5 Reasons Why We Must Wear Leather and Fur

The world is changing and, with it, our approach to consumption. As the impact of global warming worsens, many consumers are rethinking what they buy, and how much of it. “Local”, “organic” and “minimalism” are all buzzwords many of us are drawn to, and some people question the need to eat animals, or wear leather and fur. Where does that leave us with animal use?

fur design, fur coat, fur designer, sewing, fox, wear leather

The use of animals is an ethical dilemma that many people question, but most people agree that if animals are well-treated, they are not in danger of becoming extinct, none of the animal is wasted, and the animal is put to good use, then it is acceptable for us to use and consume them.

SEE ALSO: WHY FUR IS THE ETHICAL CLOTHING CHOICE

Animal use is an integral part of many people’s lives, and is linked to essential products in our everyday life, such as medication, food, and clothing. Animals are used in medical testing in order to find cures to life-threatening diseases. We eat animals and while some people question the need to do this, there is plenty of evidence it can be done without harm to our planet. In fact, lots of land is better suited for pasture than for cultivation. And remember that animal manure is used to replenish the soil to grow crops. But if we are concerned about possible impacts, a small reduction in the amount of meat we consume – and waste – can go a long way. And lastly, we wear many types of animal products in order to protect ourselves from the elements. Fashion may not be essential, but clothing is. The need to keep warm in cold weather is a matter of life and death.

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If you live in a cold country, you’ll need clothing that can protect you from the elements, and your choices should involve leather, fur, and other animal products. Why? Because there are no viable alternatives.

If we really care about the environment (and we all should because nothing else matters if we don’t have water and food and clean air), we will want to buy sustainable fashion products that use production processes that are not too harmful to the environment, that are long-lasting, and that are biodegradable. That is exactly what animal skins are. Yes, they aren’t perfect; leathers and furs use chemicals in their processing and finishing (like all other textiles), and sometimes the farming has an environmental impact. But when you consider how long a good fur coat or high-quality leather bag lasts, you’ll realize that the environmental damage is minimal compared to the lifespan of the item.

faux leather, wear leather

So here they are, the five reasons why we must all wear leather and fur, and these reasons all point to the fact that there are simply no viable alternatives.

1. There are no alternatives that are biodegradable. The synthetic alternatives to fur and leather take much longer to biodegrade (50 years for treated leather vs. 500+ years for pleather), and even when they have “biodegraded”, there are still remains of the plastic particles in the soil, which we are now finding in our oceans and inside fish. Truth About Fur is in the process of conducting an experiment to prove that real fur biodegrades much faster than “faux”, and the results are more dramatic than even we expected.

2. There are no alternatives that are sustainable. Synthetics are made from petroleum by-products. You probably know that petroleum is not a renewable resource. The problems caused by the extraction and transport of petroleum are only a part of the issue, let’s not get started on the political issues (read: wars) that are caused by petroleum. Animals are a renewable, sustainable resource. (Actually, wool, down, and cashmere and other similar materials are sustainable, so these are certainly viable alternatives when it comes to winter coats. But the animal rights activists are against those, too, since they come from animals. Usually a sensible winter wardrobe would combine fur, leather, down, wool, and cashmere – you’ll never be cold.)

fur fashion, eco fashion, clothing lifecycles

3. There are no alternatives that are as long-lasting. While a fake fur or leather jacket may be sitting in a landfill for a few hundred years longer than its real counterpart, that doesn’t mean it is longer lasting in a fashion perspective. When well cared for, fur and leather items can last for decades, but fake leather and fur hardly do the same. Both look worn out much faster (and not in a cool way – like worn out leather), and they also don’t maintain their warmth or waterproof qualities. You don’t find many fake leather bags being handed down from one generation to the next, do you?

4. There are no alternatives that are as environment-friendly. The points above do a good job of making this argument, but we can add to this by talking about the processing. Yes, leather and fur require chemicals for processing (leather requiring more than fur as you need to remove the hairs from leather, whereas with fur you are aiming to protect them). But two important things to consider here are that (1) the chemicals used to “dress” furs are really quite benign, e.g., alum salts (which are sold in the pharmacy to add to your bath water for sore muscles), and (2), the longevity of leather and fur items means that the chemicals per wear are much less than a synthetic alternative. Your leather bag or fur coat may have used chemicals in its production, but the fact that it lasts you 30 years makes it a more environment-friendly option than the synthetic version, made from a non-renewable resource that requires chemicals in its processing, which then looks tatty after two seasons. Another important thing to consider is that no synthetic material looks good in its natural state, while fur is frequently used in its natural state (meaning its natural colours), reducing the need for bleaches and dyes.

5. There are no alternatives that are as safe. We’ve yet to fully understand the bodily harm coming from wearing synthetics, but there’s a great deal of research that shows that synthetic materials may contribute to health issues such as infertility, respiratory diseases, and cancer. Why take the risk when there are natural alternatives?

If you truly care about the planet and its inhabitants, you’ll make consumption decisions based on what’s best for us all. You might refuse to eat animals or watch them being used as entertainment, but it is impossible to deny that synthetic clothing is causing irreparable harm to our planet. Choose materials that are sustainable, long-lasting, and biodegradable. Choose fur and leather because there are no viable alternatives.

28 Comments

  • Wait, did you say synthetic fur is not environment friendly?
    I saw this article in my debate homework(I am from south korea), and I found this again in Google.
    If you say that synthetic fur is harmful for the environment, do you MEAN that synthetic fur is not harmful at all? The substances that go in the animal fur and leather we are wearing, they also harm the environment. And animal killing can harm the environment too. You can use vegan clothing like cotton,etc as an alternative to this.
    Well, I hope you can all change your minds with this reply.

    • I’m afraid we meant what we said. All clothing made from petrochemicals, including fake fur, is very harmful to the environment. Everything humans do has an impact on the environment, and that includes cotton and other forms of monoculture, which remove habitat, harm the soil, and incidentally kill large numbers of smaller animals. We’re glad you’re committed to researching your clothing choices, and encourage you to continue.

  • OK you PETA folk & radical vegan-vegetarians! Fur/leather/wool/feathers/cashmere/fleece/down has been used since the beginning of human history! Were folk like the Eskimo/Inuit/Aleutians/American Indians living in cold temperate areas of North America, Europeans(especially northern Europeans/Russians/Siberian peoples have always used these animal products to keep warm!!!!! OK in the last 100-130 plus years synthetic materials have been used in addition to natural materials! Even though in the last 30 or so years synthetics have improved like “thinsulate” e.c.t. it seems that naturals still work better especially in the colder & coldest areas! Synthetics work with lesser cold/chilly/cool & mild weather & in meso-thermal climates, than the freezing/sub-freezing/sub-zero cold in micro-thermal climates! I live in semi-tropical zone ten south Florida & it use to be we could wear winter clothing sometimes in the winter but this almost never happens now! I wish that at least in the winter it would go back to what it use to be back 40-50 plus years ago with frost happening several times during the winter & occasional cool days that almost neverhappen anymore! we can go 10-12 years without a night-time frost & when frost happens it is patchy & light! I always saw myself ice-skating & into other winter sports if I lived in a cold micro-thermal continental climate !!!!! BTW the few temperate decidious trees here in south Florida like the Bald Cypresses mock & imitate the tropical & subtropical trees in their leaf exchange from October til April/May! Tropical trees can loose their leaves but the rules are not the same as for temperate decidous trees & it is the dryness in winter & not tempetures & any rainfall can trigger new green leaf growth!

  • I had no idea that authentic fur clothing can last decades. I can see why this would be something to keep in mind when shopping of fur clothing. My wife loves coats that keep her really warm in the winter. I’ll have to shop around for an authentic fur coat that will last a long time.

    • Those who think synthetics can replace natural fur and down should consider that most synthetics are made with petroleum, a non-renewable resource, and also that recent research has revealed that synthetic microfibers can cause considerable harm to wildlife: “When washed, plastic microfibers break off and a single jacket can produce up to 250,000 fibers in washing machine effluent. Less than 1 mm in size, they make their way through wastewater plants and into marine environments where they have been found to enter the food chain. Microfibers make up 85 percent of human made debris on shorelines around the world according to a 2011 study.” (http://www.ecowatch.com/story-of-stuff-microfibers-2294645216.html) Perhaps natural fur and down are not such frivolous choices after all.

      See also: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/20/microfibers-plastic-pollution-oceans-patagonia-synthetic-clothes-microbeads

      • Let us consider all aspects, from the toxic chemicals to treat the hides, to the suffering of the animal before, the method of killing, the amount of food to keep them alive till we kill them, and in the case of leather especially, the waste and expulsion of methane, fecal runoff into drinking water, etc, it quickly becomes apparent the small amount of waste you talk about with synthetic material and no waste in lower climate with organic cotton and other plant based material at lower climates is small compared to the enormity of the problems with the leather and fur industry

  • WOW… i cant wait till they start making coats out of human skin!!
    i’ll buy the one made from the person who wrote this article..

      • It’s not insane. Think about it. The actions to obtain skin would be exactly the same, the so called ”human treatment”, no waste policy, etc.

        If there is a moral difference, based on who the victim is, it should be logically supported, no?

  • I live up around the 63rd parallel in Canada’s north and I can tell you that after 10 years of attempting to live here wearing a synthetic jacket I finally did what I should have done a long time ago – bought a Canada Goose parka. It’s the only thing that’s warm enough at -40 and the coyote fur has a purpose – it creates a microclimate with your breath around the face to prevent frostbite. Ethical, sustainable harvest and mindful consumption are the key.

    • It isn’t minus 40 where I am but even at minus 5, if I am standing in the dog park for an hour, I need my Canada Goose to keep me warm. No question that those jackets do the job.

  • Leather degrades within 50 years? Are you actually being serious? Antique leather products have been dug up that are tens of thousands of years old, leather isn’t the same as regular animal skin, it is treated with extremely harmful chemicals that are ruining our environment, animal agriculture industry being perfectly fine for the environment you say? you seriously need to do some reasearch.. Animal agriculture is the single most detrimental attribute to our entire planet thanks to the human race being complete incompetent fools that do not realise there is absolutely no need to kill animals and if only everybody else lived a more ethical way then so would the rest of the world because apparently the human race is made up of retarded sheep that cannot think for themselves

    • They have also found human remains over a thousand years old, but that doesn’t mean all human remains don’t decompose, it just means that sometimes, in very specific conditions, natural items do not decompose.

      And living in a ethical way DOES NOT mean living without killing animals. Consuming less is key – less meat, less leather, less fur. But suggesting that a vegan planet would save us all is ridiculous. We are better off using natural resources RESPONSIBLY than trying to turn everyone into vegans and wearing outerwear made of petroleum.

    • Hi Hermit, you may be relieved to know that Truth About Fur is doing exactly the research you call for, and not just on the Internet. See The Great Fur Burial here: http://www.truthaboutfur.com/blog/great-fur-burial-part-3/

      As Alexandra indicates, special conditions are required for any organic matter to resist decomposition, the most important of which are an anaerobic environment (lack of air) and cold. The samples in our test have spent six months under ground, in winter, and already the leather is frail. We don’t have access to a tropical rain forest, but if the same sample were placed above ground in the Amazon, it would probably have vanished by now.

  • These 5 reasons to wear leather fur are amazing, I always try wearing leather jackets but now I would try this also 🙂 Thanks for sharing something new with me I want to appreciate you for that

  • Every living thing ends up food for some other living thing. We humans try to deprive fellow beings of our last contribution by cremation but the combustion products still return to the environment so we will be food.
    Early life used CO2 but then plants developed chlorophyll that let them pull carbon from the atmosphere and poop oxygen into it. Life that had been living for eons was devastated and has never recovered. We humans think we are affecting the environment but we are minuscule compared to green plants.
    Use of animals by humans is part of a system that has been going on for eons however we are the first to contemplate our role in it.
    We are also the first to consciously empathize with those we raise for food and provide for their physical and emotional welfare.
    Dying happens to every living thing however when humans end the life of an animal they take steps to do so in a way that is humane. No other animal does that.
    We are the most ethical creatures that have ever lived and in that group I include farmers, trappers and abattoirs.

  • I have no idea about fur but now leather accessories are in demand like leather jackets, leather coats, biker leather jackets etc. Biker leather jackets are my favorite. I always search biker leather jackets instead of this I would like to buy leather jackets from my favourite online store.

  • This can be a tricky topic to cover, but we think you handled it well. A lot of factors go into whether you support genuine leather and furs. We support it because we believe fur is green and a renewable resource. Also there are strict regulations from the state to international levels on the fur trade. Overall, the pros outweigh the possible cons.

  • This is stupid.

    Synthetic clothes are bad for the environment?

    Don’t wear them then. Doesn’t mean you have to kill animals instead, does it?

    There are alternatives to both faux fur and leather and real fur and leather.

    If everyone started wearing fur and leather, the harm to the animals would be unforgivable. It already is. Go and watch some fur farm footage and tell me this isn’t an abominable behaviour.

    And it isn’t even sustainable, anyway. You can’t just go and get the fur. First you have to breed countless animals, feed them (those crops have got to come from somewhere) and house them for a few years and then slaughter them and skin them. Not to mention transport. Almost all the leather in the world comes from India and China (from cows that were tortured and abused).

    This article makes out like everyone lives in really cold climates. Newsflash; most people don’t.

    Stop kidding yourselves. Find real solutions to your problems and do not contradict yourself, it weakens your argument (you talk about it like fashion isn’t important at first and then you blatantly start going on about how cool fur and leather look. Insane.)

    • Newsflash: most of the readers of this blog probably live in cold climates. This is a blog about the fur trade in North America and one can presume that the majority of its readers live in North America or Europe.

      And I’ve done better than watching fur farm footage (which is almost always edited to look horrific or staged), I have been to fur farms myself, in Canada, Sweden Finland, and Denmark. The animals are extremely well-treated.

      Also, you don’t always have to breed animals to get fur. There’s this amazing thing called wild fur. It’s all over the hoods of the Canada Goose parkas and countless other coats. Wild fur is completely sustainable.

      Meanwhile, fur farms use by-products from the human food chain (fish eggs or broken eggs) to feed their animals, their carcasses are turned into fertilizer or biofuels. Also, there is no transport, they are euthanized on site. Again, the definition of sustainable.

      So, tell us about these non-animal, non synthetic materials we can wear when it is cold or raining?

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