O-pining for Fur-Free Fashion

By on September 20, 2011 with 0 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

If you flip through major fashion magazines, it’s hard to avoid the influence of the fur industry. Animal fur is both heavily advertised and routinely praised by their editors and reporters, and the gushing editorial content is probably no coincidence.

But fur is not only cruel, it’s also so unnecessary in an era when we have so many other clothing options. There’s just no reason to wear it.

Price of fur graphic
Learn more about our Fur-Free Campaign.

In the October issue of O: The Oprah Magazine, editor-in-chief Susan Casey explains why the magazine associates itself with the fur-free cause. “There’s one [trend] that O has decided to skip, not just this season but in every issue since the magazine began: garments made of real fur.” Casey explained that Oprah had an “aha” moment about a fur in her closet: “The cape’s thick pelt gave her a visceral sense of how many four-leggeds had been used in its creation, bred specifically to be killed.”

“And that was it,” Oprah told Susan. “I gave away all my furs 20 years ago.”

But a good segment of the American population is still not aware of the grim details of the fur trade. Fox and raccoon dog fur are derived from animals kept in rows of tiny metal cages in pitiful conditions, never allowed to dig, never allowed to even touch the ground. Even the killing methods bring no respite: naturally shy foxes are terrified throughout the ordeal, crying out and even urinating on themselves. Many of us have seen the footage of raccoon dogs in China, and the image of an animal skinned alive is unforgettable in the worst sort of way. Now imagine 20 or more of these creatures going through this for one full-length coat.

And fur trappers in the U.S. still make widespread use of steel traps, even on our public lands. These traps are like land mines for animals, catching whatever creature is unlucky enough to spring the device, even endangered species and pet dogs and cats.

Faux fur is almost indistinguishable from animal fur. Susan Casey tells her readers that O’s creative director Adam Glassman and his team are “enthusiastic about the newest faux furs, which no long resemble the Muppety bath mats of yore, cost far less, and are, in many cases, every bit as silky as the real thing.” In fact, it's so hard to distinguish faux fur from animal fur that The HSUS pushed for and helped pass a new labeling law in Congress last year to give consumers more information about fur-trimmed apparel.

In The Bond, I call for a new humane economy, and having high-quality products in the marketplace is a new way forward to reduce animal suffering. When the moral concerns and high quality alternatives are considered, the only reason to continue to use and promote animal fur is moral and fashion laziness.

Thanks to O magazine for helping to show the way forward.

Humane Society International

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