Animals have been used as source materials for fabric and accessories throughout human history. Many are commonly used today – like wool, leather and silk. Others are chiefly luxury materials, such as cashmere or fur. Each year for the fast fashion industry, billions of animals are brutally slaughtered to produce clothing made from wool, cashmere, mohair, fur, silk, leather, goose down, or down feathers. Animal products and byproducts have a very negative environmental impact. They are also cruel and unethical.
Sheep are sheared each spring, after lambing, just before they would naturally shed their winter coats. Timing is considered critical. Shearing too late means loss of wool. In the rush, many sheep die from exposure after premature shearing. Shearers are usually paid by volume, not by the hour, which encourages fast work without regard for the welfare of the sheep. To get leather, the animals are often killed through anal electrocution or neck-breaking since it prevents any damage to the fur. To cut costs, the animals don’t receive any type of anesthetic and it is not uncommon for the animals to be skinned while still conscious. When producing one mink coat, it requires approximately 60 to 80 mink skins to form the coat. Almost 80% of the minks harvested for their skin are from fur farms. This shows just how many animals are raised in fur farms for the sole purpose of producing a nice coat or accessory.
“In today’s world of virtually unlimited choices, animal exploitation is simply unacceptable. We can eat better, educate ourselves better, clothe ourselves better, and entertain ourselves better without torturing and killing animals.” Animal use in fashion is unnecessary cruelty that can easily be fixed. Through recent advancements, faux-furs and faux-leathers can be found almost everywhere and often have qualities similar to their real counterparts. Fur and leather do not provide any functional benefits that can’t be provided through other means. It seems that for some, the cruelty towards animals is just the price to be paid for a fashion statement.
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