Wednesday, 6 April 2011

What is a luxury item?

I listened to This BBC Radio Programme "Costing The Earth" which was focusing on fur. It was really interesting, the person investigating the issue got lots of different opinions, and visited a fur farm and fur auction house. It raised a really interesting issue, in that many people believe Fur is a luxury and therefore not as justified as meat, although you could argue that meat is more of a luxury and not needed in a diet, it depends on your perspective.

I looked into this a little further, and came across a page on Kopanhagen Fur's website about Ethical Production and this issue:

"Some members [of the Council of Europe] find that it is unacceptable to use fur - and thereby fur animals - merely for decoration or as a status symbol, when so many other products can be used instead. However, all members of the Council agree that it is difficult to make a general definition, when people's needs are more or less luxurious.

As it is stated: "If as a starting point we regard fur as a product on a par with other products we get from animals, it is difficult to see in which way fur should differ from the rest as a especially luxurious product. In our society we surround ourselves with products that are unnecessary, and the definition of luxurious can therefore seem somewhat random. For instance it is difficult to argue why fur should be more luxurious than meat, when in our parts of the world there are plenty of substitutes for both. And if you choose to include environmental considerations, fur may seem less luxurious than meat, as you can argue that fur is a more environmentally desirable product than synthetic materials and against the production of meat that has a negative impact on the environment and a poorer exploitation of land than plant production".

Its definitely something to think about. After all the production of leather is much more damaging to the environment than fur, so is a leather pair of shoes or handbag more of a luxury than a mink coat?

I think it comes down to if you take a more Animal Rights/Vegan view and believe that animal should not be used for anything and we should not interact with them, or that we should have animals in our lives and use products from them as long as the Animal Welfare is be maintained. 

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