Since the very beginning, The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals has shunned fake fur products as an alternative to real fur products. Here are our top 3 reasons why you shouldn't wear fake fur:
1. Fur is not a commodity. Real or fake, wearing any type of fur sends the wrong message.
You have seen the magazines and the clips of the fashion shows on TV. Fur boots here, fur trimmed jackets there, but is it all real or fake? We'll likely never really know. Fake fur looks so real nowadays that the average person can't tell the difference, it's confusing to the public and it is also becoming a clever excuse for real fur wearers.
People used to avoid wearing fur because they were scared of what people might say or think. But now, it's easier to wear real fur because with so much fake fur around, if ever confronted, real fur wearers can simply say, "it's fake". So has wearing fake fur only normalized the 'look' of fur? Is it actually boosting the sales of real fur? No one knows for certain, but fake fur certainly doesn't do the animals any favours. That we know for sure!
2. Labels can lie.
Even the kindest-hearted, animal-loving, fake fur-wearer can be duped into supporting fur trade cruelty. Labels on real and fake fur items may not be telling the truth.
A recent investigation of 25 fur-trimmed jackets tested by The Humane Society of the United States found that every single one was falsely advertised, falsely labeled, unlabeled or had a combination of these problems. Twenty were identified by laboratory testing as raccoon dog and three as domestic dog.
In a separate investigation by the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals, the group found two large retailers had been selling “fake” fur products that were actually real fur products.
In our own investigations, we have had similar experiences. For example, a fur item manufactured by the popular brand Cover Girl™ was being sold at Zellers in Bedford, Nova Scotia. The product was labelled as “synthetic”. After laboratory testing, the item was discovered to be real rabbit fur. We notified Cover Girl™ and the company launched a massive recall of the items.
But what other companies out there continue to sell real fur advertised as fake fur?
The lesson? Real or "fake" fur, it’s buyer beware.
3. Fake and real fur: an eco-nightmare.
The fur industry wants you to believe real fur is somehow 'natural' and some animal groups may pressure you into believing fake fur is the kinder option. So which is the better choice overall? NEITHER!
In Canada, over 2 million animals are killed for their fur. Almost 1 million are caught and killed in painful steel traps, often breaking teeth and bones trying to escape. The other 1 million animals are raised unnaturally on fur farms, in isolated wire cages only to be gassed or anally electrocuted.
All of their pelts then go through vigorous chemical processing to prevent the skins from decomposing. The Encyclopedia of the International Labour Organization states that the chemicals commonly used to process fur include acids, hydrogen peroxide, chromates, formaldehyde, bleaching agents, and various types of dyes. Real fur items such as coats and hats, are often lined with synthetic petroleum-based materials such as polyester and nylon too.
Fake fur is similarly toxic to our environment, as it is manufactured with non-renewable petroleum-based products and synthetic fabrics. It's also transported all over the world, using up enormous amounts of fossil fuels. Once out of style or outgrown, these items are simply discarded and the chemicals from these synthetic fabrics leach into our waterways and soil, poisoning them. Yuck.
So what is the solution to all of this real or fake fur craziness?
- Vintage and reusable non-fur/non-fake fur items from your local thrift shop are the best choice. Reduce, reuse, recycle (and save money too)!
- All-natural fabrics such as hemp, organic cotton, bamboo and flax, are fashionable and animal/eco-friendly.
- Polartec recycled fleece is a warm and wise choice for animals and the environment too.
Quick fact: The outdoor clothing company, Patagonia, is actually helping the environment with its Polartec recycled fleece which they introduced in 1993. From spring 1994 to fall 2005, using Polartec, the company diverted more than 98 million plastic soda bottles from landfills; 3,700 2-liter bottles can make 150 garments. For every 3,700 bottles that are recycled, a barrel of oil is saved and a half ton of toxic air emissions avoided. Very cool, er...warm?