For decades, fur has been viewed as a high-fashion luxury item while the industry flaunts images and ideals of wealth and power, but some of us see those images as nothing more than a symbol of human selfishness, greed, cruelty and indifference.
Undercover investigations and the focus on the cruelty involved in the fur industry has led to claims of ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘humane fur’ in an attempt to win over those who are growing increasingly concerned about animal welfare and the environmental impact of the products we consume.
The Fur Council of Canada launched a Fur is Green campaign that claims fur “is an ecological alternative, a natural product in harmony with nature.”
However, with problems resulting from water and air pollution from fur farms to the toxic chemicals used to process pelts to keep them from rotting, science continues to prove there is nothing about fur that is in harmony with nature.
For the animals that are killed on farms by having their necks broken, getting bludgeoned, gassed or electrocuted before being skinned (sometimes while they’re still conscious), death may not even be the most disturbing part. The majority of animals used in the fur industry are confined to miserable lives on factory-farm style fur farms where they are deprived of the simple ability to exhibit natural behaviors or enjoy the feeling of anything but wire beneath their feet. Many farms are run in places where there are virtually no regulations protecting animals, such as China.
“Studies have shown that as many as 85 percent of the animals confined in these facilities develop behavioral abnormalities such as rocking, head-bobbing, and self-mutilation due to boredom, anxiety, and the inability to meet their instinctual needs,” according to Born Free USA.
Even the fur that comes from wild animals is the result of unimaginable suffering at the hands of trappers who use leghold traps, body-crushing Conibear traps and snares. Traps that not only cause suffering for target animals, but pose a risk to non-target animals, threatened and endangered species, people and pets.
Activists and animal advocacy groups continue to fight this industry and educate the public about the true horrors behind fur products, some with great success. West Hollywood became the first city in the U.S. to ban fur last year, while countries including Austria, the United Kingdom and Croatia have banned fur farming, and still others have bans or regulations on certain animals and traps. All while the list of cruelty-free designers continues to grow.
In Defense of Animals believes Fur Free Friday has become one of the largest demonstrations of the year. This year, caring citizens around the world will be dressing up as zombies to protest fur, because obviously only a mindless zombie would wear it:
We want holiday shoppers to realize that an incredible amount of suffering is represented in each fur item, whether it is a full-length coat, fur lining or fur trim. This cruelty will end only when consumers refuse to buy or wear fur.
Warning: Graphic Footage – Animal Protection Norway and the Network for Animal Freedom have brought to light the ongoing cruelty at Norwegian fur farms. In 2002, the government supported claims that fur farms had to make some drastic changes in order to avoid being shut down, yet they have failed to do anything. Now, a committee is considering whether it should ban it entirely.
Photo credit: Network for Animal Freedom