We regularly find angry emojis and anti-fur comments on our Facebook posts, despite the fact that all our furs are many years old and for me they are beautiful pieces of fashion history. How many articles in a modern wardrobe will still look as good as new after 60+ years and evoke generations of memories.
It made me especially frustrated the other day when someone decided to review our business with a 1 out of 5 after it showed on her facebook feed. “I’ve never been so infuriated to have an ad appear in my newsfeed. It’s 2018 and it is an acceptable [sic]. I’m disgusted by your products and offended that I’ve seen them on my timeline.”
So here I am perhaps opening myself up to more of the same but I have to ask why is it OK for others to be disrespectful of my ethics when they have no idea who I am or what I stand for? I am pretty sure that if I was to meet that person face-to-face there would be elements of her lifestyle that would be contrary to what I find sit happily with my moral compass, but we each make our own choices: the really important thing is that our choices are informed and we respect others even when we disagree.
The teenage version of me would probably have made a similar uninformed knee jerk comment about anything related to the fur industry because I had happily read and believed the anti-fur propaganda machine without looking at the realities of the other side. At that point in my life it was disgusting that someone would wear an animal that had clearly been killed just to be worn as a garment. Yet I would happily have been eating a chicken burger from a big fast food outlet whilst wearing a faux sheep skin fleece (that probably now is in a landfill where it will remain for many more generations, unchanged) and wearing my sweat shop produced jeans made from one of the most polluting plant crops, ignorant to the impact on the health and well-being of the people forced to work in clothing factories.
Thirty years on I have questioned a great many of my preconceived ideas. I haven’t had one of those chicken burgers for 20 or more years; nearly all of my clothes are second hand and that anti-fur stance that I held so fiercely has gone.
It started with buying a possum pelt. I liked that someone was using the fur as a by-product of pest control; then I found a second hand rabbit jacket in an op shop and from there my love of old fur garments has grown to the point that we have a collection of over 40 items we consider treasures. We care for each of them and are very particular about their storage; I’d like to think they’ll still be around for another 50 years. My clothes often get thrown on the floor after a long day but not my furs; they are hung up and put away; I may not have bought them new but they are still a luxury that commands respect. If we treated all our belongings that way then the Earth in 2018 would be in a much better state.
I have absolutely no qualms about wearing vintage or second hand fur as I really do not see how it fuels the fur trade, but despite that I take the angry emojis and comments to heart and so I continue questioning my ethics. To be truthful the more I look into the modern fur industry, the more I am persuaded it is worthy of support. Sure there will be some fur farms which fall short where animal welfare and husbandry standards are concerned and this is not acceptable, but sadly there are examples of malpractice in most industries. We can do our bit by being informed, educating others and by consumer pressure; buying only what passes scrutiny. Did you know that all pelts produced in Europe must be fully traceable? That means a full coat or a small keyring pompom! China that's a totally different story. Its up to us as consumer to be fully aware, where's your coffee from?
I’m sure my teenage self would be utterly horrified by this conclusion, being, as I was, more than happy to believe the propaganda that the anti-fur organisations release. And by the way I checked out some anti fur articles this morning; if you can look behind the emotive drama you'll find that their arguments are just not logical. According to PETA, Mink “are housed in unbearably small cages—live with fear, stress, disease, parasites, and other physical and psychological hardships”. For a fur garment the pelt must be in excellent condition. An animal that is under stress with disease and parasites, that is scratching and biting itself in distress would not have a good pelt; it would be useless to the fur industry.
It comes down to choice and respect for others viewpoints. I prefer to consider the sustainability and long term impact of my personal choices. In doing so I accept that animals die because I eat meat and wear animal products; however the conditions in which they live and the method by which they die is relevant to the choices I make. But I believe that wearing fur is a good thing. The International Fur Federation have taken huge steps in making the industry transparent. Check out their page at https://www.wearefur.com/responsible-fur/ for information on fur farming, wild fur harvesting, environmental impact, fur ethics and their fur certification program. So keen is the fur industry to prove its point that in Denmark they have an open farm policy; how many other industries are prepared to do that?
As a comparison the International Cotton Association website does not have any information that I can easily find on anything comparable yet most of us wear it without question.
So it comes down to choice. I do not ask that people share my views but I do ask that they respect them; I do not post angry emojis or make negative comments on peoples posts when I have no right to do so and I simply ask that if you do not like what we do, please do not judge unless you have scrutinised your morals thoroughly; simply ignore us and move on.