Oh dear. Yet another report proclaiming “Fur is back!” This time it’s The New York Times and “Fashion Feels Fur’s Warm Embrace.” “For the first time in more than two decades, more designers are using fur than not,” it says. Turns out that the furriers have “aggressively courted designers, especially young ones, to embrace fur by giving them free samples and approaching them through trade groups — sometimes when they are still in college.”

The animal rights movement is failing on the anti-fur campaign. And it should know better after decades of activity. The problem? The movement indulges the fur industry by framing the wearing of fur as a cruelty-free lifestyle choice issue. So, the mindset is that if fashion designers want to use fur, well, that’s their prerogative. If people want to wear fur, well, that’s their choice too.

Instead of framing fur as a personal lifestyle choice issue and essentially working with the fur trade in some sort of bizarre tango of anti and pro, the animal rights movement should be implementing a long-term strategy targeting the production of fur as a public policy issue. For example, where are the legislative initiatives regulating how animals are raised for fur and how they are killed? Use public sympathy for the way in which animals are raised and killed to get laws passed making the production of fur that much more expensive.

Sadly, the annual “Fur is back!” pantomime will keep occurring; animal advocates will keep wailing about why can’t we end fur?; and organizations will continue to use fur as an issue to attract attention and raise funds — well, all of this will continue to continue all the time we allow the debate about fur to be about personal lifestyle choice.

It’s time for the animal rights movement to grow up and get political.

2 comments on “Why Fur is Not Off Our Backs

  • I agree that the fight against the fur trade has become more than an uphill struggle. However, it is not only unfair but also wrong to say that anti-fur activists are not having the right approach. There are many factors involved in it, to name a few: 1) because we are all on a string budget fighting against a multi-billion dollar industry that buys all the right people from politicians to designers to keep the bloody harvest going. 2) Vegetarians and vegans keep walking away from fur farms because they say it is no different than slaughterhouses and will not support a specific issue such as the anti-fur activism. It is all or nothing. 3) Large animal organizations that monopolize the donations worldwide are leading a very frail leadership against fur and no accomplishment to speak of. Anything accomplished so far such as EU ban on cat/dog fur and seal products have been a worldwide grassroots effort. Israel is working to ban fur — all a grassroots effort of which I am a part of — no support from large orgs. 4) Other animal rights activists in general are overburned by the bad economy (people losing jobs, homes) and so many causes they are involved with. I could go on with an enormous list, but you get the idea. I for one, have started the Anti-Fur Society group in the last five years and work virtually night and day for free, like myself there are groups doing the same, but all boils down to one thing: MONEY! We have accomplished much considering our resources. If you want to know more, get involved and you’ll see that things aren’t as simple as 1, 2, 3.

  • I was deeply think about this the other day. I was thinking about how animal rights activists cannot blatantly attack people who wear fur. We have to take a neutral approach and keep a low profile. Because the more we aggravate them, the more they feel the need to promote and advertise.

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