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Campaigns Against Fur Don’t Work And They Promote The Use of Other Animal Products Like Wool

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I’ve never understood anti-fur campaigns. An animal use known only to the upper class and celebrity, getting the average person to sign a petition to not rock a full length mink is asking them to do something that they wouldn’t do anyway. Thing is, we use animals in our clothing in many other, more affordable ways. And these ways, including leather, wool, and silk, are just as bad for the animals. And if the idea of slinging a fox around our shoulders evokes feelings of sadness or disgust, so should stepping in to leather boots or throwing on a wool scarf. I’m strongly against the use of all animals, for clothing or other means, but i’d like to focus on why wool seems to be the easiest for people to remain passive about.

We know, inherently, that animals are killed to dress us. People look for the smell of leather, or the fluff of down. So why is wool easily mistaken as being an acceptable use of animal life, in comparison? Well, after surveying a handful of my closest non-vegan friends, it’s clear to me that the media propagated Old McDonald’s farm is still fresh in the minds of many. People still think that these animals are given a life at all. So let me make a couple quick things clear right off the bat; no, most wool does not come from someone’s backyard, the majority comes from Australia. And no, sheep aren’t sheared carefully when their coats have begun inconveniencing them. They have been engineered to produce more skin, and in turn more wool, meaning they are sheared on industry schedules. Mulesing is one common practice that see hunks this overgrown flesh cut from the animals while they’re still alive, bound upside down to poles. I’ve included a video at the end of this article, for those who need to see it for themselves. Also, that modified wool isn’t a byproduct of keeping sheep, they’re sold when their wool runs out, making meat the byproduct. The 1.9 billion dollar wool industry is one wrought with animal injustice from inception to death, and it relies on people remaining uneducated to the practices it follows. Still, we believe that using them without death is somehow okay, despite that not being an option.

Just like “Humane Meat,” caring about animals while commodifying them is myth. And to open our eyes and ears to the truth is to recognize that like a cow who’s given it’s last milk, sheep are sold once their wool producing is no longer profitable. Then, it’s a lamb shank for dinner. When we agree that animals deserve freedom from use on a moral basis, there’s absolutely no difference between what animal is hiding in your closet, or how they got there. Just like being a cat person or a dog person, deciding that a rabbit coat is disgusting while wearing a big wooly-sweater says that you value the lives of rabbits over sheep.

Above and beyond that speciesism and the guise of sheep needing human intervention, lies continually perpetrated misconception. We’ve managed to convince people that eating a veggie burger over a beef one won’t kill them, but continue to tell them that unless there’s wool in their jacket or their boots, they won’t survive a winter. Why, when society has the capability to manufacture synthetic fabrics so similar in aesthetic and function, do we continue to falsify the knowledge that maintaining our wool industry is necessary for people? And in that same vein, how can people continue to believe there are enough happy, living sheep in the world to meet the demands of all those articles of clothing?

Gary Francione has written extensively about how this poses a problem for animal activist groups that focus on single issue campaigns like the anti-fur campaign. Whether they know it or not, when they run anti-fur campaigns without the explicit message of veganism, they are encouraging people to wear wool and leather.  Unless the movement argues that no animal deserves to be used for any reason, we continue to segregate and set ourselves back as a whole. If we continue to designate ratings of evil to different animals and their various human uses, or focus solely on alleviating the suffering of those animals in forms of treatment, then the greater population will continue to stay the course. Unless the message is clear, that veganism is the only solution to end societies use of animals, then people will continue to avoid wearing fur, while continuing to wear wool.

The next time you go to purchase a sweater, take a look at the tag. If you see animal derived fabrics like wool listed, decide if you want to continue contributing to the commodifying of animals.

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0 Comments
  • Gillian Moynihan

    So I guess I know where you fall on the abolitionist versus welfarist spectrum? lol. I obviously agree that both fur and leather/wool/any other animal product are morally wrong, and I hope that they all are eliminated. But I think a headline saying anti-fur movements promote the use of wool overstates the case, and strikes me as needlessly divisive. I’m very happy for activists coming from an abolitionist viewpoint who want to make the case for veganism up front – but I think work by other activists focusing on single issues like fur or foie gras or another easier access point for some people into a more conscious perspective is also important. And I even think that we can choose and advocate for one or the other of those viewpoints without saying that the other side is promoting cruelty.

    • AlpineDan

      Eva is correct. Wool is a close economic substitute for leather and fur. If people don’t get the full vegan message, it necessarily implies that fur is bad, so use a substitute: wool or leather. A vegan message would fix the substitute problem as well as it can be fixed.

      • Anti-Fur

        Just in case you miss my comment if it gets removed or even posted. “I have been an anti-fur activist for 12 years, and a vegan for 25
        years. What I would like you to explain is this: Why demonize anti-fur
        campaigns as if it were the ONLY single issue campaign in the world.
        Why not demonize also all the other campaigns, to name a few: animals
        used in laboratories, cat/dog rescues, circuses, puppy mills,
        bullfights, beast of burden, trophy hunting, trapping, bear baiting,
        penning (do you even know what penning is? Check it out!), the list is
        infinite! This mentality created by Francione has produced a group of
        loud mouth, and little brain to stop all they’re doing to help animals
        and hide behind a plate of tofu. It’s also one of the reasons that the
        fur industry is back to stay because these pseudo animal rights
        activists DO NOT lift a finger to help any other cause. Anybody with
        one bit of a brain can see that we live in a bubble and 7.5 billion
        people out there will NEVER go vegan overnight because they believe meat
        is necessary for their survival, but not ONE believes that fur is
        necessary which would make it very easy to stop this horrific suffering.
        It will be a miracle if we see a vegan world in this Millennium,
        meanwhile you’d gladly get everybody to shut up to give enough space to
        make the fur industry prosper and rule the world. Honestly? This makes
        one suspect that people like Gary Francioni and the author of this crap
        are working for the bloody fur trade.

        • Lalasunflower

          You seem awfully defensive, friend. We’re not in the business of deleting comments we disagree with, so I suggest you fix yourself a cup of tea and take a deep breath.

          In the meantime, you can read the wealth of other articles on Ecorazzi that criticize other single issue campaigns as well. You look quite silly exhibiting this kind of hysteria.

          • Anti-Fur

            You fix yourself a cup of tea, because I do not need it. I am just sick and tired of people like who do go around playing god for the animals. ASK any animal when being saved/rescued if he/she gives a damn about what their rescuer eats. So, who are you to decide who should be saved and worse, put all animals in a vegan pot as if they were soup items. They are not. Each specie is a nation and each is exploited differently in sickening ways. Each deserves their flag raised for them, that’s the least we can do for them. AND by the way, judging by your attitude, I was an animal rights activist and vegan possibly when you weren’t even born yet.

          • Anti-Fur

            * people who go around

          • Lalasunflower

            Good for you for being old, looks like you’ve had lots of success in helping animals!!!!!

          • Anti-Fur

            And have you had any success in helping anyone other than yourself?

  • Anti-Fur

    I have been an anti-fur activist for 12 years, and a vegan for 25 years. What I would like you to explain is this: Why demonize anti-fur campaigns as if it were the ONLY single issue campaign in the world. Why not demonize also all the other campaigns, to name a few: animals used in laboratories, cat/dog rescues, circuses, puppy mills, bullfights, beast of burden, trophy hunting, trapping, bear baiting, penning (do you even know what penning is? Check it out!), the list is infinite! This mentality created by Francione has produced a group of loud mouth, and little brain to stop all they’re doing to help animals and hide behind a plate of tofu. It’s also one of the reasons that the fur industry is back to stay because these pseudo animal rights activists DO NOT lift a finger to help any other cause. Anybody with one bit of a brain can see that we live in a bubble and 7.5 billion people out there will NEVER go vegan overnight because they believe meat is necessary for their survival, but not ONE believes that fur is necessary which would make it very easy to stop this horrific suffering. It will be a miracle if we see a vegan world in this Millennium, meanwhile you’d gladly get everybody to shut up to give enough space to make the fur industry prosper and rule the world. Honestly? This makes one suspect that people like Gary Francioni and the author of this crap are working for the bloody fur trade.

    • If you read our other work, all single issue campaigns are fairly criticized. Thanks for reading.

    • AlpineDan

      Anti-Fur: The point isn’t to “demonize” campaigns. The point is to make campaigns vegan by including, instead of excluding, the vegan message. Are you really opposed to delivering a vegan message?

      • Lalasunflower

        Yup, we at Ecorazzi are DEFINITELY working for the Fur Trade. LOL.

      • Anti-Fur

        I have been a vegan for 25 years, how can you even ask such a question? I am opposed to the discrimination against anti-fur activism. ALL animal exploitation must be condemned equally and who are you or anyone else to say decide what animal should be fought for and which shouldn’t?

        • AlpineDan

          Would you stand outside Chick-fil-a and protest chicken consumption without a strong and obvious vegan message? I see no difference between that and a fur protest without a vegan message. Both are equally ridiculous without a stong vegan message.

          If you’re really against ALL animal exploitation and it must all be condemned equally (as you write), then including a strong vegan message is imperative.

          • Anti-Fur

            The reason I have dedicated myself to anti-fur activism the way I do is because the whole world is campaigning for animals farmed for food and not a word about fur animals except to put down the cause. I do a LOT for the anti-fur cause just check my websites antifursociety dot org and afsconference dot org. When all vegan outreach groups start including fur bearing animals in their activism, I’ll change my position. Show me ONE vegan outreach website that has even one photo of fur bearing animal, other than rabbits (which is mostly used for food).

          • AlpineDan

            Real vegan education groups automatically include fur by simply explaining what being vegan means. The only problem I have with your website is that it doesn’t promote veganism, explicity, front and center. If it did, then you would live up to your own claim that all exploitation must be condemned equally.

          • Anti-Fur

            This approach works when preaching to the choir which is really what is being done in the animal rights activism. People are forgetting that we are living in a bubble, and there are over 7 billion people out there who cannot make the connection. For them fur has nothing to do with food. They will resist dropping meat, but will not have the same problem in relation to fur. So, why NOT? In my 12 years campaigning against fur, I have gotten more people to go vegetarian and even vegan than all the loud mouths out there, calling people hypocrite because they rescue an animal and eat meat.

          • AlpineDan

            Sure, they won’t have the same problem with fur because they’ll go out and get wool or leather, which they’ll wear while shoving animal products down their throats 3 times a day, 365 days a year.

            We may get more resistance by promoting veganism, but that’s because veganism is a real change. A non-vegan refusing to wear fur is no different than Americans refusing to eat dogs. You haven’t touched the speciesism and compartmentalization. We need to knock down the speciesism and compartmentalization through persistent, relentless vegan education over many decades. Single issue campaigns without a strong, front and center vegan message are a waste of time.

          • Anti-Fur

            Most of my followers (and I have 730,000 just on FB) do NOT wear leather, wool, silk or any other material derived of animals……….because that’s very easy to do. But many have also dropped meat. AND like I said, I have to keep reminding people that fur animals do exist, and they suffer more than any other animal in the world. I choose to work with the mainstream because they are the ones that need to brought in to our midst. It’s not going radical that will attract them.

          • AlpineDan

            It’s pathetic and tragic when vegans call promoting veganism “going radical” and assume that most people in 2015 see vegans as “a bunch of crazies.” You’re just as much of a problem as anti-vegan trolls on the net saying similar things! Maybe “going radical” and “bunch of crazies” was how veganism was thought of 50 years ago in 1965. But please get with the times. I live in a rural, mountain ranch and rodeo town and we have vegan options from Daiya, Gardein, Earth Balance, etc, all over the mainstream supermarket.

            Anyway, I choose to work with the mainstream as well by explaining that being vegan is more than merely a diet, and is consistent with people’s underlying beliefs. Most people agree that it’s wrong to unnecessarily harm animals. When veganism is explained as a way of simply being reasonably consistent in avoiding unnecessary harm, and that it’s therefore part their own beliefs, applied consistently, it makes them think. And thinking in this way — knocking down the notion that being vegan is “extreme” — is the first step in the process of people becoming vegan.

            Of course, nothing is going to work for people who love to kill or harm animals, or who are shills for industry. Those people will wear fur or harm more animals merely at the suggestion that they stop. They’ll also call us radical and crazy every chance they get. Don’t be fooled into thinking they represent the mainstream. My target is people who agree that it’s wrong to unnecessarily harm animals — and there are tens of millions of them in the US alone.

          • Anti-Fur

            What does it cost you to also include fur bearing animals when mentioning about animals used for food? The idea that even mentioning fur will incite people to wear wool,
            leather etc, is preposterous and only make people be ignorant of the misery inherent to the fur trade. When I get someone to drop fur, I have saved already hundreds of animals right there on the spot. Does that not matter to you? I don’t care what animals I am saving, as long as I am saving them. I wish I had the time to include vegan outreach in my agenda, but I doubt it because as long as anti-fur activism is discriminated the way it is, I’ll be dedicating myself 100% of the time to it. Gary Francioni and his zombies can demonize me all they want. I really don’t care.

          • Botticelli

            Was with you until you excluded the rabbits! Really, rabbit fur is NOT a byproduct of the meat industry! Shame on fighting for all animals, just not for rabbits?! Disgusting hypocrisy!

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