The world of animal advocates erupted last month when pop music powerhouse Ellie Goulding appeared wearing nothing but a fur coat on the front of her most recent album, Delirium. But her record album was quick to point out that the diva was wearing faux fur – and is in fact vegan.
While the news on this came and went quite briefly, as it often does with pop culture, it left behind two important lessons that we as advocates should try to remember.
First was the quick judgement of Ms. Goulding: Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook were full of questions, accusations and insults. From those who were fans of her music to those who had no idea who she was, the reaction was swift and foul. And as we now know, it was also incorrect. When we see someone wearing fur (or even potentially faux fur) or images on social media of animals in upsetting scenarios, our immediate reaction is frequently anger. And that makes sense: wildlife advocates are emotional people who connect with non-human animals more directly than others may.
But when we react with anger in a public forum (and yes, social media counts as a public forum) we’re shutting down conversation and the potential for change; we’re also giving credence to our opposites in the fur industry who claim that all advocates are extremists. Sometimes we need to calmly ask a question and wait to get more information before we comment or launch a tirade against someone for a choice – especially when we can’t be sure of the accuracy of what we’re seeing.
This situation also lends itself to show why our policy is to avoid the use of faux fur, as well. Modern fake furs can be extremely realistic, so much so that some stores have been caught selling real fur as faux without consumers realizing it.
But this confusion between fake and real also lends itself to promoting fur as a fashion choice; it creates the subset demand for “humane” or “green” furs. Simply saying no to all fur is the smarter choice – even if you’re developing the cover art for a best-selling pop album.
Advocacy is a constantly evolving way of life. We hope that as you learn and grow with us, compassion will remain our number one priority, for the animals, and for our communities.
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