Cats, dogs, raccoon dogs, rabbits, and other animals are skinned alive in China for their fur. This fur is exported to consumers in the U.S. and abroad and often dyed to look like the fur of other animals. It’s sometimes even deliberately mislabeled as synthetic! More than half the fur garments sold in the U.S. are imported from China, where more than 2 million cats and hundreds of thousands of dogs each year suffer through a miserable life and an excruciatingly painful death as victims of the fur trade. While other sources of fur are unconscionably cruel as well, few do as much as the slaughter of dogs and cats to shake consumers out of complacency.
The cultural and economic inertia driving the Chinese fur trade is daunting—but with your help, we can slow down this juggernaut through dedicated efforts to educate consumers about the true price of fur. We do see glimmers of hope, and you and I can take action right now in many ways.
The quickest way to dismantle the fur trade is to start with your own habits. Take the pledge to stop buying fur, and encourage your friends and family to do the same. Most people aren’t heartless—they do care about others and want to do the right thing. But many simply don’t know about the cruelty behind the fur trim on their coats or gloves, and many are misled by false labeling and fairy tales about fur farms. So for starters, let’s reveal the ugly truth so that people can make an informed decision on what to buy and what to avoid. Send your friends and family the video so that they can see the truth about fur farms for themselves.
When you stop, make sure you stop! Fake fur is fabulous and widely available, but sometimes it’s hard to distinguish from the real stuff, and as mentioned above, it is often deliberately mislabeled. How do you tell the difference? What works for me is looking closely at the substrate material: Is it leathery and skin-like (real) or woven like a rug (fake)? The flame test also works well for me (but don’t try this in stores). Take a few strands of the furry fibers off the garment and hold them over a small flame. Real fur smells like burning hair and leaves a strand of, well, burnt hair. But the most common synthetics smell like burning plastic and melt into a bead as plastic does.
Next, you can help our fight to alleviate the pain and suffering of animals on Chinese fur farms by using any of the arsenal of tools we have available to reach out to people:
I know that we can do it if we all join together. There are already glimmers of hope: Where I live, I never see people wearing full fur coats anymore. Trim, yes, but not full coats. A growing number of department stores have gone fur-free, thanks to PETA. Nike, JCPenney, Urban Outfitters, Polo Ralph Lauren, Gap, Forever 21, and dozens of others no longer support the cruel fur industry.
Many fashion designers—including Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein-also no longer use fur in any of their collections or on the runway. Check out Tim Gunn, who demonstrates how to be classy and fur-free at the same time. The world is growing more compassionate and more outraged by the continuing atrocities of the fur industry. A recent demonstration in France, for example, drew hundreds of protestors. And thanks to the efforts of PETA’s Asia-Pacific affiliate, the word is spreading, even in China. Sun Li, a bright and shining star in her home country of China, is speaking out against the fur industry.
Together, we can help stop these atrocities. Please get involved, and let’s create a brighter future for these abused animals.
Make your time with your friends and family—including your animal companions—even more meaningful.