by Michael dEstries
Categories: Animals, Fashion, People.

The UK Independent is running an article titled “Can Wearing Fur Be Guilt-Free?” and highlighting efforts by a Japanese designer and furrier, Chie Imai, to pair animal skins with sustainable fashion. She has dubbed her fall collection of fur-trimmed capes and boleros as “Eco Harmony”. Problem is, this isn’t a faux-fur affair — but skins from chinchilla and mink. The green catch is that the dead are added to recycled polyester to create a type of Frankenstein eco-outcome. “Tying ecology with fur is such a fascinating concept,” says Imai. “Fur can be worn for generations, is organic, causes no pollution, and returns to the earth.”

We could not disagree more.

Thankfully, The Independent has excellent commentary from Justin Kerswell, campaigns manager for Viva! (Vegetarians International Voice for Animals). With regards to fur being thought of as “green”, Kerswell says, “A cocktail of chemicals is used to treat fur, and animals have to be fed and transported. There is a massive energy consumption and other waste associated with the industry. In the US, fur farms generate tens of thousands of tons of waste, including slurry, bedding and animal corpses. Farmed fur needs 20 times the energy needed to produce faux-fur.”

The article also highlights instances where fur might be considered “green” — such as with invasive populations decimating habitat and other creatures; as the New Zealand possum has done. It’s an interesting debate, but I’m still not convinced it has any connection to “going green”. What do you think?

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About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

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  • Stephanie Williams

    Fur being “green” is as much of a stupid comment as “happy” meat/eggs/dairy

    There is NO PLACE for fur in sustainable fashion AT ALL. Nor in any fashion that has HEART.

    Cold heartless hags wear fur.

  • http://BrainyBlonde.com erin

    this is the biggest bunch of bs i have EVER seen in my life. i thought i’d seen it all! and I couldn’t agree with Stephanie more. Ever been out skiing and who is always wearing the fur? the overly made up ugly older hags. Fur couldn’t make a woman look older. It’s gross and dead. I am still in shock they have the kahunas to make such a claim about fur. Chie Imai is an evil little black haired woman and I hope she is not confused for a Chinchilla by a hunter.

  • VeggieTart

    You have got to be kidding me. Granted, faux fur has its issues, environmentally speaking, but nothing compares to the damage fur farms (and the resultant waste) and the chemicals used to tan animal skins cause.

    Talk about greenwashing!

  • http://celebrities.com/ Key

    It causes more damage to the environment all around than it can possibly justify therefor it’s not green.

  • Cid Martins

    What are we, cave people? Why do we need furs at all?

    We have cheaper, better and warmer clothes…this is the 21st century you know?

    Only sluts wear fur, period!!!

    Everyday humans stun me with their amazing stupidity!!!

  • http://www.myspace.com/annajagger Sibi

    I agree with Cid Martins.
    And fur doesn’t belong to us, we have no right to wear dead animals.

  • Brandi

    So stupid. It would be funny but it’s sad. I would never wear a fur any way you slice it and it makes me want to cry at the thought. If the designer REALLY want to claim to be eco and use fur, couldn’t she at least use… recycled fur? There is a company somewhere that does that, but the name escapes me.

    Fur use is just barbaric.

  • fbr

    Makes perfect sense. Fur is a renewable natural resource. It’s also one of the oldest materials for clothing used by human beings. We’ve been able to “sustain” its use for millennia so it’s the very definition of “sustainable”

    I can understand arguments made from ethical grounds against fur, but arguments from ecological grounds seem pathetically weak.

    “A cocktail of chemicals is used to treat fur”? C’mon, you could say that about any product. Farms generate “slurry, bedding and animal corpses”? All natural byproducts, I’d hazard a guess that the waste generated by the manufacture of just about any synthetic material is worse. “Farmed fur needs 20 times the energy needed to produce faux-fur.” Yeah, it’s easy to throw around made up numbers like this. And even if it was true, are we supposed to use only one type of clothing ever, the kind that takes the least energy to produce? Is it bad to use more energy? We can generate energy from sustainable sources these days you know.

  • http://BrainyBlonde.com erin

    i’ve decided to write this woman a letter. i am going to start an all out boycott. it’s one thing to use fur but to try and hide (or justify it) behind the green movement is just downright SICK.

  • Cid Martins

    Renewable natural resource? WTF? You know, our ancestors used fur when the climate was so much colder than nowadays. They hunted the animals because of their meat and THEN used the fur to make clothes. We’re in the 21st century (at least some of us are) and it’s not practical or comfortable to wear it any more…

    Besides if everyone decided to use fur there wouldn’t be many animals left on the planet after a little while. Do you want to compare the number of humans on the planet today to thousands of years ago? Or do you agree with palin and think god created us 6000 years ago? What the hell…!!!!!

    I advise fbr to go to YouTube and search for ‘earthlings’. Then you will understand what the rest of us are talking about!!! After that come back and post another comment!

    Furthermore you obviously don’t understand the concept of renewable – it’s something that can be used over and over indefinitely without ending! How many thousand-year furs have you seen? None because it’s not a renewable resource…dahhh!!!

    Only ignorant, cruel people say that wearing fur is acceptable!!
    Oh how I loath ignorant,and above it all, arrogant people!!!!

    I wonder, observing all this human stupidity, how we managed to survive this far as a civilization!!! Beats me…

  • fbr

    Cid, I’ll try to wade through the slew of ad hominem attacks and address the few points you made.

    First, I’ll reiterate my point. Fur is, by definition, both a natural and a renewable resource. It is one of the oldest materials used and therefore is proven to be sustainable. You seem to have a problem with using animals purely for their fur, instead of being used primarily for something else (food) and secondarily for clothing. If you read the article, one of the approaches is to use fur from animals that are killed as pests anyway. In other words, they are not raised or killed primarily for their fur, instead their fur is a byproduct.

    Second, you make an argument that it would not be possible to provide fur for everyone. This is true. It is also true for every other type of resource on this planet. We live in a world of limited resources and our whole economic system is based on distributing those limited resources in a way that maximizes their benefit. This will never change, and it certainly doesn’t mean we should not use some resource just because it’s scarce.

    Third, by your definition of renewable (“used over and over indefinitely without ending”) there are no renewable resources in existence.

    Finally, you say “it’s not practical or comfortable to wear [fur]“. Maybe it is not where you live, but there are populated areas on this planet where the temperature drops below -20C for extended periods. I can tell you from personal experience that fur is both very practical and extremely comfortable in such climates.

  • Stephanie Williams

    Hollywood is NOT one of those climates…I’m sorry. And RICH PEOPLE are not the people that NEED to be kept warm.

    There is a difference between renewable and sustainable.

    I agree that in this day and age fur is not a NECESSITY, ethical, practical or green in any way.

    Humans came THIS FAR without modern medicine and technology….so let’s stop using that! What works in the past is not an argument and not what is best for the future.

    It’s called EVOLUTION and PROGRESS. Progress made fur a LUXURY item and to me LUXURY is NOT sustainable and green…just look at the stock market.

  • Cid Martins

    It is really frustrating for me to realize that either I can’t express myself or people don’t understand what I write!!!

    First of all fbr (it’s note very comfortable for me to address a nickname) let me ‘say’ your use of Latin does not impress me at all! Furthermore, I didn’t attack anyone directly, and yes I think the large majority of humans are stupid and many of them are extremely arrogant – and this is my personal experience and opinion!! And yes, only ignorant, cruel people say that wearing fur is acceptable!! If you take it personally it’s your problem!

    I also haven’t figured out yet why is it that in this supposedly eco-animal-friendly site there are so many comments from people who think fur and eating any kind of animals (which they believe are inferior to humans and don’t care how they are killed) is completely okay!!! I must be in the wrong site, obviously!!!

    Now regarding the issues which you did not validly address:
    - fur is not renewable – this means, and it’s not MY definition, that it can be used indefinitely. Yes there are renewable resources, for instance solar, wind, wave and geothermal energy. The day they end is the day the planet stops existing…therefore they are renewable!
    - I have a problem with the use of fur, primarily or otherwise! I just gave the example of our ancestors to demonstrate that they used all the parts of the animals they hunted!
    - animals killed as pests? You should watch more wildlife documentaries!! Nature controls itself! The only ‘pest’ on this planet is the human species! You really sound like palin! Damn! Okay, there are too many wolves…Let’s shoot them down from planes!!! If an animal population is growing too much they will end up dying naturally due too lack of enough preys! I think you cut biology classes too often!
    - finally, you are trying to say that instead of a light, warm piece of clothing (have you ever heard of scientific and technological progress? today there are all kinds of light, cheap fabrics that replace fur any time!) fur is more practical? I mean, this is the 21st century!! Have you ever heard of Iceland? They don’t need fur and they have one of the harshest climates on earth! The difference is that they are already living in the 21st century!!

    So, as you can realize your arguments aren’t that consistent! I don’t pretend to know everything (very far from that) or to own the truth, but there are obvious things like these, which even an intelligent child can understand… And this is not an attack!

    I really am sick and tired of people on this site picking on me just because I refute what they write. And instead of presenting valid arguments they either insult me or play the role of the victim, putting me in the villain position!

    You know I have better things to do with the little time I have free!

    To all of those who love to eat meat or fish, don’t care how animals are killed, don’t mind the abuse of animals and who think humans are the superior species, I would suggest you visit other sites, because last time I checked this was supposed to be a place for people who care for animals as much as they do for humans!

    Or maybe I am completely wrong and if that is the case I apologise and will never return to this site again!!!

    Thanks!!

  • Stephanie Williams

    Cid, i am with you 100%! I posted my thoughts just before you posted this.

    Also, Peta has their stupid stunts, but this pretty much sums up why Fur is NOT Green.

    http://www.furisdead.com/feat-notgreen.asp

    And my fav site for “humane” animal products

    http://www.humanemyth.org

  • http://BrainyBlonde.com erin

    fbr, what does this stand for?

    fur buying retard?

    Ok sorry I shouldn’t have. I’m above that. I really am. I’ve worked in the eco world for nearly 20 years (was still a teen when I started) and I think in Environmentalism 101 we learned that fur is not a renewable resource. BAMBOO is a renewable resource. Natural yes (but so is human skin but we’re not going to start skinning humans) Natural is a cop out. Crude oil is natural. Doesn’t mean it’s good..

    Now back to renewable. let’s take a look at the definition

    any resource (as wood or solar energy) that can be replenished naturally with the passage of time

    I don’t think it’s natural to go out and catch “pests” (first of all as the genius Cid Martins pointed out there are no “pests” except those we see deemed fit to murder because they don’t fit into our idealistic little world. Eww I don’t like those raccoons in MY yard! (it was theirs long before it was ours- let’s kill them and make them into fur!)

    Ok secondly growing animals on a farm (like Armani says he is using for his rabbit fur for children – sick fucker) that is not natural nor ecological. It’s actually quite insane.

    I won’t even attempt to explain all the environmental hazards of raising (or trapping) the animals made into these pelts. Or feeding them, or disposing of their bodies (and let me guess we’re going to eat the “pests” we kill. I don’t think so.

    And even if it *were* sustainable (which it is clearly not) it certainly is not practical… It was practical when the Native AMericans did it back before we white people came in and destroyed their land. They used every part of the animal and did it as a means to survive and as the Brilliant Cid pointed out the planet was colder back then (thanks a lot global warming and George Bush’s 1 and 2)

    I don’t think the natives (in North America or elsewhere) had scientifically developed geothermal or whatever the heck it is called fabric and coats that would keep even Sarah Palin warm on one of her helicopter wild dog wolves shooting spree from the air…. So don’t try to tell me it’s practical. That’s asinine. It really is.

    You’re teling me in the 21st century with Burlington Coat Factories at every turn (which sadly sell fur so boycott the shits) but with all the other stores that it’s PRACTICAL to wear and buy fur?

    Oh and I suppose it’s PRACTICAL you’re going to tell me for the poor people who live in these cold cold regions to go buy these overpriced dead animal pelts this ho is selling and that’s practical? First of all their so unGODLY expensive it’s not practical for anyone to buy them! IT’s not ethical, it’s not sustainable.

    You’re not Davey Crockett dude. Get with it. It used to be practical to have to shoot someone in the other tribe and sacrifice their ass too. It used to be practical to have TEN children so they could work the farm. It used to be practical to have a frickin wooden wagon with over worked horses to carry you around all day… But wake up man or woman hiding behind petty pathetic initials. it is the TWENTY FIRST CENTURY! Your argument does not hold up…. And if it did then I dare say you’d have to think that there are too many people on this planet too right? Shall we just “off’ the extra ones and make coats out of them? I didn’t think so.

    Erin my real name.

  • fbr

    Stephanie, the link you provided had the exact same arguments I already addressed.

    Cid, I don’t mind ad hominem attacks. They’re just a sign of running out of valid arguments – also entertaining if your opponent is witty. Unfortunately this time I couldn’t spot any arguments in your post that I haven’t already addressed.

    Erin, I honestly cannot imagine what definition of “renewable” includes bamboo but not animals. You give a definition of “any resource that can be replenished naturally with the passage of time”. Do animal populations not replenish naturally with the passage of time?

  • http://BrainyBlonde.com erin

    Dear Mr Anonymous “FBR”,

    Again maybe back in the 1800′s when it was practical to wear fur and beat your woman and have ten kids and ride horses on your ole wood wagon… maybe THEN animal populations replenished themselves naturally with the passage of time. But NO to answer your question MANY DO NOT and are on the BREED of extinction. Have you not noticed? I could sit here and list the many breeds on extinction – tons of which that are not replenishing themselves naturally… but I won’t waste all my precious time (or yours) so here is just one. The chatu. What’s a chatu you ask? You’ve never heard of one? Oh maybe that’s because it’s being driven to extinction by the FUR TRADE!

    http://www.tv3.co.nz/News/Story/tabid/209/articleID/36250/Default.aspx

    I am deeply insulted that you would even try to tell me they naturally replenish themselves. I mean, my 6 year old niece knows better than this. Honestly I am insulted you would think I would believe such a disgustingly stupid and ignorant arrogance comment…

    Erin

  • http://BrainyBlonde.com erin

    whoops meant arrogant comment at the end. i wanted to write much more harsh words but was trying to control myself hence the misspelling or misuse of the word.

  • fbr

    Erin, yes species go extinct. The vast, vast majority of species that have existed on this planet have gone extinct long before our species ever evolved. This doesn’t change the fact that animal populations replenish themselves naturally – that’s just a simple fact, not a point of argument.

    Over-hunting can of course drive species to extinction. However, there are sustainable levels of hunting at which the animal populations are not driven to extinction. Things are even simpler with animal populations at farms where we have complete control over them.

  • http://www.katieledgerfashion.com Sustainable Fashion

    This is absolutely insane! Killing an animal to make a piece of clothing? Where exactly is the sustainability of that?

  • http://www.veganjapan.net herwin

    i did send a little comment to Cie Imai the FUR designer, telling her that only a compassionate heart makes a person “royal”, not wearing some dead skins from tortured animals.
    i told all my (some of them japanese) buddies to contact her also.
    please Ecorazzi people, also give her a peace of your mind, that Fur is NOT Royal but Cruel and Poluting.
    thank you
    http://www.royalchie.com/en/contact/index.html