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Fur Gaining More Popularity Around the World

Fur Gaining More Popularity Around the World

As temperatures drop below freezing, people are beginning to don their winter jackets. Nowadays, many people are turning to fur jackets to keep them warm, some perhaps buying new, others second-hand. The spike in sales comes as the fashion industry is touting fur trims in their collection and from associations touting fur as natural, renewable and fashionable.

Fur has been worn for as long as humans have been around and the fur trade has been international for many centuries. Recent figures fromt the British Fur Trade show that in 2008, worldwide fur sales totaled $13 billion, employing nearly 1 million people worldwide. 

Hong Kong remains the center of the fur trade, leading in the import and export of fine fur garments that brings in a total of $320 million annually. This is a bit surprising, as even now there are many rallies against the fur trade.

In fact, earlier in 2010, Israel had debated banning fur trade altogether. While fur only accounts for about $1 million of the textile trade in Israel, the bill would have sent a strong message to the fur company as well as other countries. 

Other countries in Europe, such as Spain, have protested recently against fur as well holding a naked demonstration in Barcelona’s Plaza Sant Jaume. Even the US, while not banning fur altogether, is taking a stance on making sure fur is accurately labeled by passing the “Truth in Fur Labeling” legislation. This requires fur producers to properly label all the fur, including those whose value does not exceed $150. 

Reportedly, China has been skinning domestic cats and dogs and using the fur to trim various clothes without claiming the material as fur due to the value loophole. According to the Humane Society of the United States, nearly 96 percent of fur-trimmed jackets were found to contain domestic dog, wolf or raccoon fur and were mislabeled or not labeled at all.

Despite these hits against fur, the trade has remained steady, even through economic instability. This is due to the reintroduction of fur as an extremely fashionable commodity. The Paris, New York and Milan Fashion Week all featured some form of fur. Nearly half of all the designers in the Fall 2010 fashion show included some form of fur: Carolina Herrara used fox, sable and mink, Marc Jacobs added fur fringe to bags and Zac Posen had his models wearing fur coats. 

Unlike the bygone era of the ’20s and ’30s, fur has become increasingly available to a broader, less formal spectrum and more readily available to younger populations around the world. It has become something chic yet fun with the introduction of various techniques like knitted fur, laser-cutting and precision dying. Many who would otherwise not buy new have begun buying vintage not for the price, but because it offers a “guilt-free” exception.

For some people, while the fur trade might be considered barbaric, with vintage coats, the animal is already dead, and thus, in a way, buying vintage is simply reusing something that would otherwise go to waste. The British Fur Trade is touting natural fur as a responsible choice, citing that properly farmed and manufactured fur does less damage to the environment than faux fur. Properly maintained fur, like leather, can also last much longer than faux fur as it retains its durability and can be restyled over the years. 

Even politicians are openly wearing fur, including Justin Trudeau (a Liberal MP from Montreal) who was shown with his entire family wearing fur-lined coats, covered in a fur blanket (made from coyote). While Trudeau states that the picture was not meant to be controversial, PETA immediately rebuffed the politician, citing the cruelty of the fur trade.

While there are many debates on both sides of the fur trade spectrum, the fact remains that in many countries, the manufacturing of fur can be incredibly cruel (PETA claims that in China the animals are skinned alive) and that overtrapping can lead to the endangering and sometimes extinction of these hunted animals. 

While many trappers point out that some of these animals need to be hunted in order to fight against overpopulation, it is difficult to truly predict the ecological impact of trapping in the wild or even farm-raising animals for fur.

 

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Photo credit: The Star

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460 comments

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8:24PM PST on Jan 12, 2013

Hi Colin,

I can't believe I am just now seeing your msg to enlighten you on the humane methods of raising and killing fur bearing animals. But, now that I've seen it, my basic answer is this:

there are many ancient cultures that revered the animals they had to kill for food and clothing and shelter (teepees). They didn't torture those animals, and in fact, even today, Jewish law requires specific steps to be taken, including prayers, before an animal can be killed.

When animals live freely on a ranch, or on plenty of land to roam, and they are calmly taken, individually, there is no panic and no fear, and they've lived nice lives.

I KNOW many cultures used to treat animals humanely, from birth to death. There is no reason we can't begin to adopt those practices again.

And I would never suggest that any animal should be killed for the fur. EVERY part of the animal needs to be utilized in the best way possible. Otherwise it's wasteful, which I object to.

And, I'm guessing that some animals really have nothing to offer EXCEPT the fur, so I'd put them off-limits.

4:36AM PST on Jan 8, 2012

Insane

1:50PM PST on Jan 5, 2012

its just no good.the animals are tortured for there skins,this is absurd,there is no need to wear fur in the modern world and less need to skin animals alive for it,this is disgustingly gross.

1:22AM PST on Dec 16, 2011

P.S., may those that skin animals alive have the same thing happen to them!!!

1:21AM PST on Dec 16, 2011

Hmm, so wearing a dead animal around your body is fashionable? Why not use human cadaver skin?? That would REALLY make a statement!!!!

1:15AM PST on Dec 16, 2011

Deanna,

What are these humane methods of raising and killing fur bearing animals then? I'm intrigued. Please enlighten us.

6:43AM PST on Dec 14, 2011

Please stop this boycott made in China http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x140lm_china-dog-and-cat-fur-farm-investig_animals

12:33PM PST on Feb 10, 2011

Oprah did a segment on veganism last week. One of the stories was with Lisa Ling going to the nation’s largest meat processing company, Cargill. It seems that Cargill is listening to the people and has come up with a much more humane way to process the cattle. It’s the only company in the world that has this system, but it’s so new that it is expected to spread.

Cargill does still feed cows corn grain, and the way they live from birth wasn’t shown.

But what they did show is that the cows are herded in small groups, quite naturally into a smaller enclosure. Ever effort is taken to keep the cows calm. They are held in the enclosure for awhile, and the cows are calm enough not to make any noises. They were just quiet. Distressed cows are noisy.

Eventually, they are led, individually, into a stall where an air gun shoots something (I forgot what) into their brains in a very precise place, which instantly renders them PAIN-FREE and unconscious. THEN they are killed. (They know they are pain-free because they know about the brain).

And Cargill also uses every part of the cow. Nothing is wasted. Isn’t that the direction we want to go in? Some want the killing to stop altogether, but in light of the FACT that it isn’t going to end anytime soon, wouldn’t we rather follow Cargill’s example and try to eliminate the torture?

12:29PM PST on Feb 10, 2011

Bev Minto,

“How can what we did in say, cave man days, be compared to what we do today…?”

It can’t. What they did back then was REVERE the animals who were dying for their survival. They killed in the most humane way possible, and used EVERY BIT of the animal for SOMETHING. None of it went to waste, and there were usually rituals related to the killing to insure that the animals were properly regarded as life-giving beings who lived their entire lives the way nature intended.

Today, while the need for warm clothing is still a reality, we have torture chambers for the animals to live their entire lives in. Everyone here agrees that we need to get rid of the factory farms. But most people aren’t recognizing that we still need animals for clothing, if not also for food. Most people here would rather kill the entire planet with synthetic materials, than go back to treating animals the way we did in the cave days.

One person believes that “natural plant-based fibers” falls into the category of “synthetic.” And apparently believes that the cave people used toxic chemicals to treat the hides.

And yet another person from Finland, believes that all services that need something heavier than a denim coat, should be banned. That means no doctors will be on-call, firefighters and police officers should stay home, snow plows should be obsolete. She believes that if you need more than a denim jacket, you need to move to a warmer c

4:51PM PST on Feb 1, 2011

If you live in a community where the only way to survive the climate is by using animal fur and skins, then that can be understandable. However, most of the people who wear it nowadays don't need it. It's a dumb thing to do if you don't need it, and it's sure as hell not sexy.

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