Faux or Real Fur: Which does the most damage?
Faux fur is a statement, it looks amazing and no animals are harmed in the process, the best of both worlds right? Lately I haven’t been so sure.
The question of faux fur being better or worse for the environment came to my attention when I was doing research for my university blog. It took me by surprise as I have always been so pro faux fur, thinking it was such a great thing. But after researching more into it and even doing a presentation at uni about it I have decided maybe I wasn’t as right as I thought I was.
Before I get into the pros and cons of faux and real fur, I just want to say where I stand. I am totally against harming animals in any way. I am vegetarian on my way to being vegan and try my up most hardest to care for all animals and even insects (I will never squish a bug). Trying not to harm animals carries on with how we care about the planet. Etta is completely sustainable and I try to avoid using plastic as much as I can. We all live on the same planet and we need to show it some love!
When we think of faux fur we think of people who priorities ethics and style, but should we really be thinking this. The main component in making faux fur is acrylic, which is really bad for the planet. Not only does it take years and years to decompose, but also uses a lot of resource to produce. In a study in 2014 by the European commission, acrylic came last in six different categories for impact on climate change, human health and resource depletion. The US Sustainable Apparel Coalition ranked acrylic 39 out of 48 on its list of fabrics with the worst effect on the environment.
Acrylic is just a drop in the ocean when it comes to pollution, only representing 10% of garment production, and faux fur is an even smaller amount.
The rise in popularity of faux fur and the fast fashion industry doesn’t help either. The amount of faux fur coats on Missguided and Boohoo is enough to make any environmentalist cringe. Coats that will be worn for a couple of months then thrown out to sit in dumps and last for years.
This doesn’t mean that the farming of real fur is any better. Industrial fur farms in China and America are brutal places which shouldn’t exist. Killing any animal for their fur then wearing it makes me shiver to think. The only good thing to be said about real fur is that it does biodegrade as fur is a natural product. Real fur items are not as easily thrown away either, many fur things were bought as investments and handed down through the family. Think of all the vintage fur coats you see in vintage stores and the amount of history they will have seen.
There are lots of different arguments both for and against fur, one from a Canadian pro fur group saying ‘Fur is a natural fibre that biodegrades, comes from a renewable resource when animals are farmed or trapped correctly, and benefits indigenous business owners.’ Animal rights protesters did admit that faux fur wasn’t great for the environment but that wasn’t the issue saying "The problem with fur isn't the environment—it's the issue of killing animals,”.
Overall I have come to the conclusion that as much as I love buying faux fur I can no longer support an industry that harms the environment and the animals in it. So I have decided I will no longer be buying any fur.
It seems to me the whole question of which harms the environment more is a double edged sword.
We are protecting animals by buying the faux fur but in the long run are we not just damaging the environment the animals live in.
What do you think?
Till next time,