Fur Is Falling Out Of Fashion — Even For Queen Elizabeth II

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Used fur coats are displayed in San Francisco, California, before the city voted to ban the sale of fur. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Used fur coats are displayed in San Francisco, California, before the city voted to ban the sale of fur. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Real fur will no longer be a staple in Queen Elizabeth II's closet.

The monarch will stop buying clothes made from animal fur, and instead, her new wardrobe will be stocked with faux-fur outfits, Buckingham Palace confirmed.

The Queen’s move to ditch animal fur mimics the average British consumer’s wishes, says Kitty Block, president and chief executive officer of the Humane Society of the United States, adding the country actually banned fur farming in 2000.

In the U.S., California is set to become the first state in the nation to ban the sale of animal fur products. The state-wide law, which will go into effect in 2023, follows city bans in Los Angeles and San Francisco, she says.

Although there will still be 49 other states free to buy and sell fur, California’s ban sets an example, she says.

“The writing's on the wall for the end of fur,” Block says.

She says getting the law passed wasn’t an “incredibly challenging lift” because of how many Californians showed support for the issue — pointing to a moment in time when consumers are “much more aware now of what they eat, what they wear, and they don't want to wear fur.”

Most animal rights groups, including the Humane Society International and In Defense Of Animals, agree animals are skinned alive for fur. Pro-fur organizations like industry blog Truth About Fur contest this allegation.

There is nothing glamorous or humane about trapping and killing animals — oftentimes mink, chinchilla, fox — for fur, she says, which is why she promotes faux fur as a “100% better alternative.”

“Animals are beautiful. Their real fur is most beautiful on their own backs,” she says. “It's OK if we try to copy, but not take it off their backs.”

Interview Highlights

On the problem of selling fur

“It's incredibly inhumane. Basically, there are two ways to do it. One, you're capturing them in the wild and they're getting caught in leg hold traps where it pierces their skin, sometimes with teeth, sometimes with a blunt force where they gnaw their own limbs off and they can die from extreme weather. And it can be several days before someone comes and actually kills them off. Or they're raised on a farm, and farm may sound nice, but it's not. We've seen these places and they are small, little enclosures, little cages where they stand on wire mesh floors in their own excrement all the time, and then to only die by either anal electrocution or some other cruel method. It's so unnecessary. This is a statement about fashion and faux fur is such important fashion and beautiful fashion without the cruelty.”

On faux fur

“I think faux fur is beautiful. I think it's luxurious. And for all the reasons that people choose real animal fur, faux is a 100% better alternative. It is humane. And it is environmentally more progressive and better than real fur.”

On the Humane Society’s efforts to stop the real fur industry

“We work all over the world on this. And in fact, we just did an investigation with our U.K. office in Finland because that is a large supplier of fur for Europe. And so we showed the gruesome, gruesome scenarios on these farms. But we'll continue to work with designers. All the top designers have gone fur-free. It's so amazing to work with them. Gucci, Prada, Coach, Armani, the list is endless. There are some that haven't yet, but I think it's only a matter of time. We would love Valentino to go for free, Dior, Louis Vuitton. These ones have not yet. But I think it's only a matter of time. Consumers don't want products that are cruelly produced.”

On other initiatives the Humane Society is working on

“We have so many things happening and it's actually a really exciting time. In Congress, both in the House and the Senate, we got a unanimous passage of a federal ban on animal cruelty. And now that's sitting on the packed act and that's sitting on the president's desk for signature. We're looking to introduce the Humane Cosmetic Act. This would eliminate unnecessary testing on animals for cosmetic products.”

On cosmetic testing on animals

“There are so many products that have been in common usage that do not need to be tested on animals. And these animals, I mean, it's put in their eyes, it's put on their skin. And at the end of these tests, they're killed. And there are so many alternatives out there, better, better models for discovering whether or not something is going to be impactful on a human. So again, it's something that it just has to stop.”

Advice for people looking to adopt a pet the right way

“Pets are amazing. They are a part of our life. There is a bond between our animals and humans that is indescribable. But what you want to do is adopt and not shop. We have a number of campaigns against stores selling puppies. They're getting them from puppy mills. And we've done multiple investigations into pet land where we show the conditions of the animals. And in fact, it's so sad because a lot of these puppies they adopt are really sick, and how sad for a family that brings then an animal home. So go to your local shelter. There are so many great groups. There are rescue groups. And if you do go to a breeder, make sure it's a responsible breeder. Demand to see how the animals are raised, where they're kept. Don't ever buy an animal over the internet and do not buy a dog from a pet store. As cute as they are in the window, there's too much suffering behind that.”

Marcelle Hutchins produced and edited this interview for broadcast with Peter O'DowdSerena McMahon adapted it for the web.

This segment aired on November 14, 2019.


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Jeremy Hobson Former Co-Host, Here & Now
Before coming to WBUR to co-host Here & Now, Jeremy Hobson hosted the Marketplace Morning Report, a daily business news program with an audience of more than six million.



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