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."







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