Is it Real Fur or is it Fake Fur
In this article, Is it Real Fur or is it Fake Fur, I will give you some simple methods for checking whether fur is real or ‘faux fur’, but first a little bit about the fur industry that most of you probably didn’t know.
Did you know that real animal fur is everywhere here in Australia.
It is even used to make pom pom key-rings and kids hair accessories.
These day real fur trimmed clothing is cheap to make and therefore cheap for us to unknowingly buy!
I have even found real fur, in those super cheap $2 stores. Commonly the real fur used for very cheap items is rabbit fur, but don’t be fooled into thinking these rabbits were pests, or the fur is a by-product of the meat industry. This is not correct! These rabbits are farmed, bred and killed exclusively for their fur.
As a volunteer PR director for Choose Cruelty Free and the creator of the “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” photographic campaigns ( like this one left with actor Madelaine West), I am constantly on the lookout for real fur and I literally find it everywhere!
I often have my own hair and makeup clients turn up to photo-shoots in fur-trimmed jackets and when I ask them,” Is that real fur?”, the majority reply no way, it was far too cheap to be real fur. I then go in for a closer inspection and show them that, contrary to their beliefs, they are actually wearing 100% real fur.
Most clothing items these days are manufactured in China, so not only are they unknowingly wearing real fur, but they may very well be wearing dog or cat fur.
The Fur Industry’s Cruel Practices.
Many of you may think that most fur used in fashion, is a by-product of the meat production industry. It is not!
The global fur industry is incredibly lucrative! Each year billions of dollars are made.
High-end and low-end fashion designers use it and fashionistas knowingly buy it for the prestige of being able to wear it .
These celebrities are proud to wear real fur – Kim Kardashian, Beyonce, Lady Ga-Ga, J-Lo, Kayne West and Rihanna.
For a list of designers and fashion labels who use read fur. See this Real Fur In Fashion List by Humane Society International.
Whereas on the cheaper end of the scale, as mentioned above, many shoppers don’t even realize that they have bought an item of clothing that included real fur.
Factory Fur Farming Facts
This report by Animals Australia here , states that each year over 50 million animals die purely so humans can wear their fur.
According to PETA , 85% of fur comes from animals living out their miserable lives imprisoned in tiny steel cages.
Captive animals are continually bred and kept in tiny steel cages, in horrific, unsanitary conditions.
These poor animals are absolutely terrified. They are often sick, in pain and are suffering from extreme anxiety and constant fear. The animals do not get exercise, or let out of these cages ever. There is absolutely no humanity! Many of them are so frenzied from life inside a cage, that they self-harm, chewing off limbs and throwing themselves against the cage repeatedly severely injuring themselves.
Factory fur farmed animals are left in these cages till the time comes for them to be killed and skinned purely for their fur pelts.
Killing these animals is carried out in extreme ways, so there is as little damage or blood staining to the animals fur as possible.
Common practice is to either gas the animal (this is not always successful and some animals regain consciousness while they are being skinned alive), or break its neck, but just as common, is the method of using extremely painful, genital and anal electrocution methods, or using the poison Strychnine, which causes a horrifically painful death. These are unbelievably painful and cruel ways to kill an animal.
China’s Horrific Dog and Cat Fur Trade
Even worse, is China. A PETA investigations found that millions of dogs and cats are being bludgeoned to death, strangled with wire and are are often skinned alive!
In China many of these animals that the PETA investigators saw crammed one on top of the other inside metal cages without any food, water or shelter, had collars and ID tags still on their neck. This showed clearly, that they had been someone’s pet and had been illegally stolen for the fur trade.
When animals are crammed in together in cages in places like China, they are not only frightened, but incredibly stressed and they often start to fight each other. Many die inside the cages and are left inside with the live animals.
*See PETA’s footage of China’s Dog & Cat Fur Farm
A list of the most common animals factory farmed and killed specifically for their furs.
The countries where fur is farmed are;
According to this report on fur farming by PETA
Europe has 58% of all Mink Fur Farms, followed by 10% in North America, with the remaining 32% spread out across Russia, Argentina and of course China.
China – farm many animals for fur and this commonly includes dogs and cats.
Trapping and Killing Wild Animals For Fur
You have the factory fur farms and then you have the millions of wild animals that are trapped in the wild for their fur.
Fur hunters set out traps that are absolutely barbaric , these include the most commonly used steel-jaw leg-hold traps, along with wire neck snares, body-gripping traps and even underwater traps.
When an animal is caught in one of these traps, they experience unbearable pain and panic. The pain is so excruciating, that many animals have chewed off their own limbs to try and get away. Often the animal is left stuck in a trap for days, without food or water and die a very, slow, agonizing death.
Not only are these traps torture devices, they also don’t discriminate one type of animal from another. Any animal, not just animals being hunted for their fur can get trapped.
You also have the disgusting practice of clubbing baby fur seals to death while they lay helplessly on the ice, unable to move fast enough to get away from the hunters.
HOW TO CHECK IF A FUR ITEM IS REAL
There are 3 easy ways to check any item of clothing, or accessory that has fur on it to see if it is made from real fur. It is best to do all 3 of these tests, as each one on it’s own is not completely accurate.
*Remember, cheap does not mean fake! Also check fur animal toys that look life-like. You will find these in cheap gift shops and they usually made from real fur.
Parting The Fur
Take the item of fur and part the fur right to the base. Stretch the fur apart and get a really good look at the base. If you see a bit of mesh or threaded fabric this usually is fake fur. If you see what looks like skin or leather then this is definitely real fur. You may at times find this hard to do, as the fur may be very thick and dense.
While this method is usually accurate, it is not always. I have seen blended mixes of real and fake fur, where the real fur has been glued onto a fabric backing, making it look like it is fake fur.
Looking At The Ends
Each individual strand of real fur tapers to a point on the ends. Fake fur is more often blunt at the ends. Again this method is not always accurate.
Burning The Hairs
Take a few strands of the fur and burn them with a match, or a lighter. Now smell the results. Real fur will smell distinctly like burning hair, while fake fur will smell like burning plastic. This method is not 100% accurate either, as real fur is often treated with very toxic treatments to stop it decomposing and these may mask the smell of burning hair.
The best option is to not wear fur at all and leave it for the animals who rightfully own it to wear!
References – Choose Cruelty Free – Fur: Animals for Fashion
Animals Australia – Fur