Lefty Tree-Lover Catches Fur Bug


fur bug, fur now

I’ve been told I’ve caught the “fur bug”, and I couldn’t agree more. I’m not only in love with this beautiful, natural material, but I’m also attracted by the industry. People living off the land, small family businesses, and the fact that I’m welcomed with open arms in farms, auction houses and design studios around the world, make me so happy to be a part of the international fur family.

But there’s been one thing that’s been annoying me and I think it’s time to set the record straight.

Tree Huggers and Lefties

As a campaigner for fur, I’ve been called a few nasty things by animal activists, but what annoys me most is when people in our trade refer to “tree huggers” and “lefties” as being the enemies of the fur trade.

For the record, I’m not what you would call a “tree hugger” (I find that people are much better for hugging!), but I am a tree lover and I’m sending as much love as possible towards the forests. I love nature and I want to protect it, and it strikes me as so strange that animal activists are referred to as “tree huggers” as an insult.

Aren’t all you hunters, trappers and farmers also tree “huggers” or lovers in your own way? You want to protect the land and nature too, don’t you? Where will we hunt and trap if all of the forests are cut down?

Proud to Be Left

When it comes to politics, I’m definitely “left of center” and proud of it. So are a lot of people working in the fur industry, notably Mark Oaten, CEO of the International Fur Federation.

Mark is a former senior member of the Liberal Democrats, the third-largest political party in the UK. To clarify for those of you not familiar with British politics, the Lib Dems make the US Democratic Party look like Tea Party activists by comparison.

And yet … he and I, and many other “lefties”, love fur and dedicate a part of our lives to ensuring that this industry thrives and grows.

So why the “leftie” jibes? Why do some of us use “tree hugger” as an insult?


Let’s save our insults for the people who are trying to destroy the industry we love.

Just because I’m a staunchly left, female, half-Muslim immigrant that loves trees, doesn’t mean I can’t also succumb to the fur bug. It doesn’t mean I can’t also love fur, farmers, trappers, and the wonderful history and traditions of this industry.

Let’s embrace the diversity of the international fur family and use our energy to ensure that this industry thrives and continues to succeed for as many years as people have been wearing fur. That’s a long time, by the way.

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  • Audubon Magazine did a cover story 10 years ago or so about how the fur industry is aligned perfectly within the environmental movement. No matter what you do, environmental sustainability needs to be the #1 priority otherwise we won’t exist to argue about anything.

  • Thanks for supporting fur. The term “tree hugger” assumes that an individual is against all harvesting of trees. If this is the case then the individual is ill informed as many anti fur people are. Proper and responsible tree harvesting is not only taking advantage of a renewable resource, creating jobs and growing economy, but can actually enhance habitats, forest health. Thus may or may not include clear cuts.

  • You raise an important issue for all people who live off the land but sell their product to people who don’t. A general distinction can easily be made in the US in particular, where huge urban populations have little contact with rural producers, that city dwellers are politically “liberal” and see nature through rose-tinted spectacles, while rural folk are politically “conservative” and see nature as “red in tooth and claw”. This divide has created mistrust, even fear, and entrenched positions on a whole bunch of issues that have nothing to do with how we manage nature. Nature is what it is, and how we manage it should have no relation to our views on, for example, minority rights or gun control.

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