It’s become a bit of a challenge these days, discerning between real and imitation fur. Knowing the horrors of the fur trade makes it imperative that we don’t condone it by buying the real stuff. So how can you tell which is which? Why is it important to know? And how can you avoid buying real fur?
Technological advancements have enabled companies to produce amazing likenesses of animal fur. That’s great, since there’s no shortage of an appetite by consumers for fur-trimmed coats, boots, and other products.
And we certainly don’t want people buying clothing with real fur on it, since that would be promoting the absolutely horrid, stomach-turning businesses of the fur trade. There are plenty of images and videos out on the web if you want to learn more – they’re too graphic for here. Suffice it to say they obtain the fur from animals (even dogs!) in the most cruel, inhumane, and sometimes inexcusable ways. There are stories of animals being skinned alive. Barbaric would be an understatement.
The problem comes when these heartless fur factory farms and retail businesses lie about the source of their fur. Many have become wise to the growing trend of avoiding real fur. And yet, the real thing can be the cheapest, easiest source. So they say they’re selling faux fur, even lying to the businesses that purchase it to add to their products. Those businesses then go on to claim they’re selling things with fake fur, not knowing they’re lying to you. And consumers buy the stuff believing their claims. Frustrating, right?
Until we can corral all these cold-hearted, unscrupulous people who torture animals for a buck, the best we can do is to avoid any possible real fur. Here are 5 ways to avoid buying real fur:
The Humane Society of the United States maintains an updated list of fur-free retailers, designers, and brands. Whenever possible, patronize those on the list. You’ll be encouraging those who do right by our animal friends, as well as avoiding the imposters.
Don’t Believe the Labeling
Incredible as it may seem, retailers/designers/brands are deceiving the public with tags that read “faux”, “polyester”, or “Finni raccoon”. Some don’t even mention the fur at all. There are plenty of examples where the HSUS has called out businesses for false labeling of fur.
Check for Visual Clues
Real fur comes to a point at the tip, much like human hair. Faux fur often has a flattened tip, since it’s cut after it’s manufactured (although real fur may have been trimmed, too.) So look at the tips of a few strands of fur, and make note of whether it’s pointed or flat across the tip.
You may be able to tell the difference right away by looking at the roots of the fur. Fake fur is often attached to a woven material where you can see threading.
The Burn Test
You can also test whether the fur in question is real or fake by performing the burn test. Take a small clump of fur and cut it from the product (assuming you’ve purchased it). Holding the fur with tweezers (for safety and a good grip), use a cigarette lighter to burn the ends. Quickly blow it out, then take a whiff. Fake fur has a chemical smell to it, real fur smells like burned human hair.
Of course, the surest way to avoid buying real fur is to just not buy anything with fur on it. No fur-lined or fur-trimmed products, no real or faux fur. Treat yourself, instead, with the knowledge you’re preventing the continued torment and cruel ending of lives by not buying fur.
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