Vegan Fashion: Boycotting Leather, Wool, and Fur.
Here at VeganHandBagStore.com we want to make sure everyone knows where the materials that make their fashion come from. What follows is a short paragraph on some commonly used animal products and a few facts about how those animals are raised, held captive and harvested. We firmly believe that no animal should have to suffer unnecessarily for fashion, and that animals do have rights, and deserve to be protected from harm.
Leather is made from cattle hide. But these hides are not merely byproducts of slaughter houses, they are valuable meat industry commodities. Animals in feedlots that are too weak or too sick to stand, and downed cattle are still valuable for their leather. These animals are unfit for human consumption, and are generally left to suffer and die without food or water until they are killed for their hides to be processed.
“Fine” leather is often actually the skin of calves, lambs, horses and other juvenile animals that are purposely slaughtered for their unique textures and grains.
We have all seen the displays at the airport. Alligators, kangaroos, seals, elephants, zebras and pretty much anything you can think of that moves is hunted and slaughtered in order to make items like wallets, boots, jackets and novelties.
Note: The production of leather requires a range of noxious compounds and creates highly toxic chemicals.
Wool - Angora
Angora rabbits spend their entire lives cramped in wire cages, which often results in sickness, depression, bone deformities, and a litany of ailments resulting from isolation and extreme captivity. In order to harvest the fur the rabbit is forcibly restrained which often leads to trauma and injury. Female angora rabbits are better producers, so the male rabbits are typically slaughtered at birth.
Wool - Cashmere
Cashmere goats (yes, cashmere comes from goats) are shorn before their natural shedding time which leaves them exposed to the cold and more susceptible to illness. More often than not, goats are raised in crowded, filthy conditions and must endure several processes like ear notching, dehorning, and castration, all without anesthesia. After their first fiber harvest, they are slaughtered and sold for meat.
Wool - Mohair
Mohair goats basically live out the same lives as cashmere goats and are also slaughtered for meat directly after the wool harvesting portion of their lives is over. Commercial goat milk and meat is also increasingly popular, making this a growth industry.
Wool - Sheep
Sheep are bred to produce excessive wool coats. After lambs reach about three weeks old, they undergo painful mutilations like tail docking and castration, without anesthesia. During shearing they are handled roughly and restrained by force. The fleece is removed as quickly as possible, often resulting in injury to the animal. Even worse, some sheep farmers continue a practice called “mulesing” where 4-6 inch folds of skin are cut off the animals backsides in order to inhibit parasites, again, done without anesthesia. It is true that there are more humane and effective ways to achieve these results, but “mulesing” continues. When the sheep are no longer producing prime wool, they are commonly transported to slaughterhouses in overcrowded trucks. Some are loaded onto massive live transport ships and are sent to slaughterhouses overseas. Many sheep become "downers" and are left to suffer and die slowly from neglect. Compressed wool, more commonly known as felt, is also produced through such practices.
All species of minks, foxes, rabbits, lynxes, chinchillas, and even hamsters are used in the fur industry. The animals are raised on factory farms in small wire cages where they seldom enjoy clean water and proper nutrition. These animals invariably suffer from stress, fear, illness, and insanity. In order to keep the pelts intact during slaughter, farmers will often gas, poison, or electrocute the animals. Some fur animals are wild caught in traps, which is another cruel technique utilized by the industry. The trapping process also kills many non-targeted animals, including dogs, cats, and endangered species of animals. Wild animals that are in demand for their pelts include beavers, raccoons, wolves, coyotes, and otters. These animals endure excruciating pain and intense fear when they are caught in inhumane steel-jaw leg-hold traps, body crushing traps, and strangling snares. It is common for the captive animal to gnaw at their own limbs in a desperate attempt to free themselves from the agony. Some trappers set up and abandon these cruel devices for days, only to return to bludgeon or shoot the dehydrated, famished, and petrified animals they have captured.
Down is a seemingly benign product, but in fact it harvested from animals that live captive lives of suffering and torture. The word “down’ actually describes the very softest feathers plucked from the breasts of ducks and geese comes either from slaughtered birds or from forcibly restrained live ones. Birds that undergo live de-feathering may be plucked up to five times during their life. No matter how they are removed, feathers normally come from birds that endure a tortuous existence of confinement inside large warehouses. Whether utilized for feathers or raised for meat or ‘foie gras’ (the diseased fatty liver of force-fed birds), ducks and geese are sent to slaughter after living out only a fraction of their natural lifespan.
Silk comes from the caterpillars of the silk moth that protect themselves by spinning silk strands to form a cocoon. Each worm may produce up to 1.5 miles of continuous thread. To retain an unbroken thread of silk, farmers commonly boil, bake, or steam the cocoons, a process which kills the live being inside.