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Opinion: Compassion in vogue – How the ethical fashion movement is extending to animals

6.7.2018

Written by Elise Burgess, Head of Communications at FOUR PAWS Australia

The rise in ethical fashion has progressed in leaps and bounds over recent years, with fashion-conscious consumers leading the charge towards a future where we can have our smart-cut blazers and feel good about it, too.

As part of this ethical fashion trend, major fashion retailers and brands are increasingly recognising their responsibility for the welfare of animals, choosing animal-free materials or making demands about animal welfare for their supply chains.

Last month, major global online retailer ASOS, which has 12.4 million active customers worldwide, announced that it is banning the sale of silk, cashmere and mohair products, having already banned fur and materials from threatened or endangered species. 

An on-trend decision.

Over 890 huge fashion labels including H&M, Michael Kors, Gucci, and Armani have also committed to fur-free policies through the Fur Free Retailer global program, not only prioritising animal welfare and consumer demands, but also supporting an end to fur’s image as a ‘luxury’ item. 

But this isn’t the 80s, I hear you ask, isn’t fur ‘over’ anyway? Shockingly, no.

To this day, millions of foxes, minks, rabbits and raccoon dogs are brutally farmed and slaughtered for their fur. 

In fact, the global fur trade sources 95 percent of its fur from animals forced to live in small wire cages on fur farms. Animals trapped in these cages are denied any natural environment or the ability to express their instinctive behaviour.

At the end of their short lives, their death – by electrocution, gassing or breaking the neck – is as cruel as their keeping.

What’s more, some animals used for fur, such as foxes, have been selectively bred to produce extreme amounts of excess skin and therefore, more fur. As a result, these poor foxes suffer from heavily folded skin, severe eye infections and badly malformed feet.

In April this year, horrific images from a fox farm in Finland showed animals locked in tight cages and who could barely move due to all their excess skin. In the wild, polar foxes would normally reach a weight of roughly four kilos, but due to deliberate breeding for the largest possible amount of fur, these animals instead reach a weight of up to 20 kilos.

While it may seem like a US or European issue, where the winters are far colder, here in Australia you can still find fur being used in fashion. Lots of fur trims are available in our shopping districts on jackets, fur vests, fur accessories for handbags and even on some toys. Which is why in 2018 it is so important for Australians to show their support for fur-free fashion and products.

This can be as simple as not buying fur products or fashion items such as jackets or gloves with fur trim, or better yet, supporting Australian fashion retailers and brands who have committed to being fur-free. Check out the Fur Free Retailer list here

FOUR PAWS Australia is the Australian representative of the global Fur Free Retailer program, and after listening to what compassionate Australians are saying, we want to help local brands and consumers to be a driving force for global animal protection in fashion.

Elise Burgess

To find out more about fur in fashion, check out FOUR PAWS Australia’s website today.

This opinion piece was published on Bare Essentials

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FOUR PAWS press contact

Elise Burgess

Head of Communications

elise.burgess@four-paws.org

T: 02 9198 4417

M: 0423 873 382

FOUR PAWS Australia
GPO Box 2845SYDNEY NSW 2001

Main Phone: 1800 454 228

FOUR PAWS Australia

FOUR PAWS is an international animal protection organisation with headquarters in Vienna, Austria. Founded by Heli Dungler in 1988, the organisation strives to help animals in need through work which is based on substantiated research and scientific expertise, as well as national and international lobbying. FOUR PAWS focuses on animals who suffer under human influence: stray animals, animals used in fashion, companion animals, wild animals and farmed animals.

With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Kosovo, Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA and Vietnam, FOUR PAWS aims to help animals in need directly and quickly. www.four-paws.org.au