At one time a fur coat or stole was the height of glamour, and showed off your status. Although with the rising popularity of Animal Rights groups these garments now have a strong cruelty stigma attached to them, with many people turning their backs against it. This rise in poularity is also true for Vegetarianism and Veganism (is that the correct term?) as it makes sense that as more people become aware of cruelty involved in the production of fur more people have taken the step to not use or consume animal products.
After all, the use of fur is (in my opinion, but still arguably) exactly the same as the use of leather - animals that are farmed or trapped for their fur also have other uses such as meat, oils for cosmetics etc, just like the cows that produce your leather shoes. Although it seems Fur is attacked much more than leather... I once read the statement that Fur is subject to more criticism as it is much easier to attack a lady wearing a fur coat than a biker in a leather jacket, although as I have never done either I can't exactly say if that is the real reason for fur to be a main focus! I personally find it hypocritical when people condemn the use of fur, then turn around tuck into a big steak... animal cruelty is animal cruelty no matter what the end product is. I am guessing this is why so many people choose to become Vegan, and not just give up milk and eggs but also more indirect products such as silk and beeswax. I have a huge amount of respect for Vegans, as from having Vegan friends I know how difficult it can be... especially when it comes to finding items such as cosmetics.
However recently I read a statement saying that due to our need to protect harvests of vegetables, cereals, etc, millions upon millions of insects are killed as a result of pesticides, which often contaminate surrounding areas by being washed into the water by rain or blown through the air. This means that these cause a reduction of biodiversity, can be particularly harmful to birds and fish and threaten endangered species. Although even if pesticides were banned (Which is highly unlikely to happen) the land used to grow crops, and even build roads, cities and towns was once wildlife habitat, so think of all the animals that have suffered because of this! It seems the more you look into it, the more you cannot get away from animal suffering.
It seems that sometimes products that do not come from animals can be environmentally damaging, which in turn can cause suffering to numerous amounts of animals. One thing that shocked me when researching this topic was also that this is true for Faux Fur. Many people buy Faux Fur as a cruelty free alternative, although it is synthetic and usually from petrochemicals, and the production is very environmentally damaging. Not just this, but it is estimated that they will take at least 600 years to break down. The choice of synthetics can NEVER be for the sake of animals. Now are you ready for the crazy part? Leather, wool, fur, sheepskin and silk are all biodegradable, renewable, recyclable and sustainable. Compared to faux fur, and many other plastics and synthetic products, they are the greener choice. A fur coat is sustainable, extremely long lasting, can be remodeled time and time after again, and when its done with be allowed to rot and return to the Earth. Of course they contain animal cruelty, but would the contamination of habitats and suffering of wild animals not be potentially more dangerous? It raises interesting questions. Are products like cotton and hemp the only cruelty free choice, and are they enough?
In most countries many wild animals have to be regulated, if not their numbers would greatly increase leading to overpopulation and therefore a huge increase in disease and starvation = phenomenal mass suffering for these animals, and other species which also die due their lack of food, both predators and those that eat the same food. Sadly this has already happened many times, such as in Sweden when foxes were allowed to reach excessive levels and disease killed over 90% of them. These animals are essentially regulated 'for their own good' and killed in a painless way- something depending on your view you will either see as the correct thing or not. So these animals (such as Muskrats and Beaver) do not die (completely) in vain, their meat is eaten, the fur is used (yes for clothing), etc.
Anyway, This is getting into a mammoth post and I haven't even touched the surface or looked at fur farms and and historic use of fur. This is what I want to explore in my project, the different views around the subject and I would really like to hear your opinions on this topic, particularly the issues raised in this post.
Are you pro-fur or anti-fur, or is it something where there is no definite answer? Is it correct for humans to interfere with animals? Can animal cruelty ever be justified? Is it possible to lead an animal cruelty free life? Is the use of synthetic clothing which is harmful to the environment justified? Is fur the 'greener' option, and is it fair to let a few animals die to protect the habitat of thousands other? I really want to hear your opinions on this subject!