Should You buy a fur coat?

 

The problem I have with the fur debate is that both sides present it as too simplistic of a choice. Like most things in life, it’s not a simple black or white issue.

The Fur Coat Debate: It’s a Gray… Very Gray… Area

My friend Miss Meghan and I always have this discussion about growing up in the ridiculously cold upper Midwest and seeing women at the grocery stores in their long fur coats. In any other part of the country, this display of wealth would seem ostentatious, but in the pre-thinsulate, absurdly cold upper Midwest, the wearing of fur coast wasn’t only about fashion, but also about warmth. Did they need their fur coats? Well that’s debatable- it did serve a function, but a wool coat ( a really thick wool coat) would have done just fine.

In many communities, such as the African-American communities that I belong to, having a fur coat is a symbol of success and/or a reward for a lifetime of hard work and sacrifice. Now, are there better ways to reward yourself? Sure, in fact I could name about 10. However, who I am to tell my 70 year old aunts, who endured 40 years of sh*t working for people who didn’t appreciate them that they can’t buy the one thing they always wanted.  I can only imagine what would happen if a protester threw red paint on them as they walked up the steps to church.

So I ask you, is fur an absolute nay or yea? Is there a gray area? What about those of us who inherited fur coats? What happens when the personal (fashion) collides with the political (anti-fur)?

Note: I’m not passing judgment on anyone who owns a fur and I actually support those who are against it for ethical/political reasons. However, I inherited a fabulous fur (it’s seriously fab) , which I will not sell or destroy for personal reasons. At the same time, I wouldn’t go out and purchase a fur myself. I think a lot of people fall into the gray area with me.

P.S. Please be respectful to each other in this debate. I don’t like deleting comments, but I will.

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Comments

  1. Lana says

    My grandmother wears fur, and yes, I live in the ridiculously cold Midwest. She’ll trade in a fur coat and purchase another used, which I think is not only budget-friendly, but considerably more animal-friendly as well. Buying vintage furs means no new animals are dying just to be worn, and she gets to be stylish and warm. And lord knows there are plenty to go around.

  2. Patricia says

    Personally, I think fur is always a NO-NO.  With that being said, you won’t see me cursing out my grandmother over her fur stole or throwing blood on some stranger’s mink.  I think if more people educated themselves about the way in which the animals are killed and treated to make these coats, they would no longer want one.  There are many fabulous faux fur options if you really must have the look or feel of fur.  I would choose compassion for animals any day over wearing a “status symbol” to “keep me warm” in the winter.

  3. Too2 says

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with wearing fur in those locations that are seriously SERIOUSLY cold.  What I do think is seriously wrong are those that feel their own opionion can be forced upon others ie throwing paint on someones coat.  Other choices are available without destroying property.

    One alternative is to suggest that those that have inherited these garments is to donate them to the humane society (or other similar) for use in caring for animals.  This is actually a great alternative for those that are morally/politically/fashionably opposed to fur.  A friend of mind with pet rabbits inherited her grandma’s rabbit fur lined gloves—she found the best way to resolve her moral dilemma by donating them to rabbit rescue.

    Me… I live in Miami—no need for fur, but am emotionally attached to my inherited fur… so it lives in my closet, and I occasionally look at it and remember when I was a child and lived in cold country.

  4. MizHalsegan says

    On the one hand, nothing feels like real fur, and nothing really keeps you as warm. And a fabulous vintage or grandma’s fur—I think there should be some dispensation for that. But the ethical issues are real, and I would not buy a new, real fur. I have a very nice faux fur that I bought at Burlington Coat Factory last year. I love it, but I’m always a bit nervous wearing it. I feel like I have to announce, “it’s fake!” I don’t have that worry when I step out in my leather shoes with my leather bags. I think the difference may stem from (1) the way furs and leathers are acquired, fur is crueler; but also (2) there is just something that much more “showy” about fur. Which can be fun, yet off-putting in the wrong setting.

  5. Mia says

    I, too, fall into the gray area.  I am personally opposed to wearing fur, but understand and emphathize with those who live in ultra-cold climates and therefore choose to wear it.  However, I DO have a problem with the militant animal rights activists who go to extreme lengths to make their point.  I was Christmas shopping in San Francisco about 4 years ago when a mini-riot broke out in Union Square.  The activists were throwing “blood” (red paint) on fur-wearing shoppers, and then went so far as to smash out the front windows of the beautiful Neiman Marcus store (which, you guessed it, was showcasing fur). It was an awful (and scary!) display, but I guess that was their intent: to shock people to promote their cause.

  6. kitty says

    <i> I can only imagine what would happen if protester through red paint on them as they walked up the steps to church</i>

    The image of this is so hilarious.

    I live within a few blocks of several black churches. I’ve never encountered anyone less than very pleasant, not to mention fabulously dressed. (The hats alone are positively drool worthy)

    But dear God, heaven help the ignorant moron who might dare to do such a thing. If it ever happens I pray someone vidoes it!

  7. caliente says

    It’s because fur comes from “cute” animals and leather usually does not.

    I have a set of fur earmuffs and a white rabbit purse that I’ve had since I was 5.  I think they may have been my mother’s.  I still wear the earmuffs and have never received a negative comment about them – maybe because they are more discreet than a full fur coat.

    I’m kind of ambivalent.  I don’t think I would purchase fur, but if there was an item that I really, really liked, I might.

  8. caliente (forum username) says

    Someone who wears a fur coat obviously loves fur.  If you throw red paint on fur coats, some will just buy another one, adding to the “demand” for fur that retailers see.

  9. Emily Hammock says

    Why not wear vintage or hand-me down fur? While I’m against going out a buying a brand new fur and supporting the fur industry, i do appreciate the glamour of a thrift-store fur!

  10. April says

    Unless you are an Eskimo who killed an animal, used the entire animal, and turned it’s fur into a coat, I say NAY. Huge NAY. Watch any of the videos on the fur trade and then decide…some animals that don’t die from having their heads bashed in are actually skinned alive. It is a horrible, violent way to die.

    And there is no reason, no matter what the climate. We ingenious humans have things like Thinsulate these days…you don’t have to wear fur to stay warm. That’s just an excuse IMO.

  11. Amanda says

    I go to college in the “ridiculously cold Midwest” and get by just fine with my Columbia sportswear coat that no animal suffered to provide. I’m even from the south, so adjusting to the cold temperatures was not an easy task. Regardless, I will never support wearing fur.

  12. says

    I think it’s very interesting that most people who have a problem with fur don’t have a problem with leather.  As if cows are less important because they aren’t furry. The conditions in which they’re slaughter and the impact of grazing on our environment is a real concern.  Yet we wear leather.

  13. Lisa says

    Frankly, I am getting tired of this fur debate. All we are doing is passing judgement on one another. I am also tired of the whole save the animal campaigns that PETA does. It is a person’s perogative to buy a fur or wear it. It does not make them less caring. Everybody has different passions when it comes to making the world a better place. People from PETA dislike people who wear furs, but I’m quite sure their are some people in PETA who contribute to the global warming, so should the green people throw paint at people who use enormous amounts of electricity or dont drivr hybrid vehicles? My point is we should not judge others simply because they do not believe in our cause. I personally will wear a fur coat, it looks great and is keeps you warm. If the tables were turned I am quite sure an animal whould not hesitate to eat me let alone wear me!

    PETA definitely needs to stop throwing the paint and interrupting fashion shows, there are better ways to get their point across. Maybe they should come out with a line of coats that do not use animals, that would be a more appropriate approach.

  14. GMG says

    Leather and fur are very different in terms of eww factor.  First, it take several dozen furry critters to make a fur and you get alot more skin from a cow or sheep.  Also, minks are killed only for their fur, whereas most leather is a side product of the meat industry.  While I don’t advocate leather, it is less wasteful, at the very least, than fur.

  15. Darcey says

    I have no problem with people wearing furs as long as the furs were acquired in appropriate fashion—ex. would be rabbit fur from a place where the rabbits are also eaten a food (Germany). Deliberate slaughter and the waste of the rest of the animal is not appropriate. There are areas in the world where fur is what keeps one warmest and where it’s not a status symbol, merely a way to keep warm or culturally attached. I grew up with a rabbit fur coat and when it was too small, it was given to Goodwill.

  16. says

    Actually GMG. grumpy is right.. the grazing of cattle- whether it be for food or for hide- is one of the BIGGEST issues facing our environment at the moment.

    I’m not telling people to skip the beef, but we need to make sure we don’t get so caught up in the marketing of one cause (ie anti fur, breast cancer, etc) that we ignore the impact of other, probably more wide spread, issues (grazing of cattle, heart disease)

  17. Victoria says

    If one must wear real animal fur, let it be from a recycled or inherited fur coat rather than a new fur coat, so no new animals may die for the sake of fur.  Faux fur (I like to call it phur) is preferable, however.

  18. Anne says

    My husband and I had this debate.  I said I would most definitely wear fur.  He said, Not walking down the street with me, you won’t.  Fur’s murder.  I said, Oh yeah?  What about that burger you just ate?  What about the leather shoes you wear and leather briefcase you tote around?  What about your down-filled leather jacket in the closet?  Do you really think those geese and those cows are still alive and well?  Are you prepared to give up wearing leather and eating meat and using ALL animal products if you’re going to take the anti-fur stance?  If I could afford a fur coat, and if I could find a vintage fur in my size, I would wear one.  I, personally, see no problem with it.  If you choose not to wear fur, that’s your choice, but for heaven’s sake don’t throw paint on one who does wear it.  There are better ways to make your point than by ruining someone’s personal property.

  19. says

    I am personally NOT into fur for a variety of reasons… but here’s a point that hasn’t been brought up:
    It is TERRIBLY unflattering!!!  Seriously!  You take a size 10 woman, put her in a full length fur and you’ve suddenly, visually speaking, added 50 pounds of bulk to her frame! 

    This is the same reason that I’ve never understood the whole full-length puffy coat trend. 

    I’ve lived in very cold climates before, but I guess I always bundled up in wool, added scarves, etc.
    Maybe I’m too vain to ‘get it’??

  20. Heather says

    For me fur is a huge NAY. I would not throw red paint on someone wearing fur, but I do find it offensive. I am in Richmond VA and some of these old biddies wear their full length furs to the opera when its 55 degrees at night, but I get that they have had that coat since about 1962 and its their big going out thing, so I don’t ruin their evening and mine my making anything of it. Full disclosure – I am a member of PETA (since 1985) and a vegetarian, but consider leather a by-product of the meat industry and therefore not wasteful (until everyone stops eating meat!), but fur is killing JUST for the fur and to me that is barbaric and unnecessary in the 21st Century. There are many better alternatives, leaving more $ in the clothing budget for shoes, etc!

  21. Erica says

    I too am from the upper Midwest and am used to seeing women wear fur coats in the winter. In fact when she retired, 35 years of working 2 jobs to support her 6 daughters my family bought my grandma one because it was something she’d always wanted. So though I’d never buy one for myself, I have nothing against those who do. The thing that gets me however is you don’t see people wearing leather coats being spit on or having paint thrown on them. If they really are against cruelty to animals then why the seeming double standard that it’s okay to wear leather and not fur?

  22. Lizzie says

    As a lifelong resident of the Midwest, I vote this as a huge NAY, especially in light of the recent Macy’s dog fur debacle. Yes, I have my great-grandmother’s vintage fur, and I choose not to wear it based on principle. I find fur coats tasteless and tacky, and in same class as pinky rings and pleather.

  23. Aveling says

    I actually adore fur.  I think its glamorous and sexy in a vintage way.  I have several fur coats inherited from my mom and grandma, including mink and chinchilla.  I can understand why some people don’t like it though.  Fur is always such a personal choice.  But I don’t approve of some of PETA’s antics.  They put a dead racoon on Anna Wintour’s desk! lol!

  24. April says

    Gee, after reading some of these comments, maybe my opinion counts more if I add in that I DON’T eat beef.

    Fur is gross…I don’t think it’s the status symbol it once was since too many people know too much about the fur trade. Yeah, I look down on people who wear it, in part b/c I think they look silly. And, mink and cow are two very different industries, but maybe it’s better to ignore the facts to feel better about wearing it?

    I know I’ll probably anger a few people, but I personally don’t care if someone gets a bucket of paint on their coat. I would never do it myself, and it is a crime and that person should certainly be prosecuted for it according to our laws. It just doesn’t elicit much sympathy from me, I guess because I think fur coats are so ridiculous in the first place.

  25. Melissa says

    I have to agree with those who find fur somewhat tacky and unflattering.  I’ve always thought fur looked MUCH better on the animal for which God originally intended it than draped on one of us pathetically hairless humans.  Also, the debate over cows being less “worthy” of concern than the cuddly, fur-bearing creatures reminded me of this quote:  “Squirrels are really just rodents, but with cuter outfits.”

  26. Fashion Police says

    I just hope people don’t throw red paint on me for wearing clothes and accessories that are possibly (or probably) made from workers in slave-like conditions and with wasteful materials and nasty chemicals and dyes, not to mention with mercenary sourcing and pricing tactics or offensive marketing, design pirating or other nefarious business practices. Because I think it can be argued that the moral, social and environmental degradation in the clothing industry in general far outranks the damage done by the fur industry in particular. So for me it’s one of those supremely complicated issues.

  27. poppy says

    I inherited a fur from my Mom, which itself was a remake of another fur coat. So I have a double used, super recycled short mink jacket. I only wish it was colder so I could wear it more.
    What could possibly be wrong with that?

  28. Andrea says

    When was the last time anybody actually threw paint on a fur-wearer?I think it happened a few times in the 1980s and the media blew it out of proportion.

    I think more people would leave the “gray” area and be totally against fur if they could see for themselves how foxes and chinchillas are electrocuted on fur factory farms or how mink are gassed.  The pelts can’t be damaged, so often very inhumane methods are used to kill the animals.

    Fur factory farms deny animals many of their basic behavioral and physical needs. Factory farming, whether of pigs, chickens, mink or fox is unacceptably cruel, as well as damaging to the environment. Such artificial conditions cause animals to suffer from boredom, frustration, and stress, which often leads to abnormal behavior, including unnatural aggression and self mutilation. For more information on fur farms, read the European Commission, Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare
    The Welfare of Animals Kept for Fur Production December 2001 report at
    http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/fs/sc/scah/out67_en.pdf

    There are so many materials we can use as alternatives to fur that are both warm and stylish, and better for the environment. 

    If you inherited a fur coat, consider donating it back to animals through the Coats for Cubs program. Visit http://www.coatsforcubs.org

  29. Kathy says

    It’s a nay for me, but that’s my choice and I am not going to wag my finger in anyone’s face who chooses otherwise, and I’m certainly not going to destroy someone’s property because of it.  I think the paint-throwing tactic is awful.

  30. Skoochie says

    Fur coats are a great way to look like an old lady, no matter how young you are. I have never seen anyone under 50 look less than laughable in a full-on fur coat. They’re just so goofy. Why don’t we all wear stovepipe hats while we’re at it.

  31. graphictree says

    If you know where the fur is coming from, that is fine.

    85% of today’s furs come from China. Many animals, including dogs and cats are skinned alive. It can take up to 40 cats to make 1 woman’s fur coat.

    Is it any more ethical to skin a raccoon alive?

    Just be 100% positive you know where your fur is coming from.

  32. catherinetsizer says

    I say wear it.  My husband is a trapper.  Fur harvesting has been grossly misportrayed by the animals rights movement.  The traps he uses are humane – so humane he has returned yap-yap dogs to their grateful owners unharmed.  Trapped animals only chew their legs off when they have been left in traps for days – by irresponsible trappers.  You can’t condemn the vast majority of responsible trappers just because of one irresponsible one.  That would be like letting no one drive because one person drinks and drives.  My husband cares about the environment.  If he did not trap nusiance coyotes, foxes and racoons to keep numbers regulated, there would be no deer, birds, rabbits or squirrels.  He humanely dispatches his catches quickly and effectively.  Fur is much better for the environment than synthetics.  Not only is it totally renewable unlike synthetics made from petro products, it is no worse to manufacture than synthetics.  It decomposes quickly and safely – synthetics take forever to decompose and release dioxins.  So go natural and show the enviornment you care – wear your furs!

  33. Heather says

    I bought I very lovely but thoroughly vintage suede coat with a fur collar and a heavy quilted lining. We had a long bus strike in December and January in Ottawa, Canada last winter and I found myself walking to work outside in the dark for two hours every morning in the dark when the wind was howling and it was 30 below. The best feeling was putting that fur against my neck. It was like a hot water bottle. That coat has kept me warm through two very harsh Ottawa winters (50 cm snowfalls, -40 windchills). It was only $50 and nobody has ever said anything about it. Ironically the only thing worn on it is the lining which is made of artificial fabric. That coat still has many years left in it and it’s staying in my closet

  34. Tamara says

    People who wear leather are complaining about others wearing fur – its the same thing. Further animals in western countries are factory farmed and suffer hugly. I have many vegan friends who I will listen to about the ethics of fur wearing I will not listen to idiots who eat meat and wear leather shoes tell me fur is wrong.

  35. says

    I recently inherited 2 fabulous furs from my aunt. They are lovely but I can’t imagine ever wearing them. I think about selling them but they were quite valuable in my aunt’s day….but now, I wouldn’t think so. I personally wouldn’t buy fur or ask for a fur, but to destroy a fur I inherited seems taking it too far. After all, you can’t give it back….

  36. JG says

    I have a fantastic full length mink coat that I purchased from my aunts estate. I had it restyled to fit me since I’m much larger than she was. I wear it often and have been wearing it for 14yrs now. I think people need to make their own decisions about wearing it but, it is strictly the wearers choice. The “dog” and “illegal pelts” are most likely atatched to the trim around a hood on a man made (polyester/microfiber) coat, not a complete fur coat. A fur coat when buried in the backyard will turn to dust in less than a year while a man made fiber coat (that nobody thinks twice about wearing after it’s worn or dirty) will litter the face of the earth for 500+ years before it decomposes.

  37. spedlow says

    my first enconter with fur was at 3 years old completely naked and placed on top of grandmothers ankle length mahogoney chocolate brown super silky soft mink coat on moms bed.as my mom in 1958 tickled me with the sleeves as i screamed out loud with pure delight. that was it the day i was forever hooked and as a 56 year old straight male im still seriously addicted to wrapping as many fox fur stoles around me as i can. ofcourse while in the buff,is there really anything else that feels that inticing to ones nerve endings just under your skin. i dare anyone to try to admit that it wasnt a spectacular feeling. how many liars are out there.

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