Learn the ropes
Choose your sideThe 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.
Fur is an ethical choice
Founder and Senior Researcher, TruthAboutFur.com
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: https://www.truthaboutfur.com/blog/skinning-fur-animals-alive-video-exposed-as-complete-fraud/; https://www.truthaboutfur.com/blog/lies-activists-tell-environmental-impact-of-fur/; https://www.truthaboutfur.com/blog/ethical-fur-intolerant-activists/; https://www.truthaboutfur.com/blog/5-biggest-activist-lies-about-fur/.
Animal fur: cruelty from a different time
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.