The Ethics of Fur

Fur. Just the word itself can make some people swoon, others cringe.

Now that winter is headed our way, fur season is around the corner as well.

Besides being exorbitantly expensive, most people don’t buy fur coats for moral reasons. A luxury item of the 1950s, the fur coat of today is viewed by many as a symbol of needless animal cruelty.

However, many of us are starting to inherit hand-me-down furs from previous generations. Fur coats are showing up in thrift stores more than ever.

It raises an interesting question. If it’s vintage, is it more acceptable? And is recycled fur really a better option?

Here are some pros and cons of wearing recycled fur.


  • Wearing used fur instead of buying a new coat is a way to conserve resources and recycle. Discarded clothing is yet another source of overflowing landfills. According to Newsweek, each year Americans discard 14 million tons of clothing!
  • Fur is biodegradable. Over time, since fur is a natural material, it will deteriorate.
  • The fur industry does not benefit from the purchase of used fur. However, buying from stores like Goodwill does help people in need.
  • Fur coats are warm. If you live in a cold climate, a fur coat is a functional choice to keep warm.
  • Fur makes for great insulation – it can be used to line coats and for bedding for animals.


  • Technology has made fur obsolete. Even workers in some of the coldest climates on earth wear synthetic materials instead of fur.
  • A fur coat can’t be tossed in a closet until the next cold season. For a fur coat to last, it must be cleaned on an annual basis and stored in a temperature controlled vault during the summer. This can end up being a costly maintenance routine.
  • You may face public scorn. The anti-fur sentiment is alive and well, especially during events such as this fashion week.
  • Wearing a fur coat normalizes the slaughter of animals for nothing more than a pelt. By wearing a fur coat, the wearer is (indirectly) saying, this is ok.

As many of us work to be conscious and compassionate members of this planet, ethical choices are part of our daily existence. The benefits of animal products versus synthetic products, the value of sustainable fabrics – these are all part of our continuing discussion in a world facing environmental challenges. Fur is the finished product of a brutal industry, and we humans have plenty of other ways to stay warm.


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