Licentiate Columns

Licentiate Column 18/11/10

>Fur is a tricky subject. It’s hard to be objective about animal fur, because so many emotions are involved. One one end of the spectrum there are vegans who would let only the best Stella MacCartney faux-leather boots touch their feet and shudder with extravagant horror at the though of Mittens the mink becoming Mittens the, er, mittens.

Then on the other end, there are animal fanciers, who love nothing more than buttery soft steaks and even buttery-er Loewe leathers. Fox-fur collars? Yes, please! Ermine-trimmed mukluks? Don’t mind if I do!

One of the more oddly beautiful things about free speech and conscious thought is that it gives us the right to wear the skins of dead animals that you wouldn’t pet at the zoo around our necks and somehow transform the act into a status symbol. Somewhere out there, a higher power is looking down at us and laughing his head off.

If you want my opinion (and you’re reading this, so you’re going to get it anyway), I don’t think that either of these people are inherently right or wrong. It’s a stony theoretical terrain, strewn with more emotional landmines than the average Celine Dion song. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and not one is better than the other.

What I cannot stand is the proselytising of some animal rights activists. If you pair the stance of ‘fur is wrong’ with an act of peaceful protest, then you have a coupling as perfect as strawberries and ice cream (perhaps not as harmonious and definitely not as tasty, but ultimately effective). Throwing paint on people – that’s just not on. Technically, it’s an assault and anyone who hurts a human being to defend a dead animal needs a fine tuning of the button in their brain marked ‘priorities’.

This week, I watched a slightly disturbing cartoon on Channel Four. Entitled The Tannery, it showed the death of two woodland creatures, a rabbit and a fox. The fox is killed by a hunter for it’s fur and so the spirit of the doomed fox is condemned to hang around with it’s own pelt for eternity, while the rabbit gets eaten by a wolf and ascends to Fuzzy Bunny Heaven.

This makes about as much sense as the worldwide success and dubious acclaim of Jersey Shore. The circumstances of death, which are completely arbitrary, somehow determine what happens to an animal’s spirit after it dies. This might be an obvious question, but who exactly is the maker of this film to make such an odd assertion? Did he have a one-on-one chat with the Maker Of The Animals? Did Doctor Doolittle stand in as a UN approved interpreter? Because this makes zero sense whatsoever.

Whatever your stance on animals and fur, it’s important not to get swayed too much by the opinions of other people. It’s a standpoint as individual to you as your fingerprint and it’s important not to feel guilty or inadequate over such a loaded topic. And always remember; if in doubt, go faux.

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10 thoughts on “Licentiate Column 18/11/10

  1. >I would never ever agree with or wear fur. To me it is simple beyond cruel to kill an animal for it's fur – it's pure vanity.I am disgusted by those that wear real fur when faux fur is a cruelty free alternative.I agree that paint throwing etc is out of line – it gives peaceful animal activists and those who want to stick up for animal rights a bad name. We are all branded with the same 'looney' brush as these people which isn't fair.Nobody likes to listen to 'extremists' views be it about religion, animals etc… so I think a different approach needs to be adopted. There is no point telling everyone they MUST become vegan or they are bad people – I think simply encourage people to perhaps have one day of the week where they eat meat free, and better education about where meat products come from – encourage people to choose freerange not battery eggs… buy products from organic farms etc… Sorry bit of a rant!I am a vegetarian and I am often made feel bad by certain activists who look down at me because I am not vegan… I don't think that's fair – everyones effort, no matter how small, to help the animals should be applauded – even if it is something like choosing to only buy freerange eggs or not support chains like KFC etc…x

  2. >Excellent post, as always. Kinda makes me feel glad that I know such a talented writer in person! *free government/Aisling cheese alert*I'm not angry at people who wear fur, and I'd imagine if I was going to wear fur it would be faux. I don't think I'm passionate enough either way to make a proper argument, so I shall flee noiselessly into the night.

  3. >I love how you placed in a nutshell everyone is entitled to their own opinion and that is true. but for kelle belle I believe a kill is a kill. Whether it's deemed "humane" or "inhumane" for yogurt or eggs when it boils down to it, whether or not the kill is for life or "vanity" doesn't make it any better. I'm also assuming you don't wear leather and all your clothes are made out of potato sacs?I love fur =x I think it's so soft and warm, I had a fur jacket and not for status but because I genuinely liked the item. Honestly speaking Faux fur just isn't the real thing, just like canal street Burberry doesn't compare to 5th ave Burberry…Your post was excellent to open up discussion!

  4. >"This makes about as much sense as the worldwide success and dubious acclaim of Jersey Shore."Ha! Love it ;-)I would very much love to say I am against fur – and I suppose technically I am – but at the end of the day, I eat meat. Only chicken, but it was still once a live chicken. While I think killing an animal to provide nourishment is definitely better than killing one, throwing away the meat and instead wearing a carcass, at the end of the day both are still dead animals, killed by humans.

  5. >you are so right! it is not necessary to wear fur when the faux stuff is soo good these days. we can tell your rich without having dead animals wrapped around your shoulders.thanks for the comment! i keep hearing that the economical situation in ireland isnt too great :/ xx

  6. >fur is such a difficult topic, personally i still don't have a stance. i eat meat, so i can't exactly object to people wearing fur, but i disagree with the maltreatment of animals for such little gain. for wearing fur is just aesthetically pleasing rather than actually beneficial…http://itscohen.blogspot.com/

  7. MJ says:

    >You're definitely right about this. No matter what your stance, violence is never the answer and it lowers your cause, just like those twats at Millbank during the tuition fees protests. How can they think it will have the effect they want?

  8. >A level-headed stance is such a rare and refreshing treat. Thank you for providing one!I tend to believe that killing an animal for the sole purpose of wearing its fur proves quite irresponsible and wasteful. We have plently of clothing options and might-as-well-be-authentic-feeling faux available.Also, the manner in which some of these animals are killed…it makes me want to cry. Same goes for slaughter houses, unfortunately. I don't understand being so hostile and disrespectful toward a living creature.Nonetheless, people out there are still buying authentic fur, and I don't think they should be assaulted or severely criticized. I think we shoud still try to make them aware of inhumane treatment and alternate faux options. People are woefully uninformed when it comes to the treatment of animals. Acting out in hostility rarely wins a person over, though.Thanks for your perspective! Love the blog!

  9. >@Roni Yes all my clothes are made out of potato sacks. Why exactly are you assuming this?? Not wearing fur/leather does not mean you can't be fashionable.I do believe 'a kill is a kill' as you put it – I was merely agreeing with the arguement that some animal activists are very extreme and put people off even listening to what they have to say ie throwing paint at someone is never a good idea in my opinion. Nobody is ever going to convince the worlds population to all become vegetarian so I was suggesting it is better in cases like this to encourage free range and organic buys and a meat-free day.

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