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Born Free USA Blog

Born Free USA Blog

Claptrap

Published 08/07/09
By Barbara Schmitz, Senior Program Associate

Question: Is a fur coat really more environmentally friendly than a fake one?

Answer: NO. For more than a decade, the fur industry has tried to “green” its image by claiming that real fur is more environmentally friendly than fake fur. But that is just nonsense. It takes nearly three times more energy to produce a fur coat from trapped animals than it does to produce a synthetic fur, according to a study by Gregory Smith, a transportation research engineer at the University of Michigan. The study included the energy costs of skinning, pelt drying, transporting, processing, and manufacturing the fur products. And environmentally harmful chemicals, including chromium and formaldehyde, also are used to process real fur to keep it from rotting. Far from being “natural” and “renewable,” real fur from trapped animals is environmentally (and ethically) indefensible.

Trappers and furriers also make other claims to ease the consciences of consumers who might or actually do buy fur: Trapping is humane, trapping is selective, and trapping is necessary to manage wildlife. These claims are myths, easily refuted. It’s fascinating to read and hear what the trappers and furriers say — because sometimes they actually tell on themselves.

An intriguing article recently announced that a “humane” trap had just been patented. Based on the information that I have now, I have lots of questions about whether or not this new leg-restraint trap is “humane” at all. But this is where it gets really interesting: the article admits that animals gnaw off their own limbs to escape painful and inhumane body-gripping traps, like conibear and leghold traps.

Well, it’s about time that trappers admit that their tools of the trade are inhumane and cruel. Now that’s a claim that we can agree on.

Blogging off,

Barbara

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