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The End of Fake Fur Go into any UK high street fashion shop or online retailer and you will see fake fur everywhere; coats, sweaters and accessories, it could look like real fur, it could be bright colours. It is a must have fashion trend for winter 2018. Fake fur as it says in the name is fake; it is made out of petroleum based products just like plastic. A subject that’s a hot topic in fact everyone is talking about the overuse of plastic and the problems it is causing in our environment and our planet, so why not fake fur? The fashion industry calls fake fur, faux fur and they say it is 100% cruelty free but is that really true? Obviously no animals were killed making the fake fur product but think for a moment about all the chemicals and synthetic raw materials, including petroleum based products like nylon, acrylic, and polyester used to create it, they are definitely not environmental friendly.
The lifespan of fake fur fashion items varies, some people may keep it as long as a real fur item like in the days gone by but for most the fashion item was relatively inexpensive, people just throw them away into a landfill.
Primarks products are very well known for this short lifespan. Once in the landfill, the acrylic fibres that make up the fake fur are non-biodegradable so they will never naturally decompose just like plastic. While in the landfill they leech toxic chemicals, into the surrounding land and water which can cause problems to our native animals such as otters, fish and stoats in our rivers and streams, clearly not 100% cruelty free.
Washing fake fur in a washing machine releases thousands of fibre particles into the water thus they end up entering the ecosystem, into our rivers and ultimately the sea. The fibres break down to small particles and are ingested by fish and other water animals which can cause these animals serious issues. Fish are then eaten by other animals and humans, so the non-biodegradable fake fur particles are inside our bodies potentially causing us harm in the future. This means fake fur is just as bad as plastics for the environment and the planet so what can we do about this? The answer is obvious and it is real fur. Animal fur has been used since the beginning of mankind for clothing to keep us warm. Fur has always been in fashion as it gives off the impression of elegance but only recently has it become the target for animal rights campaigners. In the last one hundred years roughly fur had become a rather expensive fashion item. If you had a fur coat it would suggest that you are a very wealthy person. In the mid nineteen hundreds to make real fur more affordable to all, specialised farms were set up to breed animals for their fur. The most common animal used was a mink. Fur clothing skyrocketed in the nineteen eighties becoming one of the most popular pieces of fashion to own and due to the mink farming; it had become extremely affordable to many. By the nineteen nineties there was a backlash, some people thought it was cruel to breed animals for fur, more people were becoming vegetarians, as a result real fur was not the status symbol, high fashion item it once was. Just like back in the nineteen nineties when there was this culture change away from real fur due to supposed animal cruelty we are now going through a culture change away from plastics for the same reason animal cruelty but in this case it is much worse, the fish in the sea with the ingested fibre particles are part of the food chain, they are eaten by other animals and humans. We need to encourage people to stop using fake fur and educate them to use more sustainable products like real fur that is biodegradable which means it will naturally decay in the environment. There will always be people who will not agree with using real fur for their various reasons but the majority of people in the world are quite happy eating meat, wearing leather shoes, buying leather handbags and belts all sourced from dead animals. We just need to change the perception of meat eating, leather wearing people and raise the welfare standards of the real fur industry, so it becomes acceptable to wear real fur again. The real fur industry needs to ensure fur farms are run with the highest standard of quality and welfare care for the animals. The animals would be looked after carefully for their entire life and each and every animal would be killed humanely. Each piece of authentic fur should be traced right from the country of birth to the country of manufacture so the clothes can have a tag stating it was ethically produced to the highest welfare standard. This would make the public feel more comfortable as they would know that the animal had a good life. A grading system could be introduced, the highest standard of fur should use the whole animal; fur, meat, bone for bone meal and organic compost fertiliser. These high standards need to happen not just in the United Kingdom but in the rest of the world. If fur cannot be traced from source and graded, then manufacturers should not use the product. If the World can start working on ethical fur farming and labelling then, in 10 to 20 years it will be rare to see anyone buying or wearing fake fur. We will be wearing real fur just like our ancestors did. We need to act on this now to help save our environment.
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