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The Fur Debate

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The Fur Debate


Even though it is one of the oldest forms of clothing to ever exist, it has long been a complex and emotional issue – The fur debates- on one side stir the emotional animal value and on the other puts forth the stand of its cultural and traditional history. 

In recent years, natural fur’s popularity has gone through an up and down graph; bringing about major changes in the fur market. In August 2017, Vogue Paris paid homage to fur. While top fashion houses like Gucci, Stella McCartney, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, and Givenchy decided to stop using animal fur. An early adopter, American designer Ralph Lauren’s brand gave up usage of fur back in 2006. In contrast, fur farming hasn’t taken a back seat and organizations like the International Fur Federation continue to facilitate the operations of the fur market in a ‘sustainable manner’. 

The Fur Debate industry & China

The global fur industry is valued at over US$40 billion. ‘Fur farming’, as it is referred to, makes up the global fur industry. Essentially, different types of animals being bred and raised for their fur constitute the core activity. One of the key players in the fur market is undoubted, China. The city of Haining in Zhejiang province, situated at about 125 kilometers west-ward of Shanghai, is a power hub in the world market of fur. 

The city has maintained its rapid operations for over 100 years. Italian fashion giant Versace also joined the fur-free club in March 2018. “Fur? I am out of that. I don’t want to kill animals to make fashion. It doesn’t feel right”, said Donatella Versace in an interview. The International Fur Federation is the sole organization that represents the global fur industry and regulates trade and practices. 

Furry ‘friends’

The fur-bearing animals that have long been exploited for their natural fur include a long list, namely:  minks, foxes, raccoons, coyotes, chinchillas, beavers, muskrats, lynx, fishers, sables, rabbits, Persian sheep ad otters.“Man’s best friend” also makes the list. The use of feathers is also largely prevalent in fashion, which is just as cruel as using fur. 

The most in-demand ‘fur’

The wild fur of coyotes and sable is deemed the most prized kind of fur. Coyotes also are known as the prairie wolf is found in North America and is a native of the same. The coats are recognizable by the company’s official design that shows the Arctic Circle. While sable is also one of the most sought-after furs. The sable is a species of martens, a petite carnivorous mammal who is a native of Russia. 

Countries exporting fur

The largest producers of wild or natural fur globally, are Canada and the USA. The fur that these two nations export is the natural fur of coyotes, fishers, martens, lynx, and bobcats. Holding slightly lesser value but are extremely abundant, include raccoon, muskrat, opossum, beaver and red fox. 

Basically, the usage of fur has always been and still is a complex issue. With it being used since the middle ages, some argue that it holds traditional values and heritage while the animal rights theory of thought thinks otherwise and is constantly trying to protect animals.“It’s about time that the fashion industry woke up and realized that fur is cruel, barbaric and unfashionable,” stated fashion designer Stella McCartney. The fact that using wild fur as a commodity is simply not right and blatantly cruel has gained momentum over the years and currently more than ever, as the fashion industry is at the center of this issue. 

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