The team at Truth About Fur has over 50 years of collective experience in the fur trade and we can confirm that a communications role in this field is not for the faint-hearted. It is a job where we are often on the defense, regularly need to react at the speed of light, and work with a fraction of the budgets available to our critics. We’ve been called every name in the book and yet, day after day, we come back to our desks and do our best to defend and promote this trade that we love. But lately, we are feeling a bit discouraged and, surprisingly, it’s not because of activist insults. It’s because, all too often, we see our own supporters – fur fans who are supposedly on our side – making statements that are directly hurting our industry.
To promote our industry, we explain the environmental credentials and other positive contributions of the fur trade. And while we aim to be a positive voice for our trade, we also know that discrediting the animal extremists who mislead the public about fur is part of the job. But one thing we don’t do is insult the very people we are trying to educate – consumers, media, political leaders. And yet, all too often on our social media channels, our “supporters” insult potential fur customers or fur fans by endorsing a very simplistic and erroneous vision of the battle lines in this difficult discussion.
Fur Fans Aren’t All Conservative
There’s a common misconception that the people who support the fur trade are all “conservative” when it comes to politics. This simply is not true. While we have a great deal of support from conservatives, we know that many “center” and “left-leaning” people also support our trade. These people may be considered by some to be “liberals” or “tree huggers” but they believe that an industry that relies on the sustainable use of natural resources is the way forward for our planet.
There is also a misconception that the people who are anti-fur are all liberal. That is also wrong. Our social media team often checks the Facebook profiles of people leaving negative comments on our page. Many of them do show what could be considered politically liberal content. But many others show conservative content –including pro-Trump messages and support for the NRA.
So what does that say about the people who are pro-fur, and those who are against? It demonstrates that politics do not necessarily define a person’s understanding of our trade.
Even more importantly, we need to think about how we can make our industry and fur products attractive to more people. What kind of people? All of them. We already have considerable “right wing” support, it’s true, but there are still many who have not understood our message. And the liberals? We need them too! We need their support and we know it is ripe for the taking. The ethics and environmental benefits of our trade are attractive to so many people who consider themselves to be liberals. Many of them love the concept of living off the land, of using sustainable resources, and of buying good quality items that last a lifetime. There are many that could become fur fans with the right message.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that we are going to be stronger with more support. And given that North America is pretty much divided down the middle in terms of liberals and conservatives – it would be crazy to alienate either of those groups.
Our Cause is Stronger without Insults
If you think about it, it’s not a formula for success to insult half the population on a page that is vying for their support. Just because an animal activist does something stupid, doesn’t mean that all liberals are to blame. And using works like “libt*rd” to describe the activists, who represent a very, very small percent of the population, is never going to help us to win over the majority of society. Even though many trappers and hunters may vote Republican, many potential consumers may identify differently. Why would we want to shut them out?
It would be wrong to say that politics doesn’t have a place on this page, because part of our job is to be aware of legislation that affects our trade and to ensure that politicians continue to support our industry. And research does show that more Republicans than Democrats believe that it is morally acceptable to use fur. But there is no place in this battle for insults about people’s political persuasions. Fact is, we often find excellent articles about the fur trade in left-of-center media and we have many supporters who lean left when it comes to politics. The activists are already aware that “animal rights” transcends tradition political labels: they now discuss how they can convert conservatives to their cause (let’s make sure this never happens.)
So unless you are trying to sabotage our industry, please think twice about lashing out with simplistic political insults. Imagine a liberal coming to our page who is interested in learning about the how trapping works or the environmental benefits of wearing real fur – only to find themselves berated as “libt*rds”, tree huggers, snowflakes, and “lefties”. Do you think such rants will bring us new allies? What will newcomers to our page think if they encounter such language?
Truth About Fur Is Run by a Diverse Team
The trash talk is not just hurting our image, it is also hurting us. Truth About Fur is produced by a small team that includes what many would consider to be tree-huggers and (gasp) liberals (see Lefty Tree-Lover Catches Fur Bug). Our team and supporters include Muslims, Jews, and atheists; pro-choice campaigners, people of colour, and immigrants. We aren’t here to push our political or religious agendas, we are here to support the trade. So please: let’s put politics aside and work together to create a space where everyone who appreciates fur, trappers, farmers, living off the land, and sustainability can feel welcome and help us to support this remarkable heritage industry.