We co-exist on this planet with a beautiful abundance of animals in all shapes and sizes. Animals are essential to sustaining the balances of nature through biodiversity. Whilst we are often in awe of animals, throughout history, they’ve also been a source of survival and arguably exploitation. The earliest use of animal fur in clothing dates back to prehistoric times (about 170,000 years ago) where cavemen wore simple outfits made from the hides, fur and skins of animals for protection. Later it was seen as a sign of wealth and status. Fast forward to the 21st century and this is still the case for many indigenous tribes worldwide, who live in balance with nature by only using what is needed for survival.
However, apart people from these tribes other people around the world see animals as both a commodity and source of inspiration across the fashion industry. The industry has been growing so fast along with its rise towards animal cruelty in these past years. Every year, around 100 million animals are raised into small cages, cold heartedly abused/ electrocuted and killed for their fur. Over 95% of fur sold globally, comes from animals, such as mink, foxes, coyotes, beavers, rabbits, lamb, lynx and chinchillas. Offering a surfeit of benefits from being biodegradable to having desirable clothing properties to the way it looks. However, there’s a growing concern about the ethics surrounding how such fur is sourced, highlighted by the anti-fur and vegan fashion movement of recent decades.
The Anti – fur Movement
Further in the UK, the brand “Canada Goose” has been quite a hot controversial topic surrounding “the fur issue” that has attracted the eye of many people on Regents Street, London. Since 2006 animal activist, animal right organisation such as PETA have taken the effort and pressurised Canada Goose to stop the use of coyote fur in their parker jackets. The issue since then has been ongoing with brand but it wasn’t until now that the numerous campaigns, petitions and activism led to a massive announcement. “Canada Goose is no longer going to use coyote fur” and “they will not be using fur in their $1000 parkas and aim to be fur free by the end of 2022.” Further, they have pledged to use reclaimed fur for it’s garments that will be acquired from waste and pre-used garments.
Reasons the brand still used animal fur
This makes one wonder did the brand do this in good faith to have a more ethical approach or did they do it as a publicity stunt or under pressure?? So the question arises, why was the brand still using animal fur all these years?
Up until now, the Canada Goose used animal fur because they produce high quality outerwear for extreme weather conditions. Where the fur was used as a heat insulator providing heat in cold climates. Further, the transparent guidelines on their website pertaining to the sourcing of the Coyote fur suggests that; the suppliers do not tolerate any wilful mistreatment, neglect or malicious harm of animals and that they don’t use fur from fur farms. Additionally, they only source from trappers who are regulated by state, provincial and federal standards.
These were the reasons the brand still chose to work with animal fur. However, now they have come to a more ethical solution of using reclaimed fur instead of hurting Coyote’s for fur. So why are activists and the animal right organisation PETA still after them?
Activists and PETA argue
Animal activists and animal right organisation PETA refuse to the usage of reclaimed fur and don’t leave it unnoticed. Why is this?? The simple reason behind this is because even that reclaimed fur has been taken from animals unwillingly without their consent and silently supporting animal cruelty. For some people this may even stand as an immoral, unethical act and a cover up of the truth.
On that account, PETA has arguably gone against the usage of reclaimed fur by Canada Goose. One of the major reasons is to avoid the inclination of fur farmers and the constant chase of being hunted. This is because fur farmers keep these Coyotes in small cages, starve their pups where death just awaits them. Moreover when they are hunted it happens by rubber laminated foot hold traps to restrain them well or by one bullet in their head. Also, most of the times we as consumers don’t know this but sometimes these Coyotes are skinned alive or electrocuted through their genitals which is absolutely unethical and an inhumane act.
The only way the brand can incorporate an ethical tactic here is by taking the pain away of being used for fur because they clearly don’t deserve it. Nobody does!!!Instead using “plant based fur” (like Stella McCartney) or “synthetic fabrics” could be incorporated but they refuse to do so.
The long awaited change
The conclusion on Canada Goose’s argument in consideration to their announcement could either be positive or a public stunt. It is wonderful that they are taking a step forward and trying to walk the ethical road but as PETA suggests even reclaimed fur is pretty much the same thing. Except for the fact that the hunting and farming reduces. But at the end of the day it is still unethical to be using animal fur because of the way it has been procured. Certain people not only vegans may consider the death and suffering of these animals inhuman however, some might beg to differ.
Brands like Canada Goose might prove to be a certain way to favour themselves too. Therefore, before shopping at certain brands we must research about them and change the way we consume garments to reduce the demand to a minimum; moving into the anti-fur or vegan fashion movement.