Earlier this year, PETA's affiliate PETA Asia released footage from its latest undercover investigation of fur markets and farms in China. The shocking footage reveals that raccoon dogs are beaten with steel pipes and left to die slowly as they writhe in agony in full view of other animals. Rabbits' necks are broken while the animals are still conscious and able to feel pain. Animals live in barren wire cages--exposed to all weather extremes--as frozen piles of waste accumulate below them. Some are driven insane from the constant confinement and frantically pace and walk in circles in their cages.
Says Project Runway guru Tim Gunn, "With so many great alternatives, why would you buy the real thing? Why would you? I just don't understand it."
For anyone who worries that faux fur may not be as "green" as other options, consider this: Before a fur garment reaches the local mall, it is soaked in a bath of chemicals--including sulfuric acid, ammonium chloride, formaldehyde, lead acetate, sodium perborate and more--to keep it from decomposing in the buyer's closet. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, one of the chemicals used to dye furs, hexavalent chromium, is a hazardous waste.
As designer Marc Bouwer (who uses no fur, leather or wool in his collections) points out, the technology used to produce faux fur will continue to improve. "But death is death."