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Gucci: 'Animal fur isn't "modern". Wearing fur belongs in the Stone Age'

Wearing fur – which is quite literally stolen off animals’ backs – is a practice that belongs in the Stone Age, writes Elisa Allen.

Elisa Allen PETA

IN A WATERSHED moment, Italian fashion house Gucci – which, for decades, has peddled everything from kangaroo-fur loafers to sealskin coats – announced last week that it’s going fur-free.

By the company’s own account, animal fur isn’t “modern”. You can say that again. Wearing fur – which is quite literally stolen off animals’ backs – is a practice that belongs in the Stone Age.

Years ago people could claim ignorance

Unless you do live in a cave – perhaps the only justification humans ever had for draping themselves in animal fur – you’ll be aware that fur coats, collars, and trinkets are products of a cruel, violent industry. Years ago, people may have been able to claim ignorance, but today, anyone with an internet connection can see footage and photos of animals on fur farms who spend their lives confined to tiny wire cages, often with little to no protection from the snow and sleet in wintertime or the scorching summer sun.

One quick Google Images search for “fur farm” produces thousands of results showing foxes, rabbits, minks, and other animals suffering in filthy conditions with untreated wounds, injuries, and even missing limbs, sometimes alongside the rotting corpses of other animals. When their short lives are brought to an end, it’s often by painful anal electrocution, gassing, neck-breaking, drowning, or strangulation.

In China, the world’s largest exporter of fur, cats and dogs are sometimes skinned alive for their fur (which is deceitfully mislabelled and sold on the European market). In North America, coyotes are caught in bone-crushing steel-jaw traps. Those who aren’t killed outright by these devices may be shot at close range by trappers or languish for days before eventually dying of starvation, thirst, or blood loss.

Nursing mothers have even been known to chew through their own limbs in a desperate attempt to return to their babies. And right here in Ireland, more than 200,000 minks held in squalid cages on the country’s three remaining fur farms are denied the opportunity to act on any of their natural instincts – such as roaming, swimming, and caring for their young.

A civilised society

They’ll exist in this miserable state until their tiny lungs are finally filled with poison gas. Why? So that someone can prance around in a furry coat or fuzzy loafers. You’d be forgiven for questioning whether we truly live in a civilised society.

The fur industry, reeling from the blow of Gucci’s announcement, went on the defensive, claiming that “fur is the most natural luxury item there is”. Its representatives either have conveniently forgotten that ads making false claims about fur’s green credentials have been banned in multiple countries or are deliberately lying to the public.

The truth is that fur production is an ecological nightmare and has been identified as a major polluter by government agencies around the world because the chemicals used to keep pelts from decomposing in people’s wardrobes are highly toxic and have been shown to poison rivers and streams, killing off fish and other water life.

Most retailers want nothing to do with it

Despite this bloody industry’s shameful ploys, most consumers – and retailers – want nothing to do with it. Topshop, H&M, River Island, Zara, and Marks & Spencer are among the numerous high-street stores that refuse to use real fur in their collections, and Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood, Calvin Klein, and Dublin darling Simone Rocha are just a few of today’s popular and proudly fur-free designers.

Gucci has finally conceded that no one needs to drape themselves in the skins of tormented animals, and – in 2017 – it’s only a matter of time until the few remaining dinosaurs of the fashion world that still use fur cop on and follow suit.

And as for Ireland, if we don’t shut down our last remaining fur farms and join our UK neighbours in banning this barbaric industry, we’re very soon going to find ourselves on the wrong side of history.

Elisa Allen is Director of PETA UK.

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Elisa Allen  / PETA

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