devi: (Default)
[personal profile] devi
So yes, the white fluffy scarf.

I used to have a Russian student called Vita, who was smart, funny, outspoken and generally brilliant, though a complete fool for her exploitative twat of a boyfriend in that way that some bright young girls can be, which made me want to shake her sometimes. When she came back to Oxford at the start of term she'd bring me something Russian. Usually caviar or similar. One first day of term, though, she asked, "Are you in Greenpeace?"

What? "...No." (I was when I was a teenager but I let it lapse.)

"See, I got you this," she said, producing the white fluffy scarf and explaining that it would be perfectly acceptable in Russia but on her way back here she'd been having doubts as to whether someone in the UK would want to wear it. It is your basic knitted scarf, but trimmed with so much luxuriant rabbit fur that you can barely see the wool bits. The fur feels amazing. It is a beautiful thing, and I thanked her, but I don't want to wear it.

I know this is not consistent. I'm not a vegan; I wear leather quite happily; I eat meat, though I avoid factory-farmed stuff when I can; but the idea of wearing fur squicks me out. I have heard grim things about the Russian fur industry, but haven't had the stomach to actually look into it. But the scarf sits there and looks at me, and putting it in the bin feels wrong too because then the rabbits would have Died In Vain. (I know, I know.)

I guess I'll just charity-shop it, but I find it odd that this particular thing seems so loaded for me and I don't seem to apply the same principle to all similar things. Is it just that I've been programmed by awareness campaigns about fur and they haven't had any about (eg) shoes? I'm curious as to how others feel about it. And does anyone else want the damn thing? (ETA: this is it. OK, you can see lots of wool in that picture, but wrapped around your neck it's all Tilda-Swinton-as-The-White-Witch.)

Date: 2010-09-04 04:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I am not squicked by rabbit fur. I am not sure why - I do object to farmed mink, say, for a variety of reasons - but rabbits to me are Not The Same Thing. I kept pet rabbits as a child, so it's not exactly a lack of sentimentality *g*, but I also knew them as familiar garden pests, like mice and rats and voles and so on.

(Whether I'd actually want it would depend largely on what it looked like!)

Date: 2010-09-04 04:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Interesting. I'm assuming the rabbits would have been farmed as well?

I had a pet rabbit too, but hmm... I think it would squick me a lot less if I'd caught the rabbits myself and was going to be wearing their fur to keep warm in a cabin in the remote woods or something. It's mostly the idea of fur farms, and fur as a fashion thing that drives business to said farms, that bother me.

Date: 2010-09-04 05:50 pm (UTC)
juliet: (Default)
From: [personal profile] juliet
Fur (in this country) is an absolute non-essential; leather is more complicated (one can get non-leather shoes, but they have their own environmental cost, etc etc). Maybe that's it too?

I am more squicked by fur than by leather, as well, although that thought process (& the veganism generally) led me to mostly stop wearing leather shoes. Although now I am rethinking that for reasons above; currently my solution is just not to buy any more leather or fake leather shoes until the existing ones fall apart altogether...

I absolutely hate the feel of fur. On a live animal it's lovely, but dead fur feels awful. Wrong and upsetting.

Date: 2010-09-04 06:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yup, this (apart frpm the vegan bit). I don't wear a lot of leather apart from occasional shoes and belts, as I don't like the smell (actually I have one leather motorcycle jacket, which is bright orange so easier to forget it came from an animal), but it squicks me far less than fur. My mum has a pair of lovely boots with a tiny amount of rabbit-fur trim, and I can hardly bear to look at them.

Date: 2010-09-04 05:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'll take it off your hands for you! Looks nice :)

Date: 2010-09-04 05:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Good stuff! Are you coming round tomorrow? Or shall I drop it over?

Date: 2010-09-04 10:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I shall endeavour to pop round at some point! Thanks.

Date: 2010-09-04 06:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Given I happily eat rabbit, and aim for nose to tail eating as far as possible, I'd actually feel weird about NOT being comfortable wearing the skin of the same...yes, fur farm meat doesn't necessarally go towards human consumption, but it almost certainly goes towards at least pet food, simply because it's uneconomic to pay to dispose of a biproduct if you can find a profitable use for it.

Date: 2010-09-04 06:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Reminds me that one of my old girlfriends actually had a wolf fur coat, bought for her by her wealthy parents. We looked an odd couple, I'm sure, what with me being in studenty duffel coat and doc martens.

At the time I was a vegetarian, though not a very conscientious one obviously!

Date: 2010-09-04 08:41 pm (UTC)
ext_36163: (plugmein)
From: [identity profile]
I have a real fur coat (rabbit) -- free, second hand, found in a cupboard -- but UK weather seldom justifies it.

Date: 2010-09-05 08:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hmm, no, I can't quite find the underlying logic there... unless it is just that you're more consciously aware of the anti-fur lobbying effort. Also, it is now uncommon to see anyone wearing fur, which is both for practical reasons and the above lobbying - I seem to remember women in fur coats having cans of paint dumped on them! Neither wearing leather nor eating meat have so far elicited such responses in public as far as I've heard.

The reason that fur was picked on over and above other types of animal products was due to their status as "luxury" items, i.e. worn by the well-off. Animals dying "senselessly" for reasons that can be presented as non-essential/frivolous is an easy argument to make...

Date: 2010-09-05 09:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The reason that fur was picked on over and above other types of animal products was...

The reasoning I heard that rang most true was that it is much easier to shout at celebs and old ladies than bikers.

It was said by a comedian, but I still think it's proably true. There are a heck of a lot of luxury leather goods out there too.

I suspect there are some grim fur farms, I suspect there are some entirely sustainable and "pleasant as natural habitat" ones too. Like with meat I think the way forward is making the quality of life of the animal the first question you ask (and the first thing the marketing tells you).

Date: 2010-09-05 10:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think you're both right. I also suspect that my pattern of squick and non-squick would be different if as a child I had seen the Disney movie 101 Holstein Calves, with the little dears trying to escape from Cruella De Vil as she attempts to make a giant spotted leather trenchcoat.

The whole cat-in-bin saga was another reminder that it makes absolutely no sense which animals we consider worth protecting/getting enraged for.

Date: 2010-09-06 10:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I would like to point out that leather is still the most abrasion-resistant material available for motorcycle clothing, and often the only one allowed on racetracks, so I feel it's reasonable for bikers to wear leather. (I wear textile gear personally, as it's warmer and more waterproof.)

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