PETA’s Unfair Attack on the Fur Industry

The fur industry is often targeted unfairly by members of groups like PETA. While PETA is technically against using animals in any way (including keeping them as pets!), they never seem to be as aggressive towards the meat eating populace as they are to fur wearers. In the past, PETA has gone out of their way to interrupt fashion shows, attack designers outside of their stores, and stage gruesome public displays against fur. They usually make the claim that no one should wear fur because it is an excessive luxury and the fur industry is wasteful, capturing the animals only for their fur and not using any other parts.

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PETA hard at work annoying shoppers.

The argument that the fur indsutry is “wasteful” is completely unfounded. While we may not think of animals like beaver, muskrat, raccoon and rabbit as conventional food, many people do consume these animals as a part of their diet. What isn’t consumed by humans is used in other ways. Mink oil is used in cosmetics, the carcasses are composted to make organic fertilizer. (In Europe, mink is sometimes now used to make biofuels!) Much of the wild-caught animal carcasses are left in the wilderness, to complete the cycle and become food for hungry birds, mice and other animals through the long cold winter. Fur Is Green has a great video on their site about the mink farms in Denmark. You can view it here, and see for yourself how the animals are treated from life to death, as well as how the rest of the mink is used.

Why would PETA waste so much time on such a small industry? The number of animals harvested annually for the fur industry barely makes a dent in our animal consumption as a whole. Of the animals slaughtered every year in North America, almost 10 billion animals are used for food, 6 million farmed-raised mink and foxes are killed for their fur, and about 6 millions wild animals are trapped. So the animals used for fur represent less than 0.1% (0.0012) of the number consumed for food. Add the millions of abandonned animals euthanized in humane shelters, millions more killes on our highways, others used for medical research, etc., and we quickly put the real impact of the fur trade into fair perspective. Put even more simply: most of us eat animals at least once a day; how often do you buy a fur coat?!

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Not as often as we'd like to! Beautiful fur coats from Rosa Mori Furs.

Perhaps PETA attacks the fur industry in such a disproportionate fashion because they know that most people eat meat and aren’t going to give it up any time soon (barely 3% of the Canada’s population practices vegetarianism, with an even smaller percentage of that number living a vegan lifestyle). Why pick a fight you know you can’t win when it is so easy to prey (excuse the pun) upon a tiny, artisanal, family-run sector that lacks the financial clout to fight back? Come to think of it: if the PETA-folks had any real ethical conviction, instead of harassing women wearing fur, maybe they should be picketing motorcycle gangs for their use of leather!

The USDA has the numbers on the animals slaughtered for food every year.

The US Fur Commission has some great information on the mink industry and its by products.

Donna Karan protest image from Trendhunter
Fur coat images from Rosa Mori.

This article has been updated  July 12, 2011

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The Art of Luxe: Color, Color and more Color!

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Color, color and more color! Bolero by Paula Lishman, poncho by Belle Fare

Nothing more exciting than a spectacular runway show, when sipping wine and reminiscing about the Naffem VIP tour! I attended  the Art of Luxe fashion show which celebrates fur designers such as Paula Lishman, Zuki and young creators sponsored by Kopenhagen Fur. I was seated in the front row, and was immediately submerged by the passionate violinist’s performance. This musical piece by Dr.Draw was a brilliant way of presenting the craftsmanship we were about to see. Backstage I could tell emotions were running high for last minute preparations when suddenly the bright lights snapped on, the music set the mood and names of designers appeared on a giant LED screen.

dr draw playing at NAFFEM

Dr.Draw captivated the audience

As models made their way down the catwalk we could not help but notice the striking contrast between dark furs and the model’s bright outfits. Andy Warhol would of been proud of the outstanding visual influence his Pop Art had over the theme of the show. The interpretation of Warhol’s work (powerful & electric colors) was gracefully translated on Naffem’s runway.

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Canadian designer Paula Lishman, inventor of knitted and washable fur

Seeing is believing, this expression comes to mind when gazing upon the magic of a colorful Lishman beaver poncho at the Naffem show. It’s incredible how fur can captivate your senses and make you escape to a world of fantasy were color, fur and glamour are personified. We’ve certainly come a long way from grandmas old fur coat! What would you think about being able to wash your beaver knitted poncho after you’ve worn it? Guess what? You can! In contrast to the typical Mexican urbane poncho, this renewed version is not only glamourous but also practical.

Canadian designer, Zuki, flower, fur,

Speachless!

I felt my pulse rise when Zuki runway model walked before me with a sublime flower coat. The contrast of vibrant lilac, blue and red flowers on a soft black fur with fox trim created the perfect miss match. The difference of textures between the fluffy trim and the black shiny body also stood out. My only regret from this experience is that I could not leave the show with one of these magnificent fur coats!

Stay tuned for my discussion with Eddie Maleterre about his inspirations for hair & makeup.

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A mix of furs to add texture. Coat by Euroline, vest by Natural Furs

Natural furs, BluesArt, seal fur

Tailored fur coats by Natural Furs and BluesArt

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Kopenhagen Fur luxurious outerwear

NAFFEM – Fur Fashion meets Innovation

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“Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.” Coco Chanel  

I was admiring an award winning fur piece displayed at the 2011 Naffem show, when these words resonated in my mind. Comfort and fluffiness seemed to be key characteristics for these students when transforming garments mainly used to keep warm into fashionable items. The amount of talent and creativity exhibited for the public’s enjoyment was surreal. Before me was this beautifully handcrafted white fox coat mixed with a knitted wool pattern which gave it an urban style. Marie-Victorin College students redefined youthful expression through the fur fashion craftsmanship. Every detail meticulously stitched and sewed resulted in endless possibilities for their luxurious creations.       

Marie-Victorin fur collection display at NAFFEM

I was given a guided tour of Naffem, one of the most prestigious North American fashion trade shows and I was glad to be surrounded by generations of fur trading traditions. From a novice perspective, I had the pleasure of exploring the various layers behind the fur industry. Our “tour guide”, Tony Jay from www.yourKloset.com, explained the different stages of production that make this a unique industry. The cooperation between trappers, farmers, designers and retailers, creates a premium quality product. Every year the Exibition Hall of Place Bonaventure in Montreal is filled with international manufacturers that display their collections for buyers to see. Naffem is the most anticipated time of the year for buyers to shop for Fall and Winter outerwear that will be sold to fashionistas around the globe.       

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Fellow bloggers Lisa Sim and Todd Kingston Plummer admire the Kopenhagen Fur reversible raincoat

Innovation is synonym of branded designers such as Zuki, Beautifully Canadian, Kopenhagen Fur, Gliagias and Jean Crisan to name a few. These visionaries not only redefine elegance but have left their blueprint by carefully using different properties of fur. For instance, if we admire the rain coat by Kopenhagen Fur collection, you are immediately seduced by it’s beauty and practicality. Who says you can’t look your best under the rain!

Have you ever seen a girl walk the walk with exquisite Zuki flower mink coat and not get a single tear of excitement? Learn more about who else made the catwalk of the Opening Night Fashion Show in an upcoming post!

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I was delighted to receive so generously from Kopenhagen Fur these accessories which are natures true gifts. Everything the heart desires!