Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Ethics of Wearing Fur, Leather, Fake-Fur, and Fake Leather

Is it okay to wear an old fur coat (or leather jacket) if nobody else wants it anymore?
What should you do if your workplace demands that you wear leather boots or some other animal-derived "clothing"?
And is it really okay to wear fake fur, when fake fur is made to look like the coats of dead animals?

These are the questions I'm going to be discussing in today's post! Here are some scenarios in which you might be forced to question your ideas about animal rights and veganism:
  1. You have an old leather jacket at the back of your closet that you bought before you became aware of animal issues. You still like to wear it, but you're worried that you'll be labelled as a hypocrite if you're seen in public with it. What do you do?
    My response: Technically, you're not killing any animals by wearing your old leather jacket. The cow whose skin the jacket is made of has already deceased. I can't see why you'd want to wear it, though-- is it truly "cool" to wear the skin of another dead creature? By wearing this jacket, you're promoting the "fashion" of leather jackets and making the sight of leather jackets a more common thing for people, making them more likely to want to buy their own. You could also be branding yourself as a hypocrite to anyone who knows that you care about animals.
    Out of disgust at the jacket and concern that other people might misunderstand or even follow my example, I would avoid wearing the leather jacket altogether. In fact, I'd probably donate it to a thrift store so that it can at least be used by someone in need. (It would seem a shame to waste it...)
  2. Your workplace requires you to wear a uniform, but that uniform is partially made from fur/leather/down/wool, etc. (such as leather boots, wool hats, or down coats)! What do you do?
    My response: Personally, I would evaluate a situation like this on a case-by-case basis. Let's say you were working as a pilot, and your employer gave you the uniform. You then noticed that the uniform included leather boots. In a situation like this, it would make little sense to quit your job simply because you don't want to wear leather boots, of course. However, you could still try to talk to your employer about why you would rather wear non-animal-derived boots, instead. There's no harm in at least trying to work things out! If you had a job that required you to wear some animal-derived clothing that you found simply unacceptable and the employer refused to budge, then you would have to evaluate your options from there. But ethical veganism isn't about avoiding every little trace of dead animals everywhere you go-- it's more about following the diet and reducing your negative impact while increasing the positive impact you have on the world.
  3. You're coat-shopping, and the only jacket in the colour you like has a fake-fur hood. Do you buy it or go shopping somewhere else?
    My response: I don't approve of fake fur. It isn't made of parts of animals, of course, but it certainly is made to look like it! Why glamorize something that's cruel?
Say No to fox fur - animal-rights Photo
Picture courtesy of
If you would like to know more about the fur industry, please go to (WARNING: graphic pictures of animal cruelty).

Let me know in the comments section what you would do in these three situations!

1 comment:

  1. When I think about it, I agree with what you say here. Even the fake fur thing...I see your reasoning.
    I have an old coat from a long gone aunt. It has a beautiful big fur collar and cuffs, that I'm pretty sure is wolf fur. I've had it for ages, when I was younger I would always wonder if I should wear it ... never did, but I do wear it around the house when there is a power failure in the winter! When I do this, I think a lot about the creature whose life was taken to make the coat.
    Thanks for this blog, you always make me think, and you inspire me.