By Alan Herscovici, Senior Researcher, Truth About Fur
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.
– 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….