A Vancouver-area retailer’s response to concerns about fox fur being used on a product raised the eyebrows of many advocates, including ours.
The company listed online that they were selling women’s slippers with a “cruelty-free” fox fur exterior. Animal lovers in the area quickly responded, asking questions and pursuing the matter. The response left us wondering exactly what this retailer was told by a distributor. While we don’t want to name the company, as they have pulled the product and seem to be a victim in this matter, the highlights of their response to residents included:
- The foxes live on a large farm, where they run free and safe and healthy
- The farmers shave the foxes (the comparison of sheep shearing was used)
- The foxes are not skinned, and presumably continue to live on this farm
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard claims of shearing or shaving fur-bearers (as opposed to trapping and killing, or keeping in tiny cages and killing, then skinning) – but it is the first time we heard a retailer offer it as an apparently genuine effort to make a more humane choice.
Currently in Canada there are no requirements when terms like ethical, humane, or green are used in advertising or marketing. And that means that buyers – including retailers – need to beware of such greenwashing terms.
Please remember when discussing these matters with retailers to be patient and compassionate, they may not have the education on this matter we do, and deserve time to investigate and understand before taking action that can affect their businesses. Because if we want others to make compassionate choices, we need to start our conversations with compassion.