Wearing mink

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Tessa K
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Wearing mink

Post by Tessa K » Tue Nov 10, 2020 12:29 pm

I was pretty surprised to read about the Danish mink farms. I thought the fur trade was much reduced now. I was wrong. Russia, China and the US are still big markets for fur.

I can see their could be an argument made for remote idigenous populations in very cold places trapping and skinning animals to wear but when even Melania Trump has taken to faux fur, Denmark has gone right down in my estimation as one of the more enlightened countries.

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Re: Wearing mink

Post by FlammableFlower » Tue Nov 10, 2020 12:59 pm

Tessa K wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 12:29 pm
I was pretty surprised to read about the Danish mink farms.
Yeah, me too - I really thought fur farming would have gone from the EU. Surprised and disappointed.

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Re: Wearing mink

Post by kerrya1 » Tue Nov 10, 2020 1:35 pm

FlammableFlower wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 12:59 pm
Tessa K wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 12:29 pm
I was pretty surprised to read about the Danish mink farms.
Yeah, me too - I really thought fur farming would have gone from the EU. Surprised and disappointed.
Me three. I do think that if we kill animals for meat then we should use the skin/fur and waste as little of that animal as possible. But, raising a killing animals just for non-essential, fashion, clothing just feels wrong to me. I wonder what the enviornmental impact of fur farming is worldwide, these animals need to be fed and waste dealt with. Also, if mink escape they can wipe out local wildlife as happened in Scotland.

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Re: Wearing mink

Post by Bird on a Fire » Tue Nov 10, 2020 1:43 pm

Exploiting and killing animals to make luxury consumer commodities when more humane alternatives exist is depressingly common, including in the EU.

It seems to be deeply culturally ingrained in some people's minds that it's important to continue the barbarism of the past, despite the improvements in knowledge, shifting ethical landscape and growing risks from doing so.
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Re: Wearing mink

Post by Bird on a Fire » Tue Nov 10, 2020 1:44 pm

kerrya1 wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 1:35 pm
FlammableFlower wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 12:59 pm
Tessa K wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 12:29 pm
I was pretty surprised to read about the Danish mink farms.
Yeah, me too - I really thought fur farming would have gone from the EU. Surprised and disappointed.
Me three. I do think that if we kill animals for meat then we should use the skin/fur and waste as little of that animal as possible. But, raising a killing animals just for non-essential, fashion, clothing just feels wrong to me. I wonder what the enviornmental impact of fur farming is worldwide, these animals need to be fed and waste dealt with. Also, if mink escape they can wipe out local wildlife as happened in Scotland.
What's the difference between killing animals for food and killing animals for clothing?
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Re: Wearing mink

Post by lpm » Tue Nov 10, 2020 1:56 pm

I'm not sure why a mink farmer can't tell non-vegetarians to f.ck off.

But vegetarians can tell mink farmers to f.ck off.
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Re: Wearing mink

Post by kerrya1 » Tue Nov 10, 2020 2:12 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 1:44 pm
kerrya1 wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 1:35 pm
FlammableFlower wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 12:59 pm

Yeah, me too - I really thought fur farming would have gone from the EU. Surprised and disappointed.
Me three. I do think that if we kill animals for meat then we should use the skin/fur and waste as little of that animal as possible. But, raising a killing animals just for non-essential, fashion, clothing just feels wrong to me. I wonder what the enviornmental impact of fur farming is worldwide, these animals need to be fed and waste dealt with. Also, if mink escape they can wipe out local wildlife as happened in Scotland.
What's the difference between killing animals for food and killing animals for clothing?
That is a good question, and one I'm not sure I can answer. As I said above I don't have a problem with leather, and would wear rabbit fur if the animal was also being eaten. It's the killing animals purely for fashion that I have a problem with, and I do know that this may not be entirely logical.

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Re: Wearing mink

Post by Bird on a Fire » Tue Nov 10, 2020 2:17 pm

Yes, I don't really see how eating the animal makes it any better. Would mink farming be ok if people also ate the mink meat, for instance? Or if they got made into dog food?

As far as I can tell, industrially raising and slaughtering animals is bad full stop, whether for the fleeting enjoyment of a meal or the lifelong enjoyment of a coat.
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Re: Wearing mink

Post by Fishnut » Tue Nov 10, 2020 2:26 pm

I'm going to play devil's advocate briefly, which isn't something I'm particularly prone to doing, but there are benefits to real fur over fake fur. The most obvious one is that real fur is natural and biodegrades. Fake fur is made is mostly plastic that doesn't degrade easily and produces microplastics.

"Just don't use fur then, either fake or real", which is a fair point. But fur is excellent in very cold climates. It's warm, and handles rain and snow well. There's also the fact that real fur is long-lasting and often handed down through the generations, whereas faux fur is often more associated with fast fashion and discarded relatively quickly, producing more waste.

This piece is pretty even-handed in discussing the pros and cons of fake fur.

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Re: Wearing mink

Post by Bird on a Fire » Tue Nov 10, 2020 2:30 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 2:26 pm
I'm going to play devil's advocate briefly, which isn't something I'm particularly prone to doing, but there are benefits to real fur over fake fur. The most obvious one is that real fur is natural and biodegrades. Fake fur is made is mostly plastic that doesn't degrade easily and produces microplastics.

"Just don't use fur then, either fake or real", which is a fair point. But fur is excellent in very cold climates. It's warm, and handles rain and snow well. There's also the fact that real fur is long-lasting and often handed down through the generations, whereas faux fur is often more associated with fast fashion and discarded relatively quickly, producing more waste.

This piece is pretty even-handed in discussing the pros and cons of fake fur.
I'm not sure those advantages outweigh the ethical problems of animal farming, but there's possibly a better case to be made than for meat.
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Re: Wearing mink

Post by Fishnut » Tue Nov 10, 2020 2:54 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 2:30 pm
Fishnut wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 2:26 pm
I'm going to play devil's advocate briefly, which isn't something I'm particularly prone to doing, but there are benefits to real fur over fake fur. The most obvious one is that real fur is natural and biodegrades. Fake fur is made is mostly plastic that doesn't degrade easily and produces microplastics.

"Just don't use fur then, either fake or real", which is a fair point. But fur is excellent in very cold climates. It's warm, and handles rain and snow well. There's also the fact that real fur is long-lasting and often handed down through the generations, whereas faux fur is often more associated with fast fashion and discarded relatively quickly, producing more waste.

This piece is pretty even-handed in discussing the pros and cons of fake fur.
I'm not sure those advantages outweigh the ethical problems of animal farming, but there's possibly a better case to be made than for meat.
I'm not either, but I just wanted to make sure we weren't unintentionally going down the road of "ugh, fashion, it's all frivolous anyway".
While fur is undoubtedly a fashion statement, it does have legitimate benefits. And for those of us who eat meat (myself included) I think it would be hypocritical to totally denounce fur farming. I try and eat meat that has been humanely reared and if I was to wear fur I'd try to do the same and buy from an ethical farmer. I've never had the desire to wear fur but then again I've never lived anywhere that routinely went below zero for more than a few days at a time.

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Re: Wearing mink

Post by nezumi » Tue Nov 10, 2020 3:27 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 2:26 pm
I'm going to play devil's advocate briefly, which isn't something I'm particularly prone to doing, but there are benefits to real fur over fake fur. The most obvious one is that real fur is natural and biodegrades. Fake fur is made is mostly plastic that doesn't degrade easily and produces microplastics.

"Just don't use fur then, either fake or real", which is a fair point. But fur is excellent in very cold climates. It's warm, and handles rain and snow well. There's also the fact that real fur is long-lasting and often handed down through the generations, whereas faux fur is often more associated with fast fashion and discarded relatively quickly, producing more waste.

This piece is pretty even-handed in discussing the pros and cons of fake fur.
Wool would be a good substitute, lovely and warm, water-resistant, can be extremely soft, can be extremely hard-wearing. Plus, we make loads of it. Not sure about the ethics of sheep farming but it seems better to me than microplastics or murder.

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Re: Wearing mink

Post by EACLucifer » Tue Nov 10, 2020 3:47 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 2:30 pm
Fishnut wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 2:26 pm
I'm going to play devil's advocate briefly, which isn't something I'm particularly prone to doing, but there are benefits to real fur over fake fur. The most obvious one is that real fur is natural and biodegrades. Fake fur is made is mostly plastic that doesn't degrade easily and produces microplastics.

"Just don't use fur then, either fake or real", which is a fair point. But fur is excellent in very cold climates. It's warm, and handles rain and snow well. There's also the fact that real fur is long-lasting and often handed down through the generations, whereas faux fur is often more associated with fast fashion and discarded relatively quickly, producing more waste.

This piece is pretty even-handed in discussing the pros and cons of fake fur.
I'm not sure those advantages outweigh the ethical problems of animal farming, but there's possibly a better case to be made than for meat.
Cool. Let's extend that to taking over land for crops and using/polluting land for the plastics industry. Not everything in life is simple enough to reduce to absolutes and slogans.

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Re: Wearing mink

Post by EACLucifer » Tue Nov 10, 2020 3:47 pm

nezumi wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 3:27 pm
Fishnut wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 2:26 pm
I'm going to play devil's advocate briefly, which isn't something I'm particularly prone to doing, but there are benefits to real fur over fake fur. The most obvious one is that real fur is natural and biodegrades. Fake fur is made is mostly plastic that doesn't degrade easily and produces microplastics.

"Just don't use fur then, either fake or real", which is a fair point. But fur is excellent in very cold climates. It's warm, and handles rain and snow well. There's also the fact that real fur is long-lasting and often handed down through the generations, whereas faux fur is often more associated with fast fashion and discarded relatively quickly, producing more waste.

This piece is pretty even-handed in discussing the pros and cons of fake fur.
Wool would be a good substitute, lovely and warm, water-resistant, can be extremely soft, can be extremely hard-wearing. Plus, we make loads of it. Not sure about the ethics of sheep farming but it seems better to me than microplastics or murder.
Wool doesn't handle the same in extreme cold. It also isn't so suitable for wheelchair seatcloths as sheepskin.

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Re: Wearing mink

Post by OneOffDave » Tue Nov 10, 2020 4:16 pm

While wool can be resistant, it's not really waterproof. It would still insulate to some extent but the weight will increase and it becomes much less effective.

If you look at the Scott and Amundsen expeditions in the pre-synthetic days their only wool clothing was base layers. Certain furs prevent ice forming on the hood from exhaled breath. The other issue with wool and outer layers like ventile cotton is the drying time (and associated energy needed) between uses.

Most if this will never be a problem in the UK but if you have winters with weeks at -10 or below you definitely need specialist kit.

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Re: Wearing mink

Post by Woodchopper » Tue Nov 10, 2020 4:54 pm

OneOffDave wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 4:16 pm
Most if this will never be a problem in the UK but if you have winters with weeks at -10 or below you definitely need specialist kit.
You do, but fur isn't necessary even at at -30.

But the animal welfare issues are still present. The people who are out and about in -30 will be mostly be wearing down coats. Fur is also warm but is a lot more expensive (unless as Fishnut mentions its been handed down).

In my experience wool and synthetic padding doesn't cut it when its that cold. A full sheepskin coat might, but I've never owned one (though I have a sheepskin hat).

But back to the ethics. There are problems with the treatment of ducks and geese used to produce down. But in general people don't seem to have an issue with down coats, duvets or sleeping bags. But I'm not sure why wearing duck feathers acceptable but mink fur isn't.

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Re: Wearing mink

Post by lpm » Tue Nov 10, 2020 5:13 pm

PETA tried to campaign against down.

But their slogan proved ineffective: "I'd Rather Go Naked Than Go Down".
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Re: Wearing mink

Post by Squeak » Thu Nov 12, 2020 5:36 am

There was a thought-provoking article in the NY Times last year on fur-wearing and American racism, that has stuck in my mind ever since. It's raising a possibility, rather than claiming any kind of evidence, and it's about a phenomenon so far outside my experience that I have no way of assessing its validity. With that caveat in place, apparently, from the 60s onward, it became more common for middle-class Black families to invest in fur coats (being somewhat disadvantaged from investing in things like real estate) as objects that both display status and maintain value. The article is rather more nuanced than to allege a direct racist intent to the anti-fur activists, but did the rise in popularity of fur among black people lead to a degradation in the perceived value of fur, which made it easier for anti-fur people to find willing listeners? It seems plausible to me.

Obvs, this is very much a US-centric perspective, but a lot of our international conversation does seem to spring from internal US cultural concerns. Also, I have no way to assess whether the time comparison stacks up to support this narrative, but it did stick in my head.

CoI declaration - I'm a vegetarian who wears leather shoes and eats dairy but finds animal farming problematic at best.

As Chris Preston has told us repeatedly, it's hard to grow enough protein from plant sources to meet humans' protein needs, so we probably need to eat some, and it's hard to find benign replacements for leather, so we probably need to keep producing some of that. And it's hard to replicate the warmth that down and fur provide, so we'll probably keep killing ducks and furry things for that. But all of those products are used at least as much for pleasure and status-signaling in modern societies, as they are for survival. I'm not sure I can make a clear ethical argument for why one would be worse than the others.

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Re: Wearing mink

Post by Tessa K » Thu Nov 12, 2020 9:59 am

Squeak wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 5:36 am
There was a thought-provoking article in the NY Times last year on fur-wearing and American racism, that has stuck in my mind ever since. It's raising a possibility, rather than claiming any kind of evidence, and it's about a phenomenon so far outside my experience that I have no way of assessing its validity. With that caveat in place, apparently, from the 60s onward, it became more common for middle-class Black families to invest in fur coats (being somewhat disadvantaged from investing in things like real estate) as objects that both display status and maintain value. The article is rather more nuanced than to allege a direct racist intent to the anti-fur activists, but did the rise in popularity of fur among black people lead to a degradation in the perceived value of fur, which made it easier for anti-fur people to find willing listeners? It seems plausible to me.

Obvs, this is very much a US-centric perspective, but a lot of our international conversation does seem to spring from internal US cultural concerns. Also, I have no way to assess whether the time comparison stacks up to support this narrative, but it did stick in my head.

CoI declaration - I'm a vegetarian who wears leather shoes and eats dairy but finds animal farming problematic at best.

As Chris Preston has told us repeatedly, it's hard to grow enough protein from plant sources to meet humans' protein needs, so we probably need to eat some, and it's hard to find benign replacements for leather, so we probably need to keep producing some of that. And it's hard to replicate the warmth that down and fur provide, so we'll probably keep killing ducks and furry things for that. But all of those products are used at least as much for pleasure and status-signaling in modern societies, as they are for survival. I'm not sure I can make a clear ethical argument for why one would be worse than the others.
I have a fairly arbitrary ranking system for clothes made from animal products. Wool and silk are fine, leather is OK depending on where it comes from. Cow leather (for example) is acceptable but crocodile and snake leather for shoes and handbags isn't as the animals are farmed exclusively to be worn. Fur is acceptable only if it's worn by native peoples who don't have access to substitutes and who produce it themselves for survival not profit. As I said, fairly arbitrary.

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Re: Wearing mink

Post by Boustrophedon » Thu Nov 12, 2020 10:26 am

If the animal inside is farmed humanely and eaten for food, then I am ok with other parts of the animal being used as well. So rabbit fur is OK by me.

But farming of hunting an animal for just it's fur, or anal glands or whatever seems stupid and wasteful.
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Re: Wearing mink

Post by Tessa K » Thu Nov 12, 2020 10:29 am

Boustrophedon wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 10:26 am
If the animal inside is farmed humanely and eaten for food, then I am ok with other parts of the animal being used as well. So rabbit fur is OK by me.

But farming of hunting an animal for just it's fur, or anal glands or whatever seems stupid and wasteful.
I was taught as a child how to skin a rabbit - I'm not sure I remember exactly now but it's similar to stripping a onesie off a small child.

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Re: Wearing mink

Post by Fishnut » Thu Nov 12, 2020 10:31 am

Squeak wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 5:36 am
There was a thought-provoking article in the NY Times last year on fur-wearing and American racism, that has stuck in my mind ever since. It's raising a possibility, rather than claiming any kind of evidence, and it's about a phenomenon so far outside my experience that I have no way of assessing its validity. With that caveat in place, apparently, from the 60s onward, it became more common for middle-class Black families to invest in fur coats (being somewhat disadvantaged from investing in things like real estate) as objects that both display status and maintain value. The article is rather more nuanced than to allege a direct racist intent to the anti-fur activists, but did the rise in popularity of fur among black people lead to a degradation in the perceived value of fur, which made it easier for anti-fur people to find willing listeners? It seems plausible to me.

Obvs, this is very much a US-centric perspective, but a lot of our international conversation does seem to spring from internal US cultural concerns. Also, I have no way to assess whether the time comparison stacks up to support this narrative, but it did stick in my head.

CoI declaration - I'm a vegetarian who wears leather shoes and eats dairy but finds animal farming problematic at best.

As Chris Preston has told us repeatedly, it's hard to grow enough protein from plant sources to meet humans' protein needs, so we probably need to eat some, and it's hard to find benign replacements for leather, so we probably need to keep producing some of that. And it's hard to replicate the warmth that down and fur provide, so we'll probably keep killing ducks and furry things for that. But all of those products are used at least as much for pleasure and status-signaling in modern societies, as they are for survival. I'm not sure I can make a clear ethical argument for why one would be worse than the others.
I'd heard about the link between fur-wearing and American racism but couldn't find the article. I do wonder how much of the issue over fur is, even unconsciously, tied to all sorts of prejudices. I'm not pro-fur and if we were having this conversation even 10 years ago I'd probably be much more "no fur farms! fur farms are cruel and unnecessary!" but the motto iabmctt has really sunk in and I can see far more complexity now.

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Re: Wearing mink

Post by Tessa K » Thu Nov 12, 2020 10:48 am

Fishnut wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 10:31 am
Squeak wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 5:36 am
There was a thought-provoking article in the NY Times last year on fur-wearing and American racism, that has stuck in my mind ever since. It's raising a possibility, rather than claiming any kind of evidence, and it's about a phenomenon so far outside my experience that I have no way of assessing its validity. With that caveat in place, apparently, from the 60s onward, it became more common for middle-class Black families to invest in fur coats (being somewhat disadvantaged from investing in things like real estate) as objects that both display status and maintain value. The article is rather more nuanced than to allege a direct racist intent to the anti-fur activists, but did the rise in popularity of fur among black people lead to a degradation in the perceived value of fur, which made it easier for anti-fur people to find willing listeners? It seems plausible to me.

Obvs, this is very much a US-centric perspective, but a lot of our international conversation does seem to spring from internal US cultural concerns. Also, I have no way to assess whether the time comparison stacks up to support this narrative, but it did stick in my head.

CoI declaration - I'm a vegetarian who wears leather shoes and eats dairy but finds animal farming problematic at best.

As Chris Preston has told us repeatedly, it's hard to grow enough protein from plant sources to meet humans' protein needs, so we probably need to eat some, and it's hard to find benign replacements for leather, so we probably need to keep producing some of that. And it's hard to replicate the warmth that down and fur provide, so we'll probably keep killing ducks and furry things for that. But all of those products are used at least as much for pleasure and status-signaling in modern societies, as they are for survival. I'm not sure I can make a clear ethical argument for why one would be worse than the others.
I'd heard about the link between fur-wearing and American racism but couldn't find the article. I do wonder how much of the issue over fur is, even unconsciously, tied to all sorts of prejudices. I'm not pro-fur and if we were having this conversation even 10 years ago I'd probably be much more "no fur farms! fur farms are cruel and unnecessary!" but the motto iabmctt has really sunk in and I can see far more complexity now.
The social context is interesting. POC wearing fur in that context is comparable to some minority people wearing a lot of gold jewellery (and sometimes having gold teeth) as a form of portable wealth and social signalling. Travellers (formerly known as gypsies) were known for it, for example. Some POC wore and still wear a lot of gold for historical reasons. Sailors were said to wear gold earrings as a way to pay for their funerals. It's about portable wealth for people who didn't/don't have access to financial products or bricks and mortar as well as about status.

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Re: Wearing mink

Post by discovolante » Thu Nov 12, 2020 10:51 am

Fishnut wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 10:31 am
Squeak wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 5:36 am
There was a thought-provoking article in the NY Times last year on fur-wearing and American racism, that has stuck in my mind ever since. It's raising a possibility, rather than claiming any kind of evidence, and it's about a phenomenon so far outside my experience that I have no way of assessing its validity. With that caveat in place, apparently, from the 60s onward, it became more common for middle-class Black families to invest in fur coats (being somewhat disadvantaged from investing in things like real estate) as objects that both display status and maintain value. The article is rather more nuanced than to allege a direct racist intent to the anti-fur activists, but did the rise in popularity of fur among black people lead to a degradation in the perceived value of fur, which made it easier for anti-fur people to find willing listeners? It seems plausible to me.

Obvs, this is very much a US-centric perspective, but a lot of our international conversation does seem to spring from internal US cultural concerns. Also, I have no way to assess whether the time comparison stacks up to support this narrative, but it did stick in my head.

CoI declaration - I'm a vegetarian who wears leather shoes and eats dairy but finds animal farming problematic at best.

As Chris Preston has told us repeatedly, it's hard to grow enough protein from plant sources to meet humans' protein needs, so we probably need to eat some, and it's hard to find benign replacements for leather, so we probably need to keep producing some of that. And it's hard to replicate the warmth that down and fur provide, so we'll probably keep killing ducks and furry things for that. But all of those products are used at least as much for pleasure and status-signaling in modern societies, as they are for survival. I'm not sure I can make a clear ethical argument for why one would be worse than the others.
I'd heard about the link between fur-wearing and American racism but couldn't find the article. I do wonder how much of the issue over fur is, even unconsciously, tied to all sorts of prejudices. I'm not pro-fur and if we were having this conversation even 10 years ago I'd probably be much more "no fur farms! fur farms are cruel and unnecessary!" but the motto iabmctt has really sunk in and I can see far more complexity now.
TBH in a very broad brush way I think this is the case with most 'luxury' consumer goods - 'we' use stuff for ages and destroy everything in our wake while doing so, then at the same time as black people and other people from 'non-western' nations gain access to it we demonise it. I don't think that in the vast majority of cases the demonisers are doing it out of deliberate racist intent rather than obliviousness (which doesn't necessarily make it ok), although there are probably varying degrees of racism - something similar to 'white feminism' maybe - but in some cases there probably is some insidious racism going on. Here my scholarly source is Episode 7 of I May Destroy You, in which Arabella enters the murky world of commercial veganism. It's tricky seeing as we probably do need to cut back on this stuff, thanks to us. Anyway that is my very oversimplistic take!

ETA tessa's post before mine is much more interesting.
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Re: Wearing mink

Post by Woodchopper » Thu Nov 12, 2020 11:08 am

Boustrophedon wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 10:26 am
If the animal inside is farmed humanely and eaten for food, then I am ok with other parts of the animal being used as well. So rabbit fur is OK by me.

But farming of hunting an animal for just it's fur, or anal glands or whatever seems stupid and wasteful.
In practice, in industrial production the animals used to produce one product (eg meat) are not the same as the animals used to produce another (eg feathers, wool etc).

Each variety of animal has been bred to optimize production of a particular product. For example, very few hens that produce eggs are eaten for their meat. Its just not the kind of flesh that a consumer expects to see on the supermarket shelf. And hens bred for meat production aren't used for egg production.

So the sheep sold for meat aren't also used to produce wool or sheepskin, and I'd be very surprised if the ducks bred for down were also eaten or used to produce eggs.

As far as I know, cattle are an exception as its too expensive to raise a cow and only use part of it.

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