April 8, 2009
In the quest to eradicate fur, should animal lovers nix faux fur, too?
Below is a clip of Beyonce (also a promoter for l’Oreal cosmetics, which tests on animals) being made to face the facts of what she’s perpetuating in her clothing line.
Beyonce defers to her mother as she gnaws on a chicken bone.
Some animal rights activists disagree with wearing faux fur because it perpetuates the trend of the ‘fur’ look, making it sometimes hard to distinguish which fur is real, and which is fake. I understand and respect this viewpoint of wanting to shift people’s minds from associating fur with fashion to associating fur with unabashed cruelty, however don’t think that cutting humane fur alternatives from our fashion diets is the solution. I believe humans are drawn to the soft and fuzzy fur-like texture and naturally seek a range of materials in our fashion self-expression, and so instead of denying ourselves of that furry feeling, the best solution is to seek humane alternatives.
Humane alternatives, however, do not consist of “recycled” fur, such as Sunny Fong’s brilliant idea last night on Project Runway Canada to use “Peta friendly” fur from old coats in his new line, the gentle-demeanoured soul failing to consider how this line would be created on a large scale if successful and failing to realize that he is advocating a material sourced (though maybe not purchased himself) from the unnecessary suffering of animals.
All ideas come from nature, the umbrella being based on the the idea of a tree, for example. And so just as the veggie burger and the veggie dog flourish, though they sometimes look indistinguishable to meat, so can faux fur substitute our cravings for the soft and fuzzzy IF it’s purchased using thorough investigation (see HOWEVER below). Yes, it makes it harder for animal activists to pinpoint passing culprits on the street, which we naturally train our eyes to do, but for those who would die for fashion, faux fur could become an effective compromise to elminitate the use of all fur in fashion while not eliminating similar textures from the fashion vocabulary.
As awareness spreads about the realities of the animal industry, the world will continue look towards substitutions. It is possible for the extremists of both sides to come together if we provide obtainable ways for meat, fur, and leather lovers to consume cruelty-free substitutions. Diets which deprive are usually given up entirely. Bad habits are more easily quit if they are replaced with an equal, positive behaviour.
Foie gras and veal lovers speak of a waged “vegan war” in which the vegans seek to convert meat eaters and consumers of animal products through an if-you’re-not-with-us-you’re-against-us holy war type crusade. This war is laughable, of course, to most vegans, who are vegan due to their compassionate natures and want to end the violence, not start it.
Okay, this is some mad justified, fun “violence”. Lohan is a faux-lesbian, so it’s reasonable and timely that she make a switch to faux-fur.
The fur industry is sickening and horrific, animals often skinned alive and twitching in their bones before they die. Alternatives are available, making it possible for replacement instead of depravity.
Check out this dope vegan shoe site: www. ragazzivegan.com, for example, which carries faux-fur footwears such as:
And even this:
And, OMG, even this:
Animal activists have made a lot of headway for eliminating fur from fashion, and some designers have coalesced:
- Anne Klein
- Calvin Klein
- Donna Karan
HOWEVER because faux fur has come so far in looking indistinguishable from the real thing, controversy remains.
Peta’s attitude is that as long as it isn’t real, who cares if it looks like it is. But Carol McKenna of the UK anti-fur pressure group Respect is concerned. ‘I used to think fake fur was brilliant, but now it is indistinguishable from the real thing, I fear that the designers using it in this way are perhaps promoting real fur,’ she says.
Also, some designers, in a compromise to use less fur, have begun to mix real and fake together, such as Fendi, which is a pretty lame effort.
When buying faux fur inspect it carefully:
- Real fur, when you blow on it, will separate in a nearly perfect circle.
- If the fur is real, you will see the animal’s whitish skin when you pull the fibers aside. If it’s faux fur, you’ll see a webbed backing instead.
- “Buying fur out of China, there is no guarantee what you are going to get,” Leppert said. “The consumer can have zero confidence.” (There are no animal welfare laws in China – how terrifying is that???)
- EBay Canada indicates how to know if you’re buying real fur, and – though it’s written for old school dead-inside people who do want the real stuff – it has some tips on deciphering which is which.
Loopholes And Labels:
“Falsely advertising or mislabeling a real fur product is a violation of the federal Fur Products Labeling Act, which the Federal Trade Commission is empowered to enforce by seizure of false or deceptively advertised or labeled garments, the initiation of proceedings for injunctive relief, and the imposition of monetary penalties, which can range up to $5,000 per violation.
The violations documented by The HSUS include a Burberry brand jacket advertised online by Saks Fifth Avenue as “faux.” The jacket’s label does not indicate that it contains fur, but laboratory tests reveal that it is trimmed with rabbit fur. The Fur Products Labeling Act currently requires the labeling of fur apparel only if the garments contains more than $150 worth of fur.
So if you choose to wear faux, be careful of the sneaky, horrific fur industry. Buying from a vegan site like Ragazzi is safer than a department store because they adhere to different ethical practices. If you chose to claim your fashion right of wearing faux fur, take all the measures to assure what you are buying is actually faux.