The Truth Behind Your Fur Coat

Since 80-85% of the global fur trade’s products are industrially produced on fur farms, these animals endure the same confinement and poor treatment as animals farmed for meat and dairy as farmers often want to maximise their profits, at the expense of the animals. To cut costs, killing methods often include suffocation, electrocution, gassing, and poisoning, all of which cause great stress and pain to the animal. Unlike animals that are produced for food, no laws exist on how the killing must be undertaken, therefore they are often extremely inhumane.

Much like animals being kept in captivity in zoos, the confined space available to the animals often causes an increase of abnormal behaviours such as pacing, self mutilation and even cannibalism.

Common animals farmed for fur include mink, foxes, rabbits and even cats and dogs in some nations such as China. Over 75 million mink and foxes are farmed each year to meet the demand of the fur market, as it takes around 80 mink to produce a full length coat (, 2016). 

The meat from the skinned animal, which is not considered fit for human consumption often ends up in animal feed or organic compost, and the fat from minks is often used in soap, face oils and cosmetics.

Some people, despite this, think that fur is in fact and ethical products. For example, the British Fur Trade Association (BFTA) says that fur is “a natural, renewable and sustainable resource that is kind to the environment and respectful of animals’ welfare”. However, many people realise that the conditions the animals are kept in is far from respectful, and not only this, the farming is actually detrimental to the environment. A 1979 study by the University of Michigan discovered that even though the environmental  cost of faux-fur is relatively high (apparently one gallon of oil was needed to make three faux-lfur jackets), it still takes 20 times more energy to create a farmed-fur coat.

Therefore, ideally it would be great if people could could wear more sustainable fabrics, but if fur is really desirable, be sure to go for a faux option, in order to help both the environment and the animals.


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Barbra & Jack Donachy

Mind if I present a different perspective with a different set of facts, Katie?
As you say, about 80 to 85% of fur is produced under something like factory farm conditions. So, for starters, perhaps your title should not read “Your Fur,” but rather “Some Fur.”
Depending on the particular type, the faux fur you advocate for is derived mainly or in part from coal and oil by-products. In terms of doing what they were designed to do – keep people warm and dry in harsh environmental conditions – they typically don’t function as well as natural fur. Among other things, they don’t prevent snow from melting and refreezing in the fibers, and they tend to be not as warm as natural fur.

More importantly, in my opinion, these plastic-like materials take many hundreds of years to break down – to biodegrade. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that these synthetics 1) often wear out rather quickly and 2) tend to be discarded by their purchases as fashions change. So, they end up in land fills, in our waterways, and so forth.

And then there’s the question of sourcing. Compared to natural fur, faux fur is easy to work with. Easy enough so that children in sweatshops making poverty wages can stitch together these garments.

By contrast, one does not Have to buy a factory farm fur in order to have quality, long-lasting, ethical and environmentally responsible winter apparel. Despite human overpopulation, there are still places where wild animals are locally abundant and where people catch them. The furs made from these animals are beautiful, functional, locally sourced and ethically made. Warm, functional and never out of style, typically these garments are passed down from generation to generation. When they finally are worn out, they biodegrade and return to the earth quickly.

The issues regarding fur is like issues regarding a lot of things in life. There is no “Truth.” There are, instead, various truths, some of which compete with and even contradict each other. Kind regards, Jack Donachy


Sorry for the title, I figured it was more eye catching the way it is, but thanks for the constructive criticism! When reading the article, I do say that faux fur isn’t a environmental product, but in my eyes, as a person who is passionate about animal cruelty it is still favourable to killing nearly 100 animals for one coat. As for their purpose, I understand this too, but they are no longer needed in society, as we have been able to synthesize products that are able to keep us perfectly warm. As a marine conservation student, I understand the detrimental impacts that plastic has on our environment, and I pride myself on being an ethical consumer, therefore myself do not buy form high street stores. Faux fur can be ethically sourced, with many designers choosing to use it over the real counterpart. For me, I would never own faux fur, as I wear natural materials such as organic cotton, was just putting a general argument out there. Thanks, Katie


I personally think that in this situation, vintage fur is the way to go (over faux fur). As others have pointed out in the comments, faux fur is not environmentally friendly at all. It’s polluting to make because it involves the use of several chemicals, and it’s more polluting than real fur when it biodegrades. Not to mention that it’s not very pretty (especially as it ages), so it’s more likely to get thrown out.

Vintage fur, on the other hand, is environmentally friendly. Since it’s an animal product, it biodegrades without polluting (unlike faux fur). Also, when you buy a vintage fur, you’re not supporting the present day fur industry because the animals in your coat died many many years ago, with no new animals having to die to manufacture a new coat. It also keeps one more garment out of the landfill, and in purchasing one, you’re likely supporting a local business (or even possibly a charity if you happen to find one at the thrift store) since neighborhood vintage and consignment shops are most likely to carry vintage furs.


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