The fashion industry is embracing a new approach to style, with ethical fashion taking over catwalks, designer labels and moving into the mass market as shoppers call for clothing that is cool and kind.
At the forefront of this shift is the global move away from fur.
Over 1000 fashion labels including Chanel, Prada, H&M, Michael Kors, Gucci, and Armani have committed to fur-free policies, many of which joined through the Fur Free Retailer global program, not only prioritising animal welfare and consumer demands, but also supporting an end to fur’s image as a ‘luxury’ item.
The leadership shown by brands to move towards ethical fashion supply chains, and away from one of fashion’s most well-known cruel textiles, is encouraging.
Similar moves are also being reflected beyond individual brand policies. British Fashion Council has announced its decision to ban animal fur from every fashion show during London Fashion Week, as have Amsterdam Fashion Week, Oslo Fashion Week, Perth Fashion Festival and Helsinki Fashion Week.
In 2019, fur farming in the Czech Republic became illegal, the Ukrainian parliament introduced a law proposal to end fur farming and Los Angeles City Council backed a new law to ban the sale of fur fashion in 2021. Further, bills to ban the sale of fur products have also been introduced for New York City and the state of California.
Is fur finished?
FOUR PAWS, one of the world’s largest animal protection organisations, began because of fur.
“Our organisation emerged when we opposed fur farms in Austria, more than a quarter of a century ago.”
Heli Dungler, founder of FOUR PAWS
Despite remarkable progress, millions of foxes, minks, rabbits, cats, dogs and raccoon dogs continue to be brutally farmed and slaughtered for their fur every year. Fur remains a large industry with major markets in China, Russia and South Korea, and fur remains visible in many countries, including Australia and the US.
Fur farms and wildlife traps
The global fur trade sources approximately 95%1 of its fur from animals forced to live in small wire cages on fur farms. Animals trapped in these cages are denied any natural environment or the ability to express their instinctive behaviour.
The behavioural needs of animals kept for fur production can never be met on farms. Scientific publications2 highlight several serious welfare problems on fur farms while field investigations in different countries consistently reveal cruel conditions for all animal species, including:
- Isolation in restrictive and barren cages that do not allow the animal to live the way they usually would in the wild.
- Dirty cages that lead to suffering including illness, and untreated wounds and infections.
- Abnormal behaviours like stereotypies, fur chewing or self-injury due to stress and frustration.
- Inhumane handling methods such as beating, strangling, and dragging animals.
- Inhumane slaughter methods include gassing, electrocution, suffocation and skinning animals alive.
- Selective breeding of “monster foxes” for pathological obesity to maximise pelt size.
For those animals trapped in the wild, horrific use of steel-jaw leghold traps, body-gripping traps, underwater traps and wire neck snares inflict extreme pain and suffering to animals.
It can take days before the hunter comes back to check on a trap, which means that the trapped animal (who may or may not be the intended victim due to the indiscriminate traps) is left to suffer injury, pain and stress and also the risk of death by blood loss, thirst, starvation or predation.
In the United States alone, between 3 to 5 million animals are trapped each year by commercial fur trappers3. The United States is also one of the few countries that still allows steel-jaw traps to be used. These cruel and harmful traps have been banned in over 100 other countries4.
The Global Fur Trade
The global fur trade is today valued at approximately US$30 billion5 with, according to reported figures, Europe and China positioned as the major fur producing regions worldwide.
FOUR PAWS is fundamentally opposed to the killing of animals for their fur. The breeding of fur-bearing animals as well as trapping them in the wild to produce fashion or luxury items is cruel, unethical and unnecessary.
We have campaigned for over 30 years to bring an end to the suffering of animals for fur and are encouraged by the change in attitudes by brands and shoppers to this cruel and outdated industry.
How to Wear It Kind
Wear It Kind is building a movement of people, animal lovers, brands and designers, all working together to ensure no animal suffers for the sake of fashion. We express ourselves through what we wear, and we can all show our kindness to animals through our clothing!
2 Fur Free Alliance, Animal Welfare Problems on Fur Farms, https://www.furfreealliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Animal-Welfare-Problems-on-Fur-Farms.pdf
3 Born Free USA, http://7a1eb59c2270eb1d8b3d-a9354ca433cea7ae96304b2a57fdc8a0.r60.cf1.rackcdn.com/trapping-facts-about-trapping.pdf
4 Knudson, T. Reveal News. More than 100 countries ban this cruel trap. The US isn’t one of them. (2016) Accessed June 2019 https://www.revealnews.org/blog/more-than-100-countries-ban-this-cruel-trap-the-us-isnt-one-of-them/
5 Oaten, Mark. World Fur Trade is booming despite China slowdown, We Are Fur, https://www.wearefur.com/world-fur-trade-is-booming-despite-china-slowdown/
Infografic: The Economics of Seal Hunting and Seal Watching in Namibia, Fur Europe, Truth About Fur, Fur Free Alliance, ChinaDaily.com.cn, ESDAW