Ethical Fur Versus Intolerant Animal Activists

Alan Herscovici, Senior Researcher, Truth About Fur By Alan Herscovici, Senior Researcher, Truth About Fur

ethical fur, deborah hinter, rawhide

Deborah Hinter, an Alberta woman who married a trapper, talks on the Web site about the “heritage of the bush” and the “calming rhythm of learning to dry scrape rawhide.” Photo: Gordy Klassen.

This article was first published in The Villager, March 16, 2017. 

As someone brought up in the Canadian fur trade and who has spent much of the past 35 years studying the environmental ethic of North America’s founding industry, I am troubled by the arrogance and ignorance displayed by self-appointed “animal-rights” activists protesting the opening of the Canada Goose boutique in Soho.

Responding to complaints about neighbors disturbed and consumers harassed, activists Nathan Semmel and Leonardo Anguiano recently argued in these pages that “it is solely the vile ethics of the Canada Goose corporation that brought about our presence.” (“Call of the Wild: Why we protest Canada Goose,” talking point, March 2):

By “vile ethics,” they mean that Canada Goose uses animal products — goose down and coyote fur — to make their remarkably warm parkas.

Goose down and fur are two of nature’s best insulators, but it is not surprising that these protesters object. Most of them are — or aspire to be — vegans, and embrace the radical “animal-rights” philosophy, which means they oppose any use of animals, even for food. Most Americans, however, do eat meat, fish, dairy and eggs. Most of us also wear leather, wool and silk. This does not mean we condone the mistreatment of animals. Research confirms that most people believe that humans do have a right to use animals, but only if four important criteria are respected — namely, that animals should be used sustainably, humanely, for an important purpose and with minimal waste.

Let’s see how the use of coyote fur stacks up against these widely accepted ethical criteria.

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Truth About Fur Launches Redesigned Fur Website

Truth About Fur By Truth About Fur

If you haven’t visited for some time, you’re in for a pleasant surprise: North America’s premiere fur website has been completely rebuilt to better answer the key questions that people are asking about the modern fur trade.

truth about fur, fur farming, animal rights, fur website

Truth About Fur was created to inform and reassure consumers, retailers, designers, teachers, journalists, political leaders, and anyone else interested in getting the facts about this remarkable heritage industry. Through expert interviews, media coverage, and in-depth articles, the Truth About Fur website is a fact-driven resource about the trade, hence the tagline All Facts, No Fiction.

In addition to a redesign, the website has new features and content aimed at dispelling myths about the trade and giving a human face to the people who work in it.

• A video, entitled “The North American Fur Trade in 2-Minutes Flat”, explains the processes from raw materials to finished products, as well as facts and figures about the trade.

• The new Ethics of Fur section shows clearly that the modern fur trade satisfies the ethical criteria generally accepted by society as the basis for when and how we use animals.

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Wild Furs: An Earth-Friendly Clothing Choice

Alan Herscovici, Senior Researcher, Truth About Fur By Alan Herscovici, Senior Researcher, Truth About Fur

wild furs, coyote, coyote trim, parka

At a time when we, as consumers, are being urged to “care for our planet” and make environmentally-responsible choices, we should take a closer look at wild furs. And the closer we look, the more impressive are the environmental benefits we see. While all the furs we use today are eco-logical, wild furs are to clothing what “organic”, “free-range”, and “100-mile-diet” are to dinner.

Here are 5 top reasons why wild furs are an excellent choice for anyone who wants to adopt a “greener” life-style:

1. Like all fur, wild-sourced pelts provide a naturally warm, lightweight, durable, and ultimately biodegradable clothing material. After all, fur evolved over millions of years to become one of the most effective insulators we know.  And, of course, fur is also remarkably soft, comfortable and beautiful!

2. The wild furs we use today come from abundant populations, never from endangered species. Trapping is strictly controlled by state and provincial governments to ensure that we take only part of the surplus produced by nature. Most species produce more young each year than their habitat can support to maturity. We can use part of that “surplus” without depleting the population. In financial terms, it’s like living on the “interest” that nature provides, without depleting our “capital”. This is known to environmentalists as “the sustainable use of renewable natural resources”, a key conservation principle promoted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and other conservation authorities.

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February Fur News: Fur Fashion and Aggressive Activists

Truth About Fur By Truth About Fur

fur fashion

F is for February, Fur and Fashion so let’s start this month’s roundup with some fur fashion news. We loved this article about why Russian women love fur, and while there is certainly an element of glamour attached to fur coats, the message is overwhelmingly about warmth, something a fake fur will never be able to provide.

As well as being winter, it is also runway show season, and where there are fashion shows, there are furs. If you want a fashion update but aren’t looking to buy new, check out our guide on recycling old fur coats, or if you want an option that is super low impact (pardon the pun) then why not look into roadkill furs? Our fur coat of the month was definitely this teen’s seal skin parka. It looks great and we love the story behind it.

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5 Great Ways to Recycle Old Fur Clothing

Alice in Furs By Alice in Furs

recycle old fur, recycle fur, old fur coat, remodelling

Have you ever wondered how to recycle old fur? Remodelling is a great way to breathe new life into an old fur coat or jacket. Whether it is an old mink coat in pristine condition, or a vintage piece that has seen better days, most furs can be recycled in some way. Just see these before-and-after photos (above) of a coat remodelled by Natural Furs of Montreal.

Here are five things you can do with an old fur coat or jacket.

Recut into a New Shape

This could be something simple like shortening the coat to make it more modern, changing the sleeve shape or just taking off the sleeves to make a vest. Alternatively, you could attempt something a bit more dramatic, like recutting the piece entirely. Fur is unique in that a good coat can be completely transformed into something new using the “letting out” sewing technique that is exclusive to fur. Expect to pay $500 and up for a job like this, and make sure you choose a furrier who is experienced in remodelling and knows how to recycle old fur.

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Why Animal Rights Activists Are Becoming More Aggressive

Alan Herscovici, Senior Researcher, Truth About Fur By Alan Herscovici, Senior Researcher, Truth About Fur

animal rights activists

For animal-rights activists, arson was a way to save lynx from a new ski resort, Vail, Colorado, 1998.

I received a phone call the other day from a very frightened fur retailer. Two young women had come into his store while he was serving a customer and begun lecturing him about the evils of selling fur. He had tried to stay cool and asked them to leave, several times, but they kept at him until, finally, he lost it and said things he wasn’t proud of. They had filmed him too; now his outburst was on an activist website and his Facebook page had been bombarded with comments accusing him of being a sexist thug.

“Am I finished?” he asked, shaken. “That’s not me, but they were so aggressive; honestly, I was frightened.” I told him to remove the threatening posts from his Facebook page – but to take screen-grabs first, for the record. I also advised him to make a police report about the women who had harassed him, and to ask the police to keep an eye on his store at night. (The windows of several fur stores in the same town were broken in the weeks that followed.)

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. An outerwear store that sells fur-trimmed parkas in Vancouver has endured rowdy protests several times a week for more than a year. Activists now often follow fur-wearers down the street, haranguing them. DxE (“Direct Action Everywhere”) activists invade department stores, intimidating consumers and thumbing their noses at store security. At the opening of new Canada Goose stores in New York and Toronto, protesters carried “F*ck Canada Goose” posters. (So much for compassion and intelligent dialogue!) “Fur police” recently patrolled the streets of Hamburg, Germany, lecturing fur-wearers and giving them “tickets”.

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January Fur News: Fur Farm Vandals Are Jailed

Truth About Fur By Truth About Fur

fur farm vandals, january fur in the news roundup

Let’s start our January news roundup with a story that has warmed our hearts: the story of a pair of fur farm vandals being jailed for their crimes. Nicole Kissane was sentenced to 21 months in prison and ordered to pay $423,477 in restitution, while her partner in crime is already serving a two-year sentence. Let this be a lesson to anyone planning on releasing mink and vandalizing fur farms!

fur in the ews, fur farm vandals, HSUS vs PETA, seal hunt, sealing, trappers, animal rights activists, PETA lawsuits

Did you think that HSUS was “better” than PETA? Think again!

In other good activist news, PETA is facing two lawsuits, anti-fur police impersonators are getting in trouble, and activists in the UK are going to be unmasked. If you are unsure about the difference between PETA and HSUS, this educational video (above) will be helpful, and if you need some help wading through the hundreds of lies these organizations use to further their agenda, here is our list of 5 Biggest Lies Animal Activists Tell About Fur.

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