Victoria Kolytiris December 8, 2010 Final Researched Argument Draft The Fears of Fur Each year the fur industry kills over 50 million animals for fashion. This astounding statement does not even include rabbits, which are among the highest to be killed each year. This is killing more than the population of South Africa alone. To many citizens of the world, fur is a winter staple fashion item, but for others it is a cruel way of torturing an animal for their selfish wants. Fur is a fantastic way to keep warm in the winter, especially if one lives in a cold area.
There are many different selections to choose from such as; beaver, chinchilla, fox, mink, seal etc. However, there are many activist groups such as PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which feel the complete opposite. Many of these people think that it is a form of murder and a completely disgusting way to wear fashion. There are many advertising campaigns that display the hatred towards this trend. It is crucial both to the environment and society to use faux fur in both fashion and within lifestyles. The education of fur can be done by learning about endangered species, the fur industry and animal cruelty.
Before the reasons behind why we should switch to faux fur and boycott real fur is revealed there is a brief background that needs to be stated. Fur was one of the earliest materials that were used to make clothes. By wearing fur it showed that one was wealthy and had a high stature in society. During the 1800’s France became friendly with Russia. The Tsar of Russia came to Paris to visit his friends and while he was there the people of France took great interest in his stylish furs. Soon after, all of Europe became obsessed with fur and many of these coats were made out of Russian sable.
The seal coat was the first coat to ever display its fur on the outside of the jacket. This trend started spreading to the Western countries and becoming more popular. Many animals could be sewn together in order to make a wrap or shawl for a woman. In the late 1800s Madame Isidore Paquin started designing lines of fur that were even more comfortable than before. This statement is how fur became to be what it is today. However, many would never guess what it would do to our animals. There are over 5,000 different animals that are endangered on our planet.
One of the most deadly reasons we hunt for animals is for their fur. More than one in three species assessed by the World Conservation Union is threatening extinction to many different animals. Overhunting and fishing since the early days of Europeans and Americans have threatened animal species. In the United States the grizzly bear, timber wolf and bald eagle have been continuously overhunted and have gone into extinction. Supporters of the fur trade and industry much often claim that killing animals is a way to conserve and manage the wildlife. “This is untrue.
Many species of wild cats such as ocelots, margays, lynx and Geoffrey’s cat are being driven to the verge of extinction by hunting and trapping. There are only 4,000-7000 snow leopards left in the world. Sea otters were driven to the very edge of extinction and, despite protection their numbers remain very low” (animalaid. org). The fur trade has gone on for years now and there is no chance in this trade stopping or animals being saved. An example of this is the Northern Fur Seal. Northern fur seals have had a dramatic population decline in recent years. “70% of the world’s 1. million northern fur seals breed and pup only on the Pribilof Islands. Due to dramatic declines in recent decades, northern fur seals are listed as depleted under the Marine Mammal Protection Act” (Schafer). Due to this astounding fact and many other cases similar to this one the fashion industry has continued to change its ways from real fur to faux fur. The fashion industry has started to become more pro faux fur and less about the usage of real animal fur. Creative director for Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, has even changed his mind about the usage of faux fur.
In an interview once before Lagerfeld made a remark many found ignorant and controversial. “ Beasts would kill us if we didn’t kill them. ” (Adams) Since then he has changed his whole outlook on fur and become such an avid user that he designed his new collection with only faux fur. During his winter 2010 fashion show Lagerfeld was describing how we as people need to worry more about global warming than the usage of real fur. “ It’s the triumph of fake fur…because fur changed so much and become so great now that you can hardly see a difference. And in reality there actually is no difference at all. It has become common today to dismiss that real fur is warmer and better than faux fur. Many people assume that and they are wrong. The personnel that work in the Arctic do not wear real fur they were synthetics. Animals have fur because they are born with it on their backs and because they are alive and their blood provides the warmth that the jacket entails. Good quality fake fur is almost impossible to even tell apart from real fur. A real fur coat would probably last around 20 years or longer but it would have to be properly cared for.
Being “properly cared for” means that when one puts their coat into storage it should be refrigerated for all of spring and summer and stay until fall. When it is taken out of refrigeration it needs to be cleaned and put into a washing machine full of oils and sawdust so it can have it softness back. As you can see this is quite a process and most people do not take the time to care for it, which is why faux fur is a much better option in the long run. Faux fur is an easy alternative because it is less expensive and looks and feels just the same without the maintenance, which is why activists’ continuously protest for the use of it.
PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is an activist group against anything to do with torturing animals; which includes meat eating and wearing fur. This activist group is about keeping animal rights all over the world. They focus on factory farms, clothing trade, laboratories and numerous celebrities. PETA tries to educate the public about the acts of violence towards animals and the meat industry. They throw special events, fundraising, advertising campaigns; countless protests and even celebrity appearances, which make it, seem to the average person more alluring to become a member of this organization.
PETA has been a part of almost every controversial ad campaign in the world. They have celebrities pose naked in order to portray their point across so people will not wear fur, eat meat or even buy a pet. Among their famous campaigns is the “I’d rather go naked than wear fur campaign. ” Some of the celebrities that have been featured in these ads include Pamela Anderson, Jenna Dewan Tatum, Chad Ochocinco, Bethenny Frankel, Brody Jenner and many others. PETA has been at countless fashion shows and designer appearances protesting the usage of animal furs.
However, even though PETA wants to show their caring attitude towards animals and the right of their fur they have proven to sometimes take it too far on some occasions. Some of the most controversial and memorable protests were the “We’d rather go naked than wear fur” campaign. This is when PETA volunteers stood outside a Burberry store in Washington where they were naked covered in a banner that said, “We’d rather go naked than wear fur. ” As this may sound like a good use of dedication it caused much chaos and uproar in the community. Another instance was the famous Protest against Canada’s annual seal hunt.
There were PETA volunteers that were dressed up as bloody seals in the middle of a road blocking traffic in front of the Canadian embassy on Pennsylvania Avenue in order to stop the hunting of seals for their fur. Another famous instance of PETA protests was during the 2004 fashion week in New York. PETA members were outside of the fashion tents in Bryant Park scaring many of the onlookers and fashionista’s by carrying bloody skinned animals with their bodies drenched with blood and fur. These protests were just a few of the instances where PETA takes their campaigns and messages a bit too far by disturbing people instead of educating them.
Celebrities, PETA activists and others have seemed to jump on the bandwagon of the no fur campaigns all around the world. However, many of these people do not even stick to their morals. Being faux fur seems to be the trend for the time until celebrities magically start to rethink their decisions. “Fur is just so passe. And, in any case, Campbell (Naomi Campbell model) proved just how fickle the modern celebrity can be by soon deciding that actually, come to think of it, she would much rather wear fur than go nude, and did so on catwalk in Milan. Jay Rayner from “The Observer” describes of PETA’s “Id rather go naked than wear fur campaign and Naomi Campbell’s hypocrisy. It is just a matter of time until celebrities and activists become obsessed and “concerned” with another issue that fur will be forever forgotten (Vilensky). Many PETA activists however think differently about fur wearers. An example of many of their hate campaigns aimed at specific people and designers is an advertisement about designer, Donna Karen, that has a bunny in the center with “ bunny butcher” written under her name (PETA).
They are trying to prove a point by saying she says she is against using fur in her collections but yet she still uses it. They have also been known to make unreasonable and hasty statements in the past about meat and fur lovers. “ If ten people in America died of mad cow disease, in the long run it would save probably millions of lives. Because people would stop eating meat. That’s not a catty thing to say, to say- in the long run this is what I hope. ” This was a quote by Bill Maher, an endorser of PETA, upon accepting his award at the Animal Rights convention in 2003.
Even though some designers do not choose to follow the new “faux fur” trend there are still dozens of others that do. Some of which include Stella McCartney and Betsey Johnson. Betsey Johnson has recently come out with numerous pieces in her new line with faux fur trims, hoodies, coats and gloves. She will not allow anyone to have touched or even be seen wear a piece of article of clothing that is real. (Adams) World-renowned stylist, Rachel Zoe, has also found the beauty of wearing faux fur instead of the real thing. She is so passionate about it that she decided to design a special line for QVC.
Many stores like Target, Forever 21, Walmart, H&M and so have also increased the need to replace real fur with faux fur as well as faux leather. This trend has been continuously showcased in many of their lines and promoted in their advertisements because of the reality check that many of the designers have seen. One of the main reasons that this issue of faux fur versus real fur is presented is because of the underlying issue of animal cruelty. One may not realize how serious these cases really are. Animal cruelty can vary from state to state or country to country but overall it is a horrible sin that consumers have committed.
Some of the unnoticed cases are within factory farming, fur farming and animal testing. These corporations neglect animals and leave them to die by starving them and putting these animals in cruel conditions. Animals on these fur farms spend most of their entire lives enduring the pain that they are put through for our own selfish wants and needs. Every fur jacket or lining of your boots come from fur farms. These animals live in tremendous conditions where they are confined to a cage full of wire and no space to spread out (Martin).
Most of the fur farmers use cheap mechanisms to destroy the animals and make them into fur. A few of their tactics include suffocation, where they hang the animals from their neck until they are dead and unable to breathe, electrocution, where they stick metal rods up the animals anuses and shock them into death, and gas or poison, this is when they put them in a chamber and basically gas their life away. The animals are fed meat products that are not even good enough for humans to eat because they are full of pesticides, mold and other diseases.
Moreover there is even more shocking news about the fur industry. Most of the fur that we import comes from China and half of the time even though we think we are getting some exotic furs they really turn out to be dogs and cats. There are millions of dogs and cats that are killed each year that replace the fur we wear because it is a cheaper and less expensive way to go. These precious pets are hanged, skinned alive, sometimes bled to death so they can use their fur and keep it in perfect tactful condition.
The Chinese tend to mislabel their fur so there is absolutely no way to find out what kind of animal we have on our back. Among the few ways named to kill the animals there is also another mechanism, fur traps. This is when animal like coyotes, bobcats, raccoons and beavers are caught in their natural habitat and used for fur. There are a few different kinds of traps that these trappers use including Conibear traps, underwater traps, snares, but among all of these the steel-jaw is the most commonly used. This trap is so destructible it is banished in numerous amounts of states and the European Union (Martin).
The process of killing these animals with the trap is vigorous and dehumanizing. When the animal is in its environment they walk into a trap and it slams down on their limb and most of the time the animal is in horrible pain that they even try to chew or gnaw their legs out of the pain. “About 1 out of 4 trapped animals escapes by chewing off his or her own leg or paw”(PETA). Often times their legs are mutilated and they bleed to death. This process of escaping the trap may last for hours and eventually they lose so much blood they go into shock, get frostbite or die.
If these animals do not die from the trap than often times the hunters will kill them by strangling, stomping or beating them to death in order to not cause any harm to their fur. However, some of the time these animals do have damage to their fur so the hunters call them “ trash kills” or “garbage” because they have no value anymore to them. “Up to 50% of trapped animals are discarded as “trash animals” and are not even used. ” (PETA) These animals are left weeks upon weeks left alone in these traps even though state regulations require the hunters to check every 24 hours if there is an animal trapped.
For all these reasons this is why people need to switch to faux fur instead of wearing the real thing. Consequently it is one of the most unnecessary acts that human beings can commit. When one wears real fur it endangers the eco system and animals as whole. Many animals become more endangered every year because of the hunting and killing of animals for fur. Before we know it we will not have any animals left to show our children, it will be a once told tale of a lion or a tiger. Fashion has even decided to work against this even though it is a huge trend to wear fur.
They have come up with alternative ways to wear fur and leather that look and feel exactly the same. And finally the most crucial and important reason why we should stop wearing fur is the slaughtering and cruelty to animals. These animals are innocent creatures of our world that cause no harm to us but yet we take their lives away because we want a certain jacket or hat. How can we call ourselves citizens of the world when we commit acts of crimes towards these animals that people of society would never think about using on each other.
To many fur is an amazing jacket, a part of their heritage, a way to act on issues in the world but overall it is murder and form of inhumane cruelty. None of this will ever get solved without someone taking a stance on their position so it is your turn to decide if you would “ go naked than wear fur. ” Works Cited Adams, Stephen. “Karl Lagerfeld Defends Fur Industry Saying ‘beasts’ Would Kill Us If We Didn’t Kill Them – Telegraph. ” Latest Fashion News, Style Advice, Fashion Pictures, Fashion Shows – Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited, Jan. 2009. Web. 26 Oct. 2010. <http://fashion. telegraph. co. k/news-features/TMG4075783/Karl-Lagerfeld-defends-fur-industry-saying-beasts-would-kill-us-if-we-didnt-kill-them. html>. Delfin, Rafael R. “Critical Beauty – Pageants and Fur Coats. ” Critical Beauty – Beauty With Attitude. Jan. 2005. Web. 26 Oct. 2010. <http://www. criticalbeauty. com/Pageants_Fur_Coats_1. html>. “Donna Karen Bunny Butcher. ” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA): The Animal Rights Organization | PETA. org. PETA, 23 Oct. 2010. Web. 26 Oct. 2010. <http://www. peta. org/>. Liptak, Adam. “Justices Reject Ban on Videos of Animal Cruelty. ” New York Times 20 Apr. 2010:A1. Print. Martin, John. Journal of Medical Ethics. ” The Rights of Man and Animal Experimentation16. 3 (1990): 160-161. Web. 8 Nov. 2010. Silberman, Morton S. “Animal Welfare, Animal Rights: The Past, the Present, and the 21st Century. The Journal of Zoo Animal Medicine 19. 4 (1988) : 161-167. Web. 8 Nov. 2010. Vilensky, Mike Mike. “Anna Wintour Addresses Rumors About Leaving Vogue, Michelle Obama, the Recession, and More — The Cut. ” New York Magazine — NYC Guide to Restaurants, Fashion, Nightlife, Shopping, Politics, Movies. New York Media LLC, May 2009. Web. 26 Oct. 2010. <http://nymag. com/daily/fashion/2009/05/anna_wintour_speaks_on_rumors. html>.
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