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Thu 21 Jan 2016 05:43 PM

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Verdict on fur? Guilty

PETA's Mimi Bekhechi responds to our recent article promoting the wearing of fur

Verdict on fur? Guilty

My, oh, my, was Arabian business's recent article about fur embarrassingly off the mark. Actually, the few people out there who still drape themselves in fur that was stolen, quite literally, off an animal's back, should feel guilty – very guilty. Fur is barbaric, toxic, ugly and unnecessary, and the fur trade causes the suffering and deaths of millions of animals who are trapped, gassed, poisoned, drowned, electrocuted and even skinned alive every year.

While everyone knows that it's cold in Russia, that's certainly no excuse to wear fur. When was the last time a mountaineer attempted to climb Mt Everest in a heavy mink coat? Today there are many modern synthetic fibres which are far warmer, lighter and more weather-proof than a nasty fur.

As for the assertion that fur is eco-friendly – scientific evidence conclusively demonstrates otherwise. In Denmark, where more than 2 million minks are killed for their fur annually, more than 8,000 pounds of ammonia is released into the atmosphere each year. An independent research and consultancy organisation recently conducted a study of mink farms and found that the climate-change impact of 1 kilogram of mink fur is five times higher than that of the highest-scoring textile.

The study also found that for 17 out of 18 different environmental issues, such as climate change, ozone pollution, soil acidification and water and land use, the impact of fur production was much more harmful than that of the production of common textiles. Furs are absolutely loaded with toxic chemicals in order to keep them from decomposing in buyers' closets. And a warning to parents – just last week, a disturbing new study found unsafe levels of potentially carcinogenic chemicals in the fur trim on several brands of children's clothing – including Canada Goose, Woolrich, Nickelson and Airforce. So not only is fur terrible for the environment, it also poses a very real risk to human health.

And while it's true that PETA thinks fur-wearers look cold and heartless, we have never thrown paint on anyone (although I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't get a little bit of satisfaction out of seeing fur-wearers' bad karma playing itself out).

In this day and age, there is absolutely no justification for keeping animals in tiny cages, where they go mad from confinement, or catching wild animals in steel-jaw traps, where they languish in agony, sometimes for days, with crushed bones. Thankfully, most people agree and wouldn't be caught dead in fur. Even without considering the unimaginable suffering of animals who are skinned alive in China, I challenge Hamdan to sit through PETA's video exposé of supposedly "high-welfare" farms in Europe.

No one with an ounce of compassion could condone wearing fur after seeing it. I hope it will lead her to have a change of heart. If so, as it has with thousands of others, she can donate her unwanted furs to PETA's fur donation programme so we can send them to refugees or give them to the homeless. Only people who are truly struggling to survive have any excuse at all for wearing fur.

* Mimi Bekhechi is director of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) UK

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

Mazher Fakher 4 years ago

Thank you for the reply and your ongoing efforts. It is unbelievable that seemingly educated people continue to defend this terrible practice in the 21st century.

alan herscovici 4 years ago

Readers should be warned that PETA is not against only fur, they oppose ANY use of animals, even for food or vital medical research. The "studies" she cites have all been debunked in the TruthAboutFur blog posts "Lies Activists Tell". Fur is actually a natural, very long-lasting clothing material, and the modern fur trade is an excellent example of "the sustainable use of renewable natural resources", a principle now promoted by the IUCN and all serious conservation authorities.

Heather 4 years ago

Oh come on Mimi. Yours and PETA's obsession with hatred for the fur trade leaves you grasping at every little negative going and growing it out of all proportion, resulting in ridiculous assertions and untrue statements.

You wouldn't go shopping in a wet suit, so what does that prove?.... nothing. There are very good reasons why you wouldn't climb Everest in a fur coat other than just for warmth. Layering is the main one. You can't layer in a fur coat, which is in fact what makes it so good for less strenuous activities.

As for the precious study that PETA keeps quoting. It is not a scientific report and is filled with flaws, guesswork, and erroneous illogical, conclusions. If you want to use scientific evidence as a criteria for your anti fur stance, then you must also inform people that there is also massive scientific evidence for the even worse eco damage done by the alternatives to fur.

Likewise with the loading of toxins in fur. Again, far worse on synthetic clothes.

alan herscovici 4 years ago

This article is activist rubbish. Readers should be warned that PETA really opposes ANY use of animals, even for food or vital medical research. Most people, however, do accept using animals so long as this is done responsibly. The fur trade is now, in fact, an excellent example of "the sustainable use of renewable natural resources", a central principle of modern ecology as supported by the World Conservation Union and every serious environmental authority. Fur is a natural, long-lasting and ultimately biodegradable clothing material that is both beautiful and practical. When you buy fur you also support people who live close to the land, people who care about and protect natural habitat. For another side of the fur story, check out TruthAboutFur. And for the shocking scoop about activist hypocrisy, visit PetaKillsAnimals.

RMG 4 years ago

It's just a matter of time before this article would appear.

I so respect Hamdan's responsible approach to the pros and cons of the fur industry. All the bases were covered.

But allowing individuals to make their own informed decisions just doesn't seem to be found in PETA's vocabulary.

MT3 4 years ago

@ Alan Herscovici - I don't really a have a dog in this fight, Alan but I think it would be a useful courtesy when commenting to identify any special interest you may have in the topic - the author has nailed her colours to the PETA mast and Googling your name appears to identify you as the President of the Fur Council of Canada -it would help the rest of us to come to a more balanced opinion as to the comments made. If, however, you are an entirely unrelated Alan Herscovici my profound apologies.