Lying for days in agony. Ripped away from your family. Chewing your own limbs off. Covered in open wounds. Living in vomit and excrement. Suffering from starvation and hypothermia. Anally electrocuted.
These are just some of the things that animals in the fur industry endure. Over the past three winters, I’ve witnessed a massive increase in the use of real fur for anything from fur trim hoods to shoe pom poms. Real fur adorns hats, gloves, gillets, hair clips, keyrings, bags, coats and jackets. That’s only what you see in the street. I dread to think of what’s in peoples homes. Fur trim aprons? Fur pom poms hanging off make up bags? Fur throws on sofas and chairs? Probably, almost definitely in fact.
Fur is on the rise, but why? In the 1990s, we saw many popular public campaigns to stop the use of real fur, and they worked. People had red paint thrown on them if they dare wore real fur in the street. Public opinion was very much anti-fur, and only rich old weirdos who still owned moth eaten mink coats from the 40s seemed to carry on oblivious.
This is no longer the case. Celebrities are frequently snapped wearing raccoon, coyote, mink, bobcat, rabbit, fox and many more poor innocent victims of the once again popular fur trade. Even celebs who in the past stood up against fur, now seem to have had a kindness lobotomy and are wearing fur. Trends are encouraging this, and brands who use real fur like Canada Goose, Woolwich and Moncler are all in vogue right now, with every member of society, including children, buying into their cruelty.
One of the problems seems to be that people do not think it’s real fur. No, I’m serious. The amount of people who have retorted ‘it’s not real’ when it’s been pointed out that they’re wearing the tortured skin of an animal is at least 9 out of 10. Most of these people are lying through their teeth because they’re guilty and they know it’s impossible to justify this sort of animal cruelty. But there are the few who look genuinely shocked, and rather horrified that such a thing could be suggested.
It’s not surprising given the recent undercover investigation into fur sold on the high street. In a recent episode of ‘Fake Britain’, it was revealed that many high street shops, including House of Fraser and TK Maxx, are selling real fur labelled as faux. How sick is that? There is so much fur being stripped off animals backs now that it’s actually more profitable for fur traders to sell it as faux than it is to sell it as real! The problem is, is that we trust what we’re being told, and if we’re told it’s fake, it’s fake.
A quick internet search reveals more places selling real fur as faux. My friend found this just the other day:
To me, this is undoubtedly real fur. To be sure, I googled the brand and tried to find it on their website, but they don’t list the fur as a material when describing their item. I thought materials had to be listed on clothes but maybe I’m wrong… But it didn’t take long to find a similar Stone Island coat elsewhere, indeed labelled with real coyote fur.
Many shops claim they had no idea they were selling real fur, and to be fair to them, they do stop selling it once they know, but, really?? What is this sudden ignorance surrounding real fur? Have you never stroked a cat or a dog? Real fur is EASY to spot, and I’m going to tell you how.
STEP ONE – LOOK
Fluffy and light
How does the fur look? Does it look soft, light and fluffy, and blows gently in the wind? Or is it matted and stiff? Real fur moves like you’d expect it to, like your hair blows in the wind. Fake fur might have a bit of movement in the tips but the bulk of it remains exactly where it’s welded to the hood.
Real fur has the natural tapering of many animals coats. There are different lengths of hair spread throughout the coat, from the short down hairs, to the longest spikes bits. The down part is also a different colour to the rest of the fur, usually slightly grey. Faux furs try to recreate this but it’s never very convincing. Like trying to pass off bad hair extensions next to naturally long, layered hair.
STEP TWO – FEEL
This is tricky to do on someone wearing the coat, but you can test this out in a shop. Real fur has a super soft ‘downy’ layer, so when you put your hand into it, it’s like putting your hand deep into the coat of a fluffy dog or cat. You can feel the fine outer hairs, and then the denser, down underneath. When you touch faux fur, there’s no down layer. It’s coarser, it feels like fabric. It’s extremely difficult to recreate the feel of real fur. Have a look at someone wearing fur, imagine putting your hand into it, and you should be able to judge what it would feel like.
STEP THREE – SKIN
Faux furs are fabric, strands of nylon or polyester, painstakingly sewn into the seams of a hood, or a hat bobble. If you part the fur, you can see where it’s all sewn in. Real fur is attached to a layer of skin. Not surprisingly, that’s where it grew. So when you part real fur, you can either see the soft, treated hide underneath. If you can’t see it, you should be able to feel it beneath the seam.
STEP FOUR – BRANDS
Get to know your brands. This is a sure-fire way to explain real fur over faux. Many people will still argue with you, even after you’ve proved all the above points, but when you bring out the big guns and say ‘Woolrich use wild trapped coyote to lace their hoods with’, there’s not much more to be said. That person was either stupid enough to buy a coat with real fur on it and not even check whether it was real, or, they read the words ‘real coyote trim’ on the label with an ‘I know nothing about this so I can dismiss it’ attitude. Or they’re a certified psychopath and they genuinely enjoy animal abuse. The third option is the least likely. Most people do care in one way or another. Thus, your bombshell may result in a quick google search, which will confirm what you’ve said and it might just make that person think twice about what they’ve bought.
Now you know, you can get out there and start spotting real fur. Remember, a #furhag will often be defensive or ‘ignorant’, but they need to know that they’re wearing abhorrent cruelty. Shops and brands also need to be told to stop selling real fur, including shops that label real as faux. Shaming them publicly is bad for business – do it. Use social media to get the message out there. There are also many anti-fur groups, campaigns and protests that you can get involved with such as Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade (CAFT) and Respect for Animals.
Please help wipe real fur off the face of the planet. It’s sick and twisted, and no being should have to suffer what fur animals do.