Meet Peneloppe. She was skinned alive for a fashion statement; knocked over the head with a club, ripped apart from her flesh, and left to die. The sad reality is that she is just one in 50 million + animals a year that are brutally murdered for their fur. Often our society chooses to ignore their brutal processing to continue justifying wearing fur in hopes of looking high class and fashionable— However, more and more people are speaking up. As fur farm footage is exposed through social media, designers are choosing to omit real fur from their clothing lines giving rise to the faux fur trend.
“Fur trade, death trade!” Animal rights activists marched the streets of Lower Manhattan in early march. The posters, chants, shrieking audio sounds, and video demonstrations generated traction from every direction. Signs read, “Your fur coat had a face,” and “Compassion is the fashion” in hopes of getting the public thinking. Shop managers uncomfortably giggled from inside, as the lifeless bodies of thousands of animals hung from the racks. Well known activist Robert Banks shouted, “Those animals wanted to live!” Parents covered their children’s eyes, shielding them from the horrible truth. Banks went on to say that, “Nothing is worse than what the victim went through so watch the damn video for them, not for you.”
The various animals killed for their fur can include mink, foxes, rabbits, coyotes, and so many more. Many people don’t realize that even our beloved cats and dogs are killed for their fur in certain societies. Anonymous friend of mine says, “I would never wear a dog, oh my god no. I love my dog.” But when asked what makes a coyote any different they preferred not to answer. It may be possible that some people are just unaware of what really lies beneath their fur trims, “Wait this is real fur? I had no idea when I bought it.” Said my friend, referring to her Canada Goose coat.
There are no requirements to label leather products in China and it’s often impossible for a consumer to tell which species of animal it has come from. According to PETA, “China is the world's largest exporter of leather and every year millions of cats and dogs are killed for their meat and skin.”
Animal remains are seen everywhere from our furniture, to our wallets, coats, shoes, hats, cars and more. It’s essential to look at labels because while the fur industry is dying, companies are finding ways to sneak it onto different clothing items such as coats and hats. Zahava Roden owned a fur store on Orchard street in Manhattan for over decade and she says, “I think less people are wearing fur because of the reactions they are starting to get on the street. The trends today are how you can save everyone and everything. If the designers hear more people are worried about the animals, they will cut down and we are seeing it more and more.”
Versace, Michael Kors and Gucci, Tommy Hilfiger, Stella McCartney and more have already gone fur free! Not only that but Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley, West Hollywood and São Paulo have banned fur sales and Norway, Belgium, Netherlands, United Kingdom and Austria have banned fur production. It has been predicted that New York City will be next.
Now a day, we are seeing more fur hidden in certain products. A popular winter coat brand, Canada Goose has rapidly grown over the past decade. The coat has a fur trim on the hood and is filled with goose feathers. The company traps coyotes in the wild, kills them, and then skins them for their fur. Lines of people wait outside their store to buy the trendy coat but very few care to research the suffering it ensues.
“These people are walking down the street with their dogs in a Canada goose jacket but little do they know they are wearing 98% dog DNA. Pretty hypocritical if you ask me!” Bill Wang replied when asked about the coat brand. “Not only that but why are we still wearing fur when we know it represents something so violent and cruel? I don’t think anything about it is fashionable.”
However, some people still do which is why faux fur can be a great option. Environmental activist, Michelle Gorden was once concerned about the contamination from these faux products but now she says, “Vegan clothing companies are coming out with products made from recycled materials. Not only that but people fail to recognize that real leather and fur are treated with harsh chemicals to keep them from decaying! The environment isn’t breaking those products down too fast, I’ll tell you that.”
The question now is what do we do with all of the coats already made? Dozens of animals need to die for one fur coat varying from six to 12 for seals and lynxes, up to more than 100 for squirrels. Anonymous fur wearer says, “My mother gave me this mink coat for my 40th birthday and it is something that her mother gave her many decades ago. I will continue to wear it because it keeps me warm and well… It’s already made.” We can only do our best moving forward by choosing to avoid purchasing these products. When asked if anyone passing by has ever made any nasty comments she said, “Oh yeah, people love to scold me on the street about my coat. I’m not fazed at this point, I think they should mind their business!”
Silence is never the answer if change is sought. Many people have donated their fur to animal rehabilitation centers and also to people who really need the warmth. Take Back the Fur is a company you can donate fur items to in order to help save injured and orphaned wildlife. Your items will be recycled for rehabbing efforts to give back to those very animals who were once harmed. Coats for Cubs is another program that plays a key role in comforting wildlife through the warmth and similarity of the fur.
Fur which once represented status and wealth is finally being recognized for what is really is—a dead animal. As more people become aware of the cost of fur to animals and the environment, demand is growing for kinder alternatives. Why cause so much torture and pain if you can get the look you desire using sustainable faux products?2019 has never been so convenient, many retailers now offer a range of faux fur products that are not only fashionable, but also cruelty-free.