In this age of “shock imagery” being used to promote political agendas, it’s easy to paint an entire industry by the actions of a single actor. As the fur farming industry well knows, a suspect video produced in China almost 10 years ago, of an animal being horribly skinned alive, is still being used to paint the industry worldwide. Though the creators of that video have refused to provide the un-cut footage, identify the perpetrators so they can be prosecuted (yes, it is a crime in China) or even reveal the location or time it was made, they still try to use it as “proof” that fur production should be outlawed.
Today we continue to find that animal-rights groups, in their efforts to ban animals from our diet, clothing, medical research and pet stores, are increasingly using “undercover” video as “whistleblower” evidence of cruelty or neglect. No one, especially those of us whose livelihoods depend upon healthy, well-cared for animals, wants to see an animal injured or treated badly. U.S. mink farmers, and, indeed, all animal agriculture, not only view animal welfare as a moral obligation, but know that humane care is critical to producing the quality food and fiber that America is recognized for.
Fur Commission USA supports both “whistleblower” protection laws and farm protection statutes. While extremists, often through deceit and creative editing, continue to generate and distribute shock imagery that supports their world-view, it is important to farmers in the U.S. that credible evidence of actual abuse or neglect is identified in a timely manner, reported to the proper government authorities for investigation so that any problems can be immediately corrected. It is, and should be, all about the well-being of the animals. Too often we see these anti-animal use groups hold back their “evidence” in order to receive maximum media coverage. They don’t want pesky issues like war, disease or human suffering to take attention away from their agenda. Does this help the animals? No. In fact, between the time a video may actually have been taken, edited and broadcast, months may have gone by. In that time, if the video is a true depiction, how much animal suffering could have been prevented? Regrettably, it is painfully obvious that often these organizations appear to care less about the animals, than they do about maximizing publicity, self-promotion and fund raising – and that should be the real crime.
The real deal is making a comeback, ironically driven by the abundance of fakes, writes Francesca Fearon
The early-spring weather around the Milan and New York autumn/winter collections in February did little to deter the fashion crowd from parading for street-style photographers in their attention-grabbing furry jackets. Real or faux? That was the question. The real deal was eye-catching in bright, fun colours – and at times it was hard to spot the difference. And if it wasn’t being paraded outside, it certainly was making a spectacle on the catwalk – all of which goes to illustrate how times have changed.
During the 1980s and ’90s, fur was fashion’s biggest faux pas, unless you were Italian or Russian and insisted on your freedom of choice. Wearing fur was not only frowned upon, but people were also attacked in the streets of London and New York if they wore so much as a fur scarf. Fur was regarded as elitist and was the focus of high-profile campaigns by animal-rights movements such as PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), fronted by supermodels such as Naomi Campbell and Karen Mulder in 1994, posing naked in ads decrying fur as fashion.
Christopher Kane uses shearling in one of his catwalk creations.
This attitude towards fur still rings true for a certain generation, and was rekindled 15 years after that famous PETA campaign when Campbell was lambasted in 2009 for wearing a sable coat. It was highlighted again only a year ago, when Paula Reed, fashion director for Harvey Nichols in London, quit her job amid the furore over the exclusive department store selling clothes trimmed with fox, rabbit and raccoon fur despite the store’s strict no-fur policy.
At the same time, we are witnessing striking improvements in faux fur, which can barely be distinguished from the real thing. The arrival of young designers specialising in these fuzzy materials, such as London labels Shrimps and Helen Moore, are giving faux fur a new lease on life.
Ironically, the trend for faux fur appears to be having an impact on the old taboos against real fur, which are melting away among the younger, fashion-crazed women who have adopted fuzzy fur jackets, jeans and plain stilettos as their default look during recent winters.
Images of style icons Rihanna in fox fur on the ski slopes or Kate Moss in pearl minks, along with the fluoro-coloured fox stoles Prada featured a few seasons ago, also seem to be fuelling the astonishing rehabilitation of real fur among this generation of women. Such is the shift in attitude that the International Fur Trade Federation published figures showing fur sales were £10.3 billion (HK$134.5 billion) in 2012.
The antifur movement, however, is still bubbling away in the background, but animal-rights protesters lying down outside Roberto Cavalli’s show in February were not getting the same attention they once did. The industry in the West has gone a long way towards cleaning up its act since the 1980s in terms of fur farming. The fur trade supports and is a member of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) and does not use endangered species.
Meanwhile, organisations such as Saga Furs have been working for several years with young designers who have been creating clothes that use fur like velvet, silk or any other fabric. In his autumn/winter collection, Christopher Kane melds pearl mink with black nylon and baby-pink shearling with black patent in dresses and coats. Peter Pilotto’s geometric alpine print knits sprouted contrasting fox trims, and at Balenciaga, Jason Wu trimmed a bright, laminated cable knit with a fur collar, while ribbed sweaters were re-imagined with thick fur ribs for an alternate take on the sporty look.
London label Shrimps is giving faux fur a new lease on life.
Adding to the street-cool makeover that Hedi Slimane is giving Saint Laurent were fur shorts and graphic black-and-white fur chubbies – boxy fur jackets from the early 1970s recycled for the modern generation. Frida Giannini similarly paid homage to the famous Saint Laurent chubby at Gucci, revamping it in pale blue shearling to wear with toning jeans and sunglasses.
There are Italian brands whose histories are crafted in fur, notably Fendi and Marni, that are constantly developing new skills with dyeing, finishing and cutting. Such is the expertise in the ateliers that sometimes at Fendi it was unclear whether a coat or dress was made from velvet or in fact was shaved mink with a mesh-like texture – an example of fur’s versatility. When it comes to construction, Prada has pushed the envelope with intricate picture coats from its recent summer collection, while Marni experimented with complex fur, feather, grass and jangly embroidery combinations in its latest collection, which looked very tribal.
Shearling dominated Prada’s autumn/winter 2014 collection.
For those ill at ease with fur farming, many designers use shearling and Mongolian lamb – industry by-products that would have been discarded otherwise. A teddy bear shearling opened Bottega Veneta’s show and dominated the Prada collection, where colourful strips of fur were inserted into filmy sack dresses under boxy sheepskin jackets. Hermès was among those using astrakhan and silky brushed Mongolian lamb, while German fashion label Schumacher used a fluffier Mongolian lamb to create a laid-back but expensive boho look.
Many collections featured fuzzy furs dyed in pastel, neon or richly deep hues, almost blurring pre-conceived lines that separate real and faux fur. The very idea of dyeing a pelt seems indulgent, but the fashion world appears to be boldly venturing into coloured fur, and in doing so, some stylists and bloggers are swiftly adopting the look.
There is considerable irony in how the striking improvements in faux fur seem to have stimulated demand for the real thing, and now it’s raised the question of where the current generation of women fall on the big fur debate. It seems that some don’t mind if it is real fur or faux – just as long as it looks good. It’s a sensitive and complex matter, in which the meat-lover who scorns fur may have as much reason to feel guilty as the fur-wearing fashionista.
Fur farming and the trapping of wild animals, even for wildlife conservation management programmes, is still hugely controversial. However, welfare is at the heart of the fur trade today compared to 30 years ago. Over 85 per cent of fur sold now is farmed, mainly fox and mink, under strict conditions in Scandinavia, North America, Russia and Namibia. The rest is made up of wild fur, such as coyote, beaver and raccoon.
These come from certified trappers in Russia and North America that are carefully regulated by governments and usually support indigenous communities in places such as Canada. China is also a major source of fur and is now under pressure to improve conditions on its farms. All real fur should be marked with Origin Assured labels.
Source: Style Magazine
South China Morning Post
The animal rights group has once again released a spurious ad linking milk to autism. It’s not the first time they’ve used pseudoscience to fear monger
It appears PETA will do just about anything to save the animals, even if that means making things up. The advocacy group has managed to offend women, breast-feeders, Catholics, Jews, obese people and many others over the years with campaigns intended to shock, but perhaps most insulting of all is its reliance on deliberately spurious information. In the past decade, the animal rights group has become a full-on propaganda machine with no qualms about disseminating pseudoscience, the latest example of which resurfaced this week its website.
In a play on the legendary “Got milk?” campaign, the ad features a bowl of milk with a Cheerios frowny face next to the alarming question: “Got autism?” A statement directs readers to the PETA website to learn more: “Studies have shown a link between cow’s milk and autism.” Taking a page straight out of the anti-vaccine truther playbook, PETA is using autism as a fear-mongering tool, despite the fact that its claims have no solid scientific backing. The group cites two outdated studies on its site, both of which are misleading and vague, with tiny sample sizes between 25 and 30 people.
The bogus ad actually first ran in 2008 on a billboard in New Jersey, and though it was eventually pulled after the public complained, PETA apparently thought it was a good idea to bring it back—despite the fact that a recent review of studies linking autism and milk consumption declared the findings “limited and weak.”
This isn’t the first time PETA has chosen to sow fear with false or misleading information. Here are some greatest hits from the annals of manipulation.
Eating Hot Wings Could Shrink Your Unborn Son’s Penis.
PETA doesn’t love the National Buffalo Wing Festival, but rather than going after chicken dismemberment on the merits, they targeted expecting parents. In an effort to persuade the festival’s organizer to cancel the event, PETA spokeswoman Lindsay Rajt claimed in an open letter that “consuming poultry while pregnant may lead to birth defects in utero, including smaller-than-average penises for newborn boys.” Rajt wrote that researchers found “a significant link between chicken consumption and decreased penis size because of a chemical compound found in the meat.” The only problem was that even the author of the study didn’t buy it. “I think any link between eating buffalo wings—even by pregnant women—and the size of their son’s genitals is very tenuous,” said Shanna H. Swan, PhD, a professor in the department of preventive medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Feeding Your Baby Meat Is Like Letting It Smoke Cigars.
This billboard alleging that meat increases the risk of heart disease and cancers on par with smoking ran in the U.K. in 2013, but it was soon pulled after the country’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) declared its assertions unsubstantiated. According to the ASA, the ad made the unproven claim that eating any kind of meat in any quantity caused chronic diseases because meat contains cholesterol.
Eating Meat Is Child Abuse.
“Meat can help make kids fat and sick,” PETA said in a press release accompanying this ad, which ran in Canada and Wales in 2011. “In addition to facing the social challenges caused by childhood obesity—which can lead to lifelong psychological trauma—children who are fed a diet of burgers, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and other foods that are laden with saturated fat and cholesterol have their health put at risk.” Definitely nothing to do with the carbs, candy or soda.
Hot Dogs Can Lead to Erectile Disfunction.
PETA has long trumpeted the vegan diet as a solution to erectile dysfunction to win over manly meat-eaters, citing studies that have shown that the common bedroom issue can be a consequence of a meat heavy diet. The group even wrote a letter to the VP of Carlos Danger Weiners, asking that the company start producing a vegan hotdog because “playing on the double entendre of Anthony Weiner’s name to sell a product that can contribute to impotence in men is like selling an energy drink that puts you to sleep.” What they didn’t mention is that moderate meat consumption has no effect on bedroom performance, and that erectile dysfunction is most commonly caused by many other factors.
Your Pet Is Totally Fine Going Veggie.
PETA wants your pets to give up animal consumption, too. Never mind evolution and the natural food chain. They trot out a lone border collie named Bramble as a star example, claiming it lived nearly 27 years after consuming a diet of rice, lentils, and organic vegetables. They also cite a study with no source that claims that “the ailments associated with meat consumption in humans—such as allergies, various types of cancer, and kidney, heart, and bone problems—also affect many nonhumans.” Unfortunately, most veterinarians disagree. “For cats, it’s really inappropriate. It goes against their physiology and isn’t something I would recommend at all,” says Cailin Heinze, VMD, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist and assistant professor of nutrition at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. ”For dogs, certainly vegetarian and vegan diets can be done, but they need to be done very, very carefully. There is a lot of room for error, and these diets probably are not as appropriate as diets that contain at least some animal protein.”
PETA’s Most Outrageously Dishonest Ad Campaigns
The animal rights group has once again released a spurious ad linking milk to autism. It’s not the first time they’ve used pseudoscience to fear monger
Author: Elizabeth Kulze
Posted: 06/02/14 14:42 EDT
By JOSEPH PERKINS / Orange County Register
Published: May 22, 2014
“Demonstrate against Saks Fifth Avenue’s Summer Fur Promotion.” So exhorts an invitation by the Animal Protection and Rescue League, which plans to make a ruckus next month outside the store at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa.
Hopefully, Saks won’t be subject to the same kind of attack suffered last July by Furs by Graf, a San Diego family-owned store targeted by the so-called Animal Liberation Front, which the Justice Department has listed as a domestic terrorist group.
ALF’s self-styled “anarchists” defaced the furrier’s store windows, painted slogans on its exterior and sprayed acid inside the store. And if that was not enough, ALF also vandalized the homes of Furs by Graf’s owners.
And fur sellers like Saks, like Graf are hardly the only targets of animal-rights activists. Any enterprise that uses animals for any purpose can find itself in the cross hairs of groups like the League or ALF.
Indeed, in March, Chipotle Mexican Grill closed down one of its San Francisco restaurants when it was the target of a protest by the animal-rights group Direct Action Everywhere, which accused the chain of “violence against animals” for selling burritos and tacos containing meat.
And, in January, the annual Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena was disrupted by rabble rousers from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who blocked the path of a float sponsored by SeaWorld that featured a family of orcas.
These are the lengths to which animal-rights activists often go to advance their putative “movement.” The more extreme activists will employ “any means necessary,” as promised by the so-called “eco-pirates” featured in the Animal Planet series “Whale Wars.”
Of course, whenever animal-rights activists engage in acts of “civil disobedience,” they argue that their end justifies their means. “Throughout history,” states PETA, “some people have felt the need to break the law in order to fight injustice.” That’s all animal-rights activists are doing, it suggests.
But there is an appropriate way to defend animals, just as there is an appropriate way to protest abortion, for instance, or protest income inequality.
And just as the group Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust turns off reasonable-minded people when it harasses women at abortion clinics, just as the Occupy movement engenders bad will when its supporters throw bricks through bank windows and assault police, animal-rights activists lose support from folks who might otherwise back them but for their often-extreme tactics.
This confrontational tactic employed against Chipotle, SeaWorld, Furs by Graf and other targets can be blamed on leaders of the animal-rights movement.
That includes Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder of PETA, which claims a quarter-million members throughout the country, including all too many vacuous Hollywood types who pose for naked pictures for PETA to show their contempt for those who dare to wear fur.
Newkirk, whose so-called “Naked Truth” tour stopped in San Diego this past February, once declared that “a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.” Indeed, to her mind, there is no difference between a rodent, a swine, a canine and a human child. And anyone who thinks differently, she has stated, suffers from a “supremacist perversion.”
It is that kind of thinking that undergirds the animal rights movement in this country. Newkirk and her ilk are not simply interested in the humane treatment of animals (which most reasonable-minded Americans support). They advocate nothing less than a complete ban on human use of animals.
If they had their way, there would be no animals used in medical research, despite the fact that such research has led to practically every major medical breakthrough of the past century.
There would be no steakhouses or fish markets. No zoos, no aquariums, no pet stores. No dog shows, no horse races. No “Free Willy,” no live-action “101 Dalmatians,” no “Seabiscuit.” No leather shoes, and absolutely no fur coats.
Animal-rights activists want to impose their extremist views on all Americans. And when gentle persuasion doesn’t work, they are only too willing to resort to drastic measures.
In a surprisingly clear and quick verdict a Dutch national court in The Hague yesterday overturned the ban that would have put an end to mink farming in The Netherlands in 2024. The ban was passed by the Dutch Senate in December 2012, but with reference to the European Human Rights Convention the court declared the fur ban unconstitutional.
The fur ban was based on the argument that fur is “an unnecessary luxury product” but did not offer the Dutch fur farmers any compensation for the ban taking away their livelihood. This is contrary to the European Human Rights Convention.
“The European fur industry is very pleased to learn that human rights, after all, are more important than coincidental political winds on such an individual matter as ‘morality’. The production and use of fur should be the subject of the individual’s freedom of choice rather than the subject of legislation violating the basic rights of human beings. There are no reasonable arguments to destroy an entirely well-functioning industry that demonstrates high animal welfare standards and generates large export incomes,” says Kenneth Ingman, Chairman of Fur Europe, an umbrella organization for the European fur industry.
Naturally, also the Dutch fur farmers received the court verdict with joy.
“We have always believed we had a strong case, and we are pleased to see that an independent court quickly and clearly has stated that the law banning mink farming was completely wrong. It is a big relief for Dutch fur farmers who have regained their livelihood and can now return to a normal day to day family life,” says Wim Verhagen, Managing Director of the Dutch Fur Breeders´ Association.
The verdict is expected to have an international impact since fur bans are being discussed in a number of countries.
“The message from The Netherlands is clearly that those few politicians in Europe who want to ban fur, need to think twice. I hope the message from the Dutch court will convince them that instead of banning an industry that performs incredibly well on both animal welfare standards and export income, they should help further developing the industry,” says Kenneth Ingman, Chairman of Fur Europe.
The Netherlands is the world’s third largest mink producing country with an annual production of 5 million skins. A calculation from audit company KPMG estimates the compensation for shutting down Dutch mink farming amounts to €1.2 billion Euro.
In 2009 researchers from the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency…predicted that universal veganism would reduce agriculture-related carbon emissions by 17 percent, methane emissions by 24 percent, and nitrous oxide emissions by 21 percent by 2050. What’s more, the Dutch researchers found that worldwide vegetarianism or veganism would achieve these gains at a much lower cost than a purely energy-focused intervention involving carbon taxes and renewable energy technology. The upshot: Universal eschewal of meat wouldn’t single-handedly stave off global warming, but it would go a long way toward mitigating climate change.
The world is almost saved! At least Anderson notes that doing away with food animals would ruin economies (which is what many warming hysterics want):
If the world actually did collectively go vegetarian or vegan over the course of a decade or two, it’s reasonable to think the economy would tank. According to “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” the influential 2006 U.N. report about meat’s devastating environmental effects, livestock production accounts for 1.4 percent of the world’s total GDP. The production and sale of animal products account for 1.3 billion people’s jobs, and 987 million of those people are poor. If demand for meat were to disappear overnight, those people’s livelihoods would disappear, and they would have to find new ways of making money.
Yeah, well, good luck with that. Actually, Anderson’s article doesn’t even begin to assess the economic obliteration that doing away with meat animals would cause. Indeed, she fails to address how thoroughly animal products grease the wheels — literally — of society. Here’s a quote from the fanatic animal-rights lawyer Steve Wise in my book, A Rat Is a Pig, Is a Dog, Is a Boy:
Today, the use of nonhuman animal products is so diverse and widespread that it is impossible to live in modern society and not support the nonhuman animal industry directly. For example, the blood of a slaughtered cow is used to manufacture plywood adhesives, fertilizer, fire extinguisher foam, and dyes. Her fat helps make plastic, tires, crayons, cosmetics, lubricants, soaps, detergents, cough syrup, contraceptive jellies and creams, ink, shaving cream, fabric softeners, synthetic rubber, jet engine lubricants, textiles, corrosion inhibitors, and metal-machining lubricants. Her collagen is found in pie crusts, yogurts, matches, bank notes, paper, and cardboard glue; her intestines are used in strings for musical instruments and racquets; her bones in charcoal ash for refining sugar, in ceramics, and cleaning and polishing compounds. Medical and scientific uses abound. And there is much, much more.
The subtitle to my book is, The Human Cost of the Animal Rights Movement. Without animal industries, we would suffer an economic obliteration. Notice how every bit of the cow is used. That’s productive, efficient, and I think, respectful of each animal’s death. Good nutrition aside, the catastrophic economic impact of forcing people to stop eating meat — a key goal of the animal rights movement — is one of many reasons why animal rights is part of the ongoing war on humans.
I must admit, some stories test my ability to see both sides of an issue.
But as a news reporter, I have to remain neutral — I have to keep my articles balanced and fair, as they say.
Recently, a mink farm near Burley was raided by so-called “animal liberators.” These animal activists release fur-bearing animals from the confines of their cages and into the wild.
The activists who claimed responsibility for the raid on the mink farm said in an online magazine that they “acted with love in our hearts.”
Many have argued against that claim.
Times-News reader Jared Boley commented online, saying: “Those mink will now die of starvation, disease, and the elements! Granting a cruel, slow, inhumane death!”
Michael Whelan, executive director of the Fur Commission USA, agreed.
Whelan told me that these “liberated” mink seldom survive in the wild. Many are hit by cars because they have learned to associate the sound of a vehicle with food.
I love animals, and I understand the emotional issues behind animal activism. But I also respect Idaho’s right-to-farm act.
Mink farming is not illegal, but destruction of property is.
The raid is an act of “economic terrorism in my book,” commented reader Jeff Pierson. “No different than burning down a saw mill in northern Idaho.”
Pierson is correct. Acts of sabotage against animal farms are a felony under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, signed into law in 2006.
Anonymous activists encourage these raids online but do not carry out the raids themselves.
“They know better,” said Whelan. “They target young, impressionable kids looking for a cause.”
I’d like to quote what the activists said in their online magazine called “Bite Back” about the July 28 raid on the Moyle mink farm outside of Burley:
“They will claim that we are terrorists. We say that if peacefully opening cages is an act of terrorism, then the word has no meaning. It is appropriately applied to the mass imprisonment and killing of wild animals.
“They will claim that these mink are domesticated animals and will starve. Documentation on the success of farm-bred mink in the wild is extensive, so we will add only our experience watching these naturally aquatic animals, who had spent their entire lives in cages, head instinctively for water and begin to swim and hunt.
“They will claim that conditions on mink farms are humane. We ask why, then, they try only to hide those farms from the public, pushing for legislation to criminalize the taking of photographs. The mink that we freed from the Moyles lived in intensive confinement in their own waste. Their suffering was plain to the eye, and their yearning for freedom plain to the soul.
“…They will say that we will not stop short of the complete and total end of the killing of animals for their fur. On this point we are in total agreement.”
Jack Rose, a physiology professor at Idaho State University who occasionally conducts medical research on minks at his lab at the university’s Department of Biological Sciences in Pocatello, was recently placed on an animal activist group’s “hit list.”
“These kids think they will become heroes for sabotaging a mink farm,” Rose said. “What they don’t realize is that these actions make them criminals and could follow them for the rest of their lives.”
Animal rights zealots continue to make sensational accusations against the fur industry to attract media attention and solicit donations for their various campaigns and organizations. Their goal is to destroy the livelihoods and reputations of hundreds of family farmers, along with the supporting businesses; but their claims have no basis in fact. In reality, their sensational and unsubstantiated claims are insulting to American mink farmers and misleading to the public. Here are a few of the most common activist claims, along with the FACTS:
ANIMAL RIGHTS CLAIM: Animals are routinely skinned alive for their fur.
FACT: This scurrilous claim continues to circulate, due to the horrendous video produced in 2005 by Swiss Animal Protection (SAP), in which an Asiatic Raccoon is skinned alive somewhere in rural China. When the video surfaced, the Chinese authorities demanded to know details in order to prosecute the collaborators on animal cruelty charges[i], but SAP has refused to provide the original, un-edited footage, or provide any information on the participants or the locations used in the video. Upon further review, audio indicates that the participants were being coached from behind the camera. Their refusal to answer to the authorities or the public leads most of us to believe that this cruel and gruesome video was staged merely to further their animal rights agenda. Recently, PETA Asia, after using this claim for years against the fur industry, stated that “PETA has never suggested that animals are intentionally slaughtered this way”
Respected media outlets have refused to air the video as its credibility cannot be established. The fur industry is universally appalled by the video and fully supports prosecution of those involved in its creation. No legitimate fur producing operation would ever condone such practices. For more information on staged video used for animal rights propaganda, see Saving Society from Animal “Snuff” Films” and “Media Wary of Latest Shock Video”
ANIMAL RIGHTS CLAIM: Fur farming is an un-regulated business conducted behind closed doors.
FACT: Like other livestock operations, fur farming is governed by local, national and sometimes international regulations. As with all livestock producers, fur farmers receive information and assistance from licensed veterinarians and agricultural extension officers, as well as professional associations. In addition, fur breeders’ associations in all major producing countries follow comprehensive animal husbandry practices developed in cooperation with scientists, veterinarians and welfare authorities. There are set standards for nutrition and housing, veterinary care and humane harvesting. In the U.S., standards for mink farms are administered by Fur Commission USA, and for fox by the US Fox Shippers Council. In addition to these, fur farms, like other livestock operations, are required to abide by all state and federal environmental statutes.
ANIMAL RIGHTS CLAIM: Mink are raised and killed solely for their fur.
FACT: Although fur is the primary product for mink farmers, nothing is wasted. An important secondary product is the highly valued oil produced from the mink’s thick layer of subcutaneous fat. Mink oil is used to condition and preserve leather, and also in the manufacturing of hypo-allergenic facial oils and cosmetics. After harvesting, mink remains are used as crab bait, or processed into feed for wildlife preserves, zoos or aquariums. They also make a very sought-after ingredient for organic compost, or they may be rendered down to provide raw materials for a wide range of products, from pet food and paint, to tire-care product. Last but surely not least, the nutrient-rich manure from fur farms is in heavy demand as an organic crop fertilizer.
ANIMAL RIGHTS CLAIM: Farmed mink suffer and die painfully.
FACT: When it comes to euthanasia, fur farmers adhere strictly to the methods recommended by the American Veterinary Medical Association[ii]. Thus the only method of euthanasia approved for mink in the U.S. is gas; either pure carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide. When harvest time comes, a mobile unit is brought to the animals’ pens to eliminate any stress that might be caused by transporting them long distances. The animals are placed inside an air-tight container and immediately rendered unconscious. They die quickly and humanely.
ANIMAL RIGHTS CLAIM: Fur is a vanity product, purchased only by the very wealthy.
FACT: Recent surveys indicate the number one reason people purchase a fur coat is for its warmth. So it goes that fur sales increase when we experience colder winters, and decrease during milder weather cycles. Produced by nature, fur is isothermic, providing exceptional insulation while being lightweight and beautiful. Furthermore, today fur is available in combination with other materials (e.g., as trim on parkas) or in smaller pieces (scarves, headbands, vests, accessories) which makes fur very accessible for almost anyone. Because each piece is hand-made individually by skilled artisans, fur products may often be more expensive than the synthetic outerwear mass produced in automated environments — but fur is also very long-lasting, which makes sense for the environment as well as for the pocketbook.
[i] “Statement from The People’s Government of Suning County, Hebei Province, China, on the Report “Fun Fur” from Swiss Animal Protection Organization”. http://www.furcommission.com/statement-from-the-peoples-government-of-suning-county/;
[ii] “AVMA Guidelines on Euthaniasia”, June 2007; Pg 21, Euthanasia of Animals Raised for Fur Production. https://www.avma.org/KB/Policies/Documents/euthanasia.pdf:
(As appeared in Third Coast Digest)
It started with going to see Anna Karenina before Christmas. I was captivated by the Dr. Zhivago-esque exquisiteness of the fur costumes—a visual treat for fashion followers like myself, and apparently the Oscar nominating committee, as Anna Karenina is up for Best Costume Design.
Then I went to Aspen for the holidays. Fashion in Aspen is an avalanche of stars and styles, especially the opening weekend of the X-Games at Snowmass, The Little Nell, and all along the cobblestone streets of the Rocky Mountains. There, in a storefront window, I saw a stunning snow-white fur coat. Since then, I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole, chasing fur from chinchilla, to mink, fox, and even faux, to find out what’s hot in winter fur from top designers.
In the name of “journalistic research,” I discovered Aspen’s haute couture. The luscious white coat in the window was an originalDennis Basso design, and the renowned master furrier was hosting a holiday party that evening. In the midst of luxurious furs, champagne, and the gracious Dennis Basso himself, I felt like Julia Roberts on Rodeo Drive in Pretty Woman.
At Loro Piana’s, I discovered why the Canadian Fur Company considers Dominic Bellissimo’s designs to be the best. The reversible furs, featuring high-performance cashmere blends, offer the ultimate in warmth and wearability.
On display at Aspen Fur & Shearling LLC was a rustic, but no less rich, leather and fur western-look coat that seemed the epitome of both Aspen’s gold-rush history and present-day luxury lifestyle. Now owned by third-generation family member Mickey Apler, Aspen Fur & Shearling features unique pieces for both men and women.
When I wandered through Prada the same day, fur not only covered the floor, but also handbags, shoes, scarves, and outerwear for both genders. Aspen men, an eccentric bunch, wear fur with aplomb, and the rest of men’s fashion seems to be echoing their bravado.
Back from Aspen, New York fashion editor/stylist Tim Bitici honored me with a “fur”-ious convo, including his invaluable advice regarding faux fur maintenance.
If you’re seeking a faux fur alternative, Joy West Collection offers the highest quality for people wanting the look, but who are either opposed to wearing real fur, or are budget-conscious. True to their animal-friendly stance, Joy’s sales team welcomed both me and my Siberian Husky into their faux fur-filled boutique.
Among Tim’s choices for faux are Lanvin Paris, G-Star, and, believe it or not, Juicy Couture. “Fur is huge on all the runways for 2013,” said Tim, who loves mink, fox, gray wolf, and more exotic furs. He prefers chic gray (silvery) and golden brown furs the most, but he says his “ultimate favorite” is oxblood. “It’s so rich and luxe, like Lindsey Wixsonin Prada.”
“Fendi is how fur is done,” said Tim. “Tom Ford—wow, he does the red and yellow fur like no other. Jean Paul Gaultier for fun, colorful looks.Alexander McQueen for gorgeous shaped furs that are beyond original and stylish.”
Tim’s own shoots show his signature creativity: he puts a fur vest over a leopard coat in one shot, and a mohair fur in another. “Every designer is influenced by history and by fashion from the ’20s, ’40s, ’60s, ’70s, and film,” said Tim. “Designers find inspiration there and follow it through to their creations.”
Locally, along the coast of Lake Michigan, there’s plenty of places to find fur treasures in vintage and resale shops. Wisconsin was, after all, built on the business of beaver and pelt trading. Milwaukee’s A.J. Ugent Furs, on 84th & Capitol, boasts not only the best furs, but also on-site, accessible storage.
Wondering where to wear your fur? Any of the Bartolotta restaurants work, such as Joey Gerard’s in Mequon, where last week, more than a few fur coats were seen as the wind chill dipped below zero. There’s no better, or more beautiful, way to wrap yourself up this winter than with fur.
From runway to reality, Supermodels are admired for their statuesque style and striking beauty. Their wardrobes run the gamut from polished and sophisticated, to wild and fantastical. One constant that many of these GLAMAZONS can attest to is that fur fashion plays a big part of their story both on and off duty….