What About Vintage Fur?
"Real fur is never an option..." FRENCH VOGUE
A good friend of mine asked a very relevant question this weekend as we were having a picnic with the kids, basking in the beautiful winter's sunshine that Sydney has been getting this month ( global warming perhaps?)
She has a vintage fur coat that was her Grandmother's and she wanted to know what I thought about her wearing it since the animal is already dead and she didn't want the animals life to have been taken in vain, so to throw it out felt wasteful to her. She also felt that at the time the animal would have been killed ( 80 years ago) it was likely to have not been raised in fur farms like fur comes from today - which she would never support due to their inherent and rampant cruelty to the animals. I think her dilemma reflects what many people feel, maybe not to fur but perhaps even to leather, which is why I want to share our chat.
If the animal is already dead, then by not eating it/wearing it, are we not then just wasting his/her life that was taken?
Perhaps? Yet I look at it by viewing my choices that create the world I want to be part of, the world I dream of for the future.
In this world animals are not kept in tiny cages, so small and lacking of any space they are unable to fulfil natural instincts and suffer terribly their whole lives. Only to then be electrocuted by their genitals so their fur isn't "messed" up just so people can then wear their fur because it is "fashionable." In this future world we would look at fur for what it is - unkind, thoughtless, shameful torturing of animals. Not at all fashionable. Nor acceptable.
I'm not trying to be ignorant in thinking about a perfect world - but I am making my decisions with this in mind. What do I want for the future, for the world my children will live in...
Which means I buy, wear and do things that I want to promote and see more of - and I avoid what I want to see less of. Each time someone wears fur, vintage or new, they are promoting that it is OK - they are promoting the existence of this industry as it exists today, whether they want to or not. And in turn, they are promoting that it is OK to keep animals with feelings in tiny cages and then electrocute them. So my answer to my girlfriend was I wouldn't personally wear the fur coat, even if it is vintage because of what it represents.
What we see on the streets and in our homes, generally we, and importantly our children, see as acceptable. An example is in Australia smoking used to be cool and fashionable and everyone smoked everywhere. Then, slowly with education of what it really does to us, it moved to tolerated. Now, far from fashionable, it is looked upon as downright disgusting, which means less people do it in public and most importantly the consequence of this is that less people start the habit to begin with. Over time a shift has occurred.
This can be done for any industry that causes harm. The fur industry included. ( Even with the current animal agricultural industry....)
I understand the animal did die for my friends jacket. But by wearing it she would be promoting for more animals to die in a horrific manner for fashion. The same can be said for leather - the more we wear leather ( and yes, the animal did die for it) the more we say it is acceptable to raise animals in factory farming conditions and then kill them for a fashion taste. This also means each time we choose another option we are saying we choose another way. ANOTHER FUTURE.
I also wonder if that fur jacket was made from lion skin, would she still have asked the question I wonder? Because I am pretty sure killing lions for their skin is not looked upon as fashionable or even acceptable anymore! So her argument that the animal had died in vain perhaps would no longer tug at her because why would she want to walk around with a dead lion as a jacket and have everyone glare at her?
Goodness, what if that jacket was made from a child's skin? Crazy crazy I know. But lets use that same argument that you don't want the animal to have died in vain... well, what if that child was killed for her skin? Would we be ok wearing her dead skin because we wouldn't want her life to be taken in vain? I don't think so....
When it comes down to it we do what we feel is right. I love my friend whether she wears the jacket or not. But it will only ever look ugly to me. Unbearable for my children. And hopefully one day, in years to come, it would cause a outcry to wear it because we will no longer tolerate cruelty for something as fickle as fashion.