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Born Free USA Blog

Born Free USA Blog

Who do they think they are fooling?

Published 05/12/08
By Monica Engebretson, Senior Program Associate

The award for the biggest green-washing campaign of the year has got to go to the fur industry for its attempt to sell the idea that fur is an environmentally friendly product, touting it as the “ultimate eco-clothing.” Umm ... isn’t the point of eco-conscience clothing to minimize harm to the earth and all who live here — including the animals?

Even if one could get over the fact that fur either comes from animals forced to live in tiny, filthy cages until they have their necks snapped or are electrocuted and skinned for their fur or from wildlife captured in body-crushing traps or strangulation neck snares, there are lots of reasons fur is far from “green.”

Like any other factory farm, fur farms produce lots of animal waste (i.e., mink and fox poop) that is too intensely concentrated to be neutralized by natural processes, and as any reputable source will tell you manure from meat-eating animals should never be used as fertilizer for growing food, because it can carry dangerous pathogens and parasites.

And don’t buy the argument using fur for clothing is just a way of “utilizing the whole animal” and thereby a sign of respect. Think about that for a minute. When was that last time anyone ate a “fox burger” or “mink sandwich”? The meat from fur animals is not eaten typically, not even rabbit since a different breed is raised for meat than is raised for fur.

The industry also claims that fur is a “biodegradable natural product.” Well, while it’s true that when a fox, mink, or rabbit dies in the wild its fur is biodegradable, however it is precisely for this reason that fur used in fashion must be treated with loads of chemicals including toxic chromium and formaldehyde to keep it from rotting off the backs of humans who wear it. This is a process called “tanning” similar to the process used to preserve leather. By the way, tanneries more than any other business are on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund list that identifies the priority environmental clean-ups (no wonder most have moved their operations overseas).

Finally, how can a product that directly threatens endangered species be considered green?

I guess the only question left is, just who exactly does the fur industry think it is fooling?

Blogging off,

Monica

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