One of my fondest memories from this year was celebrating the monumental progress we made toward ending the fur trade at our To the Rescue! gala in New York. The event showcased the next generation of sustainable, animal-friendly materials—like leather made from mushrooms and fur made from plants—that make the notion of confining animals to slaughter them for their fur even more absurd and frivolous than it already is. These innovations signal a paradigm shift toward a future where tens of millions of foxes, mink, rabbits, chinchillas and raccoon dogs will no longer die for fur fashion, and animal fur as we know it will never again return to catwalks and stores.
Our fight for a fur-free future has been vigorous, taking place on both the corporate and legislative fronts. We’ve seen firsthand how corporate victories can pave the way for stronger laws that eliminate what little demand is left for cruel products such as fur: In January, our case to end the fur trade became even stronger when luxury Italian brands Dolce & Gabbana and Moncler announced that they were going fur-free, opting for alternatives that are better for animals and the planet.
Also in 2022, we saw fur-free announcements by Italian companies Parajumpers and Zegna Group, which owns fashion brands Zegna and Thom Browne; Danish brand Saks Potts; Copenhagen Fashion Week; luxury online retailer Moda Operandi; and Paris fashion trade shows Première Classe and Who’s Next. In October, UK company Frasers Group, owner of House of Fraser department stores, as well as luxury retail chain Flannels and retail brands including Sports Direct, pledged to no longer purchase fur.
These corporate victories continue to pile up, and we’re now at the point where the majority of fashion companies have shunned fur completely.
With momentum on our side, advocates are working with city councils across the U.S. to prohibit the sale of new fur products. This year, two towns in Massachusetts—Cambridge and Plymouth—became the latest to ban fur sales, bringing the total to 12. Washington, D.C., also introduced a bill that would ban fur sales in the nation’s capital, and the city council will hold its first hearing on it this month.
Internationally, the move away from fur has taken center stage in Europe, with Latvia, Malta and Ireland banning fur farming in 2022. With nearly 20 countries throughout Europe already taking a stand against fur farming, Humane Society International, together with more than 70 organizations, has launched the “Fur-Free Europe” European Citizens’ Initiative to demand a European Union ban on fur farming and import of fur products. The petition must receive 1 million validated signatures by May 2023 for the European Commission to issue a formal response. The EU is one of the largest fur producers in the world; more than 18 million animals were born just to die for their fur in 2020 alone. The “Fur-Free Europe” European Citizens’ Initiative is crucial for our campaign to end the fur trade globally, as it would cripple the fur industry like never before.
Awareness of the fur trade’s cruelty continues to climb, even as demand for fur products plummets, but we won’t rest until the fur trade has ended for good. Until that happens, we will continue to find ways to shine a light on the cruelty behind this industry. This is where our investigations come in: This year, we revealed the intense suffering on chinchilla fur farms in Romania and exposed the cruelty of trapping in the U.S. As difficult as the findings of these investigations are to witness, they are essential to showing the public, corporations and legislators the reality behind this trade.
Together, we can create a world where fur farms and traps are a thing of the past, but we can’t do it without you. Here are some ways you can help:
- If you’re a citizen of the EU, please sign the European Citizens’ Initiative, and make sure to share it with all your friends and family who live there as well.
- If you live in the U.S., consider reaching out to your local elected representatives to see if they’d support an ordinance prohibiting the sale of new fur products. Our toolkit is a step-by-step on how to do it.
- Everyone can continue to support fur-free fashion by letting companies that still sell fur know that you won’t support them until they go fur-free.
- Finally, you can be part of the change by donating to our work to protect all animals.
Follow Kitty Block on Twitter @HSUSKittyBlock.