Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thousands protest against fur trade

Yesterday thousands took to the streets in Norway to protest against the fur industry in their country, calling for a ban on fur farms. The march was organised by norwegian animal rights group NOAH and made headlines across the country.

Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet had a full article on the protests and focused on the broad support the animal rights movement got from politicians, local celebs,...

Some of the more prominent attendees of the march include norwegian politician Hadia Tajik fashion designer Fam Irvoll , novelist Unni Lindell and actress Viktoria Winge

Hadia Tajik is a norwegian parlementarian and member of arbeiderpartiet.

Hadia Tajik, profilbilde

This is what she had to say:

No fur products are necessary enough, warm or beautiful enough to justify an industry that breeds wild animals to become luxury clothing. We have to set a standard. We have to ban fur breeding in Norway.

You cannot get anymore explicit than that. I wish we had more politicians like that. More and more people in this country - including politicians - are condemning the fur trade. And this is a big deal, since Norway is a traditional fur country. We can only hope that something more comes out of this than just protests and headlines. I hope politicians such as Hadia Tajik or Heikki Holmås (SV) actually take steps to ban fur farms and take the appropiate parliamentary actions to make it happen.

The time for the politicians to do their job is now, because the norwegians are losing patience. And yes, that's also in the news (not making this up): vg.no

At politikerne drar ut avviklingen av pelsoppdrett, fører til et sinne i det norske folk

translation: That politicians are stalling a ban on fur breeding, is making norwegians angry.

Pressure has been mounting the last few years against the fur industry, you can read more about it here

For those of you who understand norwegian:



Interview of Siri Martinsen (animal rights group NOAH)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The fight against fur: follow up

Winter is coming and animal rights groups such as GAIA (Global Action in the Interests of Animals) or fur for animals (in dutch: 'Bont voor dieren') are stepping up the fight against fur, trying to make the streets fur free once and for all. If you haven't read my previous post about their new campaigns here in Belgium and Holland, you can find it here

In Belgium GAIA managed to get belgian born movie star Jean-Claude Van Damme to pose for an anti-fur billboard. Naturally this made the national headlines (and the billboards can be seen many places in the country). The fur industry naturally didn't like this and decided to sue GAIA.

Complaints against GAIA (in dutch)

Now it appears the lawsuit failed utterly. The Belgian fur federation, The European Fur Breeder's Association and the International Fur Trade Federation decided to sue animal rights group GAIA. They wanted to ban the anti-fur billboards via court order. The judge dismissed the case however...

The fur industry also filed a complaint with the belgian JEP, a commission for ethical practices in ad campaigns. These complaints however were dismissed as well. So Jean-Claude Van Damme will be able to continue being a 1980's and 1990's superhero for minks in the streets of belgium for a while longer. In billboard size even, so quite literally larger than life.

And yes, this made national headlines in several major news outlets. If you understand dutch, you can read this: newspaper article or this or this or ...

As you can see this brought even more attention to this campaign and to the suffering of animals in the fur industry. The belgian animal rights activists haven't been silenced, so the protest can continue. Hopefully the campaigns will be succesful both in Belgium as in Holland.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The fight against fur

Winter is coming and fur collars and fox tails will be flying in our faces thanks to sly marketing tactics of the international fur industry and the simple fact that they stich real fur on just about anything these days (hats, collars, boots, purses, ...).

Some would give up, luckily Belgian animal rights group GAIA (Global Action in the Interest of Animals) doesn't. And for their latest campaign they got an international star with belgian roots: Jean-Claude Van Damme. Yes, the muscles from Brussels.

GAIA's latest campaign: The victims (link in dutch)

With giant billboards showing Jean-Claude Van Damme holding a dead mink, GAIA is taking the fight out to the streets. These billboards will be present in 8 big belgian cities. GAIA wants to ban fur farming from belgium (there are still 19 fur farms left in this country) and inform the public of the animal welfare and environmental concerns.

In Holland a similar campaign started very recently. Animal activists from 'Bont voor Dieren' (fur for animals) kicked off a campaign with the slogan Only animals wear fur

Their goal is to inform the public and ban fur farming from Holland in five years time (Holland is one of the biggest mink producers in the world). Local dutch celebs such as actrice Sanne Vogel, DJ Wannabeastar (Jojanneke Van der veer who is also behind furfreefashion and Maxim Hartman joined in on the campaign.

If you understand dutch, be sure to check out this video of the campaign kick off:

Saturday, September 24, 2011

West Hollywood bans fur

Good news! The city of West Hollywood decided to ban fur. Yes, it is just one town in the entire world, but it's a great step forward. Let's hope other towns - and one day countries - follow suit. Thumbs up to councillor John D'Amico who made this historic fur ban possible.

West Hollywood bans the sale of fur


West Hollywood City Council have taken the first steps towards banning the sale of fur clothing, making it the first place in the United States to adopt such a law.

The isn't final yet, there is another vote in october:

Following a heated seven-hour debate, the council voted unanimously to block the sale of apparel made in whole or part from the pelt of an animal with hair, wool or fur, pending the result of a final vote in October.

The fur trade - naturally - isn't too happy about all of this.

You cannot be a fashion destination if you cannot represent the designers' full collections of designs in retail establishments," Kaplan said

Yes, full collections...Just ignore the ethical and environmental questions. And the fact that many designers are almost just about forced to use fur if they want to participate in certain fashion shows.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Swedish fur farms exposed again

Last year The Swedish animal rights group Djurrättsalliansen (Animal Rights Alliance) exposed the fur industry to the entire world by releasing images of the day to day suffering mink have to endure in the name of fashion.

A year later the swedish Animal Rights Alliance released new footage of the conditions on mink farms. And despite the promises made by the fur trade and politicians, the conditions of the animals have not improved at all.

This disturbing video shows the truth behind mink farming:

”Välskötta djur i god kondition” from Djurrättsalliansen on Vimeo.


These images were taken this summer on seven swedish fur farms. They show the exact same conditions like last year, despite the use of new cages. Four of the seven farms that were visited by the animal activists had new cages in use that are supposed to improve animal welfare. However they encountered the same disturbing conditions with these cages.

mink farming (swedish)

Den nya dokumentationen visar att det inte har skett några förbättringar alls sedan avslöjandet förra året. På de farmer som besökts i år har Djurrättsalliansen kunnat dokumentera minkar med beteendestörningar, trasiga och smutsiga burar, döda djur och väldigt mycket skador, främst bitskador efter det att djuren biter på varandra eller på sig själva.

Translation: The new images show that the situation hasn't improved since last year. The fur farms visited by Djurrättsalliansen this year had animals with behavioral problems, filthy cages, dead and wounded mink. Most wounds were bites inflicted by themselves or other animals.

When the Animal Rights Alliance released the images of the swedish fur industry last year, it was quickly swept under the rug. Authorities claimed the animals were in good condition and well cared for. (The real findings of veterinarians came out later as you can read in my previous post

With all this horror in the name of fashion, we can only be thankfull that there are fashion designers out there not willing to participate in this fur fashion trend, like Fur Free Fashion,Fashion against fur (in norwegian) or the Oslo Fashion Week

Friday, September 2, 2011

fake fur trend this fall

The fur industry prides itself on the so called fur renaissance... But could it be that real fur is on its way out and this time for good? No matter how much marketing dollars they throw at it?

This article in the LA Times on the fake fur trend in fashion is worth a read.

A few quotes:

Faux fur is everywhere this season. And thanks to manufacturing advances, it looks better than ever

Even at the high end, fake fur is being used widely by designers who note the improved quality and realistic nature of materials coming from Europe and Japan. These imported materials allow for more versatility in design, not to mention lower costs compared with real fur.

And the best bit of good news:

"The fur trend in the U.S. is toward fake," says Amy Lechner, an analyst with Pell Research. "The stigma of fake fur is rapidly decreasing."

Lets hope that the fake fur trend sticks and the real fur trend dissolves and goes away for ever.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Canadian fur not so green

Furisgreen.com (campaign from the fur council of canada) has been pushing fur as 'eco fashion', as a guilt free fashion item to...fight global warming? To illustrate with a mind numbing examble from the youtube channel of beautifully canadian:




As you can see the fur is green campaign claims a lot of things: fur is green, fur is sustainable, animal welfare and the environment are important to the fur industry,... They don't back up their claims with facts. They don't even make a good case, but they are good at being vague and using simple 'truths' and slogans. Unfortunately many people seem to pick up their slogans - I'm looking at you fashionista folks - and accept them on face value.

After all, simple truths are simple innit?. So they can't be wrong. Just check out this fur loving environmental activist

What a shame that the campaign doesn't back up their claims with hard facts and numbers (would love to see some), but of course facts aren't catchy and trendy. So no need to bother...

fur is green

Worldwide, the fur industry is an excellent example of an industry based on sustainable use. All the furs used by the trade are abundant and absolutely no endangered species are used. This is assured by strict provincial/state, national and international regulations.

An excellent example of an industry based on sustainable use? I guess we have to take their word for it... or maybe not: fur farming and pollution

manure, carcasses and waste feed from largely unregulated and ever-expanding mink farms in Yarmouth and Digby counties in southwest Nova Scotia have been allowed to seep untreated into local watercourses for years.

I thought it was a well regulated industry? Especially in Canada? Maybe not so green and sustainable after all? Unless you ignore the facts and rather believe eye-catching and superficial marketing campaigns.

This industry is now expanding here and throughout the Atlantic Provinces, and now others are taking notice of the waste-management problems associated with this industry. It’s time for all levels of government to act on this issue.

The David Suzuki foundation is tackling the issue of fur farming and pollution and sent a protest letter to Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter and Nova Scotia Mink Breeders Association President Earl Prime: clean up fur-farming industry and protect water quality

Several studies in Nova Scotia have found the following:

The studies found that some of the lakes had more than 1,000 times the amounts of phosphorus and fecal coliforms normally found in natural water bodies.

Again: Is this green? Is fur sustainable and - as furisgreen.com says - 'eco-logical'? And this isn't china, this is Canada. A country that supposedly regulates the fur industry and where the fur trade is 'responsible', 'green' and carries the fur industry label origin assured.

The David Suzuki foundation technical brief also contains some interesting facts that shed a new light on this fur is green hype: The impacts of the mink industry on freshwater lakes in Nova Scotia:
An overview of concerns
(PDF)

There are approximately 40 mink operations with 1.4 million mink located near the headwater of
the Carleton River. The industry has grown by about 415 per cent since 1997. The Nova Scotia
mink industry has seen a steady climb in profit in recent year

So it is getting worse thanks to the increased popularity of fur... I thought the industry was getting more responsible, which makes people buy more fur. Or people are buying more fur because they are made to believe things that just aren't true, because millions and millions of dollars are going to marketing and providing young fashion designers with free fur to use in their designs.

The technical brief contains some startling numbers:

approximately 18,200 tonnes of manure will be produced annually by
the mink. This will include 455 tonnes of phosphorus and 910 tonnes of nitrogen from the manure
as well as 16,380,000 liters of urine annually that can affect surface and groundwater in the
watershed area. This does not take into account any phosphorus or nitrogen produced from waste
feed or chemical agents used in the farming process.

Remember, this is just for one area of Canada. The global fur industry is far bigger. Just imagine the sheer amount of pollution in the name of fashion, hypes and trends.

An example of the well regulated fur industry in Canada:

“Runoff flows into a 10 acre wet pasture that borders a stream”
“Runoff flows through the woods approximately 30 feet from the lake”
“Runoff flows into woods it is approximately 200 yards to the neighbouring lake”
“Runoff flows through the woods and into a natural wetland which flows into
Porcupine Lake”
All of these practices were deemed acceptable by the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture.

After reading this post, do you think it is justified saying fur is eco fashion?

Do you?




Fur is green: greenwashing

I found this terrific blogpost the other day on the greenwashing blog on the campaign fur is green. You can read the full post here: Fur is Green: A Desperate Greenwash from the Fur Council of Canada

Claiming that fur and fur-trimmed products are “green”, “ecological”, or “environmental” is the equivalent of saying, “have a nice day”. There are no restrictions or regulations on using these terms and the fur industry has no independent endorsement or certification of its so-called commitment to the environment or “eco” practices.

This quote marks the spot exactly!

The fur trade will claim that no endangered species are used in their fur products, as if this was a commendable feature. But refraining from intentionally harming or killing endangered species is the LAW, and following the law is a bare minimum requirement of all industries!

Indeed. We are supposed to applaud them for not killing off endangered species. Well you can call me responsible too then. I didn't kill of any endangered species in writing (and publishing!) this blogpost. You see? I'm responsible now...

Monday, August 15, 2011

fur is green: factsheet

Revevalp på liggehylle

picture: Nettverk for dyrs frihet (Net. for Animal Freedom)

The fur trade likes to market fur as ecological ... as a responsible choice made by people to protect the environment. Of course by marketing fur in this way they are simply jumping the corporate greenwash bandwagon. Many corporations and sectors are trying to portray themselves as 'green', now that the public is becoming more and more aware of environmental problems and its dangers.

I've blogged about the attempts made by the fur industry to brand their red fur green before here and here

But I felt like something was missing. A good old fashion Q & A or an old fashioned factsheet...hence this post. I will also add this as a page on my blog and update this regulary with more information.

Lets get to it:

On the furisgreen.com campaign website they've set up an Q & A section where they explain their arguments in short order.

fur is green: questions and answers about fur

1. Questions about fur

Fur is green:

We want people to know that fur is an excellent choice if you care about nature -- because fur is a natural, renewable resource. The Canadian fur trade is very well regulated to ensure animal welfare. The furs we use are abundant; never from endangered species.


Good animal welfare on fur farms? The farms are virtually the same in europe as they are in north-america. And it doesn't look good from a welfare point a view. To name but one example as to why animal welfare is insufficient: veterinarians want to ban fur farming

Norwegian veterinarians:

Todays fur farming practices are based on keeping active predators confined in small wire mesh cages. This means that animals cannot act in a natural way.

But what do vets know right?

Never from endangered species? That's great because it would be against the law to use fur of endangered species, so you wouldn't even be able to sell it in the stores. Aren't they merciful? They don't take animals from the wild that they aren't allowed to trap.

Problem is that most animals are raised for fur and not trapped in the wild. Don't take my word for it, just check out the international fur trade federation's website on farmed fur

Farmed furs are the mainstay of the fur trade, accounting for some 85 per cent of the industry's turnover. Production figures for mink and fox farming vary annually. Most recent figures (2008) show that approximately 56 million pelts were produced in that year.

85 percent is from fur farming. Mostly fox, mink,... So the discussion is first and foremost about animal welfare on those farms and the environmental impact that these have. Are there really any transparent animal welfare regulations in place and are they enough to ensure animal welfare?

NO In the US every states has it own set of rules. In the EU every country has it own set of rules (or lack thereof) and in Canada laws regarding animal welfare can differ from province to province. The only thing that stays the same is the fur industries marketing strategy.

Revetispe i bur

2. How can the use of animal to make a luxury product ever be ethical?

Fur is green:

But Nature is not Disneyland

Thanks for clearing that up. A fur farm isn't exactly a theme park either.

The fur trade (and other wildlife use) also provides a financial incentive to protect the natural habitat of animals

So because of the "free market" animal species will continue to exist and not go extinct. That's what they are saying right there. As long as we can make money from them we will protect them...to kill them later...and make money. It worked out great for whales or spotted cats in central america (killed off for the fur trade all the way up till the eighties).

Fur farms are also environmentally sound

WRONG

I've blogged about this before as well...right here: study proves fur is not green

A study was published by research and consultancy organisation CE Delft: Fur: harmful to the environment The title says it all doesn't it?

On February 25, 2011, CE Delft released the report 'The environmental impact of mink fur production'.
This study reports on a life cycle assessment (LCA) of mink fur production,

To produce 1 kg of fur requires more than 11 animals. In the course of its lifetime, mink eat about 50 kg of feed, resulting in 563 kg of feed required per kg of fur

Compared with textiles, fur has a higher impact per kg in 17 of the 18 environmental categories, including climate change, eutrophication and toxic emissions

The link to the full study: CE Delft: fur harmful to the environment

3. Animal welfare

Fur is green:

Trapping in Canada is strictly regulated by the provincial and territorial wildlife departments.

Fur farming, like all agriculture, is regulated by the provincial agriculture departments.

The fur industry says this of course in every country...and the international fur industry claims that their entire sector as a whole is well regulated...

To avoid repeating myself, here is nice little documentary about the fur trade and what they don't tell you:

Up Against the Wall / Kniven på strupen from Ola Waagen on Vimeo.


Question 4: Are those videos going around for real?

Fur is green:

Unfortunately there are many documented incidents of activist groups “staging” horrible videos to fuel their fund-raising drives. They do this because the stakes are high! Animal activist groups now rake in millions of dollars with sensationalized, media-driven campaigns. (www.activistcash.com)

First things first: fact check on activist cash and the center for consumer freedom on sourcewatch

ActivistCash.com was created by Berman & Co., a public affairs firm owned by lobbyist Rick Berman. Based in Washington, DC, Berman & Co. represents the tobacco industry as well as hotels, beer distributors, taverns, and restaurant chains.

And it's always the same little game of 'evil' animal activists staging everything and abusing animals themselves so they can rake in the big bucks you of course get when you are an activist or working for an NGO. That's the way to get rich.

They tried the same game in Denmark and I blogged about that too. The animal activists were proven right. They didn't fake or stage anything: fur breeder charged with animal abuse:

Earlier this year animal activists released footage of minks living in appalling conditions on his fur farm. The fur industry of course tried to persuade the public that the images were forgeries, but danish police thought the matter was serious enough to investigate.

And what they found confirmed the footage made by the animal rights activists.

5. cat and dog fur

Concerning dog and cat fur, it is all legal in Canada. Not in the EU though...and I wonder how much cat and dog fur can be found in Canadian stores, and what we can do about it without proper laws, since nothing stands in anybody's way of legally buying and selling it.

Fortunately there are some voices that want to change this: Local MP wants cat and dog fur ban

Products that use Cat and Dog Fur products are banned in countries all over the world,” said Neville. “Yet these products remain legal and can be imported, exported and sold in Canada without any labels, this is a deplorable practice and must be stopped."







Saturday, August 13, 2011

Oslo fashion week fur free: yet again

Rev titter ut av kasse
Oslo fur farm - Nettverk for dyrs frihet

Oslo fashion week is fur free...again! After being the first ever fashion week in the world to go fur free last winter, they decided to continue their fur free policy during this fashion week running from august the 8th till august the 14th.

This is a great thing and also sparks a debate about the role of the fur industry in fashion and the influence they try to have on young designers and the world of fashion as a whole.

This is a great opportunity to get our point across in the press. This is just one great example:

ukeavisen ledelse (link in norwegian)

Markedsføringsorganet Saga Furs bruker nemlig nesten like mye på markedsføringstiltak som norsk pelsbransje får i subsidier. Er norsk motebransje nå i ferd med å b li immune mot framstøtene fra pelsbransjen?

Translation: Saga Furs spends almost as much on marketing as the norwegian fur industry receives in government subsidies. Is the norwegian fashion industry becoming immune to fur trade marketing?

The fur industry doesn't like this of course and responds in its own predictable way. Just take Eva Kruse (Copenhagen fashion week) for example...who said just about the same as last time around.

Basically she is critical of the decision to go fur free made by Oslo Fashion Week and she thinks that every designer should be able to decide on his/her own whether to use fur or not.

Eva Kruse naturally forgets to mention that designers were forced to use real fur in their designs if they wanted to participate in the opening show of Copenhagen Fashion Week. How about freedom to decide what to use again?

You can visit the fashion week website here

And be sure to check out known designer Fam Irvoll

She is fur free and started fashion against fur (link in norwegian)

An initiative of important players in the norwegian fashion industry to counter the influence of the fur industry in fashion.

I've blogged about the Oslo Fashion Week before here: Oslo fashion week fur free



Thursday, July 14, 2011

fur breeder charged with animal abuse

Erik Ugilt Hansen, a mink fur breeder and a prominent member of Kopenhagen Fur, has been charged with animal abuse by the danish authorities.

ekstrabladet.dk (link in danish)

Earlier this year animal activists released footage of minks living in appalling conditions on his fur farm. The fur industry of course tried to persuade the public that the images were forgeries, but danish police thought the matter was serious enough to investigate.

And what they found confirmed the footage made by the animal rights activists.

Hun fandt dyr med afbidte, blødende haler, gamle betændte sår på krop og hoved - sår

Animals were found with their tails bitten off, bleeding, old wounds on their body and head, ...

The situation was so bad that the police had to contact a veterinarian.

Footage of his fur farm made by danish animal rights group Anima:

Pelsindustriens løgne #2 from anima.dk on Vimeo.


Several months ago Ugilt Hansen was interviewed about the images made by animal activists. He had this to say:

De mennesker der er kommet og brudt ind på farmen om natten, de har været og byttet dyrene om så de kommer op at slås, eller også har de medbragt nogle dyr som har skader

According to him, the animal activists made the animals fight each other or brought their own wounded animals to his farm to videotape.

These accusations are heard more than often enough. Both in europe and in the United States.

Ridiculous, but many people seem to believe these accusations at face value (because we animal activists are evil to the core I guess?) and support the fur industry without giving it a second thought.

I hope that this case of animal abuse (one of many in denmark the last few years) wakes people up to horror behind a fur collar. Fur is unethical and the fur trade cannot provide for even the most basic of animal welfare needs of mink, foxes,...

This isn't just any case, Erik Ugilt Hansen was the chairman of Kopenhagen Fur (formerly known as 'Dansk Pelsdyravlerforening' for 17 years and up until he was charged with animal abuse, he was still a board member of Kopenhagen Fur!

You can find more on Kopenhagen Fur and the danish fur industry here:

copenhagen fashion week

another blow to danish fur industry

fur free fashion exhibition

If you're in Holland, don't miss out on fur free during the Salon/2 exhibition.

Fur free fashion

Fur Free will be exposing Strange Fashion under the wings of SALON/2. The exhibition will be from 1 till 17th of July at Galerie Fontana Fortuna, Keizersgracht 105 Amsterdam.

Strange Fashion is a collaboration between Nicole Martens and Femke Dekker.

Visit the Salon/2 blog here

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Norwegian against fur farms

Good news from Norway. One of the biggest facebookpages in Norway is now "Forby pels nå" (ban fur now). Over 250000 facebookusers joined the page of Norwegian animal rights group "Dyrevern alliansen".

ban fur now

250000 against fur


According to the norwegian animal rights group:

Det er nå blitt et folkekrav å legge ned pelsdyroppdrett.

translation: There is now a public demand to ban the fur industry.

Nobody can deny that it is no small achievement to gather so many people on one facebookpage, let alone in a language other than english (everything is in norwegian). The public opinion in Norway seems to have swinged in favour of the position portrayed by animal rights/welfare groups.

Politicians cannot ignore the public and steps are being taken: ban on fur farms one step closer

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Ban on fur farms one step closer

A ban on fur farms is now one step closer in Norway thanks to the norwegian 'workers party' (Arbeiderpartiet). Following their party congress in april, the 'workers party' published this text on their website in regards to the fur trade in their country:

phasing out the fur industry (link in norwegian)

Et flertall på Arbeiderpartiets landsmøte vedtok søndag å gå inn for en styrt avvikling av pelsdyroppdrett i Norge.

A majority at the party congress voted to phase out fur farming in Norway

Arbeiderpartiet mener det er forbundet med store utfordringer innen dyrevelferd i pelsdyrnæringen - noe både Den norske veterinærforening og Veterinærinstituttet har påpekt.

'Arbeiderpartiet' takes the position that there are serious challenges to animal welfare in regards to the fur industry. This has been pointed out both by the norwegian veterinary association as by the veterinary institute.

Næringen har fått flere sjanser til å forbedre forholdene uten å kunne vise til gode nok resultater.

The fur trade has had many chances to improve the conditions (at fur farms) without being able to show enough results

All of this is great news. Norway is after all a traditional fur country... far up north. The fur industry (and their lobby) have had a tight grip on the scandinavian world for quite some time, but things are finally changing. (Now, if we could just get Canada to do the same :s )

Since the last couple of years the public has been exposed to terrific images of fur farms in their country. And it cleary didn't miss it's effect. Read this post for more info: Norwegian fur farms And this one: Why Oslo Fashion Week went fur free

Don't feel like reading? Watch this documentary about the norwegian fur industry (subtitles available, but spoken in norwegian):

Up Against the Wall / Kniven på strupen from Ola Waagen on Vimeo.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fur is green ads slammed

The belgian JEP , which stands for 'Jury for ethical practices in advertisements' judged that the 'European Fur Breeder’s Association (EFBA)' is misleading consumers by marketing fur as green. The belgian JEP states that fur in reality does have negative repercussions for the environment and that the ad was misleading.

Belgian animal rights group GAIA (Global Action in the Interest of Animals) filed the complaint and a good thing they did. Thanks to them more consumers are waking up to the true cost of fur.

According to GAIA

De JEP is van oordeel dat de advertentie de consument misleidt omdat bont in werkelijkheid wel degelijk negatieve gevolgen heeft voor het milieu. Derhalve is de bewering ‘eco-friendly’ strijdig met art. 1, 3 en 7 van de milieureclamecode en art. E1 van de code van de Internationale Kamer van Koophandel.

The JEP judged that the ad is misleading the consumer because fur in reality does have negative consequences for the environment. Because of this the use of the term eco-friendly isn't in accordance with the appropriate regulations.

The international fur industry is trying to market their products as green and ecologically sound. Nothing is further from the truth. Fur is cruel and inhumane and bad for the environment.

Just read this: Study proves fur is not green.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Truth in Fur Labeling Act

Good news! President Obama signed the Truth in Fur Labeling Act into law.

The legislation closes a loophole in federal law that currently allows some animal fur garments to go unlabeled if the value of the fur is $150 or less, leaving consumers in the dark as to whether they are buying faux or animal fur

You can find the HSUS press release here

And guess what...It is a bipartisan bill. Nice to see that politicians can at least agree on some issues.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Swedish fur farms: twisting the truth

Last year the Swedish animal rights alliance made public disturbing footage of swedish mink farms. The footage showed animals suffering and living under horrid conditions because of the whims of fashion victims.

Peta even published the material on their website:A shocking look inside swedish fur farms

The fur trade was - naturally - up in arms and their propaganda did the job, as usual. And as usual - in the end - it turns out that the animal activists were right. The animals were suffering, these were no isolated incidents and the animal rights activists sure didn't 'forge' any evidence.

Proof? A recent article in swedish newspaper GP has all the proof you need.

GP

(translations are in italic)

I augusti förra året – mitt under brinnande valrörelse – kablades Djurrättsalliansens bilder från svenska minkfarmar ut. Aktivisternas smygtagna filmer visade djur som åt av varandra, hade stora köttsår, ...

August last year - during the elections in Sweden - animal rights goup 'Djurrättsalliansens' (animal rights alliance) published images made in swedish mink farms. The footage showed animals eating each other, wounds,...

The swedish fur trade branded the horror as 'propaganda'.

In response to the media storm many of the farms were inspected.

Under fyra dagar besöktes 30 av landets 70 minkfarmar. Några dagar senare redovisas den viktigaste slutsatsen: kontrollresultaten tyder inte på någon utbredd vanvård eller generellt dålig omsorg om djuren.

In less than four days 30 of the country's 70 fur farms were inspected. According to the inspectors there were no signs of animal abuse.

The fur industry used this to their advantage, as did the right wing politicians who supported them during the election (and won).

A week later however a full report was released. And this report was analysed by reporters from 'GP'.

En vecka senare, när den värsta mediestormen blåst över, kom den fullständiga rapporten från kontrollerna. GP:s genomgång av protokollen visar att inspektörerna i själva verket hade funnit en mängd brister.

A week later, when the worst of the media storm was over, the full report of the inspections was released. GP went through the material and discovered that the inspectors had found many infractions

They found:

1. Many dead and sick animals
2. Animals with wounds
3. Unhygienic cages
4. ...

Kontrollerna visade att det var en hel del beteendestörningar hos minkarna och det fanns en hel del kritik från inspektörer, säger Johan Beck-Friis, informationschef på Sveriges veterinärförbund (SFV).

According to Johan Beck-Friis of the veterinary association of Sweden (Sveriges veterinärförbund) the inspectors found many mink having stereotypical behavior and mink farmers were critized by the inspectors.

This of course isn't what the public got to hear in the media. What the people got the hear was that everything was fine. In short: lies. Politicians and fur trade insiders twisting the truth to their advantage.

The only way the fur industry can be defended is by twisting the truth into something that suits them and then repeating it in the media over and over again. That says a lot about the fur trade doesn't it? And that is propaganda.

This on the other hand, is what is really happening:

Horror revealed on Swedish fur farms from Djurrättsalliansen on Vimeo.

(swedish fur farm footage)

Friday, February 25, 2011

study proves fur is NOT green

Minkkvalp med sår

The fur industry likes to market their 'products' as green and ecological. And to my amazement, some people (even eco - conscious folks) take these claims seriously. Without even bothering to check if there are any real facts or studies to back it up.

Just take the canadian campaign fur is green. I've blogged about their bogus claims before here.

They don't have anything to back up their claims, just cheap arguments and faulty logic. People who actually care about facts on the other hand, use studies and facts.

Today a study was published by research and consultancy organisation CE Delft: Fur: harmful to the environment The title says it all doesn't it?

On February 25, 2011, CE Delft released the report 'The environmental impact of mink fur production'.
This study reports on a life cycle assessment (LCA) of mink fur production,

To produce 1 kg of fur requires more than 11 animals. In the course of its lifetime, mink eat about 50 kg of feed, resulting in 563 kg of feed required per kg of fur

Compared with textiles, fur has a higher impact per kg in 17 of the 18 environmental categories, including climate change, eutrophication and toxic emissions

The study was commissioned by the dutch anti fur group 'Bont voor dieren' (fur for animals), belgian animal rights group GAIA and the italian group 'LAV'.

Dutch group 'Bont voor dieren' issued a statement on their website:

Bont voor dieren

De studie toont dus aan dat de nertsenhouderij een ernstige en bovendien onnodige milieu-impact veroorzaakt. Daarmee is de claim dat bont een duurzaam product is weerlegd

Translation: The study proves that mink fur production puts a serious and unnecessary strain on the environment. The claim that fur is a durable product has been refuted.

I wonder how the fur council of Canada and the 'fur is green' campaign are going to respond to this one. Or will they just ignore the facts?


You can read the study in full here: the environmental impact of mink fur production

And remember, this is just about mink fur. What about fox fur or raccoon? Fur is not green, but it is cruel:



Mink fur production, Norway

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pinnacle lashes out at danish fur trade

Revevalp

Internet magazine and designer group Pinnacle lashes out at the danish fur trade because of their attacks directed at the Oslo Fashion Week, the first ever fashion week to ditch fur.

You can read it here: Norway sends shock waves to Copenhagen

A promising quote:

Oslo is just the beginning. There is an international groundswell of young designers who are driven by gorgeous aesthetics and cutting edge technology that does no require compromising ethics, heroism, justice, ecology, compassion, or an active vision of a future that has evolved from infantile self-gratification. Fur is stagnant. It is going nowhere.

I hope so. It sure is time that the fashion world wakes up to the unethical practices of the fur trade and takes a stand. It has worked in Norway thanks to groups such as 'Mote mot pels' (fashion against fur). Other groups are popping up, just think of 'fur free fashion' in Holland.

We can also read another interesting tidbit in the article. Torben Neilsen (Kopenhagen Furs) claims that fur is about "having your own opinions and daring to vouch for them".

Is that why designers at the opening show of the Copenhagen Fashion Week were forced to use fur? Not surprising if you know that the fur trade is the main sponsor of the fashion week. Read about it here: Copenhagen Fashion Week

Are the designers being pressed to use fur standing up for their own opinions? I think it is amazing that the fur industry gets away with all of this.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

finnish fur farm investigation

Finnish animal rights group Oikeutta Eläimilla investigated 10% of all fur farms in Finland. What they found was shocking, but not surprising if you have seen the images from other countries such as Denmark or Norway.

Fur farm investigation Finland 2011 from Oikeutta Eläimille on Vimeo.


Vasabladet

Djurens rätt har samlat in bildmaterial från cirka 80 eller tio procent av pälsfarmerna i landet. Största delen av materialet kommer från områden där det finns många pälsfarmer.

About 80 fur farms were investigated by the animal rights group, which constitutes about 10% of all fur farms in finland. The footage originates mainly from areas in finland where there are many fur farms.

Rävar som äter andra rävar, rävar som saknar ett ben, rävar vars ögon är igenmurade av infektione

They found foxes that ate other foxes, animals missings limbs, eye infections,...

Anima on finnish fur industry

Materialet inkluderer optagelser fra mange såkaldt "certificerede farme", farme der tilsyneladende skulle have udemærket sig ved at have en høj dyrevelfærd. Undersøgelsen indeholder optagelser fra mere end 20 certificerede farme og noget af den værste dyremishandling er fundet på disse farme.

The material released by the activists of the finnish group Oikeutta Eläimilla includes footages of many "certified" farms. These farms are supposed to have very high standards of animal welfare. Some of the worst cases of animal abuse in the finnish fur industry were reportedly found in these farms.

You can find more footage here: Oikeutta Eläimilla: fur farm investigation

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Oslo Fashion Week: first ever to go fur free!

Tomorrow starts the Oslo Fashion Week...And this is a historic day. This is the first fashion week ever to be fur free! In Norway of all places, a traditional fur country.

I am looking forward to seeing the designs of fur free designers such as Leila Hafzi and many others.

In a nutshell, this is why more and more designers, stylists and other fashion insiders shun fur:


This short norwegian documentary (with english subtitles)gives everyone a good idea what the fur industry is really like...behind their PR façade.

I have blogged about the Oslo Fashion Week and 'Mote mot Pels' (fashion against fur) extensively the last few weeks. If you want to know more about OFW and their fur free policy, you can find more info here

If a fur free fashion week is to your liking, visit their blog and website: Oslo Fashion Week

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Copenhagen Fashion Week

Danish animal rights group Anima protested the extravagant use of fur at the Copenhagen Fashion Week. And with succes! Their protests made the news and exposed even more people to the inherent cruelty of this industry.



Anima gives animals a voice (danish)

Anima got more than enough media attention and used it well to point out that many designers are being forced by the fur trade to use fur in their collections.

Evidence of this turns up regulary in the media, but not many people know about this.

Take this article from the danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet for example:

Arrangøren bag modeugens store åbningsshow krævede, at designerne skulle bruge pels for at deltage. Kopenhagen Fur er hovedsponsor for Copenhagen Fashion Week og arrangøren bag åbningsshowet i går.

Two important facts in this quote:

1. Designers who wanted to participate in the opening show of the Copenhagen Fashion Week were forced to use fur. Otherwise they couldn't take part in the opening show.

2. Kopenhagen Fur is the main sponsor of the Copenhagen Fashion Week and organized the opening show of the fashion week.

Designeren Whiite var en af deltagerne, og de har ingen planer om igen at bruge pels i deres kollektioner. Whiite har heller ikke før har brugt pels.

Fashion Designer Whiite was one of the participants and doesn't plan on using fur again. Whiite hasn't used fur before either.

No wonder that the fur industry can boast about the many fashion designers who use fur in their collections. They simply have no choice!

What is even more shocking is that the leader of the Copenhagen Fashion Week - Eva Kruse - is a former employee of the fur industry. The fur industry is clearly trying to take over the fashion industry. I am surprised that the fashion world is allowing this to happen.

And if you take this all into consideration, the pro fur folk are very hypocritical. When the Oslo Fashion Week banned fur last december, Eva Kruse of Copenhagen Fashion Week had this to say:

Jeg synes, det må være op til den enkelte, hvilke materialer, man vil bruge

source: Politiken (danish)

Translation: "I think it should be up to the individual to decide which materials to use."

Of course Eva Kruse forgets to mention that at her own fashion week designers are being pressed to use fur. I thought it was up to the individual?

At least the Oslo Fashion Week (which starts the 14th of february) made the right choice and took a stand against fur. If you want to know why, you can read about it here: Why Oslo Fashion Week went fur free

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Fur is green: ecological?

The fur industry likes to market their products as ecological. It is a classic strategy that is being used by many businesses across the globe. The public is becoming more and more aware of environmental problems and companies naturally jump the bandwagon to give their product an extra edge and lure consumers.

Dilbert picked up on this a long time ago.

Dilbert.com

But how much of what the "fur is green" campaign claims about the ecological advantages of fur are true and proven. And even if it were true...Is it truly a practical solution to environmental problems to run around draped in fur year round? Or are they just screwing around? Let's find out...

Fur is renewable

According to "fur is green":

Fur is a natural, renewable and sustainable resource. That means we only use part of what nature produces each year without depleting wildlife populations or damage the natural habitat s that sustain them

My thoughts:

1. Most fur comes from fur farms. This means the more fur is being bought, the more animals are being bred which even increases the amount of livestock in the world. Is this green? Livestock is a big problem as it is right now and is putting tremendous strain on the environment. If you don't believe me, their is more than enough research to back this up. One nice example is the U.N. report livestock's long shadow

2. Aside from the ethical problems of fur trapping there are environmental concerns. Not just target animals get trapped by the fur industry. Non-target animals can wind up in the traps as well, including endangered species. Or domestic animals such as dogs by the way.

3. Real facts to back up the claim that no more animals are being taken from the wild than the environment can sustain are not provided. A short lesson in history (even recent history) would make it clear though that supply and demand are the most important in the real world. Not conservation. And this is the same for any "natural" product, whether it is whalemeat, fur, ivory, ... History teaches us to be cautious.

fur durable and recyclable

well cared-for, a fur garment will remain functional and beautiful for many, many years – far longer that any other clothing material.

I doubt that. I have clothes lying around here that are quite old (decades) but that aren't made from fur. It isn't just fur...

But the reality is that fashion changes and people will want to wear things that are fashionable. Not something that is several decades old and gathering dust in the attic.


Unlike other textiles, fur garments can also be re-cut and restyled (“remodeled”) as fashions change. Your old fur coat can even be “recycled” to make bags, pillows, throws or other home accessories.

So we cannot restyle other textiles? A simple google search shows us that this is of course complete hogwash. Maybe the folks over at "fur is green" need a how to guide? No problem: recycle clothes

A jeans (cotton, not fur!) can even be "recycled" into a bag. Check it out for yourself: purse from jeans

The net is full with creative ideas on how to revamp your wardrobe. Knock yourself out.

And I fail to see how we can revamp a fur collar or some fur trim on a pair of boots on the other hand.

I just don't get that the fur trade gets so much publicity, when their arguments are so weak. No other industry would get away with this. It just doesn't make sense.

fur is biodegradable

Real fur is an organic material. « Faux fur » (fake fur) and most synthetics are made from petrochemicals. Like other plastics, these materials do not break down easily and will remain in landfills for centuries

This is solved easily. Don't wear fur. No real and no fake fur. No problem... But landfills? We can recycle polyesters. A nice example is polar fleece

wikipedia:

It is a good alternative to wool (of particular importance to those who are allergic or sensitive to wool). Another benefit of fleece is that it can be made out of recycled PET bottles, or even recycled fleece.

fur processing

Small quantities of formaldehyde can be used to protect fur follicles during dressing or dyeing, and gentle acids (e.g., acetic acid, which is vinegar) activate the tanning process, but local environmental protection controls ensure that there are no harmful effluents

Formaldehyde is a carcinogen. Not so innocent... And acetic acid isn't vinegar at all.

wikipedia:

Acetic acid, CH3COOH is an organic acid that gives vinegar its sour taste and pungent smell.

Acetic acid is produced industrially both synthetically and by bacterial fermentation. Today, the biological route accounts for only about 10% of world production, but it remains important for the production of vinegar, as many nations' food purity laws stipulate that vinegar used in foods must be of biological origin. About 75% of acetic acid made for use in the chemical industry is made by methanol carbonylation

Concentrated acetic acid is corrosive and must, therefore, be handled with appropriate care, since it can cause skin burns, permanent eye damage, and irritation to the mucous membranes. These burns or blisters may not appear until hours after exposure. Latex gloves offer no protection, so specially resistant gloves, such as those made of nitrile rubber, are worn when handling the compound. Concentrated acetic acid can be ignited with difficulty in the laboratory. It becomes a flammable risk if the ambient temperature exceeds 39 °C (102 °F), and can form explosive mixtures with air above this temperature (explosive limits: 5.4–16%).
The hazards of solutions of acetic acid depend on the concentration

Doesn't seem so green and harmless.

The "fur is green" campaign also likes to quote a book written by R.S. Blackburn.

biodegradable and sustainable fibres

I don't see any mention of fur. What I do see is that the author mentions natural fibres such as cotton, Soy protein based green composites,Hemp,... I don't see mink, fox or raccoon collars as a subject of study. Curious...

They also like to point out that everything is well regulated in regards to the environment. Well, that might be the case in countries such as Norway or the US (although, BP?) but this isn't the case in China. And as I blogged before, a lot of the fur that is being produced in the West is being bought by the chinese. These pelts end up in China where they can be processed and shipped back to the West (as fur trim on shiny ployester vests maybe?). You can read it here

So, what evidence have they given for their ethical treatment of animals and the environment? None as far as I can see...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fur free fashion in Amsterdam

The internation fashion week has started in Amsterdam, and we can see a lot of fur on the catwalk again. A real shame and proof of the efficacy of the international fur lobby. But as I blogged before, there are those who challenge the use of fur in fashion. And not just animal activists, but designers too.

Recently the norwegian initiative "Mote mot pels" (fashion against fur) made global headlines when they succeeded in making the Oslo fashion week fur free. If you want to know why Oslo Fashion ditched fur, read more about it here

But this isn't just happening in Norway. In Holland fashion insiders are calling out the fur industry as well.

Fur Free is an initiative of Jojanneke van der Veer (DJ Wannabeastar) and Femke Dekker (My little underground). This initiative is bringing together people from the fashion industry to protest against the fur industry in a positive way.

And they have done it! On the 24th of January they made headlines across the country with their fur free exhibition. And it looks lovely.

Just check out this video:



"Style today" on fur free in the hortus botanicus (dutch)

Voor de expositie Fur Free benaderden Jojanneke en Femke vijf Nederlandse ontwerpers die geen echt bont verwerken in hun collecties. ,,Iedereen was direct enthousiast. We hebben de designers volledig vrij gelaten in hun interpretatie van Fur Free.

Translation: For the Fur Free exposition Jojanneke en Femke approached five dutch designers who don't use real fur in their collections. Everybody was enthousiastic. The designers were completely free to interpret the Fur Free project.

And that free interpretation made for some fine handy work I have to say. The entire Fur Free exhibition looks almost like a fairy tale.

Jojanneke Van der Veer and Femke Dekkers are already planning their next anti fur event in Holland, and this time they want to go after not just designers, but stylists and photographers as well.

You can find some great pictures of this exhibition on this blog. Just scroll down and enjoy.

Visit the Fur Free site and read up on the designers backing this project.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Fur is green: ethics and fur

As I promised in my post on the Touch of luxe blog, I visited the campaign website fur is green

And as I thought, this campaign site of the canadian fur council makes for some great blogging material. The entire "fur is green" campaign is breathtaking. Logic or reason doesn't seem to matter much...

The site is divided in three parts:

1. fur is eco-logical
2. animal welfare
3. people & cultures

The topic of today: animal welfare

fur is green: animal welfare

The first impression I get is that they are trying to deflect any form of sensible discussion. These quotes are a nice example of it:

In North America, about 95% of the people eat and wear products from animals

The fur trade accounts for about one-quarter of one percent of the animals we use for food, clothing and other purposes each year. About twice as many unwanted pets are put down in humane shelters

So if you read between the lines (not to difficult here) it is quite obvious what they say. Many animals suffer and die anyway, so why care? Why not care about something else?

As if the fur industry is rectified by other industries or by roadkill. I guess polluting the oceans is ok because so many of us drive cars? And after all, aren't those millions of cars more polluting than an oil tanker destroying a natural habitat? Following this train of logic, we shouldn't worry about anything and we would wind up destroying ourselves... very logical. And not uncommon in discussions about fur. This shows how weak the position of the fur trade really is. They usually try to avoid a direct discussion.

fur is green on fur farming

When humans raise animals, they have a responsibility to provide for their welfare and prevent unnecessary suffering

Like the suffering for a totally unnecessary luxury fashion item such as fur? A fur collar, some trim, a fox tail,...

Farmers are responsible for their animals’ care from birth to death. Mink are generally euthanized with bottled carbon monoxide gas

Gassing them to get their fur isn't euthanasia. It is slaughter. This isn't a sick dog that is being put down by a vet to end its suffering.

Farmed mink are fed with leftovers from abattoirs, fish plants and other food-processing -- they ''recycle'' wastes that would otherwise go to landfills

The "leftovers" from slaughterhouses are also being used as petfood and about a million other things. As if the fur industry is a key player here.

Naturally they also claim to be a well regulated industry that cares about animal welfare. And why do they care? This is why:

There is a strong incentive to respect these codes because there is no other way to produce high quality fur; farmers who do not care for their animals will not remain in business very long.

So the reasons to care about animal welfare are selfish? But is it true? Is animal welfare that important to them and is the fur trade an ethical industry?

Let's see:

1.Norwegian veterinarians want to ban fur farming.

2. danish fur: two out of three mink farms break animal welfare laws...Also fitting that the fur is green campaign just happens to refer to the danish fur industry as a fine example of animal welfare.

3. Norwegian fur farms exposed

4. just watch this video:

Up Against the Wall / Kniven på strupen from Ola Waagen on Vimeo.


The fur industry an ethical industry? The fur trade and animal welfare don't seem to fit together.

They also mention trapping, this is a subject that I will cover in the future. But yes you guest it: traps, snares and what else not aren't humane.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Touch of luxe: 100 days of fur

Mink i bur
(norwegian fur farm: 2010)

Fur is no longer about your grandmother's old fur coat.

This quote came from a blog I found, called a touch of luxe

And no, fur isn't about your grandmother's coat, it's about those mink in that picture. Spending their entire lives in a small wire-mesh cage in the name of fashion.

So what is this blog about? We can't find much info on their about page.

The only thing we can figure out is...that the blog deals with fur and fashion. They have this to say about ethics:

One important note: this is a fashion blog, not a philosophy seminar.

And they refer us to the fur is green campaign website...great. So, no thinking here about animal welfare or ethics. Oh wait, they do talk about it. Well, just a little:

ethics

The fur trade is regulated, nationally and internationally, to ensure that no species are endangered; the furs used are abundant.

How noble of the fur trade! The furs sold are not breaking international law. Or is this the least you should demand of any product? And yes, the furs are abundant. Since most fur comes from fur farms.

Nothing new yet. But this is new: fur experiment

An experiment where a young women is going to wear fur 100 days straight...to see if wearing fur is "safe". I'm mostly interested in the reasons for this experiment.

Here are some of them:

A few months ago we were trying to figure out the reasons why people don’t wear fur. Is it because of the animal welfare? For most people, I don’t think so. We all know that animals are a part of our lives, we eat them, use them to make our shoes, and we wear them on our bodies

Why do most people don't wear fur? Animal welfare? Could be true. The problem is: this is why people would be against fur, not why they 'just' wouldn't wear fur. Maybe many people just don't want to wear fur for some other reason. And of course, the "a touch of luxe" blog throws this phrase around a lot:

Fur is no longer about your grandmother's old fur coat.

Maybe people don't want to wear fur because they think it's old fashioned?

But what about ethics? Animal welfare problems don't dissolve just because you wear leather shoes. The problems are still there. Is fur produced ethically? According to Norwegian veterinarians this is not the case. You can read about it here: veterinarians want to ban fur farming

You should also read why Oslo Fashion Week went fur free. It is clear that the general public is turning more and more against the fur trade. This isn't a small group of "extremists".

Skittent pelsdyrskur
(norwegian fur farm: 2010)

Just like animal rights activists shouldn’t stand outside Safeway and scream at people buying steaks, or no government should tell a woman to cover her face, no one should make me feel uncomfortable for wearing fur.

So Sharia law (like a woman being forced to wear a burka) and someone feeling uncomfortable for wearing fur is the same thing? Is that what is being implied here? And activists expressing their views (freedom of speech) is a fundamental civil right. And I see they hang out the basic stereotype of "the screaming activist".

So the entire experiment comes down to this: people are afraid of wearing fur because they will be "hassled" by a small group of animal activists and by wearing fur for 100 days they will try and prove that it is safe to wear fur. I'm guessing animal activists handing out flyers are a threat to national security and the very fabric of democracy?

Well, I"ll take a look at the fur is green site and see what they have to say about ethics. It should make for some interesting blogging material.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Fur free fashion in Holland

Rev med lange klør

Norway made world history when the Oslo fashion week went fur free, thanks to designers and other fashion insiders over at mote mot pels (fashion against fur). (If you want to know why Oslo Fashion week went fur free, click here

But Norway isn't the only country in the world housing fashion minded individuals who give fur the could shoulder. In Holland we have a similar group called Fur free. You can find their website at furfreefashion.net

Fur free is an initiative of Jojanneke van der Veer (DJ Wannabeastar) and Femke Dekker (My little underground)

Their message is simple but needed more then ever: Have a heart No to fur...

How does 'Fur free' hope to ban fur for good?

Like this:

Now we would have happily chained ourselves to a mink cage again but we decided to take a different route: A fashionable and positive statement showing you how beautiful fashion can be without being cruel to animals or damaging to our environment. So we will organize Fur Free shows, Fur Free exhibitions, publish Fur Free magazines, write Fur Free manifesto’s.

So in other words: positive actions showing the world you can be fashionable without fur. The fur industry thought they could hijack the fashion industry, well think again!

Actions like this show every designer (young and old) that we can do things differently:

On January 24th we will present another Fur Free event. Hosted at one of the world’s oldest botanical gardens, the Hortus Botanicus in Amsterdam, fashion designers Bas Kosters, And Beyond, Antoine Peters, Hester Vlamings and LEW will exhibit a fur free fashion showpiece in the garden’s threeclimate greenhouse

You can find more information here: fur free fashion exhibition

So if you are in Holland, don't forget to check it out. You can find a fur free preview made by award winning designer Bas Kosters here

Friday, January 14, 2011

Why Oslo Fashion week went fur free

Revevalp i bur uten skygge

I recently blogged about the Oslo Fashion Week(OFW) going fur free. A few weeks later this news is still making headlines all over the world in both online and traditional media.

Browsing through the blogosphere one thing quickly became self evident. Not many people knew what the hell was going on in Norway. This is why I started this blog. Face it: norwegian is a language spoken by a few million people, so most people will never know what is being said in the norwegian media...unless someone writes about it in plain english. This is what I am doing and will continue to do.

So why did the Oslo Fashion week go fur free? Why was fur fobidden? Not done?

Since 2008 animal rights activists from such groups as dyrs frihet(animal freedom) have been documenting what has been going on behind the scenes in the norwegian fur industry. Year after year they brought out videos and pictures of norwegian fur farms. You can find the pictures and videos here: fur farm pictures

You can find documentation on their campaignwebsite (in both english and norwegian) here

This short documentary (with english subtitles) gives you a good idea of what is going on. You get to hear veterinarians on fur farming, the activists and see the fur farms:

Up Against the Wall / Kniven på strupen from Ola Waagen on Vimeo.


Of course this is not the first time animal activists expose atrocities in the fur industry. And most of the time the activists are accused of being criminals, hoaxers, ... the usual propaganda. But this time the situation was different. And I blogged about it before: veterinarians want to ban fur farming

Already in august 2009 the norwegian veterinary association issued this statement (in norwegian): abolish fur farming

Dagens pelsdyrhold er basert på hold av aktive rovdyr i små nettingbur. Driftsformen betyr at dyrene ikke får tilfredsstilt naturlige adferdsbehov.

DNV har tidligere uttrykt skepsis til pelsdyrholdet. På tross av gode intensjoner i næringa, viser det seg at det fortsatt er store dyrevelferdsmessige problemer i pelsdyrholdet.

Translation: Todays fur farming practices are based on keeping active predators confined in small wire mesh cages. This means that animals cannot act in a natural way.

The norwegian veterinary association had in the past already expressed their scepticism to fur farming. Even with good intentions in the fur industry, it is clear that there continue to be strong animal welfare problems within the fur industry.

And yes, this is a big deal. But this isn't everything. In the last few years, the Danish fur industry has been exposed as well to the general public. Here is my previous blogpost about it: Another blow to the danish fur industry

The images of animal rights group Anima created a shockwave. Denmark suddenly got confronted with the 'ethical' fur industry in their own backyard. Official authorities started inspecting the farms and guess what? Mink were living under bad conditions in two out of three farms. This was all over the danish media.

Also in Sweden the fur industry is now under attack...And if you put all of this togehter. It is not difficult to see why fur got banned at the Oslo Fashion Week. Scandinavia, the heart of the international fur industry, has been exposed. The general public, celebs and even politicians are turning against them. This could very well be the end for this industry. Just one example of the broad opposition against the fur industry in Norway is the facebookpage Forby pels nå
(outlaw fur now). It has over 174000 members as of this moment. You can read more about the public outcry against the fur industry here

The more you read and think about it, the more these words make sense...don't they?

It has been a very natural choice for us,” says Paul Vasbotten, general manager of the Oslo Fashion Week. “We are doing this in order to increase ethical values in fashion.

The ban itself was made possible by people from the fashion industry itself:

The ban is a response to the efforts Mote Mot Pels (Fashion Against Fur), an anti-fur initiative that has received the support of more than 220 Norwegian fashion industry insiders
(source:discerningbrute:oslo fashion week bans fur

I just hope other fashion week events will one day soon do the same and ban fur. They are right over there at the fashion guard when they say this:

New York Fashion week could learn a thing or two from Norway.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Excellent welfare in european fur farms?

Revevalp med avbitt hale

I am getting more and more convinced that the fur industry will say just about anything. Today I was browsing the European Fur Breeders Association's website (EFBA) and found this: excellent animal welfare

The news item on their website says the following:

Veterinarian controls confirm excellent animal welfare in European fur farms

disease incidence and mortality of mink is at a low level that is significantly below that of other livestock in Denmark

EFBA news 2010

Denmark? They forget to mention that many furbreeders in Denmark break animal welfare laws and that animals live under bad conditions in two out of three farms: danish fur breeders

How anyone can find a pdf with some nice pictues convincing is beyond me.

Just remember that veterinarians in Norway want to ban fur farming So anyone who wears fur should really think about the animal welfare issues. Fur is indefensible.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Norwegian fur industry: Up against the wall

I found an interesting documentary on youtube today about the norwegian fur industry.

Subtitles available (captions in english and several other languages) If you don't see any subtitles, click the arrow in the lower right corner and then press on CC. There you can turn on subtitles.



Direct link to the video

I found this video on the blog of swedish animal rights group Djurens Rätts. You can find their blog here (in swedish)

After watching this video I understand why the veterinarians of Norway want to ban fur farming: ban fur farming

Monday, January 10, 2011

Celebs against fur

Avlstispe

Norwegian animal rights group NOAH just started a new campaing aimed at the fur industry: 100 celebrities against fur

Thanks to recent investigations done by norwegian animal rights groups, Norway has been confronted with the ethical and animal welfare problems in the fur industry. You can find my previous blogposts about it here(fur farms) and here (pressure mounting)

NOAH wants to keep up the pressure on the industry in 2011 and hopes they can reach an even broader audience thanks to local celebrities who publicly denounce fur.

Dagbladet(in norwegian)

Martinsen forteller at hovedmålet med denne kampanjen er å legge grunnlaget for konkrete skritt i retning av å forby pelsoppdrett i Norge.

Translation: Martinsen (NOAH) says the main purpose of this campaign is to lay a foundation that could lead to a ban on fur farming.

On their website the animal rights group says:

I november i fjor samlet nærmere 6000 mennesker seg i NOAHs fakkeltog mot pels som ble arrangert for syvende året på rad. Ikke lenge etter startet NOAH kampanjen Mote mot Pels som samlet over 200 aktører fra mote-Norge til å ta avstand fra bruken av pels.

Translation: In november we gathered about 6000 people for a march against fur (held for the seventh year in a row). Not long after that NOAH started the campaign mote mot pels (fashion against fur).

Når NOAH som startskudd for antipelskampanjen i 2011 lanserer 100 kjente stemmer mot pelsdyroppdrett

Translation: Now NOAH has begun the anti fur campaign of 2011 by using 100 celebs who are opposed to the fur industry.

You can find a complete list of anti fur celebrities on their website: celebs against fur

We can find both celebs who already spoke out against the fur industry in the past, as new celebrities that decided they couldn't support this industry.

Cartoonist Lise Myhre is but one of many opponents of the fur industry in Norway:

Lise Myhre - source: wikipedia

Pelsnæringen er en næring jeg for mitt bare liv virkelig ikke begriper at vi kan fortsette med.

Translation: I absolutely cannot understand why we should continue the fur industry.

I don't understand it either! Do you?

Friday, January 7, 2011

pressure against fur industry mounting

Liten kvalp i hjørne av bur

Pressure is mounting against the fur industry in Norway. In recent years several scandals rocked the scandinavian fur industry, from Denmark to Norway... Everywhere people are waking up to the cruelty of the international fur industry. Suffering and death in the name of vanity.

The pressure against the fur industry isn't 'just' coming from animal activists. The general public is turning on them too, just as veterinarians are: veterinarians want to ban fur farming

The facebookpage Forby pels nå (outlaw fur now) had 163000 members as of 8 december 2010. The page was founded only a couple of months before (october). This many members in such a short time (for a country with only 5 million people) is amazing. The facebookpage is now the bigges in Norway and is still growing. By now they are up to 170000 members.

Politicians on the other hand are reluctant to take an ethical stance and ban fur (is the fur lobby powerful or what?). But even that is changing.

Norwegian politician Inga Marte Thorkildsen(SV) is one such politician:

Inga-Marte-Thorkildsen

She makes a stand against the fur industry (as does her party SV). Her blog today couldn't be more clear.

Det er ikke mulig å kombinere god dyrevelferd med oppdrett av pelsdyr. bildene vi har sett i mediene før jul viser med all tydelighet hvilke skader pelsdyrene blir utsatt for i et oppdrettsmiljø.

Translation: It isn't possible to breed animals for their fur in an ethical way. Images we have seen in the media before the holidays clearly show what horrors animals are exposed too in the fur industry.

The Norwegian green party is also a fervent opponent of the fur industry: stop animal abuse

Spokesperson for the green party Sondre Båtstrand:

Nå er det på tide å sette foten ned for en næring som baserer seg på dyreplageri, for selv om pelsdyrnæringen skulle følge gjeldende lover og regler, vil de fortsatt utsette dyrene for store lidelser.

Translation: Now is the time to stand up to an industry that is based on animal abuse. Even if the fur industry were to follow all rules and regulations. They would continue to expose animals to extreme suffering.

A growing list of celebs are also shunning away from fur. You can find the list here