When I came to Iceland for the first time, I was astonished about how many people wore fur coats and other products made of fur. As a German, it was shocking to see the huge amount of fur products simply because it is generally considered to be taboo to wear fur in my home country.
After my initial surprise, I got so used to seeing all those fluffy animal pelts around me that I started fancying them and forgot all about how fur coats are made. One just thinks this is normal because everybody else is wearing them; a typical example of herd instinct, I guess.
At some point, I was even contemplating getting myself a fur coat simply because I find them so beautiful and warm, but I changed my mind eventually.
When you try to say to Icelanders that fur coats equal animal cruelty you don’t get anywhere. From my experience, they just shrug and simply brush off any kind of criticism.
“I bought it second-hand” is a very common argument. As if that makes anything better. By paying money for a fur product we condone and support the animal cruelty involved in making those pretty fur hats and vests and so on.
In the past years, I have noticed the massive increase of said fur products being offered in fashion and tourist stores all over Iceland. Reykjavík has a few fancy furriers and is full of second-hand clothing stores where all the Icelandic hipsters and cool kids buy their chic clothes and these stores sell a huge number of fur products.
In my native country, we grow up learning that fur coats aren’t a good thing, that only rich and ruthless snobs wear them. In Iceland, even teenagers wear fur coats. If I was to walk down the street in Germany dressed in a pelt jacket, I’m pretty sure I would be attacked with spray paint in no time.
There are cases where fur is just a by-product of the food industry, but that is not that common so we don’t have to kid ourselves.
I’m not an overly zealous animal rights activist, but wearing fur is simply not a clever thing to do. In 2013, we can very well dress ourselves without using pelt.
If people wear fur they put up with the cruelty animals have to suffer in order for them to be able to wear a nice coat. And that is nothing but pathetic.
So, you fur lovers, listen closely now!
In order to keep their coats intact, fur-bearing animals are either beaten to death, hanged, bled to death, anally or genitally electrocuted, drowned or even skinned alive.
According to the International Fur Trade Federation, 85 percent (!) of the industry’s skins come from animals which were held captive on fur farms. The animals on these farms are crammed into severely crowded, filthy wire cages.
By the way, Iceland has a few mink farms.
Most finished garments containing fur parts originate from China, the world’s largest fur exporter, where, where animal rights is not really on the agenda.
If you buy and wear a fur product here in Iceland, the chances that the animal you’re wearing suffered a cruel and terrible death are very high.
Still in the mood for donning your glossy white rabbit fur coat?
I know I will piss off a lot of people I know by writing this, but it just had to be said.
Katharina Hauptmann – firstname.lastname@example.org