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Fur or Fur Free?
Baby Fur Seal
After I began exercising as an adult, I required fewer outer garments in cold weather and temperature extremes no longer caused me difficulties. In fact I rarely wear a coat or jacket today, unless the temperature dips below 28º F. A fur lining would be much too warm.
I have tried fur outerwear in cold weather, however,finding it less warm than a lined cloth coat or jacket. leather is not warm either. The warmest coat I have ever had is a black knee-length coat with a nylon lining and a rubberized synthetic outer shell. It is nearly indestructible and the lining will wear out before the rest of the coat does and can be replaced.
The warmest coat was also the least expensive - $19.99 new at KMart about 2004. Fur is generally expensive.
While some individuals prefer to wear fur, I don't enjoy wearing either real fur or fake fur for a number of reasons. To me, these materials are not warm (unless used as linings) and are too expensive to be practical. If the fur were on the inside of a coat, it would probably be lumpy. Fur either inside or outside comprises too much bulk for my taste. This is not good.
In the light of publicity about cruelty and torture to animals for food, health and beauty aids and fur, fur garments and accessories seem unseemly. Further, when I think of wearing animal skins/furs the thought reminds me of pictures I've seen of reportedly tattooed human-skin lampshades made from Holocaust. The debate may continue about authenticity of these shades, but it's all most unappetizing. I also remember bad aromas emanating from improperly stored furs in my childhood, so that adds to my distaste.
My biggest dislike in all this is that I detest waste -- Wasting an animal and its life in order to have only its skin is not very good.
- Edinburgh Fur Free Campaign : Veggies Animal Rights Calendar
Veggies Calendar and Events Diary, compiled and co-ordinated by Veggies Catering Campaign to support campaign groups throughout the UK.
- Fur-Free Campaign: Humane Society of the United States
Donate old furs to the Humane Society. They go to wildlife rehabilitators for the warmth and comfort of wildlife orphans and injured animals. Over 200 US and Canadian rehabilitators participate. This is a great way to use the fur and prevent re-sale.
- Fur Free Alliance and Fur Bearing Animals
- Fur Free Friday-- National Action Directory
I respect Indigenous Peoples and modern hunters that hunt for food and use every part of an animal that they hunt. Some of my ancestors have done it and I would do it if I were in such a culture or time of need. However, I dislike reasonless killing - sometimes leaving the entire animal to rot on the ground. It's like the destructive random drive-by shooting that we would like to see eliminated.
Similarly, killing an elephant for its tusks is illegal, but still occurs. Elephant foot watsebaskets and umbrella stands are in poor taste, I think. I don't like alligator or crocodile skin accessories and shoes, either. I do like good-quality leather shoes, so I am guilty of that. However, leather coats and jackets may look nice, but to me are not warm and therefore useless, so they are not for me. And I don't even carry a purse, so that's a moot point for fur and leather.
On a positive note, when deceased deer are found by the side of the road in these parts, the meat is donated to the needy through local soup kitchens, The deer skin is also used, but I don't know how. If these animals are killed in traffic accidents and such, it's practical to use every part of them that we can.
If I were going to wear fur, it would not be a patterned variety. The bulkiness of fur already is unwieldy and many patterns make people look fat. All these furs and patterns - spots, stripes, big swirls - are all just "too much" for me. The sleeker the style the better, in my opinion. Smooth well-tailored outfits, or catsuits and spacesuits are good form. Actually, I simply like smooth fabrics. Fur gets in the way for me - much like a puffed up cat with its hair sticking out in all directions..
Patterned fur hats are not bad to look at, but again, I think they are not as warm as a good lined cloth cap or a knitted or crocheted hat. Natural fibers from plants and animals are best for those handcrafted items. Animal hair and wools can be gathered without harming the animal. In fact, one exhibitor that has worked at Cedar Point Amusement Park made yarn from her group of long-haired dogs as they shed it. It was unique and warm.
Animal wools and hair are very useful in creating warm and attractive garments, as long as the animals are not harmed in the process -- One does not need to kill a sheep in order to sheer it. Similarly, bison hair yarn is becoming popular and the bison does not die in order to provide it. Great yarns come from many animals, such as alpacas, mountain goats, a variety of sheep species, dogs, and probably many other species. Alll these can be dyed in a variety of colors and are all better alternatives to animal furs for individuals that want to be fur free.
I once attended a presentation about raising chinchillas. It turned out to be a recruiting meeting for potential fur raising professionals, but it was interesting. It also rather put me off using animal fur and skins in almost all ways.
The professionals were a married couple in their 40s, long in the business. They explained all about raising chinchillas as fur bearing animals and brought out several sample garments. They also brought out photo albums of celebrities wearing chinchilla garments.
The bit about killing each chinchilla was unpleasant. You were to place each one into a jar of cholorform fumes and when it passed out, take it out and skin it. Supposedly, there was very little blood and gore, but still...
The evening ended with the couple becoming embroiled in a bit of a spat. It seems that she worked many more hours per week in the business than did he - did all the killing, too - and he refused to "allow" her to have any chinchilla article of her own - not even a bookmark. It was not a fun evening.
Fur Industry History In Canda and USA
If it were to become illegal to kill any further animals in the US for their fur, then fur pieces already in circulation would probably skyrocket in value. In some areas, animal skins might even revert to currency, as in the 1600s and 1700s. Today we buy gold, tomorrow it may be collector's furs.
Related to using real furs, what is the consideration for Native American groups whose traditions and religious ceremonies involve animal furs, new ones being required from time to time? In addition, some African American communities enjoy fur coats and consider them part of culture and tradition. We saw many of these garments at the Presidential Inauguration of Barak Obama in 2009. All this would make a fur ban difficult.
Importing animal skins to America if we could not use our own country's animals may be problematic also -- The Internet is full of reports and videos of animal mistreatment in the Chinese fur industry. These are very hard to watch, worse than videos of slaughter houses here.. Criminalizing US fur production, while accepting foreign imports might result in an uproar of protest by animal rights groups and even lead to violence between factions, similar to violence attached to some other societal issues.
I think fur and fur free will remain choices, since banning furs may not be practical - not much more practical than banning alcohol during Prohibition. For myself, both fur and faux fur are out; smooth fabrics and natural fiber creations are in. If culture reverted to the need for using animal products as our Native American cousins have done in the past, using the full animal in a humane method, I could live with that. Killing animals, especially inhumanely, just for fur when we have other fabrics at hand disturbs me.