Fur is Green: A Desperate Greenwash from the Fur Council of Canada

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Guest post by Lesley Fox

– Editor’s note: this post is a followup to our recent post on the “Fur is Green” campaign by the Fur Council of Canada –

It’s really not worth the rebuttal, but I just can’t help but comment on the “Fur is Green” campaign by The Fur Council of Canada. Their desperation to appear hip, timely or relevant couldn’t be more transparent.

Claiming that fur and fur-trimmed products are “green”, “ecological”, or “environmental” is the equivalent of saying, “have a nice day”. There are no restrictions or regulations on using these terms and the fur industry has no independent endorsement or certification of its so-called commitment to the environment or “eco” practices.

The whole process of turning an animal into a fur coat or trim is extremely energy intensive. It involves soaking, washing, fleshing, turning, tanning, extraction, wringing, drying, cleaning, plucking, shearing, trimming, shaving, buffing, drying and finishing. Don’t forget about all of the chemical treatments necessary to keep pelts from decaying or collecting fleas! Plus, it’s a global product that relies on fossil fuels to be transported all over the world. And if you already own a fur, the industry recommends you store it in a temperature-controlled vault during the warm summer.

The fur industry knows this whole campaign is a farce. In their own recent publications (2007) they admitted that China, the largest manufacturer of fur products and textiles made with fur, was considering imposing an extremely punitive value added tax on fur dressers and tanneries because they are considered “industries causing excessive pollution”.

Trapping and fur farms

Animals killed for their fur come from the wild or fur farms.

The trapping and removing of millions of wildlife from the wild is very disruptive to our eco-system. Animals are not chosen because they are “surplus”, weak, sick or diseased. They are killed because they happen to be the 10 or 12 species that have nice, thick fur that will sell at auction.

The fur trade will claim that no endangered species are used in their fur products, as if this was a commendable feature. But refraining from intentionally harming or killing endangered species is the LAW, and following the law is a bare minimum requirement of all industries! The truth is, traps cannot distinguish endangered species from non-endangered ones. There is no sign for endangered animals, like eagles or swift foxes, to warn them: “Hey, if you are an endangered species do not step here.”

Fur farms are no better. Animals such as minks and foxes are often raised on large-scale operations for their fur. Animal waste, runoff, water consumption, transportation, housing materials/lighting and feed crops are also extremely energy intensive.

Fur is NOT a fabric. It is an unnecessary and cruel product. It is skin ripped off a once breathing, feeling animal. There is nothing “green” or “ecological” about cruelty.


Lesley Fox is the Executive Director for the non-profit anti-fur group, Fur-Bearer Defenders. www.banlegholdtraps.com

Image credit: Eric Bégin, courtesy Flickr

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  2. c’mon, these are animals. God created them. And some people are taking advantage of them through making fur-killing animals.. I appreciate people who are against this.

  3. They pointed out that there was a surplus of animals from the excess amount of young most animals have. The truth is, we don’t need to kill their young. Predators do that. And that’s whats keeping the food chain in balance. By unnecessarily collecting and trapping these animals, we are disrupting the food chain (what would the predators eat?)These species will eventually die out.

  4. fur IS green. people used to wear furs exclusively until they invented other fabrics. the only reason anyone cares now is because terrorist groups like peta spend millions of dollars every year on swear campaigns. besides THE INDUSTRY IS FUCKING HEAVILY REGULATED BY THE GOVERNMENT. there is no killing off species, destroying the ecosystem, or anything like that, they dont let that happen or else their industry would be gone!

    and who gives a fuck if the process is “energy intensive”? it takes a lot of hard work to make a fine quality product. thats called craftsmanship, something we tend to value but often take for granted in america. most fur farmers are small family owned businesses anyway

  5. I can understand this in moderation but if a ton of animals die because of this and it screws up our ecosystem it wouldn’t be green anymore would it.

  6. I agree with the fact that Fur isn’t green. It is not and will never be. Endangered animals are being sacrificed just to meet the needs of the people wherein fact there can be a replacement for this. Green does not only concern planting trees and growing more tree. It is also protecting the lives of the animals that are also essential to maintain the equilibrium point.

  7. Fur is green. And even if a trap can’t tell an endangered animal from a non, it doesn’t matter, traps TRAP not kill. If its the wrong animal you release it. The old spring traps of the 1800s aren’t in use anymore if that’s what your picturing.

    Also I don’t see what “product that relies on fossil fuels to be transported all over the world” has to do with anything. How do you think synthetic fabrics travel?

    Also fur does not need to be treated for fleas. Fleas feed on blood, fur doesn’t have blood. Common sense.

    As for putting the ecosystem out of whack, not at all. Trappers are some of the most stanch conservationists. Things like beavers are rodents. I don’t say that be be cruel, I say it to point out they they breed like rodents. Their predators have long been pushed out by settlement NOT by hunting or trapping.

    And to say that there is nothing green about cruelty is childish. Plain and simple. In nature not animal dies of old age. To be green is to see yourself as part of the natural system and behave responsibly. As part of that system we are allowed to our take things from it to use for our survival. Like animal resources (fur).

    Also cute fox picture. Its too young to be trapped. If you can’t make an argument, make an emotional appeal right?

  8. To mix up animal slaughter for fur and for other uses, eating for instance, is fundamentally wrong. While the ethical questions involved might be similar to a degree, the fact of the matter is there are other considerations involved. An animal who has been unfortunate enough to be run over by a truck can easily be consumed as meat (without any moral issues), but its fur of course is rendered useless due to disfiguration. The reason behind meting out such cruel deaths to animals is same. To skin them alive is to keep their fur intact.
    Killing for fur is a different matter because the species involved usually are endangered and their end-product i.e fur clothes do nothing except satiating the vanity-needs of the so called rich elites. Is that same as a poor guy fishing because he cannot afford brown bread? That is for you to decide.

  9. Hey dude, well said. Yeah, animals need to be protected not to be killed for man’s selfish motto. We should have a conservative motto towards the nature and wildlife curiously. I would say that a man with destructive motto towards wildlife need to be punished while a man with conservative ideas towards nature should be rewarded. Let us stop killing animals for fur and help the nature and environment. Thank You!

  10. And once again you have some facts wrong. But that happens when you are uneducated and are commenting on topics that you do know much about and are living in a city. Love talking to people from the city, total clueless about animals. Eco-up set. What a joke. I can’t believe people could even buy that B.S. But I must say the best lies are the animal’s rights people. I will give them that 🙂

  11. You’re not talking with anybody, you’re talking at nobody in particular – and not saying very much.
    What facts are wrong? You back up your accusations with nothing, no support whatsoever.

    Are you even sure what the argument here is? If you want to wear a dandy fur coat, go ahead. You’ll need to support any claim that wearing it should be considered “green.”

    Get a grip.

  12. This is all just an excuse that can be used by people who like fur so they can continue using it without any guilt whatsoever. Healthy, robust animals are killed for their fur. Period. These are animals that are not supposed to die. At least not just yet. Anyone in their right mind could see that there is something definitely wrong with that.

  13. “These are animals that are not supposed to die”

    without the fur industry, these animals would have never been born.

    …fur is obviousluy green, just like organic food. and it’s nice, too!

    (sorry for my bad english)

  14. @ Blip:

    “Traps TRAP, not kill. If its [sic] the wrong animal you release it.”
    What about Conibear traps? They are designed to crush the spine. Good luck releasing an animal caught in that trap. Same deal with cable snares. And Conibears were developed in the middle of the 20th century, so your argument actually works against you. The funny thing is that Frank Conibear himself later admitted that non-target catches were a big problem in his traps, using the example of a weasel that gets caught in a trap set for beaver, gets caught farther down the spine, and dies horribly.

    If I had written this article, I would have focused on the carcinogenic solvents used to tan pelts, such as chlorobenzene and toluene. And you’re right, fleas do feed on blood. Dermestids, however, are these pesky little beetles that feed on hides, hair and feather; they are the bane of museum curators everywhere. Furs do need to be protected from dermestids.

    Beavers are indeed rodents, but due to their large body size they do not have the same reproductive rates as smaller rodents such as rats and mice. Beavers average about two cubs per year. And predators have been pushed out by hunting and trapping. Ever heard of the sea mink? The last one was killed in 1890. The fur trade drove it to extinction. The Newfoundland marten has, more recently, been driven down in numbers due to a double whammy of fur trapping and habitat loss. And in Arizona, trapping of coyotes and bobcats in the 1990s led to an explosion in the packrat population, which led to a hantavirus epidemic…which killed people.

    As for the cute fox…well, traps are nonselective. Could be caught by accident. Same goes for dogs and cats.

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