I feel like engaging in a topic that’s been discussed for years, yet do I feel like I’d like to hear our reader’s stand on the issue. Issue being, the seemingly unfashionable fur. The impulse to this post came when I thought about the earlier mentioned Fendi Mink Spy. I’ve read way too many reactions of people on internet forums, or seen countless debates on public media, critisizing the fur industry for its animal cruelty. Yet, I’d like to fuel the discussion by my belief that most of the criticism stems from pure hypocrisy.

Many animals killed by the fur industry in the name of fashion are bred and raised in a manner meant specifically to better the animals’ coats. The extraction of the animal’s fur is the industry’s primary purpose. Hence, consumers can more easily circumvent the fur industry if they avoid buying its primary products, fur coats and other clothing items made of fur – right?

Many people mistakenly believe that the leather industry itself is not self-perpetuating. The buying of leather shoes or belts does not increase demand for the slaughter of cows… this discrepancy on the part of the buyer results directly from the misguided belief that leather (unlike fur) is simply a byproduct of factory farming, an industry that houses animals in unsanitary and abusive conditions in order to harvest them for meat and dairy products. Yet the leather industry generates a significant profit, and buying leather products does give the industry incentive to produce more leather.

Leather is derived mainly from dairy cows who no longer produce viable amounts of milk, and veal cows chosen for slaughter. Each of these animals lives out their lives in cruel confinement with inadequate space. They are also subject to cruel transportation to the slaughterhouses, with cattle crammed inside of trucks that are way too small for their numbers. The livestock handlers neglect to give their cows adequate water and food during these trips, and many cows die even before reaching their destination.

Bugs BunnyActually, it seems like the origin of most leather products sold in the U.S. and elsewhere is anything but transparent to the buyer. The consumer will never know where the leather he or she purchased originated from, or even whether or not that leather even comes from a cow! Horses, sheep, pigs, goats, lambs, even cats are also killed for their leather. In fact in most cases, you have absolutely no way to judge the degree of cruelty attached to leather items you purchase.

After all my drivel, I have to pose the question whether it is justified to point fingers at the fur industry and its inadequate farming conditions when a precious cowhide leather hobo is dangling from the other arm. Are we not supposed to be concerned about the boring ol’ moo cow, when there’s cute and cuddly Bugs Bunny who got saughtered for Jimmy’s Fur Torquay Bag?


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Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • billyjoe

    oooooo poor poor poor wabbit….

    • tasha

      :neutral: :shock: :roll: hi how are you

  • Tuesday

    You are completely right. It’s just one organization that has created this stigma. I personally have no problem with animal skin products if I know that the entire animal was also used for other things (especially food) – not just skinned and tossed; and that these animals have had a humane life. Factory farms are vile and an embarrassment to our nation. Their products should be avoided at all costs. Free-range food is only slightly more expensive. And hey, if we can spend hundreds/thousands on a handbag, we can afford more humane food.
    Are there any “humane” companies that use free-range animal skins?

  • chemlex

    In my opinion, it shouldn’t matter if the animal was used for other purposes such as dairy or veal – murder is murder. Many lovely shoes, belts, and handbags are a product of that. So if you want to carry around a leather handbag – I don’t want to hear you bitching about fur.

    My main issue with fur is that it is just plain ugly – and there are many faux fur options that don’t require murder, so I’d rather go with that. If they made non-leather shoes that didn’t get stinky and wear out after just a couple of uses, then I probably would shun leather too.

  • Kelly

    My biggest issue with fur is that the actual carcass goes to waste. Leather, I find a bit different simply because for the most part, the animal it comes from has been put to use either as meat or as a milk producer. I don’t know how I really feel about the cruelty in the industry, since I’ve pretty much resigned myself to the fact that cruelty is pretty inherant in survival, and there’s nothing really that can change it.

    I interned with an organization that supports sustainable development in the Canadian arctic during university, and one of their biggest goals was allowing the Inuit to hunt whales, polar bears, and walruses. While these animals are off limits to non-indigenous people, the Inuit use every part of these animals, and a lot of their survival depends on being able to get access to raw whale blubber (raw whale blubber has a lot of vitamin C in it, it’s why the Inuit don’t die from scurvy). Beyond that, the climate up there just doesn’t stand up to nylon and other human-made fibres. The Inuit need to be able to hunt and kill these animals, and they need these furs. But they don’t just skin the polar bears and leave them to waste. They eat and utilize every part of it, and that’s why I’m able to support that over the incredible amount of energy that goes into raising animals for fur and then incinerating the carcasses once the fur has been taken. It’s wasteful, and insulting, and I can’t get behind that.

    For me, my opposition to fur has nothing to do with cruelty or ghettoizing a certain industry (fur is sort of the sartorial equivalent of the cigarette industry). As far as I’m concerned, if someone wants to buy a monkey fur jacket, that’s perfectly fine, so long as they eat monkey stew for the next two months. It’s just about wasting the meat, which takes so much water and food to grow and which is then wasted.

  • Vlad

    Thanks for those interesting insights, Kelly. That monkey stew comment cracked us up, a lot!

  • Anna

    I’m a vegetarian, I wouldn’t really call myself a tree huger, but I do love animals. But, I love fashion and shoes and purses as well. I have a pair of fur boots, as far as I know they skin the rabbits alive. I also have a python silverado. I think thats about it aside from normal leather. I feel bad for the rabbits and the python, and it’s sad thinking that my boots were once a cute little rabbit, but it’s not quite to the point where I would give them up. If my giving up me leather pieces would end all animal cruelty, I would do it, but it’s really nothing compared to all the leather and fur out there.

    I really never liked fur bandbags though. I’m not perticularly rich so when I get an expensive handbag, I expect to use it for at least a few years to come. I just dont see that with fur.

  • cork

    in my opinion why wear real fur when you can have substitutle fur which looks and may feel real???? so by that i mean why are we killing the creations put on this earth to be admired from a distance inwhich you see a heakthy animal with its coat present. since we all know it is imposible to make a coat without the skin think about the pain and torchur these animals are put through just so we can show off at the estate of a freind or what not we place torchure upon such beutiful things that never torchured us why are we all such monsters??????????????????

  • cork

    i meant healthy

  • Jackie

    I Lovvveee Fur.. Sorry but everything dies eventualy. and to be honest i never really think about what kind of animal my purse or shoes were, mostly i just think they look hot!

  • billyjoe

    i think it looks better on the animal than the purse, animals are being skinned alive and what do we do? waste it… :(

  • ETenebris

    I have to agree with Kelly. Indigenous peoples have a right to engage in certain acts that the population as a whole does (or should) not. The practice of the Native American Indians killing buffalo is a prime example. They did not shoot the buffalo and skin them, leaving their corpses to rot in the sun. They used every part to sustain their way of life. If we use the cow for meat and other items, as well as for leather, it seems justified. However, I am saddened by the way the cattle are treated. I love all animals. I am a firm believer in faux fur, as beautiful as the real fur is I just can’t bring myself to carry it. But I do own leather handbags and sheepskin boots. The main virtue of leather is that a good leather bag will last a long time, while real fur sheds and often has odd cowlick tendencies in the fur. Synthetic fur has come a long way–just ask Dennis Basso, his is the best in the business–and will also outlast a real fur in terms of durability. Faux leather, on the other hand, is just cheap and worthless. Nevertheless, cows are cute and often sweet animals, and we should make their time pleasant and the killing practices as humane and painless as possible.

  • Sara Granovetter

    I completely agree with your posting — both fur and leather are reprehensible….I read that 50% of the meat industry’s profits come from leather. I suppose fur is a bit worse because 100% of their profits come from a byproduct….but people who think fur is cruel should think twice before they fill up their wardrobe with leather shoes and bags.
    However, it does suck how few fashionable options there are for people who love all animals…I recently started a blog for trendy, fashionable, intelligent people who love animals. I try to find the rare cute items that are not made from animal products…also this is a lifestyle blog for jetsetters who love animals but are not into the hippy thing…if you’re interested, check it out, and maybe even add me to your links!


  • Diana Devalier


    Thought I would drop in a word or two.

    Before those of you “agree” with a posting that is only an opinion and backed with no sources, check out this site. If you still hold the same opinion, fine, but don’t subject yourself to someone else’s “opinion”. Always check for sources and their validity, whether it’s a “hot” issue or not.

  • Diana Devalier
  • Ryan


    Dear, to put it simply you are just ignorant…and for anyone out there that justify the purchase of leather or fur by saying “the rest of the carcas was used” have you ever thought about the cruel ways used to get your leather or fur? Animal farming… Get informed… http://www.peta.org . Seriously, force yourself to watch the videos of the animals being used for FASHION! You wouldn’t leave such a stupid comment, (I hope) if you were educated on the subject!

  • Ellen

    Ryan i think Jackie is right in what she said so how about you be educated on the subject next time you leave a stupis ass comment

  • Karl

    I recently bought myself a mink coat.
    it is lovely, but i can still smell the dried blood on hot summer days
    warm regards,

  • The PInk Pilot

    This comment goes to Jackie, who said she doesn’t care where the leather or fur comes from…just that it looks hot. As you grow up, you come to realize that kindness is worth more than having stuff. No decent man is going to care about how hot you look if the inside of you is just not.

  • The Pink Pilot

    For those who oppose fur and not yet leather, well, I think it’s a step in the right direction. It is better to do something than to stand for nothing at all.

  • guest

    ETenebris-I hate to tell you this, but Dennis Basso uses real fur. Check out the latest issue of Saga Furs magazine.

  • Naggy

    I don’t own real fur, but I would hope that all my leather has come as byproducts of the meat industry. (ipad)

  • KY

    I don’t wear fur, but I do wear leather.. (ipad)