I can't even look at you in that fur t-shirt from Vaute Couture
“There is always a way to wear fur.” – Anna Wintour
Ugh. It’s quotes like the one by Ms. Wintour there that keep the fur-as-fashion industry going, and that really has to stop.
How and when it was that wearing fur became a status symbol for the elite and attractive, we’ll never know. I’m guessing that a few tens of thousands of years ago, Grok gave Snurk a piece of pelt from some animal he’d killed and eaten, and she draped it over a shoulder to keep warm. Blurg thought Snurk looked prettier-than-usual and wanted a piece of pelt for herself, and so it began, and has kept going ever since. Or something. At the very least, back then it was a struggle for survival, and animals that were hunted for their food were used to their fullest potential, with skins as clothing, bones as tools, etc., but we’ve come a long way from those days, and there’s no excuse whatsoever to harm an animal for the sake of fashion.
Silkworm cocoons by Micah Sittig on Flickr
Coveted by people of all social strata for millenia, this is a material that speaks of opulence and luxury. It’s used for bridal gowns, formal-wear, lingerie and bedsheets, and numerous other products around the globe… and it’s stunning how few people are aware of the cruelties associated with the creation of this material
Many people ask why silk is considered unethical when it’s not an actual part of the insect’s body that’s being used: silk is actually hardened silkworm saliva that is formed through a spinneret on the worm’s mouth, and spun into hair-thin cords that can reach up to a mile in length. Imagine how much time and effort goes into that!
Plucked goose (image courtesy of veganpeace.com)
In my email inbox a few days ago, I received a rather atrocious bit of spam that was promoting goose-down jackets. The email went on and on about the “high class” of down products and how special and wonderful they are, proclaiming that it’s the best insulator in the world. Well, considering that birds need it to stay warm in wintertime, isn’t it far more ethical to leave it on the birds than to harvest it for our own use?
Down-filled jackets seem to be cherished by those who proudly show them off because they’re prized commodities for the elite. Fashionistas and minor celebrities prance around in them because they’re the flavour of the month, and those who idolize such public figures often scramble to emulate them, not taking any time to consider where their clothing has been sourced from: whether the down is being used for jackets, sleeping bags, duvets or pillows, the feathers within them aren’t exactly shed in a natural way by birds who want to take a little off once and a while. These feathers are often plucked from living animals, not just the ones that have been slaughtered for food, which is an incredibly painful process that traumatizes the birds, and since they can re-grow their feathers within a few weeks, they’ll be subjected to it over and over again until they’re finally slaughtered. Companies that claim that they use “ethical” feather-harvesting methods generally source their feathers from the white ducks and geese that have been raised and killed for food—most often for the fois gras or other pate industry—which means they’ve been force-fed by tubes and kept in pens all their lives before being killed via electrocution and decapitation. Yeah, that just screams “ethical” to me.
Sheep by Heather Rose on Flickr
In some of our earlier posts, particularly those centered around warmer layers for colder weather, we’ve touched upon the fact that wool should be avoided because it is unethical. Many people are confused as to why wearing wool would be an unethical choice: after all, it’s just taking the wool off a sheep, right? That’s not killing it… how bad could it be?