We have hunted fur bearing animals in the wild for many years and in the past few centuries, they have been raised on farms. Fur was an important trading item in Russian and North American history and today it’s a fashion statement.
Fur farms are generally preferred in the US as they ensure strict diets and breeding and consequently a high-quality pelt. However, China now holds an increasingly large part of the fur market. The pelt most commonly used is mink and fox.
In the US there are very few US federal statutes regarding fur animals. Laws like Lacey Act or the Fur Seal Act and the Endangered Species Act deals with protecting wild animals, but the US does have a Fur Products Labelling Act, which provides that garments containing fur be properly labelled, and it has a Dog and Cat Fur Protection Act, which prohibits dog and cat fur trade in the US. This is due, in a large part to the alleged killing of dogs and cats in China for their fur.
Many states have laws on trapping animals. For example, they will have license requirements and legal hunting seasons.
International laws are diverse in strength, but some are much stronger than US federal and state laws. China has virtually no regulations to protect fur animals. Few countries have strictly regulated or completely banned fur farms, ( Austria, the UK, and Croatia have bans, the Netherlands has a ban on fox and chinchilla farming and New Zealand , Sweden and Switzerland have strict regulations) over 60 countries have banned certain types of traps and some countries have labelling laws. Israel outlaws the importation, exportation and sale of fur within its country lines.
There is a significant illegal fur trade, especially for tiger fur within Asia. CITES is an international agreement between over 175 nations that works to protect endangered and threatened species. While China has tiger farms, many other countries are working to eliminate poaching and increase law enforcement.
But China’s increasing role in the industry and its lack of regulations are the areas that need the most improvement in order to instil better treatment for fur animals.
The latest revelation is that Gucci has finally in the latter months of 2017 gone fur free.
The majority of fashion designers and retailers concede to there being no place for fur in the 21st century. But unfortunately there are still some large well known retailers who reinforce real fur.
Some of the following stars who confirm their stance on real fur:
In October 2017 and nothing less than two decades of public campaigning by PETA and other animal rights activists – Gucci chief executive officer, Mario Bizzarri announced that the Italian luxury brand was finally going fur free. Bizzarri confirmed that real fur is on its way out and the industry is dying.
Eighty-six percent of shows at London’s Fashion Week last year did not feature fur. Those that did, did it for news worthy controversy and the attention.
There is a growing list of designers and retailers who are fur free and have strict no-fur policies. However there are still a few designers who remain in a time warp- likened to cave people who refuse to embrace social change and create daring and innovative designs without harming animals. Such as Fendi, Dior, Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton and Karl Lagerfeld.
It was announced in the UK in December 2017 that Michael Kors was going fur free and it’s American luxury brand would phase out of his collection countrywide, including its recently acquired brand Jimmy Choo, animal fur products.
It succumbs to the changing consumer tastes and increasing pressure from animal rights activists, by looking at using innovative materials.
Michael Kors is quoted at saying that “due to technological advances in fabrications, we now have the ability to create a luxe aesthetic using non-animal fur.” These he promises will be paraded in his upcoming runway show in February 2018.
However despite the number of brands announcing fur free policies- there is still a large number of collections maintaining a presence of fur in production of their designs. Arguably designers express that fur is given a breadth of creative possibilities and is natural and sustainable.
But I have to agree with Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) “Killing animals [soley] for fur is archaic and in humane.” What do you think?