Wednesday, February 22, 2012

On Vintage Fur

This is something I've addressed previously, but animal rights protestors harrassing customers outside Beyond Retro in London has brought up the discussion again, and since it's such an important topic I felt it deserved a dedicated post.

Advert for Fur Coats in the Daily Mail, June (!) 1928

Let me start by reiterating that I personally don't have a problem with vintage fur. Although PETA's campaigning has given most of modern society a revulsion of fur I'd rather the old stuff be worn and enjoyed than be tossed out and end up on the scrap heap and in landfill - to me that shows less respect for the animal that died than wearing it and appreciating it. Equally, adding unneccessarily to landfill is both bad for the environment and against all the principles of "make do and mend" and "reduce, re-use, recycle" that are the basis of ethical fashion. Furthermore, if you consider the environmental cost of manufacturing new faux fur to replace that vintage mink coat you just threw out, it becomes decidedly un-eco - doubly so when the new faux fur will wear out and need replacing long before the mink would. These are the key issues for me and for other wearers - including vegetarians and vegans - of vintage fur.

That said, it has been suggested that interest in vintage fur might be turning the tide of acceptability of modern fur: After PETA's high-profile, supermodel-fronted campaigning in the 90s, fur fell dramatically from mainstream fashion favour, but there's a risk that vintage fur might be leading people to become comfortable with the idea once more, fuelling the modern industry.

I'm not an advocate of new fur, mostly to do with the conditions in which animals are kept and killed: just as I insist on free-range chicken (and always have done), I think it's important to recognise welfare standards for animals killed for their pelts, and the difference between free range fur versus factory farming. One commenter on facebook (who I won't name in case she doesn't want to enter the debate publicly!) said, "I feel that [organisations like] PETA place so much emphasis on not using animals at all, that there is no debate left on the standards used in production for those who are non-vegan. Their aggressive tactics and narrow span closes off debate rather than opening it up." One answer might be to campaign for stricter regulations regarding animal welfare in the fur trade, rather than intimidating the innocent customers of second hand shops.

But to bring us back to the central issue of vintage fur, to what extent does the eco-friendliness of vintage fur outweigh concerns about modern fur production? Where do you draw the line? I'm easily able to justify vintage fur on the basis of eco considerations, but find myself squeamish about new fur. Do you come down on the side of the eco, reduce/re-use/recycle aspect, or is all fur (and leather) evil? Would you happily wear vintage fur but balk at modern? Do you consider the fur and leather trades on a par with the meat industry? I'm aware this is an incredibly touchy subject, and many people have very strong feelings on the issue, so I'd ask that you (pretty please) try to keep the comments from becoming too inflammatory.

35 comments:

  1. Interesting! As most leathers come from traditional meat sources like cattle and sheep, it means the whole animal is used, which is better than waste. And some animals with fabulous fur are absolute menaces, like NZ possum, and rabbit. Here the possum fur is mostly used to make a merino, silk possum mix yarn, which is available for knitters or made up into garments, and noone objects as we know what a scourge they are (they are introduced and kill native birds). But the idea of seals, or togers or anything exotic or rare killed for fur? Blech!!!

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  2. Thank you very much for this very interesting post. For me, vintage fur has already been made and no amount of harassing is going to bring said animal back. I am personally not comfortable with wearing fur, but I agree with your point that the emphasis should be on conditions in today's fur manufacturing, not from days gone by.
    Best wishes.
    R xx

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  3. I'd never wear new fur but I have a few items of vintage fur, for example a well-fitting warm wool coat with a fox collar. I don't always feel good about it, but then I think just as you that it's an environmental question. If I'd throw that good coat away, it would turn to waste, but keeping it I don't have to buy a new coat for maybe years. In Finland the fur production is also a question of employment in some areas, but I think most people of my age and younger wouldn't wear new fur in any circumstances so the trade will die out someday anyway.

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  4. I don't wear fur (vintage or new) but wear faux fur. I've had hassle from it from people who say my (very kitsch 70s fake, NOT luxury faux fur) coat might encourage others to buy new fur- I did have to point out they were wearing actual leather trainers and a fake leather jacket when they said that. Hypocritical much. If someone is vocal about wearing vegan, they shouldn't really wear leather - if they quietly choose, as I do, not to wear fur but have lots of leather in their wardrobe, they can't very well go round loudly lecturing others about not using animals can they?

    I have more respect for people who are quietly very animal-caring, or who protest and ARE veggie/vegan than those who wear the cause as a trendy 'badge' but aren't 100% into it. Some organisations revel in showbiz, shock tactics and the surface of the issue, making it trendy to 'shout' anti-fur without truly examining one's own environmental behaviour. What good would that do? Garner more protesters who say one thing and do another? Great, that'll help the animals. :/

    I eat (free range) meat and wear leather, and as such, don't feel I have the right to take the moral highground in a vocal way - but I'm always shocked at the number of Nike-leather-trainer wearing people I see protesting (against both fur AND child labour).

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  5. Hi. I've been enjoying your lovely blog for a while, but this is the first time I've commented. I personally wouldn't wear any fur but I appreciate the points you make about second hand fur and do think there is a difference between second hand and new. Buying second hand doesn't directly support the fur industry and the alternative is throwing the stuff away. I think many animal lovers would feel disgusted by the very idea of wearing fur and choose not to for this reason, also, wearing any fur could help make fur-wearing more acceptable and indirectly support the market. However, I find it hard to understand how some people can be so angry and judgemental about wearing fur, but at the same time be happy to wear leather, use make-up tested on animals, wear wool, eat meat etc. Everyone is entitled to make their own choices about these things based on their own moral compass and we all draw our own line in the sand. I think it's good to be thoughtful consumers and discuss these things. I do think a lot of the anti-fur sentiment is people's response to a good advertising campaign rather than a carefully considered decision that is consistent with their true beliefs and the rest of their lifestyle.

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  6. For me it depends on the origin of the furs if they're new. If it's NZ Possum, then go for it. Those furs come from an introduced pest which ravages our natural environment and spreads disease. Most of their pelts are used to make yarns though rather than coats. I do not believe in using the pelts of endangered animals of any kind and if animals are being kept for their fur then I need to know that they are well treated and humanely killed before I would consider buying their fur.
    I don't like faux fur that much, it doesn't smell good and I know the process made to use it is not in any way eco-friendly. I do wear leather and eat meat and have no problems with either of those concepts; I have on one occasion killed my dinner though so I feel that I have a little more understanding of how my meat gets to my plate than I had previously.

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  7. I agreed, vintage fur should be worn and cherished instead of tossed away in someones attick. I respect others who disagree, but I believe the respect should be mutual. I have considered all the aspects and decided I want to wear vintage fur. I think the demand for fur worldwide should be answered with the fur already existing.

    I don't wear new fur and I don't wear faux fur; the proces of creating faux fur is very bad for the environment (and the animals living there, so to me there is no difference in wearing new faux fur and new real fur.

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  8. I only wear vintage fur. But not always quite with a clear conscience. However, I believe that you can better wear the vintage fur than to let it be a guilty pleasure in the back of the closet. I wear it with respect, and - this might sound oh so cliché - to give it a good home! To treasure it, and love it.

    Also, no animals nowadays have been killed for the furs I wear. The fur comes from an era when animal rights were unknown to people, they just didn't knew any better. Throwing these furs away feels to me as disrespectful to the animal. I prefer to wear it with decency rather than to throw it away.

    I must admit that I am against modern fur, absolutely. Especially due to the horrible situation the animals are in; treated so bad in a world that should know better now. It's shocking how many of the teenagers on the street today have no idea that they are wearing (rabbit)fur.

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    1. I've recently seen a documetary on Dutch telly, that made clear that what actually goes onto these jackets isn't rabbit, as it's produced in China. The fur comes from a type of dog, obviously not kept in the best of conditions and raised only for the purpose of meeting western demand( I'm not sure, but they might eat the meat themselves) for this type of jacket.
      What my concern about fur is this: while I'd happily wear a lovely 40ies style short coat my mum has in her wardrobe, I have no idea what the occasion should be, so as not to feel a bit overdressed(that happens quite quickly over here). In the past I've had to let go of some nice stuff(with regret now!)she had, for that same reason, I found it hard to find the right occasion, and it never really got worn.
      And also, what I have thought about: does the leather for our shoes actulally come froem animals killed for our meat?-I hope it's a 'nothing wasted' chain of commerce, so with that view in mind I'd have no objection to rabbit fur etc. I'd just like to be really sure the animals aren't raised based on demand for fur, but to be completely used, as this seems fairest, to me anyway(I am not a vegan, but I'd like to see meat consumption go down a notch, by the way). I just don't know, which makes this a tricky one for me.

      Angeliek, a follower from holland.

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  9. I agree with this for the same reasons. I like my food and clothing to be ethical and I don't have a problem with using the whole of something, as in the meat/leather sort of thing but it has to be done with as much humanity as possible. I realise that to some people that is mutually exclusive, some people are against killing animals for food full stop, but as someone who comes from a rural/agricultural background I can assure you, those animals would not exist if we did not eat them. I personally am not keen on the look of fur on the whole, real or fake and a full fur coat looks, to me, unattractive. My concern would be/is that the fashion for old/fake will encourage the real fur industry to rise again and the way they behave is very wrong. You'll always get people who think if they have the real thing it's better, showing off their money etc and not realising why genuine vintage/antique lovers wear what they wear and why. I think it's better to re use the old stuff if that's the look you want to create and when making a period drama etc. I have cast my eye over some coats and things with the faux collar but at the end of the day I just don't think I''d be comfortable in them for a number of reasons. A friend of mine has a lovely lilac wool coat with a white faux collar, she looks amazing in it and I do like it, but I just don't think I'd be happy in it, regardless of my initial lust! I have always preferred velvet, anyway.
    The other problem I have is that an awful lot of protesters, over anything, seem to care more about having a bandwagon, any bandwagon, to jump on and create mayhem for the sake of it and not because they really care or they pick the wrong targets or are unable to discriminate. The eternal problem of the fanatic of course. Not everyone by any means, but a great many.

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  10. I'm not a fan of wearing fur vintage or otherwise. I can see people's point about vintage fur but for me personally I wouldn't wear it.

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  11. First I really love animals but I'm not a vegetarian. I wear vintage fur and leather but also vintage faux fur. I only wear vintage for clothes so I'm not wearing modern fur. But I saw on TV last week that about 70% of modern fur come from rabbits, their meat is used and their fur too, they use special prints on this fur like leopard for example to make all kind of fur with one kind of animals.
    As I eat meat I cannot be against that... I'm against killing wild animals for their fur but I'm not against animals raised for meat and fur if they are well treated.

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  12. I don't like real fur, vintage or otherwise.
    I guess in some respects it's because the fur looks too much like the animal it used to be, lets face it a leather shoe or bag doesn't look like a cow but a fur stole DOES look like a rabbit or a mink. I can justify leather as a by product of the meat I eat (free range or farm assured only) but minks? nope I don't eat mink. I was also scared by a horrendous news story that happened when I was growing up in Yorkshire with animals being skinned alive, never forgotten that and never forgiven the fur industry.
    On the other hand I have also seen the devastation caused to natural wildlife by non native minks that have been released from fur farms by so called caring animal lovers.

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  13. I do wear leather and vintage fur. I don't wear modern fur mostly because I'm not a big fan of modern styles and I couldn't afford fancy new pieces (or fancy vintage pieces for that matter!). I think to fur or not to fur is a personal decision and we shouldn't get crazy upset if someone disagrees with us.

    Another thing for me about fur is that there are so many human beings in dire straits (starving children, child prostitution, etc.) that I'd much rather focus my energy on those people rather than if the animals I wear or eat were happy.

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  14. I do wear vintage fur, although usually save it for special occasions because a fur wrap in the grocery store is a bit too much for me :P I recently received a modern fox, which was trapped by a friend of the family, his meat tenderized and eaten, bones used for tools and lovely fur sent to me! I happily wear that type of modern fur because all of the pieces of the animal were used and it wasn't raised just for its hide. I don't wear faux because it's not made of sustainable materials and the process is terrible for the planet.

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  15. I agree with Perdita--why all the focus on fur, but not leather? Is it because fur seems ostentatious to some people?

    Also really like the anonymous FB commenter's point about focusing on standards for animal welfare. I've noticed this with some vegetarians, too. Personally, I think animal-rights endeavors would be more successful if they took the "high standards for animal welfare" route rather than the "don't use animals at all" route. Especially since most folks (at least in America) don't pay attention to what modern farming conditions are really like. Same thing goes for fur.

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  16. Well I don't wear fur (real or faux because it has a tendency to make me sneeze!) but I am all for sustainable animal products. For instance, I am a big advocate for animal yarns (mohair/wool/cashmere/angora) that are renewable.
    I don't have a problem with modern furs/skins/leathers that come courtesy of sustainable hunting practises and food animals. I would far rather the whole animal be used than parts wasted.
    I have no problems with vintage furs at all, because, as you said, it is far preferable that the fur be reused than rotting away in a landfill thereby creating a greater demand.
    As far as modern furs from the mass production industries- well to be honest, I am not a fan of anything that comes from resources where someone or something has been badly treated.

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  17. This is such an interesting debate. A Fashionable Stitch recently posted about the same subject, and I enjoy reading both of your perspectives, which really seem to align, and the comments, which are all so thoughtful and interesting.

    Personally, I think that making the choice to buy vintage and thrift and reuse as much as possible, regardless of the material, is important for the environment and for the disgraceful labor standards that currently exist and enchain developing nations in a cycle of cheap child labor and poverty. And when it comes to meat and animal productions I would rather seek out sustainable local sources then omit them entirely from my diet, because that way I can support the continuation of fair farm practices and free range poultry and farm animals.

    I have some vintage fur I got from my grandmother, though I've never actually bought it myself, but I think if I saw something I adored in a thrift store I would grab it, because I think it's important to use what already exists, rather then make something completely new.

    strugglesewsastraightseam.wordpress.com

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  18. The focus is on fur because, to be very blunt, a dead animal doesn't produce nice fur...so often they are skinned alive. Also, certain furs like 'persian lamb' are actually from fetal lambs...the mothers are killed as well. Whereas leather is from dead animals, which are usually already killed for 'food'.
    Personally, I agree with everything Charlotte said. I wear my vintage fur and I love it. However, I also only wear vintage coats in general...and all wool. I don't wear synthetic, plastic fabrics that ski jackets are made of because a) I don't like them myself (that noise when you walk? Ugh!) and b) they are plastic. They won't biodegrade when we are through with them and the processes used to make them are unnatural and I would say cause more harm to earth in the long run.
    PETA is an example of what I call one-stream activism. I'm not a proponent of it in any regard. It's great that you're vegan! I love that you are passionate about something. I've been vegetarian myself for 10 years. But as with anything in life, it is generally more beneficial to be well rounded...including in your activism. PVC shoes and coats are *horrible* for the environment, while that cow...will give birth to a new baby cow, then die, then go back into the earth and become a plant to feed that baby cow and so the cycle of nature continues. The shoes from that cow will last you 10-20+ years, while your PVC wonder shoes will need replacing in less than 5. I just can't see the benefit. It's better to draw attention to inhumane methods of slaughter and farming practices than to draw a flat out line across anything related to animals, in my opinion.

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  19. I wear vintage fur. Like many ladies who have commented here, I feel that it is a waste to let it go to the landfills. Why buy new fur when there are plenty of beautiful vintage furs (at great prices!) out there? It just makes sense.
    Until recently I was very much against new fur, but I recently received a pair of traditional Inuit seal skin mitts that a friend of mine handmade (very controversial, I know!!). I feel ok owning these mitts due to the fact that my friend and her fiancee live up North (I live in Canada) and the seal was killed by traditional Inuit methods, by my friends finacee and the native people they live near. All of the parts of the animal were used. Now I know seal skin is incredibly controversial in many parts of the world, but I know that the animal was killed within Canadian Government laws and was not wasted.
    They are a beautiful gift and I wear and love them.
    Again, like some of the commenters here, I believe the wearing and owning of new fur is circumstantial and it's too bad that it's such a taboo topic.

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  20. I am very against the wearing of new fur for the reasons you have outlined above-the poor welfare conditions for the animals, and the methods of killing them, but I have nothing against vintage fur. It's just recycling after all. Personally I wear fake fur, I am vegetarian and avoid new leather and silk too-a secondary school project on how silk was made put me off, I feel sorry for the moths! But I'll wear second hand leather or silk, and so will a lot of vegetarians and vegans I know, so I don't see why fur should be any different. As for it glorifying the fur industry, I can see how people would be attracted to wearing fur, but there are some great fake furs out there, and it would be easy for modern designers to use these instead of the real thing.

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  21. I agree with you, actually. I love vintage fur and would hate to see it go to waste. I actually own a vintage fur coat left to me by my grandmother. I've only worn it twice. I first wore it out on the town with my friend, and I received a few compliments from older women. But the second time I wore it, to an office Christmas party, there were a few coworkers absolutely appalled and they said some pretty mean things. I've been too scared to wear it out again ever since. I'm terrified some PETA-obsessed hippie is going to toss a grenade at me or something. :S

    It's so sad.

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  22. Absolutely agree with you! While I am not a fan of 'new' fur, I adore vintage fur and it would be such a shame for these animals to have given their life to end up in a refuse pile.
    Super post and such a delightful blog! So glad I stopped by, following along in my Google reader now!

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  23. PETA's sexist and misogynistic advertising campaigns make me sick. Their ignorance of the long term environmental impact of PVC and other 'vegan' leather options also makes me want to bang my head against the table. Wearing a vintage fur or leather garment is more environmentally ethical than buying a new, artificial one. I just can't understand the narrow minded view that PETA has - that if you're not a vegan (even if you can't for health reasons), if you wear any kind of fur, if you support medical research on animals, that you're a monster and that your life is somehow worth less than an animal. In fact I read an article in the paper today about an activist who tried to hire a hitman to 'slit the throat of a random person wearing fur' so she could distribute leaflets at the site of the killing!

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    1. I completely agree Miss Emmi. PETA's misogyny disgusts me as a feminist and makes me embarassed as a vegetarian. I own one item of vintage fur and I wear it and second hand leather even though I don't eat meat. I would never buy new fur. I think the argument that wearing vintage fur glamourises it and might make people buy new fur is stupid. Most people in the Western world are at least somewhat aware of how fur is produced and if they choose to buy new fur, then they are responsible for that. I also have a massive problem with people that are anti-vintage fur but have no qualms about wearing clothes that are made in China in very questionable working conditions for little pay.

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  24. Basically because I don't have time to really flesh out my argument I'll just say that my views on fur and veganism are the same as my views on abortion - you might not choose it yourself, and I'll respect that so long as you don't impose your views on me.

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  25. I have several pieces of vintage fur in my closet and one faux fur coat. I honestly feel less guilty about the vintage fur (because it was around before I was and I bought most of it at rummage sales/thrifts) than the new faux fur (which was manufactured using less than enviromentally friendly practices!). Not to say I advocate *all* fur--I don't think I'd ever be comfortable with buying new fur just because of the animal treatment issue. I think my only worry in the rise of popularity of vintage fur is that those who follow trends won't understand why many of us opt for 40+ year old fur, and instead buy new. I'm very honest when people have asked me about wearing fur, and make sure I differentiate between my stances on vintage and new.

    I think Stephanie made a good point in her comment about people making choice to wear or not wear fur! It's really a personal choice, and I think one that should be made with lots of consideration. In the vintage community, I think many of us do contemplate the pro's and con's of vintage fur versus new, and it's not so much a problem in our little "corner of the fashion world" as it could be in other areas. (Namely, I'm thinking mainstream fashion, which seems to have picked up on the *new* fur trend in recent seasons.) Does that make sense?

    Thanks for bringing this up, Charlotte! I think it's a good thing to discuss the topic and weight the up's and down's!

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  26. I'm not one for fur, vintage or new. In my side of the world I don't need anything to cover me from the cold because there's no cold here. I see vintage fur pretty and glamorous when worn with style but I wouldn't buy new. I know they are sometimes very cruel with the animals by ripping their pelts off while they're still alive. That's not humane.

    On the other hand I'm ok with leather. It means that pretty much the entire animal is being used which is better for the environment and helps give sense to the death of the animal. We are (generally) omnivorous so it's not a bad thing that we consume meat. I do think that it'd be better if one only ate what one hunted.

    Have an awesome weekend!

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  27. I totally agree with you and I'm glad you posted about this.
    I have couple vintage fur items and I'm glad to wear them. They were made many decades ago and I think it is more eco-friendly to use them aslong as they are usable than just toss them on the evergrowing pile of rubbish. I have couple faux fur items aswell and I have to say that they don't last nearly as long as these vintage items have already lasted. If someone prefers to have some sort of fur, isn't it better to have longlasting quality product that is as eco-friendly as possible. If you need to replace your faux fur item every couple years, that definetly isn't ecofriendly at all. If vintage fur has already lasted decades and decades and keeps on going, it definetly is more eco-friendly, more economical, and to use it as long as possible is also respect to the animals who have given their lives for it.
    In my opinion it is more important to concentrate on more strict regulations and law concerning the animal welfare rather than to try ban the use of animals at all. Lets face it, as long as there is people we will keep using animals for our food and clothes. Saying this, I'm not fan of modern fur products, however if I could be 100% sure about the source and welfare of the animals used in the products, I might buy it.
    When it comes to the claim that using vintage fur encourages other people to use more modern fur products, I feel that everyone makes the final decicion themselves. I am not responsible of the actions of other people. I am only responsible for my own actions and it is enough for me that I myself know where my fur has come from. In this current situation of pollution, over-consuming and fast-consuming I feel that every consumer should take more responsibility about how they consume, what they consume and what happens after they are done with the product. I do my part by buying as little new stuff as possible, I reduce/reuse/recycle as much as I can. And I'm happy to say that I always try to buy items that I will use long time, not something that I try once or twice and then toss away.

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  28. For me, what the to wear or not to wear fur debate comes is a serious moral quandary. In some cases, it's appalling to think that animals like Chinchilla's are no longer/rarely found in the wild (only on fur farms or in pet stores) as they were hunted extensively for their fur. Historically we see examples of this time and time again, and not just for fur trade but often to make way for industrial farming, urban sprawl, trophy hunting, or black market trade (more specifically for "medicinal purposes): beavers for hats: tigers for medicinal, trophy, and fur purposes--I think specifically Caspian Tigers, which resided near the Caspian Sea in Russian were wiped out to make way for grain and rice production; black and white rhinos which are hunted for their horns that purportedly have traditional medicinal values (their horns, incidentally, are not ivory like elephants, but rather keratin which is what hair and finger nails are composed of); baby seals... this list very long. I think, in part, the objection against fur (and not so much leather) steams from teh fact that fur, frankly, has a face. Yes, leather also comes from animal, but in it's final form as a shoe, jacket, football, etc. it's much harder to "see" the animal from which it came. Where as fur has stripes or spots and is much more tactile and thus easily placed on a living body. And that ooks us out a bit more than leather. IMHO.

    For me, when I consider buying fur--I don't own any but freely admit that I've been coveting a mink capelet that I saw at a vintage store--I have to think hard about how to be a conscientious consumer. Vintage fur is something that is essentially being recycled and reused. It's a "did" you can't undo. New fur however, IMHO, has no place in the modern world. There are high-end fake fur manufacturers that can produce fake fur that looks and feels nearly real. If we're honest, buying and wearing something made out of fur is really about cultivating a look that says "expensive" or "luxurious." If vintage fur is not available and you must buy "new" fur, why not buy high-end faux fur to achieve that look? It saves you having to question the origins of the fur and the methods of production.

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  29. Wow - this discussion is very relevant to what I experienced last weekend!

    I finally had the courage to wear my vintage fox-fur out in public (to a Leather/kink competion would you believe). Lots of fabulous feedback fom the people at the competition who saw straight off that it was vintage.. BUT... two seperate groups of people thought it was ok to harass me on the way there.

    The fur is over 70 years old, and belonged to my Nan. She was a fabulously over the top woman, and this is a way to remember her. I think of her when I wear it.

    I think I would wear it again to a vintage/similar event, but probably not on the streets of Sydney!

    (would like to add, i'm a vegetarian, don't agree with new fur for the reasons other people have made).

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  30. Thanks for this discussion! I always struggle with vintage fur, as well as antique ivory and tortoiseshell. I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one thinking about it.

    I just wanted to add, that you can donate fur products to animal shelters and rehabilitation centers, where they can be used as to help raise orphaned animals. They can snuggle like they are with a mother. Just a suggestion for Nyone who may have fur they don't wear :)

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  31. This subject seems to be cropping up on various blogs! It doesn't look like anyone mentioned the really interesting post that The Dreamstress did about fur recently: http://thedreamstress.com/2012/01/meat-fur-feathers-me/

    Personally, I'm with the Facebook commenter you quoted. Animal welfare is important to me, and I'd like for that to be a part of the conversation. I'm neither vegetarian nor vegan, but I buy only free-range eggs, from reliable local producers whenever possible, and I buy grass-fed beef and so forth, not just because these things are healthier for me to eat, but because they're better for the planet and for the animals.

    I have some vintage fur pieces, and I have some rabbit pelts that were given to me by someone who was getting rid of old costuming supplies, and I think it would be more wasteful *not* to use those things - especially given the petroleum concerns and short "lifespan" of most faux fur products. In theory, I wouldn't be against using new fur that came from animals whose welfare had been reasonably attended to, and which had been used completely for food as well as for their fur. But since there's no measure of standards like that, in practice I don't buy new fur. It's too bad that there isn't more talk about higher standards of animals welfare - that's an animal rights campaign that even a lot of non-vegans could get behind. Thank you for bringing it up!

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  32. Here in the agricultural Midwest, the beaver have no natural enemies left and they do an incredible amount of damage to new tree plantings and drainage ditches. Farmers hire my husband and his brother to trap the furry little pests. They sell the fur to a middleman (most of it winds up in China and Russia, I believe).

    I eat meat and I wear leather shoes and belts (plastic wears out too soon). So why wouldn't I wear new fur if a) I could afford it b) it got cold enough here to warrant it and c) it didn't make me look like Paddington Bear.

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  33. It was very interesting to read the original post and the ensuing comments here. Individual people with their own tastes and opinions that allowed explanations and reasoning. I think it is correct to say that PETA is just in your face with what is not much more than bigotry. The have a point to make that is realistic and worthy of consideration but they just make a very poor job of getting the point across. My wife deals in vintage fur and feels that by letting people know that there are plenty of quality vintage and second hand furs available then there is not any real need to kill yet more animals to achieve the same result. This also applies to the amount of resources need to create faux fur that will not last as long. A real fur in a land fill site will have decomposed long before a faux one. Of course animal welfare should be paramount but it is a frustrating issue when different cultures are involved. China has no problem with cruelty toward their animals and selling the fur as something else other than the raccoon dog that had a miserable existence. European countries have put things in place to protect the trade with licenses and permits, thus providing controls and conditions in favour of the animals. I would be the first to agree that it is still a minefield but it is ultimately with the individual and their conscience as to what is acceptable and what is not. We are able to make our choice based on fact and education now instead of ignorance and apathy. As long as we are aware of what we are doing why then we can try to justify the choice. Equally, those who do not agree have to accept that opinions differ and in a democracy we are entitled to have that privilege.

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