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?




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