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People are blinded by the activism in the 1990s, they think that the fur industry didn’t improve in respect of regulations and laws, but it did actually

People are blinded by the activism in the 1990s, they think that the fur industry didn’t improve in respect of regulations and laws, but it did actually
Tuesday 30, 2016

Richard Conniff is an American non-fiction writer, specializing in human and animal behavior. He wrote an interesting article in the National Geographic September 2016 issue. He appeared on the Leonard Lopate Show to discuss what his article is about. Through his story, we can understand how the fur industry works and what the future of the fur industry will be.

America's love for chicken wings is widely known and discussed, but how far does it really go? According to the National Chicken Council's 2016 Wing Report, Americans ate 1.3 billion chicken wings on the weekend of Super Bowl 50. And that large scale consumption of chicken wings for a single entertainment program is unprecedented. However, this incredibly high number of consumption of chicken wings and the chickens' conditions are not nearly as controversially debated as the fur industry. While raising chickens is regulated to a certain extent, the fur industry is one of the most regulated and has done much progress. In his article Richard Conniff tells his story: who he is, how the fur industry works and what progress it has made.

He started by outlining his past with the fur industry. His great grand father was a fur trapper and that’s why he is more familiar with the fur industry.

In the old times, trapping fur was a way of surviving. At that time, we didn’t have all the regulations and all the techniques we do now. Nowadays fur is made in a way that it is as sustainable and as humane as possible.

People are blinded by the activism in the 1990s, they think that the fur industry didn’t improve in respect of regulations and laws, but it did actually.

It’s hard to change behaviors, but the fur industry will do everything they can for this. In the fur farms of mink, for instance, many things changed and minks are treated really well, they have plenty of space and they are not aggressive at all. On top of that every cage is spacious and contains an area filled with hay, where the animals can retreat at any time in order to lie back.

Another main aspects that changed is that universities work in collaboration with the fur industry. With their research the life of fur animals is studied and their living conditions are continually improved. On top of that young designers realize these changes and it has become ethical and popular for young designers with this beautiful, natural ressource. This way fur is part of the future, as young designers are focusing on sustainability, animal welfare, and quality. In the old times, fur was entirely seasonal. People did not wear fur in the summer for instance. But as consumer behavior changed in recent years, the market changed and we can see now that fur is everywhere, from the keyring attached to a bag to the fur jacket, people don't want to miss fur.

A lot of people want to ban the fur trade but banning the fur trade doesn't do anything. It just sends the fur trade to china were these human care laws don’t exist (no protection for the animals in China). The piece of advice Richard Conniff gives to people, is to encourage all farmers to be progressive and good at their work, and to have good welfare for animals. He does not only apply this to the fur industry but to all animal products, because we are all affected by how the animals are treated.

So designers changed their way of working with fur, they can make everything with fur and not only a jacket to be warmth. Still, people's perception of fur has to be brought to the 21st century.

Since the manufacturing of faux fur has become a lot more sophisticated, people often think that faux fur is the best alternative to real fur. Many people prefer wearing faux fur for animal welfare reasons. The general consensus is that animals raised for food can be justified ethically, whereas animals shouldn't be raised for other puposes. However, with the fur industry being so heavily regulated, studied and under much observation, fur animals live in much better conditions than most animals raised for food. Coming back to the large consumption of chicken wings in the beginning of this article, especially chickens are known to often being raised under unethical and poor conditions.

Fur became really controversial with the story of 101 dalmations, in which Cruella de Vil is looking to capture young dalmations in order to make fur clothing out of the young dalmations. This story was widely discussed and debated. This certainly hurt the fur industry.

A lot of people want to ban the fur trade but banning the fur trade doesn't do anything. It just sends the fur trade to china were these human care laws don’t exist (no protection for the animals in China). The piece of advice Richard Conniff gives to people, is to encourage all farmers to be progressive and good at their work, and to have good welfare for animals. He does not only apply this to the fur industry but to all animal products, because we are all affected by how the animals are treated.

The moral landscape is so complex, there are vegetarians, vegans and people who want to wear fur in the same world but the better thing that we can do is to explain people everything about the fur industry and that’s what Richard did because people should be aware of the market and what happens in the market. Admittedly, there are bad farmers who need to be found out and banned from the trade. The majority of farmers, however, are good farmers with a proud tradition, who care deeply for their animals.

Source: http://www.wnyc.org/story/exploring-advances-controversial-fur-industry/

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