Lies Activists Tell (#3): The CE Delft Report

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

Teken from FCUSA

Editor’s Note: in our last two blog posts we showed how two “studies” that are often quoted by animal activists (“World Bank” and “University of Michigan /Ford Motor Company”) are completely misrepresented.  In this post, we turn our Truth-About-Fur” detector to a third commonly cited study. 

In their attempt to discredit the environmental credentials of the fur trade, activists often cite a “Life Cycle Assessment” (LCA) produced by CE Delft, a Dutch research consultancy (see: NOTES, below).

This study (The environmental impact of mink fur production, Delft, January 2011) found that: Compared with textiles [including polyester, cotton, wool, and polyacrylic ‘fake furs’], fur has a higher impact on 17 of the 18 environmental themes, including climate change, eutrophication and toxic emissions.”

Because these claims, if true, would contradict our belief that fur is an environmentally responsible choice, we decided to take a closer look. It is lucky that we did!  

Stated simply, we found that CE Delft’s negative assessment of fur results from several methodological assumptions or questionable statistics.

Among the most important concerns:ce delft1

–          CE Delft used a significantly inflated figure (almost double our findings!) for the amount of feed required to produce farmed fur.

–          They ignored the fact that, because this feed is composed mostly of wastes from our food-production system, it could be considered an environment BENEFIT rather than a cost.

–          Mink manure, soiled straw bedding and carcasses could also be assigned environmental CREDITS rather than costs — for replacing synthetic fertilizers and fossil fuels.

–          Not least important, CE Delft discounts the environmental benefits of real fur apparel lasting much longer than fake furs or other textiles.  (I.e., if a real mink last five time longer than a fake fur coat, its environmental impact should be compared with that of five fakes, not one!)

Let’s look at this CE Delft report in more detail….

Read More…

Lies Activists Tell: #2 – “University of Michigan / Ford Motor” report

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

In our last post, we exposed how activists lie when they claim that the World Bank condemned fur dressing as “highly polluting”.

Today we turn our “Truth-About-Fur-Detector” to another oft-repeated but equally fraudulent claim.

Activists often insist that “a coat made from wild-caught fur requires 3.5 times more energy than a synthetic coat, while a farmed-fur coat requires 15 times more energy.”  (see: NOTES, below)

These “facts” are attributed to “a study by the University of Michigan” or sometimes the “Scientific Research Laboratory at Ford Motor Company”.  Wow, pretty credible sources, right?  Except that a quick search reveals that neither institution ever published such a study! 

This report does indeed exist, although it is very old – it was published in 1979. The author, one Gregory H. Smith, is identified as an engineering graduate of Michigan U., who worked for Ford.  But he prepared his report at the request of The Fund for Animals (a Michigan-based animal-rights group), “to augment its arguments for abolishing the cruelties to animals resulting from the procurement of natural animals furs for human adornment.”

The methodology of this report is equally suspect. Read More…

Lies Activists Tell: #1 – Environmental Impact of Fur

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

environmental impact

Fox, dyed blue

environmental impact 2

Sheared beaver, dyed and grooved

environmental impact 3

Muskrat, dyed yellow

environmental impact 4

Printed seal

 

 

 

 

 

The Fur Council of Canada’s Fur is Green campaign clearly caught animal activists by surprise. In their scramble for a rebuttal, they have resorted to fabricating “evidence” about fur’s environmental impact that sounds credible – at least until you check their sources!

One of the most commonly-repeated activist claims is that “a World Bank Report has shown that fur dressing is the third worst polluting industry, following pesticides and fertilizers, synthetic resins and plastics.” (see: NOTES, below)

If true, this would be a serious charge, so I hunted down the original study.  The report in question is “The Industrial Pollution Projection System, produced by the World Bank Policy Research Department (Policy research working paper #1431, by Hemamala Hettige et al.)  This study was drafted in March 1995, based on 1987 (27-year-old!) US statistics.

Reading through this highly technical econometric study we learn that “Conclusions are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the World Bank”.  Interesting. Also that “Sectorial pollution is thought to be quite responsive to effective environmental regulation in many cases…” (p.9, E-4) Encouraging, because environmental protection regulations have certainly improved considerably over the past 26 years.  But let’s read on…

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Why Is Fur So Controversial and Why Should It Matter?

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

With fur now so prominent on the designer catwalks, in fashion magazines, and on the street, many publications are hosting debates about the ethics of wearing this noble but much-maligned material.

Among all the arguments, for and against, one question is never asked: “Why is fur so controversial?”

True, animals are killed for fur. But more animals are killed for food every day in North America than are used for fur in a year!

But we don’t need fur, you say?  Well, PETA and their friends argue that we don’t need to eat meat either.

The real reasons why fur is “controversial” may surprise you.

Let’s take a look….

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Welcome to “Truth about Fur”…the Blog!

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

truth about fur

Armand Herscovici in his Montreal fur atelier (1955)

As someone raised in the fur trade (my grandfather arrived in Canada one hundred years ago, in 1913, as a young artisan furrier), I have long felt that something important was missing from most discussions about fur. What has been missing is the voice of the knowledgeable and passionate people who work in this remarkable heritage industry.

Read More…

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