discomfort with the treatment of animals that provide me with food, and things like shoes. But in this case, I am purely talking about ‘decoration’. Animals not bred for food, or any other reason than to provide bobbles for hats, or fur trim on handbags and shoes.
      It would be preferable for those fur producers to state that they are using real fur, and give consumers the chance not to buy it. But I reckon they won’t be doing that anytime soon.
      Cheers mate, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I used to play dress up in my nans fox scarf thing, looking back I think eew! I have fur trim on my overcoat hood, hoping it’s the fake stuff ๐Ÿ˜ณ but I can’t tell. It should be legal to put a tag on it saying it’s synthetic so we know, and can do something about it if they lie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was featured on ‘Watchdog’. EU laws don’t cover this, but most shops claim to be ‘fur-free’. Those shown on TV said they will remove the items from sale. All very well, but too late for the animals.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. IT pisses me off! When I see the ads about animal abuse and stuff I want to see those doing it die….a horrible thing to envision but anyone that treats an animal as such is not much of a human in my book. chuq

    Liked by 1 person

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