There is a popular stereotype about people living luxurious lives—or to be precise, about what they dress. Hollywood movies, novels about beaumonde, glossy magazines, and commercials promote the idea that rich people adore wearing expensive furs and things made from natural leather. Unfortunately, it is not only rich people who wear furs and leather—all over the world, those who have money believe it is their privilege to wear clothes made from the skins of innocent animals. And although the fur and leather industry is prospering, despite the effort of PETA and other similar organizations, public opinion should be persuaded that such a consumerist approach to nature and to the lives of animals is wrong.
In prehistory, wearing clothes from furs and skins was a natural act; there were no textiles, no cotton plants, no other manufactured types of fabric; generally speaking, there was no technology allowing people to wear something except animal skins. However, with the advancement of technological progress and the invention of synthetic fibers, the real need for furs and leather has decreased. Technology allows creating artificial furs and leathers almost similar to natural ones, but for much lower prime costs, and without any harm to animals (IFR).
Animals are perhaps the most affected party. Not to mention what they are turned into, it also affects the conditions in which they are raised, and keeping them on fur farms is cruel. The closest comparison would probably be to the meat farms; fur animals are born and die on the farm, sometimes never even leaving their cages. These cages are small enough to prevent active movement during the day; such conditions harm animals not only physically, but psychologically as well—in particular, they suffer from stress and nervousness. To provide you with the approximate scales of the problem, it takes up to 80 mink skins to create one mink coat; now imagine how many animals are being tortured through inappropriate living conditions every day; this is not to mention that they are being cruelly killed through electrocution or neck-breaking—just to prevent any damage to their skins and fur (Fashion With A Heart).
However, sometimes furs people wear are not luxurious; you could be wearing a cheap imitation without even knowing it. Do you buy furs produced in China, for example? Due to the low prices of their pelts, China has now become one of the biggest (if not the biggest) fur importers in the world. There is a horrible fact though: those pelts mostly belong to cats and dogs, not to chinchillas or foxes. Annually, more than two million cats and dogs are killed in China for their fur—not the best material for a luxurious coat. Some of these animals still have their collars on them when caught or slaughtered; many of these animals are alive when factory workers hang them up for skinning. Once again, to prevent any possible damage to furs, cats and dogs are being strangled in their cages (Daily Mail).
All this is cruel and unfair. Even though many animal species with fur are not being hunted—so it might seem there is no damage dealt to wild nature—the conditions in which they are bred and raised are horrible. Minks, chinchillas, and other species have to live in narrow, small cages, preventing movement and causing them physical and mental harm. This is not to mention the cruel ways of slaughtering. Besides, there exist synthetic substitutes for furs and leathers, which are cheaper, similar to natural ones, and the production of which does not involve dealing damage to animals.
“Animal Cruelty in the Fashion Industry.” Fashion With a Heart. N.p., 06 May 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.
“Fur is Back…and the Fashion Industry Should Hang its Head in Shame. “Daily Mail. Associated Newspapers, n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.
Doe, John. “Wearing Fur is Bad.” IFR. N.p., 12 Nov. 2013. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.
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