Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Faux-Guilt and the ubiquitous Hypocrit

What stupid webs people weave when they take a stand on some stupid matter. There are many enough real issues that get ignored and swamped by fake complaint. 

The course of human history has never run smoothly and what our grand-mothers did, encouraging our grand-fathers onward to 'provide', holds some folk in thrall to faux guilt. And of course, what we do today.

Who wants to go back to a 'hunter-gatherer' society? 

Why some feel it necessary to whine about long-past generation's actions is beyond rational discussion. The 'changes' to traditional human practices in order to make life seem more 'inclusive' or 'tolerant', bring more problems than the small mind can imagine. Comforts and progress are hard won, but easily disparaged.

Two came into conversation in the bar while I was away. One in cartoon form.

The greenies and the 'black-armband' wassers never seem to want to put their own money where their forked tongue usually is. 

 The other example came from the animal rights mob.

Is fake fur even worse than the real thing? 
From destroying the planet to supporting sweatshops, why experts say faking it isn’t nearly as ethical as you think
Dazzlingly colourful and irresistibly fluffy, faux fur is taking over the High Street. From Bon Marché to Marks and Spencer, retailers are selling a wide range of stoles, hats, coats and bedspreads this winter. And shoppers are snapping them up after seeing celebrities such as Kate Moss and Victoria Beckham swathed in the fabric.
Proving she is not just a photogenic walking bottom.
But far from concealing the fact the fur isn’t real, they’re flaunting it as a way of proving their ethical credentials. No wonder: fur has been demonised to such an extent by animal-rights campaigners that wearing the real thing is likely to earn you a few severe looks at best, and public rants by strangers at worst.
Oh dear. The disapproving looks from the 'offenderatti' is just too much for some people. 
However, the fur industry is now fighting back with a devastating — and intriguing — suggestion that faux fur is actually far less ethical than real fur.  And the campaign is working: sales of real fur are booming again.
To understand the contentious issue, we have to go back to 1994, when five supermodels took off their clothes, sat on the floor and told the world: 
‘We’d rather go naked than wear fur.’   
Except of course that going naked is just so passe these days, unless one is a pulcritudinous Page Three girl. Then its a no-no. 
The campaign, by animal-rights charity Peta, was a triumph. Sales of mink, sable and chinchilla plummeted.
Since then, all but one of the five models (Christy Turlington) has failed to keep their word: Naomi Campbell, for example, posed in a £120,000 Russian sable coat in 2009, and Cindy Crawford promoted mink coats in 2004.
Celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, both Middleton sisters, Beyonce, Cara Delevingne and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley have worn fur in recent years.
Possum on a stick?

And real-fur sales have increased globally by 58 per cent since the end of the Nineties, says the British Fur Trade Association (BFTA).
Indeed, almost 500 designers, including Diane von Furstenberg, Yves Saint Laurent and Roberto Cavalli, currently use fur in their collections. And some furriers claim almost three-quarters of this year’s catwalk shows feature fur.
TV stylist Mark Heyes says: ‘Without question, it’s becoming more fashionable. I’ve never seen so much fur on the High Street. Faux or real, it’s on almost every item going, from dresses to tops and even keyrings.’
So, what on Earth has happened to change our minds on fur so radically?
The battle between the anti and pro-fur lobbies is still being fought vehemently. But Mike Moser, chief executive of BFTA, thinks that the new generation of fashionistas is waking up to the environmental impact of faux-fur production — and deciding that climate change is their main concern.
‘Younger people in particular want to hear all the facts then make up their own minds,’ he says. ‘The argument that we should replace real fur with fake is completely wrong. For environmental reasons, it should be the other way around.
Hah! When have 'young people' ever wanted to 'hear all the facts'? A more 'follow the crowd' age one cannot imagine.
‘There isn’t any doubt that the environmental impact of fake fur is profoundly worse than fur-farming.’
It’s undeniable that fake fur is made from non-renewable petroleum-based products, such as nylon, acrylic and polyester, then treated with heat and chemicals to improve its look and feel.
These industrial processes use three times as much non-renewable energy as real fur, according to the International Fur Trade Federation.
But fashion-conscious consumers often dump their faux-fur garments after just one season. 
Many end up in landfill and, just like petroleum-based plastic bags, can take up to 1,000 years to decompose.
Real fur, meanwhile, biodegrades naturally within six months to a year, and can even be composted in the garden, says Mike Moser.
Washing fake fur may harm the environment, too. With every machine wash, says a 2011 paper for the Environmental Science & Technology journal, each garment releases an average of 1,900 tiny particles of plastic, which are then swilled into rivers, lakes and, eventually, the sea.
It’s feared these particles may kill marine life and disrupt food chains.
Pro-fur lobbies also point to the unethical working practices of some faux-fur manufacturers. It’s already widely known that disposable fashion often relies on Third World sweatshop labour, paltry wages and toxic working conditions. 
But the International Fur Trade Federation claims that the manufacture of fake fur doubles the risk of ill-health in workers due to the emissions of carcinogenic substances during production.
And American Fur Commission spokesman Michael Whelan says: ‘Fast fashion is promoting dependence on foreign oil and exacerbating child-labour issues in the Third World.’ Given all this, should we not be buying the real deal instead?
Costume designer Minna Attala, who has worked for Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and Asos and is a life-long vegetarian, says it’s a grey area. ‘I’m not pro-fur but, because I’ve been educated on the subject, I’m not against it either,’ she says.
‘Killing animals for vanity is not right, but there are whole communities of people who rely on this industry for employment, and, in the majority of cases, the animals are treated well, so that they’ll have healthy coats.
‘Animals are treated horrifyingly in the meat industry, and nobody is throwing cans of red paint at steak-eaters.’
Around 20 per cent of fur comes not from farms, but trapping wild animals. These creatures, claim the pro-fur campaigners, are often killed quickly and humanely. Some are culled to help balance animal populations and native ecosystems. In New Zealand. for example, the government has encouraged people to buy what they call ‘the world’s most ecological fur’ — that of the paihamu, a small, non-native, furry animal that has been wreaking havoc on native species.
Meanwhile, fur-friendly companies, such as the Gucci Group, insist that all their furs are vegetable-dyed and tanned via traditional, non-toxic methods. However, this comes at a price — a mink scarf from Gucci costs £1,500.
Let us not mention - in all this hoo-haa - the gender of the majority of the purchacers. 
Yet none of this will convince Peta’s UK director Mimi Bekhechi that real fur is anything other than abhorrent. She maintains that the pro-lobby have got it wrong on the environmental impact of faux fur, and says there are plenty of eco-friendly faux options available.
‘Fur is only “natural” when it’s on the animal who was born with it,’ says Mimi.
‘Recent independent studies have found that the impact of production of a mink coat on climate change is three to ten times higher than the impact of a faux-fur coat.
‘We all have the choice to be cruel or kind. So, when real fur involves electrocuting a fox, or slitting the throat of a rabbit for fur trim, choosing one of the many soft, warm and luxurious faux or fur-free options, which are also more eco-friendly, becomes a no-brainer.’
Meanwhile, Minna Attala says: ‘If someone was to be truly to-the- letter ethical, they ought to forego both real and faux fur — and also fast fashion in general.’

Life is complicated enough.



  1. The wearing of fur, fake or otherwise is a conundrum...

    If we go back a few years into the eighties the weather was a tad more chilly and warm coats were needed in the winter. That was the time when the ethics of real fur coats started to be questioned. I had a long fake fur coat to keep me warm when I was out and about in cold, frosty, snowy weather. On more than one occasion I got asked (in a disapproving way) if it was real...

    I think the ethical thought about fur coats 'is' why the person is wearing them. Is it a fashion statement or for a practical reason.

    Personally I wouldn't wear a coat from an animal that had been bred 'just' to cloth someone (a fashion statement) but I would for example wear a sheepskin coat (to keep warm), a bi-product of my Sunday roast...

    It is in deed an ethical conundrum ;-)

    1. I do not see the 'ethical' part of the issue at all. I do see a lot of heat and wind that people produce on the anti-side. Animals provide so much for human use and will continue to do so for as long as there are humans and animals.

      My only 'ethical' consideration is in regard to the treatment of the animals while they are alive and in our charge, especially when they are bred for just one part of themselves. An example of sheer ethical disregard was the white hunters' slaughter of buffalo in the USA a few centuries past just for their skins, which left hundreds of thousands of rotting carcasses on the plains. The Indians used all of the animal right down to the sinews for sewing. They were ethical.

  2. My ethical thought (not made well)...

    especially when they are bred for just one part of themselves

    Yes that was my thought too which I didn't explain properly. I was thinking back to our ancients who used all parts of the animals they killed for their own survival etc. That in my opinion is ethical.


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