the animal ... not just its skin".
First of all, we explain what may
arguably be the only ethically acceptable reason to wear
a fur item in the 21st Century - and it only includes a minute percentage
of the global population - Unless you are an Inuk living in the
arctic region by eating and wearing what you kill for survival,
then you simply don't need to be wearing a fur product at all.
Up until around 500 hundred years ago, the ecological balance between
humankind and animals in nature was still relatively healthy, In
those times the use of animal-based clothing was still an integral
part of human survival in colder climates. We didn't have thermally-sealed
houses full of radiators, heated transportation or hi-tech heat-retaining
materials to wear on wintry days. Fur and animal skin was one of
the only solutions to stay warm.
In the superheated 21st century, fur and even leather should
be no more than a bygone legacy. It's only the fashion industry
that keeps refueling this redundant barbarism. And while fashion
houses roll out a full-on revival, an insensitive new generation
of fashion followers have been buying and wearing real fur clothing
again. Designers have decided to target consumers with clothes laced
with dead animals ... which include cats and dogs.
Even though the UK government banned fur production in 2002, British
furriers have reported a massive surge in sales since then - and
in a shocking report by the BBC's The Money Programme, young people
said that "moral objections are old hat"...
Previously, fur wearing had fallen sharply by the end of the 1980s,
helped along by hard-hitting anti-fur campaigns. These included
David Bailey's shock cinema advert of a model strutting the catwalk
in a fur coat which begins to splatter blood across the stage, and
then over the spectators. Later came the advert showing super-models
without clothes, claiming they would rather go naked than wear fur.
At that time, emotions were so high about the tastelessness of clothes
made of dead animals that it became simply un-cool to be seen wearing
anything that resembled one. (Although, ironically, leatherwear
never seemed to loose popularity).
But the trend of dressing up in furry dead creatures reemerged in
the mid 2000's, and this upturn in sales brought about the return
of the infamous practice of seal clubbing. 25 years ago there were
global protests against this barbaric treatment of young seals ...
now seal murder was back with a vengeance.
By early 2004 - and in just a few weeks - hunters in Canada had
already clubbed to death 70,000 harp seal pups to keep up with the
demand for fur. One million were killed over the next three years
for their fur. In 2005, 300,000 seal pups were killed, the largest
cull since 1970, and from March 2006 a further 317,000 seal pups
were again slaughtered - In 2007 around another 250,000. This cull
has continued to take place regardless of conversationalists concern
that such a massive cull would seriously under-populate seal numbers,
which could lead them to extinction.
The rise in the killing of seal pups relates directly with fashion
trends. Although the USA, and some of Europe banned the import of
seal products, other countries like Poland and Russia cash in on
these ongoing demands, which includes the fur of four week old baby
So who is to blame?
The fashion industry have effectively
brainwashed gullible young trend followers into believing that real
fur is cool, even though fake fur has been perfected to a point
where it's almost impossible to tell the difference.
But clearly, it seems that non-compassionate consumers find humane
alternatives of no importance as sales in fur rose by 35% in 2003
alone ... and between 2005 and 2007 it was still rising.
Since fur farming has been outlawed in the UK, British traders buy
and sell legal fur from countries like Denmark. In fact the Brits
buy a staggering 50% of the world's fur, and many UK fur farmers
have simply moved their practices to other countries. 2006
figures revealed that Canada was earning 16.5 million dollars in
commercial seal meat and fur each year.
Psychological propaganda used by pro-fur organizations is also aimed
at young people in an attempt to cloud their morals. After Kate
Middleton was seen wearing a fur hat at a horse race meeting in
2006 - much to the dismay of anti-fur campaigners - a spokeswoman
for the British Fur Trade Association arrogantly stated to The Scotsman
newspaper that "More and more young women like Kate are wanting
to make their own decisions and not have things dictated to them".
She also added, "There's more fur on the catwalk and it's no longer
seen as only for older women in floor-length coats". This kind of
commentary, for the sake of self-promotion of the fur industry,
is designed to initiate a reaction in young people searching for
individualism by subliminally suggesting they "rebel"
by wearing fur. Intelligent young people though should see through
the baseless hype created by pro-fur organizations built on an ignorant
appraisal of an abhorrent trade.
(For Scotsman "Middleton" Article see: http://news.scotsman.com/uk.cfm?id=447092006)
Further reports in the UK press and
TV uncovered various activities taking place in Europe and the Far
A BBC news report describes a video of a Belgian furrier displaying
a blanket he says was made from cats farmed in Belgium. (Up to 12
cats are needed for a blanket.)
Other reports say that more than two million dog and cat furs are
believed to have been processed though countries such as Belgium
- imported from the Far East and from live animals farmed or stolen
within the country itself.
UK newspaper the Daily Mail were running regular articles with shocking
pictures from the Far East showing areas the size of football pitches
laid out with thousands of dog furs. Many of these animals are skinned
alive or drowned so that their coats remain undamaged.
Europe has turned into the hub of
fur trafficking, boosted by western fashion victims' craving for
fur trimmed clothing or even complete coats.
Major anti-fur campaigner and British MEP Struan Stevenson collected
- A blanket made out of four golden
retrievers, bought in Copenhagen.
- Individual cat skins complete
with eye-holes, paws and tails, bought in Barcelona. (Up to 24
cats are needed for a cat fur coat.)
- A full-length coat made out of
up to 42 Alsatian puppies, bought in Berlin.
However, France, Italy, Denmark,
Belgium and Greece have now banned the trade of cat and dog fur
... but their is a twist of double standards as far as Greece is
concerned. The Greeks falsely believe that the thousands of stray
animals in their country are being trafficked to west Europe for
fur (and vivisection and to be eaten by west Europeans!). Patriotism
and pride runs very high in Greece and some of its citizens and
media have dreamed up these claims to distract international condemnation
of the gruesome poisonings of cats and dogs taking place in the
cities and resorts of Greece itself. Incredibly, innocent animal
rescue groups have been targeted as apparent traffickers of the
animals for fur and stories of Belgian and German coats made of
cats and dogs have only added to the mass delusion held by the misinformed
Greek public. In fact, as in any country, the amount of companion
animals targeted as potential fur products is minuscule compared
to the millions of dogs and cats abandoned and ultimately poisoned
inside countries such as Greece - which has one of the highest stray
populations in the EU.
Deeper in the black market, domestic
cats and dogs across Europe have become the victims of fashion -
stolen from homes and slaughtered to make blankets, coats, shoes
plus other fur and leather accessories. However, the Far East is
the main hub of dog / cat slaughtering and trading. In China, two
million animals are rounded up and brutally slaughtered and skinned
each year. Many of these are reported to be still alive when being
skinned. The meat is also sold off as delicacies in restaurants.
Dogs such as St Bernards are reported to be trafficked from countries
like Switzerland to the Far-East, then either crossbred or slaughtered
for coats, which bring in higher prices. In fact, domestic pets
fetch higher prices than strays. In Eastern Europe, such the Ukraine
street dog catchers are known to skin the strays while still half
dead and sell the pelts on the black market. Most of the furs collected
from the far-east and eastern Europe are imported into Western Europe
where dealers and manufacturers openly trade these furs for the
manufacturing of clothes and accessories to be sold in your local
high street shops.
"How many more animals are going
to be mutilated because of your vanity?"
Harsh words? But dumbed-down fashion
victims have adopted a frame of mind which is both anaesthetized
and blinded to blank out compassionate thoughts. In fact many don't
even put two and two together when it comes to wearing clothes trimmed
with fur. It could just as well been have picked from a "fur
tree" as we have actually heard someone say (and they weren't
joking), rather than been sliced from a terrified animal, often
still alive while it was being skinned. So,
in countries where cat and dog fur trading is banned, fur sourced
from animals of all kinds is still finding its way into products
Cat and dog fur is used in coats and coat trimming, hats, gloves,
shoes, blankets, stuffed animals and toys.
Dog fur is sometimes labelled as: Gae-wolf, sobaki, goupee, Corsac
fox, Asian jackal, loup d'Asie, dogues du Chine, or simply fake
or exotic fur.
Cat fur is sometimes labelled as: goyangi, wild cat, katzenfelle,
rabbit, mountain cat and even house cat.
Mink, Chinchilla, Raccoon, Beaver and Fox fur is often used in more
expensive designer wear, either as coats or trimmings.
While designers are firmly set in
generating a demand for fur fashion then trading looks set to increase
"Wear your heart on your sleeve
... not the fur of an animal".
There has naturally been a resurgence
of active protests by the anti-fur lobby.
Croatia are the largest world producer of chinchilla fur, with up
to 50% of global production. Croatia's own animal welfare organization
Animal Friends (AFC) launched an anti-fur campaign with TV's "ER"
star Goran Višnjic and PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of
PETA have also organized disruptions of catwalk shows in London
and in America.
Unsurprisingly, Brazil - well known for their appalling treatment
of animals and the environment - produced a super model named Gisele
who signed a modeling contract (reportedly worth $500,000) with
a leading US fur company.
Many highly paid models now seem to have no moral concern about
promoting fur, but former Miss Great Britain, Yana Booth was showing
her support for the anti-fur lobby by posing nude for a photo campaign,
with the slogan 'Bare skin, not bear skin'. Even Italy, normally
known as a Mecca for fur coats worn by affluent women - particularly
in the north, have seen a rise in anti-fur campaigning by the country's
antivivisection league (LAV). The organization have been demonstrating
outside large chain shops in Turin to make shoppers aware of the
huge increase of cat and dog fur appearing on jacket collars, which
are being sold around the country.
Above all, the trade of cat and dog
fur in the far east and the killing of seals on the Canada ice floes
produces the most horrific scenes of cruelty and torture ever witnessed
in modern society. To help put an end to this horrendous activity
you are urged to interact and support the organizations presented
on these Think About Fur pages.
So what is the UK and
EU government doing about it?
By mid 2003, only 71 out of 659 British
MP's had signed a motion urging the government to ban the import
and export of dog and cat fur.
For example, the Secretary of State and Industry, Patricia Hewitt
was asked by a Dr Tonge what steps her department was making to
a) control and b) prohibit the import of furs from domestic cats
and dogs. In true, politician-style-babble Ms Hewitt's answer was:
"The government are investigating possibilities for labelling
any products that may contain domestic cat and dog fur. Equally,
we are working to ensure a reliable scientific test is in place
to validate the accuracy of any such labels. This will give consumers
the information they want about what they are buying. It is not
proved possible to determine either through trade statistics or
through scientific testing what levels of these products, if any,
is entering the UK. Therefore the government do not consider any
prohibition on imports to be proportionate to the scale of the problem
at this time." (Source www.parliament.uk)
Ms Hewitt's bizarre reply is in effect saying that the import and
export and manufacturing of products, if made of cat and
dog fur is fine as long as it's labelled. Therefore, according to
her logic, a product labelled "made from 42 of the finest Alsatian
puppies" would be morally acceptable.
Ms Hewitt's words of " giving consumers the information
they want" is displaced and out of touch with the real
issue. If anything, those words should pertain to informing the
UK public that the import and exports of any fur products in their
country will cease immediately. Any other definition of that sentence
is meaningless and simply condones the continuation of one of the
world's most barbaric practices against animals ... purely for vanity.
Therefore, in June 2003 new rules to ensure that the Brits "know
what they are buying" were put into practice to inform shoppers
if a fur product contains "domestic animal". As mentioned,
all this does is label the product ... not ban it.
In 2003 EU Health and Consumer Protection
commissioner David Byrne's response to questions about the issue
was, "Let me say that cats and dogs are not farmed for their fur
in the (then) 15 member states of the European Union." Mr Byrne
also claimed he has no authority to act - despite having complete
authority to ban this practice under internal market regulations
to protect consumers (see below). Other officials in Brussels also
continue to deny that cat or dog farming in the EU exists. They
also say it is up to national governments to ban the trade in cat
and dog fur.
Although fifteen EU countries have
taken some action to ban the cat and dog fur trade it's worth noting
that the United Kingdom is one of the other ten that haven't.
At the other end of the scale it's worth noting that Belgium stretch
their ban to include seals. They have severed commercial trading
ties with Canada's seal hunt who have increased the barbaric clubbing
to around one million over the next three years (see top of page).
But there is no doubt that black market activities still take place
in all of the EU countries which have otherwise, officially banned
A breakthrough by the European Commission
was reached in December 2003 when more than half of the members
of the European parliament supported a ban of dog and cat fur.
This majority vote by MEPs was good news on the surface, but there
was a catch: A majority vote would normally mean that the European
Commission would have to draw up an EU-wide law. Thereafter, the
Council of Ministers are required to enact the law and implement
it in their own countries. However, Commission officials didn't
believe they have the power to pass such a law in the first place.
They claim it is up to member countries to implement their own law
if they wish to. In other words, the EU have nothing to do with
creating such a law and expect each member country's own parliament
to create one instead.
By the beginning of 2004 a stalemate situation looked imminent but
there was still be hope. By June 2007
Although not relevant in terms of animal welfare, there was another
reason why domestic animal based fur may be banned. It's all to
do with the dangerously high chromium levels used to dye fur during
its processing for clothes - simply to disguise the appearance of
the product. (I.e. making the pelt of a kitten look like an unknown
exotic creature) The EU are always hot in these details when it
comes to chemical hazards and it may prove to be an independent
reason to ban cat and dog fur in all EU countries.
In the meantime, millions of animals
of many species are continually murdered each month of each year
for the sake of vanity. It's only the mindset of the general public
who can stop this barbarism - by simply spending a few moments while
browsing in a clothes shop - and to think about what they
might be about to buy.
Is it time for you to "Think
NOTE: For news and events
relating to the infamous Canadian Seal slaughter see the reports
page at our news site (opens new window):
Global News (http://www.looking-glass.co.uk/news/library2005/2005-seal-slaughter.htm)
About Fur Introduction Page
the Fashion Models Say