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Feb 2, 2012: Things to think about before wearing fur (or calling someone a hypocrite)

There in an increasing amount of awareness about the dark side of the fur industry, and, thankfully, these days most people avoid buying or wearing fur. Many of the same people, however, do not really know the exact reasons why fur should be avoided. Furthermore, people who speak out against fur are often accused of either "jumping on the bandwagon" or being hypocrites (if they still eat meat or wear leather). Here are some things to consider when dealing with these types of discussions/accusations:

1) While not ideal, being against fur if you eat meat/wear leather is not as hypocritical as some might think. Though imperfect, the ethical argument that by simply consuming the animal we at least provide ourselves with food, is a somewhat valid one. Breeding an animal solely for the purpose of having a cute, furry hat, or a fur coat, and then discarding the rest of the animal, is worse, ethically speaking.

2) The argument that leather is a by-product of the meat industry is, for the most part (though not always), a valid one. For the most part, animals are not killed for their leather. This only becomes an ethical issue for someone who doesn't eat meat, and even then it's important not to fall into the trap of adopting a "you’re either a saint or sinner" approach, but to encourage people by educating them.

3) The way animals are trapped and killed for fur is often reprehensible. Unfortunately, with fur, the "coat" is the business, so the preservation of the "coat" often takes precedence over the level of suffering inflicted of the animal. This leads to some very cruel practices both in the way the animals are kept, as well as in the actual processes of killing/fur removal. And again, all for fashion.

4) Sustainability is not an excuse for cruelty. In theory it preserves a species, but at what cost? In terms of the fur industry, and other such industries based on the darker side of the human soul, all "sustainable" means is that there is an endless cycle of highly cruel behavior. Remember, nature, when not interfered with by us, requires no help in evening out population levels of species.

I personally don't eat any meat, wear no fur or leather, and avoid all animal-based products about 95% of the time. I will not, however, call someone a hypocrite because they haven't gone all the way in their realization of the way we mistreat animals. Progress should be measured step by step. If you still eat meat and wear leather, but you're against fur - good for you! You've taken a good first step in identifying a very cruel phenomenon, one that will hopefully open your eyes to others.

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