Our society has moved on from a lot of archaic practices and we are getting (very slowly) more conscious of the impact humans have on the environment and the animal kingdom. However, there is one industry I see as completely unnecessary and barbaric that hasn't moved on at all- the fur industry. The fur industry is very much alive for one reason, fashion. How it became fashionable to wear the fur skins of animals I do not know, but in this time - how is it still seen as acceptable by a lot of people? There are (unfortunately) plenty of high street big named brands that still use fur in their fashion lines. There is no doubt fur used to be a lot more popular, it was seen as a status statement for sure. But in London certainly, I see someone wearing a fur item almost daily and its not just the older generation - so some demand for it is very much there. I understand people may not feel the same as me on many of the issues I feel passionate about, but chatting to a lot of people I know (vegan and non vegan) they feel the same as me and wouldn't want to contribute to the fur industry in any way.
The reality of the fur industry is hideous, there is nothing humane about it. An animal is bred for this specific purpose in squalid conditions, often suffering serious injuries, there are hardly any standards of care, they're shot and/or electrocuted, beaten, skinned (sometimes skinned alive), boiled - you get the gist. This is an utterly horrible and unnecessary industry - for fashion- FASHION?!.
In most circumstances the consumer has the power to change the demand for products, with fur it should be the same - the less people actually purchasing it should decrease demand. Unfortunately, things are not this easy with regards to fur. Real fur items are on the shelves in the high street shops but are being sold as fake fur. Yesterday on the sky news site there was an article about this very thing (see it here), they did an investigation and on various different brands (House Of Fraser, Misguided and more) they found traces of rabbit, raccoon, mink and cat fur on products that stated they were faux. A big misconception is that real fur costs a lot of money - it absolutely does not, so if you're buying a faux fur scarf or gloves for £10 they could very well contain real fur - DO NOT TRUST THE CHEAP PRICE.
So how are you supposed to tell? It's bloody difficult and that is the truth. There are some very good imitation furs out there and they feel very similar to the real deal. In some cases it can be obvious, if the 'fur' is attached to some backing material like felt or cotton it's more often than not faux fur. But if you look and see that it's naturally attached to a pelt - it's real and stay clear. But as I say, it may still be real and have been attached to some other material. I find I can often tell if something is real fur by the way it moves - in the wind or just running your hand over the ends slightly, real fur has tapered ends and just moves in a certain way - if you've ever watched a David Attenborough documentary with some foxes take that as an example! But again - hardly anyone is an expert and it could be disguised.
So it really isn't that simple at all unfortunately, I hope those brands that were found to contain real fur will investigate their suppliers and sort this problem out. If you don't want to risk contributing to this horrific industry the best thing is to avoid faux fur altogether. And that may be a fashion choice you aren't keen on but - is it really necessary? Knowing what I know now, seeing all the videos I've seen about fur farms I would never purchase, wear or come into contact with any real fur unless it's still on the beautiful animal.
Is it worth risking it? If you buy something and it turns out to be real you have directly funded that hideous industry. You may think what difference does one bobble hat or pom pom make but your purchases can ABSOLUTELY make a difference, just look at how plant based and free from food demand has grown.
PLEASE don't wear or buy fur