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...