Fur designers tell Dragons tall tales about ethics

They didn’t get the money, told a few untruths about the fur industry, and sold a single product. It wasn’t a successful night for Maison Elama on CBC’s The Dragons’ Den.

The popular prime time business show puts would-be entrepreneurs in front of successful business moguls who hear pitches and offer funding for ownership or stakes in the companies. And the two sisters who own and operate the boutique fur design company Maison Elama failed to get funding following their appearance.

While some of the so-called Dragons seemed enamoured with the overpriced furs, they were also given fur industry spin – hook, line, and sinker.

The sisters claimed they work with “the Fur Council and NAFA” and only use “ethical furs.” In a single sentence of untruths, they dismissed decades of concern and advocacy.

The Fur Council, we imagine, is the Fur Council of Canada, a non-profit group funded directly by the fur industry to promote the fur industry. They are a propaganda machine and nothing more, let alone having any influence over how animals are killed. And NAFA – incredibly enough – must be the North American Fur Auctions. That’s where furs are purchased by designers and manufacturers. Again, they’re a group that has nothing to do with the bloody harvest of fur.

Ethical fur. We’ll let that sit there for a moment. Read it again, and again, and see if you can make sense of it. We surely can’t.

Typically, when we talk about ethical products we look at how it’s made and by whom. We discuss the conditions workers deal with, their compensation, the environmental impact, the choices made by corporate overseers, and so on. In the case of fur – particularly farmed fur – there are too many environmental issues not being addressed by the industry for the term ethical to apply. And of course, this model of thinking completely ignores the welfare or lives of the animals who are maimed and slaughtered, solely for their skin.

It’s time for the truth to be out there, and not hidden behind tall tales told to sleeping dragons. It’s time to #MakeFurHistory.


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Established in 1953, The Fur-Bearers is a charitable, non-partisan organization whose goals are to end the commercial fur trade and promote solutions for wildlife coexistence in communities. Your donation is tax-deductible.

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