Guilt-Free Fur?

In Fashion Morality, Fur, Newspaper Articles on December 11, 2010 by Naoko Takano

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As many of you may have read, the New York Times posted an article online last month about nutria fur currently being marketed as the new “guilt-free fur.”  The argument is that since the nutria (giant swamp-rodents) are a threat to Louisana swampland and are being killed anyway in order to protect this fragile ecosystem, then instead of thoughtlessly discarding the carcasses it’s better to utilize the fur.  …And make it into fashion.

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A designer makes necklaces out of the teeth, Etsyans craft merkin panties and jewelry out of the fur…oh, and Michael Kors and Oscar de la Renta also incorporated nutria fur into trims and linings in their recent collections.  Saks is currently the largest retailer in the United States that carries nutria fur items (check out this Nutria Fur Jacket from Maison Martin Margiela!).

Remember Elaine’s “rat hat” from that episode of Seinfeld?  That Russian “sable-esque” hat was supposedly nutria, according to the storyline.  And maligned as “not even a good rat-hat.”

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So what do you guys think?  Is real fur in fashion items okay if the animal is killed as a pest anyway?  Is it right to attempt to wipe out a species if it threatens a long-established ecosystem?  Will people begin to embrace nutria and being to rank it on par with fur in general – or is the “ick” factor too strong?

What are your thoughts?  And would you ever buy or wear nutria?

Read the Full Article Here


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10 Responses to “Guilt-Free Fur?”

  1. I don't have much of a moral proble with fur… mine is practical. I'm allergic. So I wouldn't buy it.

  2. Its the idea that you're wearing a *dead* animal! So gross! Faux fur is much better!

  3. I recently thrifted a fur collar. I was a bit hesitant at first. The tag said it was a raccoon (which I think many would consider a pest) at the least, certainly not anything endangered.
    I walked away from it that day, but continued to consider it all week, and did go back for it.

    Because its old, and that raccoon has been gone a long, long time.
    Because it's better that I enjoy it rather than it sitting in a garbage pile or attic.

    I think if the animal is not being killed JUST for it's fur, then I'm okay with it. I wear leather, and I assume those animals are being eaten. I justify leather being moral on that assumption.

    So I suppose i'm okay with this. Not that I plan on buying new fur anyway.

    Chic on the Cheap

  4. Fake/real/cruelty free/cruel….it all still contributes to the cycle of skinning of and/or genital electrocution of animals to obtain fur.

  5. This is basically the same argument as shoe and bag manufacturers use for justifying the use of leaher in their products – as long as there is meat eating population, leather will be the sideproduct of meat industry (cows). Personally I see no problem using any type of leather or fur in fashion as long as the animals are grown (free) and killed humainely. As far as I know, the only industrial meat manufacturers that practise this today, is the reindeer farmers up in Lapland. The animals run complitely free in packs, eat their natural food from the woods and are used almost 100% (meat, hive, bone) when butchered.

  6. I am not sure I'd like to wear nutria but I don't have a problem with any fur as long as the entire animal is used. If the same cow could make my leather boots and my burger, I'd be thrilled. Our culture is just so wasteful.

  7. Probably not. The thought of wearing something else's skin makes me feel awful, even leather. I understand the movement though and I'm interested to see how the general public reacts to it.

  8. I accept the arguement that the animal is being killed anyway and that the body shouldn't be wasted, the same as leather, but I would ask questions about whether the method of killing is changed in any way to peserve the fur that would make it less humane. In addition using this fur continues the message that fur for fashion is okay. What happens when all the nutria are killed?

  9. hah, i remember that episode. the guy said “its not good, even by rat standards”. but i wouldnt wear fur, real or fake..nothing against the fake kind, its just that fur reminds me of old ladies

  10. Wow. Is this a debate that hits home with me or what?
    I'm from Louisiana, and what I say is GOOD. I think that it is good that part of the nutria would be used for something good. To Catherine, I just want to say, that nutria are not indigenousness to Louisiana. They were brought from Argentina by a trapper who wanted more game. They multiply rapidly, and harm our swamplands by eating the roots that stop it from eroding. They are very prolific. And they are nearly impossible to get rid of. They do almost no good. They are a pest that is driving out the beavers and natural occupants of Louisiana. It will harm no one if they leave. Also, they carry innumerable diseases that are very dangerous to humans. And they bite. 😛
    (sorry for the rant)
    I think it's good that part of the nutria is being used for good purposes.

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