Is PETA’s Angora Rabbit Video Staged?

Simon Ward, Editor, Man In Nature By Simon Ward, Editor, Man In Nature

Angora rabbit, PETA, wool

The Angora rabbit has been bred for its wool for more than 2,000 years without fuss. But PETA can’t leave well enough alone. Photo: Oldhaus.

Sensationalized videos claiming to show “animal abuse” are sadly a fact of life these days for animal agriculture, and they’re often promoted (if not actually filmed) by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. One such video, dealing with wool production from Angora rabbits, premiered in 2013 and has gone unchallenged – until now. An Angora farmer in the US contacted us to raise some real concerns about this video, which we think are worth sharing.

Before dissecting the video, let’s start with a backgrounder on Angora wool production.

There are two distinct types of Angora rabbit: those that moult, and those that don’t.

Those that moult have their wool plucked every three or four months, just before moulting begins. Plucking produces the best wool because most of the guard hairs are left behind, but it is time-consuming. Plucking leaves in place the incoming coat, although one breed, the French Angora, can be fed a depilatory which results in the exposure of bare skin. Here’s a video showing how to pluck an Angora properly.

Angoras that don’t moult are sheared. Because the guard hairs are included, the wool is not such high quality, but collecting it is quicker and the yield is higher because wool can be sheared even from sensitive areas of the rabbit’s body. Shearing is therefore more common in commercial operations. The most important commercial breed is the high-yielding and virtually mat-free German Angora. Ninety per cent of Angora wool production today is in China, and almost all Chinese farms raise German Angoras. Here’s a video showing how to shear an Angora properly.

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Why Fur Is the Ethical Clothing Choice

Alan Herscovici, Senior Researcher, Truth About Fur By Alan Herscovici, Senior Researcher, Truth About Fur

ethical clothing, ethical, trapping, fur farming, beaver

In every stage of production, fur makes the grade as ethical clothing. Photos (clockwise from left): Alcide Giroux; Truth About Fur; Steve; Diane Giroux.

Is fur an ethical clothing choice? The media often seem confused about this question, acknowledging the resurgence of fur in designer collections while uncritically reporting sensationalist animal activist complaints about this trend. The implied (and often explicit) message is that consumers are less bothered about whether fur is an ethical clothing choice, and more concerned about looking good. In short, “fashion trumps ethics”. But is this true?

To answer this question, we must take a step back and ask what makes it ethical to use any animal product.

Some of the best work on this subject was done by the Royal Commission on Seals and the Sealing Industry in Canada (1984-86). Public-opinion research conducted in six Western countries (the UK, France, West Germany, Norway, Canada and the US) showed that “there is no agreement on whether it is ethical or moral to kill seals. The choice is a matter of personal conviction.” [Report of the Royal Commission, Vol. 1, p. 23, 1986.]

The Royal Commission also found, however, that there is “substantial weight of opinion that if the killing of any wild animals is to be accepted as ethical, it should satisfy the following conditions”:

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August Fur News: Fur Fashion and Faux Fur Pas

Truth About Fur By Truth About Fur

As we are now officially into fur season, this month’s Fur in the News roundup features a lot of fur fashion, and some faux fur pas

Elle-fur-beach

Heading for the beach in fall? Elle shows you how to keep warm.

If you are in denial that summer is over, never fear, we still have a few good tips on how to combine fur into your beachwear wardrobe. Elle has several suggestions on how to wear fur on the beach (above) and Cindy Crawford shows us how to wear fur boots on a boat trip. Too bad she wasn’t in a kayak made of seal skin. Lucky for us, the summer’s most popular parka was made of fur and we think it will transition nicely into your fall fashion wardrobe. What else should you be wearing for fall? The fashionistas are suggesting fur sandals and these amazing fur backpacks from Fendi. Back to school is very chic this year!

If you love fur fashion, then you might be interested in reading about the longest fashion collaboration to date – the one between Karl Lagerfeld and Fendi which has resulted in some incredible fur fashion. And if you want to learn the tricks of the trade, then check out this school in Finland which teaches the skills to design and make fur garments.

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10 Cool Facts You May Not Know About Fur

Truth About Fur By Truth About Fur

neanderthal-homo-sapiens

Neanderthal man froze to death while homo sapiens Josh Spice laughs in the face of the cold!

COOL FACT #1: Fur may have saved the human race. New research suggests humans (Homo sapiens) survived the last Ice Age and Neanderthals didn’t because humans were serious about fur clothing. Animal remains around Neanderthal sites lack evidence of furbearers, while human sites have fox, rabbit, mink and notably wolverine – the same fur still preferred today by Canadian First Nations for hood liners.

COOL FACT #2: Everyone’s heard of the California Gold Rush, but how about the California Fur Rush? In the early 19th century, trappers came from far and wide to the US west coast to harvest huge populations of furbearers. It was these trappers, not the gold prospectors who followed, who opened up the west and put San Francisco Bay on the trade map. But no one remembers because no one named a football team after them. Go 49ers!

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The Great Fur Burial, Part 2: After Three Months

Truth About Fur By Truth About Fur

fur burial, mink, fake fur, real fur, biodegradable, sustainable

Three months ago, we launched the Great Fur Burial. This is what we buried – mink on the left, fake fur on the right. How do they look now?

The fur industry is proud of the many ways in which fur is eco-friendly, including that after decades of use, it biodegrades. In contrast, when fake fur made from petrochemicals reaches the end of its useful, and typically very short, life, it goes in a landfill where it will sit until the end of time. Or will it? In pursuit of knowledge and truth, we decided to do a little experiment: the Great Fur Burial.

On May 14, we took a mink stole and a fake fur vest, cut them into equal-sized pieces, and buried them. Above is how the pieces looked on burial day. After 3 months, 6 months, and then once a year for five years, we would unearth a piece of the mink and a piece of the fake fur to check for degradation. This experiment is hardly scientific, but it only has to show one thing: do they rot, or not?

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Fur Design Course in Finland’s Far North

Alexandra Suhner Isenberg By Alexandra Suhner Isenberg

Are you interested in studying fur design and learning the technical skills involved in producing fur garments and home accessories? There are only a handful of courses around the world that teach these skills, and one of them is in the north of Finland.

The first thing that caught my eye when I walked into the fur design studio at Centria University of Applied Sciences were the fox pelts. Everywhere. Scraps of fox in boxes, coloured fox pieces being sewn into garments, rails of fox clothes, and the pièce de résistance, a multi-coloured fox beanbag chair (to die for would be an understatement here).

But then again, what would you expect when taking a fur design course in the country famed for its fox pelts?

fox fur, fur design, learn to make furs, centria, finland, futurefoxstudio

Left, the beautiful Allegro campus in Pietersaari, and right, a fox fur beanbag.

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July Fur News: Great Lakes Wolves, Drug-Fueled Models

Simon Ward, Editor, Man In Nature By Simon Ward, Editor, Man In Nature

Great Lakes wolves, gray wolf

The legal tussle over hunting of Great Lakes wolves seems set to last for many more years. Photo: National Park Service.

July may be the slowest month on the fur calendar, but some issues never go away, especially if they enter the legal system. Take the Great Lakes wolves. The hunt was off, then it was on, and now it’s off again. It’s supposed to be about the numbers, but the precautionary principle must trump all, says Nancy Warren of the National Wolfwatcher Coalition. “Wolves have reached the numeric goals for delisting” in Minnesota, she concedes, but when they’re faced with threats like climate change, current numbers apparently don’t matter.

Wisconsin’s inhabitants might not agree. With hunting and trapping banned, the state’s wolf population is now more than double its official goal of 350.

Taking the lead against the Great Lakes wolves lawsuit filed by HSUS is the Ohio-based Sportsmen’s Alliance. Truth About Fur interviewed spokesman Brian Lynn on today’s trapping challenges in general. Though most of the Alliance’s members are hunters and fishermen, it is strongly committed to the interests of trappers too. “Trappers are the ones on the front lines,” he says. “They are constantly under attack [from] animal rights organisations, legislation, the ballot box … Whether it is changing the seasons, eliminating the seasons, or regulating traps, they are getting hammered left and right.”

The next major battle will be fought in Montana, where a ballot initiative is coming up this November that could stop all trapping on public lands. Pundits are saying it could go either way.

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