Please Say No to Fur

Fur Facts, Fur Trim, Fur Statistics (Yikes!), & Fur Recycling

On Black Friday, in what felt like gale force winds and temperatures well below what they had been on Thanksgiving Day, I, the queen of keeping warm, attended my first protest. Approximately 35 of us were protesting the sale, specifically at Neiman Marcus but really anywhere, of fur. By knowing how much I hate cold you will know how passionate I am about this issue to stand outside for 2 hours with numb toes and the wind blowing through my hat. I figured the animals endured much worse for much longer so who was I to complain.

Did you know:

  • More than 50 million animals are killed to produce fur products every year. (I will spare you the gory pictures, but it is not pretty!)
  • Fur trim is not what’s “left over” from making full-length fur coats. Thousands of animals are killed simply to provide trimming effects for fashion.
  • To kill the animals without damaging their fur, trappers usually strangle, beat, or stomp them to death. Animals on fur farms may be gassed, electrocuted, poisoned with strychnine, or have their necks snapped. These methods are not 100 percent effective and some animals “wake up” while being skinned.
  • Did you know that more than 60 times as much energy is needed to produce fur coats from ranch-raised animals than is needed to produce fake furs? And that’s just the beginning.
  • The waste produced on fur farms-where animals spend their entire lives in cramped, filthy cages, constantly pacing back and forth from stress and boredom-is poisoning our waterways. The fur industry has even lobbied governments in the Great Lakes area to maintain low water-quality standards-so that fur farms won’t be identified as major polluters.

While many designers have agreed not to sell fur anymore including Ann Taylor, Talbots and J. Crew, and some are agreeing to end the use of fur as of spring 2008 including Calvin Klein, Guess and Tommy Hilfiger, many, many more still think of fur as a status symbol. Please let them know it is not okay either by not buying it or, better yet, by letting them know you won’t buy their products until they stop using fur.

If you received my e-mail earlier this week you know that there are more and more nice looking options in faux shearling (if you didn’t receive this newsletter, let me know) and for a huge selection of faux furs, go towww.fabulousfurs.com. Here’s one sample of a casual coat:

Fur Trim

Fur trim is a major player in the fur industry and needs to be taken as seriously as purchasing a full fur coat. As you saw above, it is an industry all its own. People who would never in a million years purchase a fur coat do not even blink when fur trim is on the hood of their parka or lining their gloves. We need a new awareness if we are to help these poor animals.

Want statistics? Here’s what the fur commission has to say:

Consumers invested a massive $13.49 billion in fur for their wardrobes in 2006 — a 5.6% increase on the previous year’s results, reports the International Fur Trade Federation.

Industry analysts point to a number of key trends driving the increase in sales figures:

  • More and more consumers are being drawn to the versatility and luxury of modern fur garments, which are lightweight as a result of new manufacturing techniques but also provide warmth and style.
  • Leading designers continue to show exciting and innovative fur creations on the catwalk, as seen during the recent Autumn Winter Ready-to-Wear 2007-08 collections.
  • The price of raw fur skins increased during this period. This is reflected in the higher retail price, which consumers have readily accepted.
  • East European, Russian and Far Eastern markets have continued to grow.

And, as I was saying earlier, fur trim is contributing heavily to the toll: “Full fur continues to be very popular, but we are also witnessing a major trend for more casual fur pieces and accessories to suit every occasion, as we saw recently at the Ready-to-Wear collections where fur trim was very prominent,” said IFTF Chairman Andreas Lenhart. (www.furcommission.com)

What to Do With Your Fur Coat

Do you have a fur coat you cannot bring yourself to wear or discard? Here are some interesting options for recycling:

www.furteddybears.com— To be made into a teddy bear
www.furisdead.com— To be donated to the homeless
www.hsus.org— All of the furs received by The Humane Society of the US are sent to wildlife rehabilitators, who use the furs to warm and comfort orphaned and injured wildlife.

There is so much more to fur production than I can write here. For more information go towww.furisdead.comor to www.api4animals.org.

“As I weed out clothes from my closet I notice that most of what's left are things I love, things I wear most often and things you helped me select. Surprise! Surprise! And, I should add...I usually get compliments on the items you helped me select. Today I have on the red jacket (looks like leather) from The Studio. Compliments galore!”

Learn how to stop wasting money on things you never wear.
Get Ginger's free e-book and bi-weekly newsletter with fashion secrets: