For or against animal fur?

for or against animal fur ethics debate
Numéro 1

Learn the ropes

What is fur and why do we use it?
Fur is the skin of an animal covered by hair.

It also designates the material used by men to produce clothes, ornaments, accessories or decoration. Commercialized fur comes the most often from wild animals or fur farms.

Originally, fur is used to give some warmth against cold heather. It was then popularized in the 19th century by icons like Davy Crockett, Canadian trappers or traditional Russian chapkas.

Au cours de l’Histoire, elle s’est progressivement chargée de symboles : réussite sociale, élégance, animalité et sensualité, … Au milieu du XXème siècle, elle pénètre dans le secteur de la mode qui contribue à la démocratiser dans le monde entier.

Throughout the centuries fur progressively became a symbol of social success, elegance and sensuality. In the middle of the 20th century, it enters into the fashion sector, which popularises fur on the world’s markets.

Where does the fur come from?
Today, the biggest share of fur is produced by 6,000 European fur farms. Many small animals are used for fur production, such as lynx, mink, fox, chinchilla, hamster or rabbit.

Fur is produced mainly in Denmark (which is responsible for 28% of the world’s production of mink fur), in Finland (main exporter of fox fur), but also in China, the Netherlands and the United States.
China is the first importer of raw furs in the world, it is also the biggest re-exporter of finished fur products.

Why do we talk about it today?
Some organisations for animal protection (PETA or L214 for example) denounce the conditions of detention and of culling of forbearers through numerous campaigns.

Today, fur farming is illegal in Austria, Croatia, England and Wales. In 2010 there were 285 fur farms in France, but this number decreased to only 11 in 2017.

As to the fashion world, in 1994 Calvin Klein is the first brand of luxury products to ban fur. Many other big fashion brands have followed him and joined the Free Fur Alliance: Ralph Lauren (2006), Tommy Hilfiger (2007), Giorgio Armani (2016), Michael Kors (2016), Gucci (2017), or Versace (2018).

The Queen Elisabeth II chose to stop wearing fur, according to her official stylist Angela Kelly.

Nonetheless, fur has supporters who claim that the production of fur can be ethical if it respects strict regulations (especially in North America).

In 2018, the fur sector represented 35 billion euros and 1 million employees in the world.

Numéro 2

Choose your side

The idea behind the Rift is simple: for each topic of debate, we provide you with an expertise based on a pro-con approach, written by competent and legitimate experts. We want to help you make your own opinion, and guide you on first steps to civic engagement.
What is your opinion before reading the article?


Fur is an ethical choice

Alan Herscovici founder senior researcher animal fur is ethical and ecological

Alan Herscovici

Founder and Senior Researcher,

Before deciding whether to wear fur, we should know that it is a responsibly produced, long-lasting, recyclable, and biodegradable natural material.
Farm-raised mink and foxes represent 80% of world fur production. Carnivores, they are fed left-overs from our own food supply, the parts of pigs, chickens and fish that we don’t eat and would otherwise clog landfills. Fur farm wastes – manure, straw bedding, carcasses – are composted to produce organic fertilizers, completing the agricultural nutrient cycle. 

Strict regulations ensure that only abundant furbearers are used

Contrary to activist claims*, it is in the interest of farmers to ensure high standards of care for their animals; this is the only way to produce high quality fur. To assure that high animal-welfare standards are maintained, farms are undergoing third-party audit and certification for compliance with codes of practice, including the European Welfur and the International Fur Federation’s FurMark systems.

Wild-sourced species represent up to half of furs produced in North America, including beavers, muskrats, coyotes, raccoons, and martens. Like most wildlife, they produce more young each year than their habitat can support to adulthood. The sustainable use of such naturally produced surpluses is promoted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and other conservation authorities.

Strict regulations ensure that only abundant furbearers are used, never endangered species. In fact, many wildlife populations would have to be culled even if we didn’t use fur, to protect property (from flooding by beavers) and livestock  (coyote predation), to control dangerous diseases (rabies in overpopulated raccoons), and other reasons. Traps are certified to comply with the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards. And fur provides employment and income in rural and remote regions, including First Nations communities. Simply put: wild fur is the ultimate organic, free-range, fair-trade clothing!

After 30 or more years of use, fur will completely biodegrade

Finally, fur apparel is made by artisans who maintain remarkable craft skills. Most furs are used in their natural colours, without dyeing, an important environmental consideration. Fur apparel can also be restyled as fashions change. And after 30 or more years of use, fur will completely biodegrade, returning to the soil. By contrast, most of today’s “fast fashion” is made with petroleum-based synthetics that do not biodegrade and leach micro-particles of plastic into our waterways every time they are washed – plastics now being found in marine life. “Cruelty-free” indeed!

* The vicious claims about fur have been thoroughly debunked. See, for example:;


Animal fur: cruelty from a different time

anissa putois PETA France communication manager

Anissa Putois

Communication Manager, PETA France

The only people who continue to defend fur today are the ones who have got a financial interest in trying to hold back the decline of this bloody business. Exploiting animals and stealing their skins is morally indefensible. 

Furbearers live squeezed in tiny, barred and dirty cages

85% of fur come from intensive farming systems, and investigations published by PETA demonstrated the horrible things born by rabbits, monks, foxes, and even cats and dogs, whose fur is transformed into clothes and fashion accessories. They live squeezed in tiny, barred and dirty cages. They have no activity, no stimulation, and they live without normal social contact. They go mad and they develop compulsive disorders or they self-harm, which is a sign of an intensive emotional distress. They are killed in a terrible way, often by electrocution, gas poisoning, or by being beaten to death. 

Wild animals trapped in nature are killed in a not less terrible manner. Let’s take coyotes for an example – they are trapped in steel-traps, which close on their legs – and their fur tops Canada Goose’s parkas. Sometimes they suffer in agony during several days before the trappers come to kill them. We know that in some cases, mothers want to rejoin their babies so desperately, that they try to bite through their own legs. 

Beyond being a theatre for inadmissible cruelty, fur production is terrible for the environment. The World Bank classified it as one of the most polluting industries, and an independent study found that « Taking into consideration all studies impacts on the environment, natural fur has a higher impact than fake fur ». 

In fact, in order to avoid rotting of the fur in people’s closets, fur is treated with a mix of toxic materials. Some of them are potentially carcinogenic and others can negatively affect the production of hormones and the reproductive organs. 

In order to avoid rotting of the fur in people’s closets, fur is treated with a mix of toxic materials

So, it’s not surprising that consumers turn their backs on fur, and that in consequence, fashion professionals rush to abandon the use of fur – Chanel, Balmain, Zadig & Voltaire, Prada, Versace and Jean Paul Gautier are part of the fashion companies who don’t use animal fur in their collections. 

In France, 84% of the population considers that livestock breeding for fur should be forbidden. It is time to stop giving the authorization to trap and massacre sentient beings for a fashion that is cruel and out-of-date. 

What is your opinion now?

10 thoughts on “For or against animal fur?

  1. It is a grate pity for humans to have come so far from nature that they chose pollution over clean nature, adding to the carbon footprint by wearing synthetic materials rather than coosing to live “of and with nature”.
    Environmentalists should wear fur, wool and leather.
    With to days state of the Earth nothing else is ethical.

  2. Fur is a natural renewable resource that is as old as time itself in providing material for clothing which is long lasting, beautiful & as natural as taking the hide of an animal we will eat as food . As for matching toxicity of fur against Pleather or any of the polo-meres used in our society today, fur is not even close to being unfriendly to the environment. In the bigger picture Angelic Nirvana pursuits of PETAfile types is all about pretending that as human animals we have no place in the natural world using our worth in the food chain as nature or God intended.

  3. Wild fur has to be managed, if not the animals become sick or starve from over population and die an agonizing death either way.

  4. As a farmer for most of my life, I spent a large amount of time to make the husbandry of looking after my animals better. It seems animal extremists believe that the rearing, ownership and use of any animal for any purpose is cruel . Therefore there is no compromise and no matter how well the animals are raised or harvested the standards will never be good enough. The extremist’s desire is to stop the use of animals for any reason. Not for food, clothing, medical testing and research, etc. Fur is an easy target but is sustainable, green, and biodegradable as are the by-products of animal agriculture.

  5. most people are pulled into a quick decision because all the false info is what the comes up be fore the actual truth is heard.

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