It should surprise no one that Donald Trump's greed-is-good 1980's redux includes lavish displays of fur. Daughters Ivanka and Tiffany, ex-wife Ivana and current wife Melania have all stepped out in fur notes the Daily Mail. Images of the fur-clad wives, including ex-wife Marla Maples, keep alive the dated image of the "kept" women in diamonds--as dated as Trump's beauty pageant, grab-their-p*ssy approach to women in general.
When it comes to the fur industry, it is the best of times and worst of times. Fur farming is now illegal in Austria, Croatia, England and Wales, fox and chinchilla farming is illegal in the Netherlands and the last mink farm in Japan just closed. Seal fur products from commercial seal hunts are now banned in 35 countries including the United States, the 27-nation EU, Britain, Russia and Taiwan. Yet a paradoxical fur revival continues on fashion runways.
Through the use of role models like Rihanna, Cara Delevingne, Kate Moss, Janet Jackson, Elle Macpherson and former fur-foe Naomi Campbell, exploiting the public's short memory and sheer audacity and tenacity, the fur industry has convinced many that somehow fur is not unethical anymore. This is especially true among younger people who did not grow up hearing fur was cruel anyway (though Kim Kardashian and Kanye West recently vowed to only wear fur from "roadkill").
People who remember the fur wars of the 1990s and 2000s realize furs are obtained from poisoning, gassing and anal electrocution on farms and stomping animals caught in leg traps in the wild. (Water traps drown animals like beavers, muskrats and minks in a process that can take up to 24 minutes.) But some younger buyers neither know or care about their fur product's origins. (Like the old joke "What is the difference between ignorance and apathy." Answer: "No one knows; no one cares.") The fact that the fashion houses Gucci, Prada and Versace use seal fur does not seem to bump these buyers--or even that fur giant Fendi actually sells monkey fur. Yes, you read that right.
In addition to its cruelty, there was a time when fur was just, well uncool. It was associated with dowagers and failed social climbers who wanted to be "classy." ("Pimps and Bimbos Wear Fur" read a sign at Chicago's annual Fur-Free Friday.) Fur products were considered uncouth and were largely absent in marquee cities like Chicago or London. Notably, fur coats also made people look fat and Mark Oaten, CEO of the International Fur Trade Federation, admitted that unless the industry learned "how to make our products more flexible and lighter," fur coats would have been finished as a fashion item.
But not to worry. Fur was made lighter, dyed (yes, including to Trump orange) and called a "fabric" by the industry to erase any thoughts of living mammals and make it seem like a manmade creation from a textile mill. The Fur Commission USA began calling fur part of "animal agriculture" and comparing it to using animals for food, medical and scientific research, entertainment, transportation and companionship. (Pelts, pets--same idea, right?)
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