Is fur ever truly “guilt-free”?

22 Nov

Ever fancied a guilt-free fur? A warm, soft, real-to-death fur? Well, there are only two words for you – swamp rat.

Just because this annoyingly invasive creature has made a bad name for itself by destroying Louisiana’s delicate wetlands, doesn’t mean that swamp rat – otherwise known as nutria – skins should be deigned an “ethical” choice.

Trying out nutria-style.

Preparing for the nutria fashion show in New Orleans.

But seeing as there’s an official $5 bounty on each of their furry little heads it does make sense to wear them.

More sense than throwing them back into the swamp anyway, which was their original fate.

“It‘s almost criminal – and it does no honour to the animal,” says Cree McCree, the writer and designer behind the Righteous Fur movement, “In the Native American tradition, when you kill an animal you have to use every part.”

Two years ago, Ms McCree was part of  a project to create fashion from nature. However, there is a big difference between making dresses out of moss and making necklaces from nutria’s tangerine incisor teeth.

The ‘Nutria Palooza’ fashion show in Brooklyn on 20 November will parade leggings, hats and even a (questionable) wedding dress, adorned in nutria fur.

From the nonchalance of cutting up this small rodent for fashion, it is obvious we, as humans,  have a higher value on some lives than others.

From swamplands to a shawl

Humans have a habit of crushing habitats and killing off subspecies faster than you can say “growth”.

Unfortunately,  to suggest a little bit of genocide, followed by human-leather couches on which the chosen few can recline, tends to be frowned upon.

Nutria have a tendency to burrow deep into the protected swamp and coastline, eating every plant in sight until there’s nothing left.

There’s no food,  nowhere for other animals to inhabit. The “eat-outs”, which nutria leave behind are desolate – which is just another way that humans have messed up.

I want to make a joke about dental care, but that would add insult to injury.

The rodents were introduced to Louisiana by fur traders more than a century ago, specifically for their soft fur. Escapees from the farms made their way into the wetlands, where their population grew exponentially.

Greed is the problem. Saying nutria deserve to be killed is ridiculous. It’s like giving the all clear to killing off tigers.

But seeing as they’re large, beautiful, “noble” beasts, not buck-toothed long haired rats, it is seen as a horrific crime.

A summit this weekend aims to double the tiger population over the next 12 years.

Which is all well and good until tigers overrun cities and start eating children. Then, I’m sure it will be okay to wear them.


One Response to “Is fur ever truly “guilt-free”?”

  1. Tahmina Mannan November 23, 2010 at 12:23 pm #

    I’m one of those who love animals and feel GUILTY AS HELL for loving the feeling of fur against my skin. Hmph.

    Saying that. EW! I don’t care how cool it becomes, no way in hell will a rodent adorn this temple!


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