Q&A: Animals Used For Clothing, Shoes, Accessories, And Furniture
The following is Q&A about animals used for clothing, shoes, accessories, and furniture.
There are also Q&A pages in these areas:
No, of course they don't. There are synthetic materials that are just as warm as fur, so there is no need to kill animals to make any type of clothing, including fur.
Synthetic products can be just as robust and good quality as animal-based products. But even if that were not the case, the moral question cannot be dismissed: there’s still something seriously wrong with killing and skinning animals.
In fact, there are literally millions of animals all around the world about to be skinned and killed (yes, it’s often in that order) to make clothes, accessories, furnishings, and furniture out of their skins. Don’t you agree that there’s something terribly wrong with that picture? In fact, close your eyes for a moment and imagine those innocent animals sitting there waiting to be skinned. I hope it turns your stomach to think of them, and I hope it changes your mind about using animal-based products.
Of course it does. Creating products that include feathers (eg. quilts and feather boas) doesn’t involve people walking around picking up naturally fallen bird feathers. It involves forcibly taking the feathers from farmed birds.
Feathers are regularly ripped out of the bird’s bodies, and when the birds outlive their usefulness as feather-producers they’re shipped off to the slaughterhouse. So products that include feathers - just like every other animal-based product - involve hurting and killing animals.
Yes, it does. Millions upon millions of silkworms are steamed or boiled to death to make silk so, yes, silk does hurt silkworms. In fact, it doesn’t just hurt them, it kills them. Choose animal-free silk-like fabrics, like chiffon and georgette, instead.
Sure it does. Wool is taken from the sheep forcibly in the violent process known as sheep shearing. And when the sheep outlive their usefulness as wool-producers it’s off to the slaughterhouse they go. In other words, wool products - just like all other animal-based products - involve hurting and killing animals.
Our ancestors also sacrificed virgins to the gods…should we do that too just because they did it? Seriously, just because something was done in the past doesn’t mean it should continue to be done now or in the future.
In fact, a great many things have been perfectly acceptable in the past that are no longer acceptable now.
For example, until relatively recently, it was perfectly acceptable (and legal) for husbands to rape their wives, for children to be forced to work from an extremely young age, and for people to own other people as slaves. Not only are the above three things now unacceptable they've also been made illegal in most (but, sadly, not all) places in the world.
It just proves that societal acceptance of something immoral at a certain point in history doesn't make it forever acceptable. And the time has come for society to realise that using animals for clothing (or any reason, in fact) is abusive and therefore unacceptable.
So unless you plan to travel back in time, stop worrying about what happened in the past and start considering what the moral thing to do is right now.
Seeing as you're not an Inuit leading a traditionally Inuit existence (and I know that by the fact that you're on the Internet reading this) what Inuits do or don’t do is hardly relevant to you. So until you become an Inuit, there's no need for you to worry about how Inuits live. Just concern yourself with how you’re living.
But let’s put aside for a moment the reality of the fact that Inuit living is not in the least relevant to you. Let’s pretend that you were going to join an Inuit community that lives in a totally traditional manner just as though globalisation never happened. Would it then be okay to kill and use animals?
Well, the answer is that the question itself is totally unrealistic which, once again, makes the answer completely irrelevant. The reality is that, in the modern world, you’d be hard pressed to find a community of any sort that lives in a totally traditional way without any aspects of modernisation and no contact with the outside world. That kind of living is relevant to a very very tiny percentage of the population of this world, and the likelihood of you starting to live that way is as likely as me flapping my arms and finding that I can fly to the moon.
Now please don’t take what I said the wrong way: in no way am I disrespecting cultures of the past. All I’m saying is that way of living is pretty much in the past. There are so few people that live completely traditionally and without any connection with the modern world that the question itself is simply not relevant to well over 95 percent of the human population, and dwelling on it is diverging from the main and most important point which is that there is just no reason for that 95-plus percent of people to buy animal-based anything.
You can find vegan handbags, vegan belts, vegan jackets, vegan shoes, vegan blankets, etc, etc, etc. There are even specialised items like vegan ballet shoes and vegan guitar straps - it’s all out there, it’s just a matter of looking for it (and a quick Internet search usually does the trick). There is not one thing I can think of in an average home that doesn’t exist in vegan form, so there’s no excuse to buy otherwise.
No, it’s not.
Certainly fur is what most of the animal organisations have railed mostly loudly against, which does give the impression that fur is the very worst of all animal abuses. But that’s a false impression, as ALL animal-derived clothing is a result of animal abuse.
The details of how each type of clothing is created might be different, but fur is no worse than leather, suede, wool, sheepskin, feathers, and silk.
I can be against industries that make animal-based products in exactly the same way I’m against the sex slave trade despite the fact that the people rely on both those industries for their livelihood. In other words: easily.
The bottom line is that if an industry is harmful to others then it's immoral to continue it.
And as all animal-based products can be made out of synthetic materials the industries that currently use animals can switch to making non-animal-based versions of their products. In the same way video shops gradually switched over to DVDs, these industries can switch from animal-based to synthetic clothing.
The same thing that’s wrong with exploiting animals for any other purpose: it involves torture and killing.
The fact is there are plenty of fashionable synthetic clothes and shoes available, so there is absolutely no reason to buy animal-based ones. And this goes for animal-based accessories (like belts and bags), furnishings (like quilts containing feathers), and furniture (like sofas and chairs) too.
Synthetic versions of all animal-based products are widely available, so anyone who cares at all about animals does not need to buy anything made from their bodies.
Because it’s the truth.
Due to the long-running anti-fur campaign, a lot of people are under the false impression that fur is the only animal-based clothing that harms animals. In fact, for many years I thought that too. Then I finally got wise to the fact that any animal-based clothing is a product of violence.
Research it for yourself, and you’ll see that leather, suede, wool, sheepskin, fur, feathers, and silk all involve the abuse and killing of animals.
In reply to that question, let me ask this question: would it be okay for me to make products out of human skin as long as I also ate the person’s flesh and innards?
I suspect your answer would be “no”.
And my answer to the original question is also “no”. Using the entire body of the animal doesn’t make torturing and killing him or her okay. Not at all.
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SAY NO TO PUPPY MILLS! SAY NO TO ANIMALS IN PETSHOPS! SAY NO TO BREEDERS!
Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance
It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.
Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.
Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.
Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.
Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.
If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.
All information and photos are copyright © Despina Rosales.