An Argument Essay Against The Use Of Fur In The Fashion History Argumentative Essay

Published: 2021-06-22 00:27:24
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1.0 Introduction
The fashion industry is one of the fast growing industries worldwide occupying a place with the sky-rocketing information technology industry. Generally, clothing made of animal fur is expensive and a person with this expensive dress is regarded of a higher class in society.
Fur is leather with the hair retained, usually for its comforting feel. Fur for clothing is sourced from various animals including cats, dogs, rabbits, foxes etc. Jackets, hats, belts and handbags can all be made from fur. Fur has been used for centuries as a source of clothing all over the world and in both traditional and modern societies. For instance in Nordquist and Aradeon’s book “Traditional African dress and textiles”, African women would join together once a year to prepare large quantities of habak (a kind of baby’s garment) and this garment was worn with the fur side toward the baby for its soothing feel . In the modern society, fur is still used especially for making winter jackets, hats and other garments.
However nowadays there is an increasing awareness on ethics, animal rights and welfare that has resulted in a hot argument on whether it is morally right or wrong to wear cloths made of animal fur. This awareness was not there in the traditional society. On one hand we have Animal welfare societies, and on the other, fur industries and pro fur individuals. The argument has gone to the extent of governments control to stop trade of some animal clothing products e.g. Israel and Ireland efforts to make their nation fur free nations. In addition, 5th May 2009 saw The European Union vote in favor of a ban on trade of commercial seal products. In 1972, the U.S. banned import and sale of seal products to conserve the seals in Canada. The Dog and Cat Protection Act of 2000 also banned trade of domesticated cat and dog fur.
This is an indication of the debate surrounding the use of fur in the fashion industry. Thus there are several arguments against the use of fur in the fashion industry that are the subject of this paper.
2.0 Arguments against fur
The first argument against the use of fur is that the trapping and killing of wildlife is done in an inhumane and illegal way. Innocent fur bearing mammals are skinned alive, all in the name of fashion fur. These animals include cats and man’s best friend (dogs) which live in torturous wire cages in fur farms, where they are killed and skinned alive . Some traps inflict pain on the animal for hours or days before the animals are caught and relieved of the pain, only to be killed later. The statistics on the number of animals it takes to make a coat are mind boggling. For instance, it takes 15 Beavers to make a 40” coat and these animals may spend a total of 225 hours in a trap .
Traps like Leghold, Conibear traps and snares are non-specific, meaning that there are many untargeted animals that are caught in these horrific devices. Legholds clamp on the animal’s foot and causes injuries and stops blood circulation in prolonged stay. Conibear traps are square or rectangular ‘scissor-action" traps whose two sides snap together to catch an animal passing through its middle. Snares tighten around an animal's neck strangling the animal . The traps described above are a clear indication of the inhumane means used to catch the fur bearing animals just for a coat or a hat. According to Humane Society International, more than 8 million animals are trapped annually for their fur, while more than 30 million are raised in fur farms. An example is the cats and dogs fur farms in China which are particularly inhumane according to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). An alternative for fur made from synthetic oil based material is already available and should be the choice for clothing.
The raising of wild animals for fur in fur farms has also been known to strain animals, particularly those that naturally live in expansive forests. A good example is that of foxes, they normally live in 2000 to 15000 acres of land but on capture, they are forced to live in tiny cages, and in extremely close contact causing severe stress that lead to cannibalism and self mutilation. The reported cannibalism and self-mutilation of foxes in cramped living conditions as a result of a stressed induced environment lead to an estimated 20 % premature loss of animals in the fox farms of which 50% is caused by cannibalism .
In additions inhumane methods are used to kill the animals for the fur. The priority of trappers is to kill the animal without damaging the fur, and therefore they use cruel methods like standing on the animal’s neck in order to suffocate it. Other animals are killed by neck breaking, poisoning, electrocution, gassing and suffocation. In many chinchilla farms, a metal clamp is hooked one to the ear, and another to the genitalia to execute the electrocution of the chinchilla . These are obviously painful and slow methods of killing animals and are therefore inhumane and against the code of care and ethical use of animals.
The change in fashion also calls for a change in fur farm techniques. Fur farmers have used inbreeding techniques to develop mutant colour phases to meet the demands of fashion. The result is a wide variety of colorful shades of fur. However, the repercussion on the animal’s physiology is dreadful. For instance, the Hedlund white mink (a genetic mutant) loses her hearing in 30 days because of a genetic defect. The Royal Pastel mink often develops a "screw neck" deformity making the mink repeatedly turn her head in an awkward motion. The immune system of Blue Iris mink becomes weakened due to a deficiency of natural killer cells and it develops awkward immune syndromes. These are just but a few torturous events that occur in fur farms.
3.0 Naysayers and counter argument
Although pro-fur activists argue that fur garments are biodegradable compared to their synthetic counterparts, synthetic clothes can be recycled and in addition they are cheap to produce. Another alternative to fur is cotton which in combination with the synthetic material makes far much warmer clothing than the animal sourced fur. There is therefore no excuse for slaughtering innocent animals to make biodegradable clothing. Other pro-fur people are sticking with the notion of ‘ethical fur production’ through regulation . The traumatizing events that go on in fur farms are evidence enough to propose that even with regulation, there are animals that still continue to suffer in the name of fashion. Yet there is a huge population of people worldwide who can do without wearing fur.
The size of the animal fur on the clothing is also part of the excuse used by pro-fur individuals. They claim that the small fur inclusion on the neck of your jacket is negligible. However, they forget that the number of animals killed for their fur still remains the same because the human population has grown exponentially thus for the small sizes of fur used when added together requires the death of many animals. The type of fur used is also arguable. Fur from animals killed for their meat is acceptable by a wide majority of people. However, the evil hidden in these is clearly evident; fur from cows, goats, sheep is not comparable with that form the wild animals like foxes, cheetahs, foxes etc. Wild animals’ fur is more expensive and of good quality and has high demand therefore it becomes the target of many producers and buyers.
4.0 Conclusion
Animal welfare groups have designated some dates to create awareness on the care and use of animals. For example, the third Saturday of August promotes the awareness of anti-fur message. The event of "Fur Free Friday" is held yearly on the Friday after thanksgiving (Black Friday) with the intent to raise awareness on the use of fur through campaigns, educational displays, and protests . People should participate in these awareness efforts to enhance the transition to an animal rights and welfare conscious society. Some statistics have shown that men who are violent to their cats or dogs or other animals at home are also violent to women and children and this is not the kind of society anyone would wish for.
Works Cited
Aradeon Barbara and Susan Nordquist. Traditional African dress and textiles. Washington, D.C: Museum of African Art, 2003.Print
Canadian Governement Survery. "Canadian Government." Canadian Government Survey (2002): 2-3.
Debenham, Lucy. Fur Fashion Dilemmas: Sustainable Product or Animal Cruelty? 23 January 2010. Cultural Feast.Web.20 November 2011
Hutchison, Tania. Anti-Fur. 25 April 2000. Tania Hutchison. Web.20 November 2011
International Anti-Fur Coalition . International Anti-Fur News. 25 November 2001. International Anti-Fur News. Web. 20 November 2011.

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