A vintage wardrobe would not be complete without at least one fur collar. Admittedly, I love my vintage pieces. But what is the fur industry like today?
Fur Commission which regulates the US fur trade, states that mink is the most common animal farmed for its fur, followed by fox, chinchilla, sable and raccoon. In 2010 the US produced 2.83 million mink pelts at an average price of $65.10 each (source). Even with that impressive number, the US ranks fifth in production behind Denmark, China,the Netherlands and Poland which combined produced 50 million pelts in 2010 (source). Further reading on this site and that of the International Fur Trade Federation, tell of an industry that is highly regulated and responsible.
On the other side of the issue is PETA. They tell a very different story. It's hard to get through their site. They speak of incomprehensible cruelty. Countries such as Austria, Croatia and the United Kingdom have banned fur farms completely, while Switzerland imposes such strict regulations that there simply aren't any farms. Several other countries have pending legislation that will phase out fur farming over the coming years. By all accounts China seems to be the worst offender in cases of animal cruelty. No surprise then they are also the largest producer. China is implementing training courses for farmers and stricter laws (source), but it will be years before practices in the field are adjusted accordingly.
At the end of the day, each of us must make a decision that we can live with. I choose to wear vintage fur and will continue to do so. But I would probably not buy new fur unless I could be 100% sure of the origin, given the wide range of practices. And with several countries outlawing farms and cities banning the sale, perhaps vintage fur will soon be the only option. Although faux fur is increasing in popularity and should not be overlooked. It isn't as warm as real fur, but can be just as gorgeous for decorative purposes.
I'd love for you all to weigh in on this. Do you own fur? Do you wear it? Or does the whole idea turn your stomach?