Is Real Fur Sustainable, Eco Friendly & Cruelty Free?

We’ve already put together guides about some of the most eco friendly fibres and fabrics, and the least eco friendly fibres and fabrics.

In the guide below though, we outline how sustainable, eco friendly & animal friendly real fur might be according to various indicators.

This guide compliments our separate guide on faux fur, which you can read here.


Summary – Is Real Fur Sustainable, Eco Friendly & Cruelty Free?

Sustainability & Eco Friendliness

– Potential Benefits

Real fur is a natural and also a renewable resource (although, some argue that animal welfare concerns void this point to an extent, and fur farming also has a sustainability footprint to consider)

Mink farming might have less of an eco footprint in some ways than cattle farming, and other types of animal farming, where leather is a by-product

Real fur processing, specifically tanning/dressing, might be less environmentally damaging compared to leather tanning, in part because the chemicals and substances used are less harsh, and can even be natural chemicals/substances (such as alum salts, including aluminum sulfate, according to some sources). Skins and hides are stripped of hairs for leather production, whilst pelts have to maintain the fur, and this might impact how abrasive and harsh the chemicals and processes can be in some instances.

Environmentally, some sources indicate that real fur rates better than faux fur across certain environmental indicators. For example, real fur is biodegradable, and even compostable. It may break down quicker compared to faux fur, and won’t contribute to micro-plastic pollution like faux fur can

Real fur can be recycled, and real fur garments restored in some instances

Quality real furs may last longer than cheaper and lower quality faux fur when the real fur is properly cared for and maintained. This may help average out real fur’s sustainability footprint over a greater number of years

Fur isn’t the only product that mink can be used for – mink can also be used for other by-products like mink oil (and fats), which can be used for leather preservation and waterproofing, amongst other uses. Being able to produce multiple products from the mink, and use multiple parts of the mink, might be considered a more efficient use of resources, than if fur was the only product

Mink in some parts of North America might be fed fully or partially on food by-products, that humans or other livestock can’t or won’t eat, that would otherwise end up as waste in landfill. Instead this food is effectively recycled

Carcasses, manure and soiled bedding from mink farms in North America can be composted for use as organic fertilizers for soil, or can be processed into biogas and bio-energy

Some of the above examples show how fur farming in some countries like North America can contribute in some ways to a circular and more regenerative economy. Some waste and outputs from mink farming, and other types of fur farming, might be used for other uses, and this might be seen as more sustainable

Some fur farms might commit to more sustainable farming practices than others

Some real fur producers are developing ways to produce more sustainable or eco friendly real fur, such as making fur from pest species and overpopulated species. We list other examples in the guide below

Some fur processing facilities might use closed loop processing, and use more naturally derived chemicals at the production stage

When animals are used for fur production, some animals like rabbit and alpaca, as well as wild caught coyotes, may be more sustainable for fur production than other animals, according to some sources


– Potential Drawbacks

Fur may have an environmental impact at both the farming level, and also the processing level. Farming level environmental impact can be caused by factors such as animal feed, animal manure, and agricultural waste, whilst chemical use and waste water can be factors involved with fur tanning/dressing, and other processing practices.

Environmentally, some sources indicate that real fur rates worse than faux fur overall, and across specific environmental indicators. Other sources also indicate real fur rates poorly compared to other selected textiles across specific environmental indicators

Some sources indicate that mink fur coats can have a higher carbon footprint compared to faux fur coats (up to 7 times higher), and also a higher carbon footprint than alternative materials like wool (up to 5 times higher). Animal feed and manure can impact carbon footprint

Fur farms can be energy intensive, and real fur may consume anywhere from 4 to 20 times more energy than faux fur according to different estimates.

Data on the water footprint of fur farming and fur processing might was unclear to us at this point in time

Some sources indicate that that real fur can use heavier and potentially harmful chemicals like formaldehyde and chromium, amongst other chemicals, that can cause environmental pollution issues when waste is not managed properly (in addition to potential human health issues)

Some sources indicate that the reason that some real furs might last a long time as a product is because of the chemicals used in their production/processing

Animal feed for farmed animals carries it’s own resource and eco footprint. Some sources say that it would be more sustainable to turn leftover food from other industries (that is fed to mink and foxes) directly into biofuel

Fur farms have a waste footprint in the form of animal manure which needs to be managed properly, and if it isn’t, it can contribute to a range of environmental issues. There can also be nutrient outflows, and other forms of waste pollution to consider from farms. The processing stage also has waste water containing chemicals to consider, and if it’s not treated or managed properly, it can be polluting. If water is not re-used, the water footprint can be higher too

In some instances when animal carcasses are incinerated after pelts, oil and fats have been stripped from them, air pollution can occur, and there’s also a freezing and transport footprint for the carcasses on their way to the incineration facility

Fur production may in some instances impact biodiversity in a local area


Animal Welfare

Real fur uses animals like mink, fox, and other animals. Some argue that the use of animals for real fur is an animal welfare issue in itself

Real fur comes mainly from fur farms, but also from trapping of animals in the wild. Some sources argue that each of these methods of obtaining pelts can lead to animal welfare issues.

Some countries may have far less regulatory protection for animals in place than others, and far less enforced animal welfare standards for the production of animal pelts

In some countries, fur farms and trapping have been banned to protect animal rights & welfare

On the other hand, some sources argue that fur farming has reasonably humane aspects to it in some countries, and trapping is more humane in modern times (such as the use of restraining devices, instead of steel jaw traps in some countries). We give examples of those arguments and points in the guide below

Additionally, some sources argue that effort has been put in to make other aspects of the fur industry more animal friendly in modern times (to improve the treatment of animals), such as better animal welfare related regulations and legislation, regular animal welfare checkups on farms, and money being invested to further improve trapping methods and practices, amongst other examples

Some argue that there’s certain instances where the use of animals for products like real fur might be more morally acceptable or ethical. The criteria that might need to be met to push fur production towards being more ethical and morally acceptable (according to some groups) might include sustainable use, animal welfare, important or essential use, and minimal waste. In addition, five freedoms related to hunger and thirst, discomfort, pain, injury and disease, expressing normal behavior, and fear and distress, might go a long way to improving animal welfare specifically. We’ve also listed some exampls of potentially more ethical fur production, such as making fur garments from roadkill, or from problem or pest species (which in turn help nature conservation)

Some argue that it’s hypocritical that people are critical of fur in fashion and textiles, saying there’s alternatives. Yet, they aren’t as critical of the use of animals for meat and other products like dairy when it comes to food, even though there can be alternatives foods and diets.


Social Considerations

Fur production can have both positives and negatives for local communities where small and large fur farms and processing facilities are operating

Similar to leather, it’s also possible that fur might be produced in smaller local or rural communities, and goes towards supporting conservation, sustainability and employment in the area. So, there can be social and economic benefits for smaller or more remote communities, along with environmental and eco system based benefits when say for example pest species, problem species, or overpopulated species are targeted.

On the other hand, pollution and other issues may be caused by large farms and processing facilities in some locales


Human Health & Safety Considerations

The production and processing of fur may expos workers to certain chemicals and substances that carry potential health and disease risks, and, in some instances, testing has found chemicals on consumer clothing that may lead to health risks for consumers.


Practical Considerations

Like leather, fur has both pro fur groups (such as those with interest in fur production) and anti fur groups (such as animal welfare groups) that push each side of the argument for and against the material. So, it can depend who is producing the information as to the conclusion that is drawn about real fur and other materials. Better transparency on whether studies were commissioned by pro fur, or pro faux fur groups , might help in this regard

Estimates indicate that fur farms provide about 80 to 85% of total fur, and 15 to 20% comes from the wild (from methods such as trapping). Control of the animals and the subsequent quality of the pelts are a significant reason for this

Mink are the most farmed animal for their fur in terms of total production, followed by foxes

Most of the fur produced comes from farms (such as mink farms) where fur is the primary product. One exception to this might be some rabbit farms that primarily produce rabbit meat, and fur is a by-product of that. This is in comparison to real leather where most of the leather producer is said to be a by-product of the meat and dairy industries

Fur is one of the better and more accessible materials available for warmth in colder climates. In some of these climates, it may be essential. According to some surveys and consumer data, consumers buy fur for is for warmth.

Others argue that fur in more urban areas is mainly a non essential fibre used for fashion. They might argue that even if it is purchased for warmth, there are other alternatives and substitutes available such as faux fur, and other natural and warm fibre materials don’t come from animals, and don’t have animal welfare issues (such as organic cotton, hemp, and so on)

There’s been cases of mislabelling of fur products in some countries in the past (mislabelling real fur vs faux fur, the type of fur, and how the fur was made), but, certain countries have introduced laws/regulations to stop this from happening

Environmentally, some sources indicate that a selection between real fur and faux fur is not the real choice, but instead, overconsumption and fast fashion might be the real issue to address


Economic Considerations

Real fur demand and sales still far outweigh faux fur demand and sales at present on a global scale

Most global fur production comes from Northern Europe at present

The fur industry still contributes billions to the world economy, and employs people across various stages of the fur production lifecycle

Fur farming may be one of the employment and income sources that is critical to small or remote communities where traditional agriculture is not possible or feasible

Regulations banning or restricting fur production and farming (and even exportation or importation) have led to either the shut down or decline in fur production in some countries

One source indicates that in some instances where alien fur farm animal species have escaped into the wild, there can be a significant annual cost to address this problem


Real Fur vs Faux Fur Comparison

In this guide, we provide a basic comparison of real fur and faux fur.


What About The Eco Friendliness & Sustainability Of Other Materials?

We’ve put together guides about some of the most eco friendly fibres and fabrics, and the least eco friendly fibres and fabrics.

These guides may provide further insight on how real fur compares to these fibres which can be used in materials.


Other Factors That Might Impact The Sustainability Or Eco Friendliness Of Materials

This guide outlines some more of the factors that contribute to how sustainable and eco friendly different fibres and fabrics might be.


*This Guide Is A Generalisation Only

It’s important to note that real fur production variables and processes can differ between between producers and suppliers (especially between countries), and the usage and disposal of real fur products can vary (as well as the products themselves).

These factors and other factors can impact the final sustainability and eco friendliness footprint of different real furs.


What Is Real Fur?

It is fur that comes from the pelts of animals.

It is considered a natural material.

It can be differentiated from faux fur, which is made from synthetic fibres such as acrylic, polyester or nylon.


How Is Real Fur Made?

Farming Process

It differs slightly depending on the animal, but outlines the stages of mink fur farming in a given year.

They involve:

– Conditioning and breeding

– Whelping and weaning

– Growth and furring

– Grading and harvesting


What also mentions on their pages about both mink and fox farming, is that there’s a range of practical considerations to take into account with the animals and practices used that can impact the quality of the fur that is eventually harvested. also explains the different stages of the mink production cycle


Other Stages Of Production mentions that in addition to farming, fur can be obtained through trapping.


Beyond the farming or trapping stages, there also:

– Auctions

– Processing (involves tanning/dressing, but also plucking and shearing, dyeing, and other processing techniques)

– Design and fabrication

– Buying/selling of fur


Does Most Real Fur Come From Fur Farms, Or The Wild?

Animals used for fur are either bred on a farm, or a trapped in the wild.

Fur farms and fur ranches produce most of the world’s fur, whilst the remaining fur comes from wild animals (via methods like trapping)

Being able to control pelt quality and the associated variables on farms might be a significant reason for their high production


How Much Fur Comes From Farms, & How Much Comes From The Wild

Worldwide [about 85% of all furs produced are farm raised]

About half the furs produced in North America are now farm-raised [and half are produced from the wild]



Fur is no longer primarily obtained through animal trapping; most fur comes from farms, where animals are raised to be killed for their fur.

Fur farming operations provide about 80 percent of overall fur production [and …] the fur clothing industry’s pelts … The rest is from animals caught in the wild



More than half of the world’s fur supply comes from fur ranches, where fur-bearing animals are raised in pens [and] The rest of the fur comes from trapping wild animals (


Around 15% of fur is sourced [from trapping] – mainly from beaver, coyote, muskrat and raccoon from Canada, the USA and Russia (


Why Majority Of Fur Comes From Farms

The majority of fur is obtained from animals raised on fur farms because it is easier to ensure that these animals, through strict diets and breeding, will have a high-quality pelt (


What Animals Are Most Commonly Used/Farmed For Their Fur?

Mink and fox are the most commonly farmed animals for their fur in terms of total production.

Other animals are used though, and there are certain animals that are known for their expensive fur or niche fur.


Most Commonly Farmed Animals

The most farmed fur-bearing animal is the mink (50 million annually), followed by the fox (about 4 million annually) (


Mink and fox are the two most common animals that are bred for their fur (


The most popular natural furs used for clothing include beaver, fox, mink, muskrat, and raccoon (

[Worldwide, it’s] primarily mink and fox [that are farmed], but also chinchilla, Finn raccoon (Asiatic raccoon), sable, Rex rabbit, Karakul sheep and other species.

In North America, mink are the most commonly farmed furbearers while smaller quantities of fox and chinchilla are also produced on small, family-run farms.

Furs taken from the wild include a wide range of species …


Common animal sources for fur clothing and fur trimmed accessories include fox, rabbit, mink, raccoon, dogs, muskrat, beaver, stoat (ermine), otter, sable, seals, cats, dogs, coyotes, wolves, chinchilla, and opossum and common brushtail possum (


Most Expensive Furs, & Niche Furs

Chinchilla, mink, Persian lamb, and sable are among the most fashionable and most expensive furs (


Are Animals Farmed Only For Their Fur?

Several sources indicate that the primary product at most fur farms, mainly mink farms, is in fact fur.

This is in comparison to say for example the majority of leather production, which might be a by-product of the meat and dairy industries.

One of the exceptions to this might be rabbit farming, where fur might be a by-product of rabbit meat farming on some farms.

But, in the instance of mink farming and other forms of fur farming, by-products and secondary products can be produced (such as mink oil in the case of mink), and the leftover waste and outputs can also be used for other uses.



Rabbit fur is commonly considered a byproduct of the process of breeding rabbits for meat … (


What By-Products Can Come From Fur Farming?

Animals farmed for fur might also be used for these by-products:

– Fats and oils (such as mink oil) used for leather preservation and waterproofing, and can be used in other industries too

– Carcasses processed and used as bait, pet feed, wildlife feed, organic composts, and other products

Having said that, parts of the animals’ carcass might not be able to be used, and may have to be sent to a facility for incineration.



[Apart from fur, the mink body is used for:]

Mink oil (from the fat) is used in a range of products

The remains of the body can be used as crab bait, or processed down for wild life feed [and] It can also be used for organic compost, pet food, paint and car tyre products




In mink farming [in North America], nothing is wasted.

The fat is rendered into mink oil that is used to protect and waterproof leather, as well as in the cosmetic industry and now sometimes to produce bio-fuels.

The rest of the carcass … is composted to produce organic fertilizers to replenish the soil


[Fats and oils can be stripped from animal carcasses and be used for commercial uses, but then the carcass might be frozen and transported to a facility for incineration] (



After pelting, mink bodies are typically sent for either incineration or rendering where they can be converted into bone and meat meal [which can be used in] pet food, animal feed, organic compost, fertilizer, paint, and even tires.

Carcasses sometimes go to animal sanctuaries, zoos, and aquariums to feed animals, and some end up as crab bait.

Some biological supply companies offer preserved skinned carcasses of ranched mink for classroom dissection specimens as an alternative to cats or other domesticated mammals.

… mink fat is turned into oil to manufacture soap, face oils, cosmetics, and leather treatments.


How Can Waste & Outputs From Fur Farming Be Used For Other Uses?

Manure/feces/animal waste can be used for biogas and bio-energy, as well as for organic fertilizer.

Soiled bedding (soiled straw, and wood shavings) can also be used for organic fertilizer.


Mink feces are used as organic crop fertiliser (


The manure [from mink farming] can be used for organic crop fertilizer (



… animal waste [from fur farms can be used] as additional fuel to power the farm and biogas plants which process poultry and manure.

Energy used to create animal feed is partially used to create more energy, creating a positive feedback loop.



In mink farming [in North America], nothing is wasted.

… the manure and soiled bedding (soiled straw, and wood shavings) [from mink farming] is composted to produce organic fertilizers to replenish the soil

In Nova Scotia, Canada, pilot projects are transforming mink wastes into methane for bio-energy production [i.e. they are being used for bio-fuels]


Potential Animal Welfare Issues With Fur

Some of the potential animal welfare issues related to the fur industry across fur farms, trapping, and recent health pandemics might include:


– Fur Farms

Inhibition of normal biological function and normal behaviors from being farmed

Confinement in small spaces and cages on farms

Dirty living conditions and animals not receiving adequate health and well being assessments and treatment

Potentially inhumane euthanizing and slaughtering methods on farms

Other individual cases of extremely inhumane behavior towards animals on farms, such as skinning animals alive, or cases of cannibalization


– Trapping

How inhumane or cruel different trapping methods might be


– Miscellaneous

The recent pandemic may have forced culling of fur farm populations in some countries due to transmission and disease risks


Fur Farms

Animals on farms are confined to dirty, small cages

Killing methods can include suffocation, electrocution, gassing and poisoning, or getting bludgeoned, hanged, and bled to death + other methods of inflicting death and suffering.

Some of the most graphic investigations and exposés have come from brutalities found on fur farms [such as animals being skinned alive]



Animal biological function [and] normal behaviors [might be] inhibited [when animals are farmed]

… animals [might] experience distress due to confinement [in small cages]

… animals are killed inhumanely (by electrocution, suffocation, gassing or poisoning) to ensure that their pelts are of good quality.



Animal rights advocates object to … the confinement and killing of animals on fur farms due to concerns about the animals suffering and death (


[The exact extent of animal welfare concerns in the fur industry is debated by different groups]

[Some animal welfare issues may include maximising profits at the expense of animal welfare, varying living conditions for farmed animals, small cages and confined environments, dirty living conditions, animals not receiving adequate health and well being assessments and treatment, the skinning alive of animals, cases of cannibalisation, and more]

[Some cases of animal welfare problems have been reported in Canada, China, Estonia, Finland, and more]



… [the fur industry kills] 100 million animals per year by gassing, poisoning, electrocution or drowning … [and this results in] large-scale death and suffering

… animals in so-called “high-welfare” countries have been found by undercover investigators to be living in filth, denied veterinary care and basic necessities such as food and water, and resorting to cannibalism and self-mutilation




… the traps used to hunt wild animals have a history of ensnaring “non target” animals like domestic dogs, cats, birds and small mammals (


Animal rights advocates object to the trapping and killing of wildlife … due to concerns about the animals suffering and death (


There is pain and suffering involved in trapping for the animals (


Recent Pandemic

[The most recent pandemic saw populations of farmed mink culled in various countries to prevent outbreaks, mutations, infections, and the spread of disease] (


Attempts At Improved Animal Welfare, & More Humane Treatment Of Animals In The Fur Industry

Attempts at improving animal welfare in relation to fur farming might include:

– Banning fur farming

– Legislation and regulation (and public education)

– Codes of practice & standards of care for the treatment of animals, and/or trapping of animals

– Meeting general criteria for more ethical fur farms

– Reports on better animal treatment and slaughtering methods

– Use of potentially more humane euthanasia/slaughtering methods, that don’t cause of prolong pain and suffering

– Schemes and on-site welfare assessments on farms

– Certifications

– More transparency from fur farms, and fur producers, of treatment of animals

– Monetary investment in more human trapping methods (like retraining devices instead of steel jaw trapping vices)

– Campaigns


Banning Fur Farming

[Bans on fur farming in some countries is a method of decreasing and stopping production of real fur] (


We outline the countries that have banned or outlawed fur production, or the selling and exportation/importation of fur in the ‘countries who have banned fur’ section further down in this guide.


Legislation & Regulations

[There’s] Legislation and regulations that requires adequate living conditions on farms, amongst other animal welfare regulations (


Governments can … play a role in regulating the distribution and sale of farmed fur; the United States passed the Truth in Fur Labelling Act (HR 2480) in 2010, ensuring that the source species is identified when a fur product is sold. This [acts as public education and] informs the consumer that the product involved the death of an animal.

Progressive countries with tighter controls on the fur-farming industry … will shift the demand to synthetic fur.



Codes Of Practice, & Standards

According to  [In the US and Canada, there is a] Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Farmed Fox [that has been] developed by animal scientists, veterinarians, producers and animal-welfare authorities [with the additional involvement of an animal care council]


Standards for fur farming, trapping and animal welfare might relate to things such as trapping methods used, how much space animals have to have on farm, feed and water standards, health standards, humane slaughter practices, and so on.


Meeting General Criteria For More Ethical Fur Farms

From, about mink: [There is a need to] provide farmed mink with a comfortable and stress-free environment, clean water, balanced diets, and overall good health [in some countries and on some farms]


According to, about foxes: … [some foxes are] ‘Supported by good nutrition, housing and veterinary care’ [on some farms in the US and Canada] also indicates that:

[In order for North America to produce fine quality fur,] farmers must provide excellent nutrition and care for their animals

… National codes of practice and certification programs [are some ways that animals can be assured they get good care]

[The standards of care for the animals are based on years of scientific research]

[ includes more information about, and links to regulations, certifications, codes of practice, and commissions on the ‘Fur Farming Is Humane’ page]

[ also outlines that some farmed animals like mink get the freedom to express some natural behaviors like they do in the wild, mink and fox adapt well to life on the farm, and most North American mink and fox farms have biosecurity protocols to protect livestock from disease or infection]


More Humane Euthanasia Methods


When it comes to euthanasia, fur farmers adhere strictly to the methods recommended by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Thus the only method of euthanasia approved for mink harvesting in the U.S. is gas: either pure carbon monoxide (CO), or carbon dioxide (CO2).

When harvest time comes, a mobile unit is brought to the animals’ pens to eliminate any stress that might be caused by transporting the animals long distances.

The animals are placed inside an air-tight container and immediately rendered unconscious.

They die quickly and humanely.


When it comes to euthanasia, indicates that:

Farmed mink are generally euthanized with bottled carbon monoxide gas … where they are rendered unconscious and die quickly and humanely.

From an animal-welfare perspective, [euthanizing animals] in their barns by people that feed and care for them daily [might b more humane than what happens for food animals who might suffer stress from] Loading, unloading and transportation in close confines with many other animals [when going to the slaughterhouse]


The above types and methods of euthanasia may be less likley to cause the animal to suffer, and also doesn’t prolong pain. There may be no pain or suffering at all in some instances. indicates that:

Farmed fox are generally euthanized using a specially-designed unit that produces an electrical current to quickly stun and kill the animals.


Electrical currents though might be argued to be less humane than carbon monoxide.


Reports On More Humane Euthanization Or Slaughtering Of Animals

Reports [can be issued] by veterinary associations on the best methods for euthanization or slaughtering of animals (


Schemes & On-Site Welfare Assessments

… the fur industry launched the voluntary Fur Europe scheme in 2016 [which assures consumers about the treatment of animals, and] … aims to regulate fur farms across Europe and improve animal living conditions through what it terms ‘Welfur’ assessments.

The scheme looks at cage size, location, food and overall treatment of the animals.



Some farms are regulated by animal welfare programs such as Welfur (


Five principles, known as the Five Freedoms, are used to determine whether animal welfare is being respected: freedom from hunger and thirst; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury and disease; freedom to express normal behavior, and freedom from fear and distress.

In 2009, the European Fur Breeders’ Association launched its “WelFur” program to perform onsite assessments at fur farms to ensure that the five principles were being followed. Its goal is to ensure that animals are being treated humanely throughout their lives.




Saga Certification and Welfur might be two examples of certifications that are helping or could help track the supply chain and animal welfare standards of fur (


More Transparency By Farms & Fur Producers

Using mink as one example, some farms are committed to raising their Mink in ‘comfortable and humane conditions’.

They provide evidence via video content and on their website of the conditions their Mink live in on their farms, what they eat, how they ensure their health, and how they manage slaughtering.

Consumers might want some type of traceability guarantee on their fur though to guarantee their fur was sourced from these types of farms.

There doesn’t appear to be a widely recognised certification for this yet though.


Investment In More Human Trapping Methods gives an example about how ‘More than 58 million USD has been invested over the past 20 years (by state and federal governments and by the International Fur Federation) to develop and test innovative humane trapping systems.’



Anti-fur campaigns, such as PETA’s, increase awareness of animal-welfare issues and reduce demand for real fur.

Celebrities and commercial entities with a financial interest in the industry, in contrast, popularize real fur [but there can also be celebrities that support anti fur campaigns]



[Anti-fur campaigns … [are a method] of decreasing demand of real fur] (


When Is Real Fur Argued To Be More Ethical & More Morally Acceptable?

Some groups believe that animals should not be farmed or used at all for products.

But, some groups believe the use of animals  is more morally acceptable and when certain criteria are met.

We outlined the 5 freedoms and other animal welfare considerations in the section above.

But, other criteria might also relate to sustainable use, animal welfare, important or essential use, and minimal waste.



[The killing of an animal might be more ethical, or more morally acceptable when these criteria are met:]

Sustainable Use: The survival of the species should not be threatened;

Animal Welfare: No unnecessary pain or cruelty should be inflicted;

Important [Or Essential] Use: Animals should not be killed for frivolous purposes;

Minimal Waste: As much of the animal as possible should be used.


What Are The Current Laws & Regulations Regarding Fur?

The currently legislation and regulations relating to animal welfare and the treatment of animals for fur production vary from country to country.

Some countries and regions of the world have regulations that protect animals in some ways such as banning fur production altogether, or setting farming and trapping standards.

But, in some countries and regions there are either no regulations and standards, few regulations and standards, or regulations and standards are poorly followed and enforced.

This is where animal welfare issues might occur.

Some sources indicate for example that the US may have more comprehensive regulations than China at the moment.


United States

[Specifically in the US for Mink farming:]

Like other livestock operations, fur farming is governed by local, national and sometimes international regulations.

As with all livestock producers, fur farmers receive information and assistance from licensed veterinarians and agricultural extension officers, as well as professional associations.

In addition, fur breeders’ associations in all major producing countries follow comprehensive animal husbandry practices developed in cooperation with scientists, veterinarians and welfare authorities.

There are set standards for nutrition and housing, veterinary care and humane harvesting.

In addition to these standards, fur farms, like other livestock operations, are required to abide by all state and federal environmental statutes.

– provides a good summary of some of the laws and regulations in the US, and international fur trade issues. also indicates: ‘There are very few U.S. federal statutes concerning fur animals (although … the U.S. has a Fur Products Labeling Act, which mandates that garments containing fur be properly labeled, and it has a Dog and Cat Fur Protection Act, which prohibits dog and cat fur trade in the U.S)’




China has virtually no regulations to protect fur animals – China is where a lot of animal rights and welfare groups have placed their attention – specifically the killing of and cruelty towards farmed animals 

[In the future] China’s increasing market share and its lack of regulatory oversight (resulting in alleged cruel slaughter methods and the use of dog and cat fur), have the potential to change the fur industry landscape


Mislabelling Of Fur and Faux Fur

Both fur and faux fur has had reported cases of being mislabelled in the past.

When fur is mislabelled, the consumer doesn’t know where the fur came from, how it was made, and others factors to do with the fur production.

For example, real fur can be passed off as faux fur (and vice versa), or one type of fur can be used (such as dog or cat fur) whilst being labelled as another type of fur.

Having said this, some countries have introduced regulations making it much more difficult for fur to be mislabelled.


Pelts [can be] deliberately mislabeled in China and sold overseas to the US as something else i.e. real fur shipped to the US and labelled as faux fur or something else

Real domestic animal furs have even been found in products that were sold as fake fur in the UK.



Carbon Footprint Of Real Fur

Some sources indicate that mink fur can have up to 7 times higher a carbon footprint compared to faux fur, when comparing fur and faux fur coats 

Fur may also have a higher carbon footprint than alternative materials like wool (up to 5 times higher)

When animals are farmed, their feed (the amount they eat, and the type of feed they eat) and also manure contribute to the overall carbon footprint.


Real Fur vs Faux Fur


… two reports issued … found that 5 faux fur coats have significantly less impact on climate change then that of one mink fur coat.

[Put another way …] The making of one mink fur coat emits 7 times more CO2 than the making of one faux fur coat.

[ has a chart that shows the impact on climate change in terms of kg of CO2e of different coats that shows this when taking into account the fur or faux fur fibres, lining, backing, coat production, transportation, and incineration. This chart assumes a similar lifespan, but excludes maintenance though]


Real Fur vs Alternative Materials


The carbon footprint of a mink skin is almost equal to the daily footprint of an average Finnish consumer, and the footprint of a fox skin is approximately three days’ worth.

The footprints of fur alternatives are much smaller

The climate change impact of 1 kg fur is at least 5 times higher than the highest scoring textile (wool) – due to the production of animal feed and manure emissions.


The land, feed and water consumption of the animals [on fur farms …] produce carbon emissions.

… the climate change impact of 1kg of mink fur is five times higher than that of wool, the best-scoring textile in a life cycle assessment conducted by the independent research organisation, CE Delft.




… producing one kilogram of mink fur results in around 110kg of carbon dioxide emissions. … [which is about] five times greater than that of wool …

… in the case of mink fur, this may have something to do with the amount of food the animals eat


Energy Footprint Of Real Fur

Fur farms can be energy intensive, and real fur may consume anywhere from 4 to 20 times more energy than faux fur according to different estimates.


Fur Farms & Fur Production

Contrary to what the industry claims, fur farms are seldom small-scale family-run facilities, but increasingly intensive factory farming systems with high energy consumption

Energy is consumed at every stage of fur production



Fur processing – like the production of any textile or other material – consumes energy and must be done responsibly to protect the environment and human health (


Real Fur vs Faux Fur

… it takes at least 4 times more energy to produce a real fur coat than a faux fur coat (


Fur clothing also requires energy and resources to make (almost 15 times more energy than faux fur) (,


A 1979 University of Michigan study found that despite the environmental cost of fake fur, however, a farmed-fur coat requires 20 times more energy (


Water Footprint Of Real Fur

We could not find any clear and comprehensive data on the water usage of real fur production


[Fur requires] requires land, water, feed, energy and other resources (


Feed Footprint Of Animals Farmed For Fur

Animal feed uses up resources and can have an environmental footprint. 

It may also be derived from other animals in the case that farmed animals are carnivores.

Some sources indicate that mink and foxes can be fed by-products and waste/leftovers from other industries, that would have gone to landfill otherwise.

Other sources say that it would be more sustainable to turn leftover food from other industries directly into biofuel, instead of using it for animal feed


How Much Feed Mink Might Eat

It takes about 3 tonnes of feed to produce a single mink coat, and a tonne of feed (2,200 pounds) to produce one fox fur coat (


Types Of Feed Farmed Animals Might Eat


‘Foxes are carnivores and, like mink, can be fed fish- and meat-processing by-products [and] left-overs from [human] food production [which consists of] the parts of chickens, pigs and fish we don’t eat … [which is] effectively recycling food “wastes” … that would otherwise be “wastes” clogging our landfills.

Farmed foxes can now also be fed the same food in the form of commercially produced, dry pelleted feed, which eliminates the need for freezers and the risk of illness caused by improperly refrigerated feed.

[What mink eat in North America differs from region to region, and farm to farm]

Farmed mink eat a number of by-products [that humans can’t or won’t eat, that would otherwise end up in landfill]

… [some might eat] a lot of fish-based products

… [some might eat cheeses like] jalapeño cheese and pepper cheese

… [some also eat] the by-products from the pork and poultry and beef industry.


Potentially More Sustainable Uses For Leftover Food Used As Animal Feed


The fur industry claims its use of food industry waste for animal feed and farm waste for biofuel is highly sustainable.

However, it would be much more sustainable to turn food waste directly into biofuel.


Biodegradability, & Composting Of Real Fur

Some sources indicate that real fur biodegrades quicker than faux fur, and can be composted too.

Faux fur comparatively may not decompose at all, and when it does start breaking apart, it might cause micro-plastic pollution.


[One experiment involving the burial of real fur and faux fur saw the real fur completely biodegrade in one year, while the faux fur remained in tact] (


Natural fur [can biodegrade]

Unlike synthetic fashion materials, fur will not clog landfills or break down to microplastics but rather enter back into nature’s own cycle.

Old fur apparel can even be composted for your garden



Recycling Of Real Fur

You can also recycle real fur, whereas that might be harder with faux fur.


Lifespan Of Real Fur As A Material, Or In A Product

Some argue that quality real fur lasts far longer than faux fur as a product, when cared for properly and maintained. Therefore, it’s sustainability footprint averages out over a greater number of years.

But, some sources indicate that the reason that real fur lasts as long as it does, is because of the chemicals used to process it.


Lifespan Of Real Fur

[Real fur is a] long lasting … resource

… when [a real fur] garment is properly cared for [it] could take several decades [before it deteriorates]



[The longer lifecycle of real fur, specially compared to cheap faux furs that don’t last long, may make it more sustainable over a longer number of years, even if it rates as less sustainable across some production stage sustainability measures] (


Lifespan Of Real Fur, & Chemicals Used

A fur coat is loaded with petrochemicals – this is why it lasts, not because it’s natural (


… toxics such as formaldehyde … chromium … and ammonia [are] applied to [animals pelts] to prevent biodegration (


Chemicals Used In Real Fur Production

Chemicals are mainly used during real fur production at the processing stage, in particular for tanning/dressing, but may also be used for dyeing and other processes too.

There’s two narratives that are communicated about the chemicals used for tanning/dressing, depending on whether the source is pro or anti fur.

Pro fur groups may communicate that the chemicals used are not harsh, and several natural ingredients can be used, because unlike leather tanning, fur tanning/dressing has to preserve the fur/hair. Examples of natural ingredients used might include alum salts, including aluminum sulfate, amongst othre ingredients

But, other sources and anti fur groups indicate that heavier and potentially more harmful chemicals like formaldehyde and chromium might be used, amongst other chemicals which are listed below (such as ammonia, as just one example).


Agricultural Stage

In some instances, some chemicals may be used at the farming stage, if for example animal feed has to be grown.

But, the processing is where the most chemicals are generally used.


Processing Stage – Using More Natural, & Less Heavy Chemicals

From, about fur production in North America::

[During processing, the pelt is soaked in a tanning solution, and unlike leather tanning] fur-tanning solutions must be gentle enough to protect hair follicles while preserving the hide and enhancing the natural beauty of the fur.  This is called “fur dressing”

The main chemicals used to “dress” fur pelts are table salt, water, alum salts, soda ash, sawdust, cornstarch, lanolin and other natural ingredients.

Gentle acids (such as acetic acid, which is vinegar) activate the tanning process …

…. natural oils (vegetable oil, lanolin) are added to the leather side, to soften them.

[During drumming] furs are then placed into large revolving drums, with hardwood sawdust …

[After dressing …] many furs are “plucked” and sheared, dyed, or processed in other ways to further enhance their natural qualities [and this may involve the use of other chemicals]


From, about fur production in North America:

The production and dyeing of any clothing material must be carefully regulated to protect the environment.

The main chemicals are alum salts, including aluminum sulfate. These are quite benign chemicals, as they have to be to protect the fur.

Alums have been used for hundreds of years for water purification, to reduce the pH of garden soil, and for medicinal uses.

Aluminum sulfate is the active ingredient in many antiperspirants and it is used in styptic pencils to stop bleeding when shaving and to relieve pain from insect bites.

… regular table salt (NaCI), lanoline and other natural ingredients [can also be used]


Depending on the type of fur and its purpose, some of the chemicals involved in fur processing may include table salts, alum salts, acids, soda ash, sawdust, cornstarch, lanolin, degreasers and, less commonly, bleaches, dyes and toners (for dyed fur) (


Processing Stage – Using Heavier, & Potentially More Harmful Chemicals

In order to keep the pelts from “biodegrading” (ie rotting) on the wearer’s back, the industry treats fur coats with harsh chemicals such as formaldehyde and hexavalent chromium, which aren’t only highly polluting, but can also be harmful to the wearer’s health (, and


[To prevent decay, animal pelts have to be treated with toxic chemicals and heavy metals]

Fur tanning and dressing contribute to environmental pollution, with toxics such as formaldehyde (linked to leukemia), chromium (linked to cancer) and ammonia applied to the pelt to prevent biodegradation.

Small quantities of formaldehyde can be used to protect fur follicles during dressing or dyeing

[Fur processing plants also use different solvents]



Tanning and dressing also contribute to environmental pollution, with chemicals such as formaldehyde, chromium, ammonia, chlorine, ethylene glycol, sulfuric acid, and zinc applied to the pelt to inhibit decay of the fur … (


[Real fur is treated with chemicals such as formaldehyde and hexavalent chromium] (


… many chemicals [are] used during the processing of real fur, which include formic, hydrochloric and sulphuric acid, ammonia, formaldehyde and lead acetate, all of which are, or can be, toxic (


[After the dressing and tanning process, furs are usually …] dyed, bleached, or tipped (dyeing the guard hair only) using various synthetic compounds called fur bases (


Fur requires complex processing and chemical treatments to manufacture [because …] Animal skin will decompose and rot unless it is treated with toxic chemicals, such as chromium and formaldehyde (


Waste Footprint Of Fur Production

As we mention above, fur farming can be reasonably circular, leading to less waste.

Other parts of the mink for example can be used for by-products, and the mink body and excrement can be used for meat and bone meal, and fertilizer.

Fur processing may produce waste in the form of waste water, in which if chemicals aren’t managed properly, can be highly polluting.

Waste water may be more eco friendly and sustainable if chemicals are captured and treated or re-used, and if water is re-used.

So, there’s waste at both the farming and processing stages to consider.


Intensive fur farms produce tons of manure, producing greenhouse emissions, nutrients flows, loss of biodiverstiy and attracting armies of flies (


Potential Positive Impacts Of Trapping & Fur Farming

The animal welfare side of fur farming and trapping has been detailed.

But, surprisingly, some sources indicate that trapping and fur farming can have positive impacts.

There can be a benefit for local communities from an economic perspective, but there can also be wildlife and ecosystem conservation benefits.


Fur Farming

From and economic and social aspect, indicates that [Fur farming provides employment and income for rural communities]



Trapping provides food and income; protects property, habitat and human health; and supports responsible wildlife management ( goes further into each of these claimed benefits on their ‘Reasons We Trap’ page.


[The] trapping [of] wild animals like fox, beavers and coyotes, which constitutes about 15 percent of the trade, helps manage wildlife populations and provides a continued livelihood for many indigenous communities … [and this] helps to achieve the objectives of wildlife management and conservation and society as a whole (


Practical Benefits Of Real Fur

One of the practical benefits of fur when used in clothing for example is the warmth it provides in colder temperatures and climates.


Although synthetic fur is less effective for keeping warm in extremely-cold climates, it can be a substitute in warmer climates (which would result in less need for products using real fur) (


Impact Of Real Fur On The Environment, Humans & Human Health, & Wildlife

The Environment

Environmental issues resulting from the production and use of fur might include:

– Farming Stage 

Manure and it’s associated nutrient outflow can lead to algal blooms and degradation of water quality in surrounding water sources when not managed properly 

Ammonia can be released from animal farming operations and cause air pollution

Some sources indicate other farm waste is thrown/dumped into nearby water sources in some regions

Once pelts and fats and oils have been stripped from mink carcasses, the incineration of animal carcasses off site can result in air pollution


– Processing Stage (including tanning/dressing and other processes)

Waste water containing heavy and harmful chemicals can discharged into the environment without proper treatment, leading to water pollution, soil pollution, and other forms of pollution

It is possible though that some fur processors may use more natural ingredients and chemicals for fur dressing and tanning, thereby decreasing the eco footprint of this stage


– Fur vs Faux Fur

Some sources indicate that real fur is worse environmentally than faux fur overall

Some sources indicate that real fur rates better than faux fur across certain eco indicators, such as biodegradability, and not contributing to micro plastic pollution for example, but worse in others such as carbon footprint, energy footprint, etc.

Other sources say fast fashion is the main issue, and not whether fur or faux fur is used

The lifespan of a fur or faux fur product matter though – the longer it lasts, the more years the eco footprint averages out across 


– Compared To Other Materials/Fibres

There’s also a report that indicates that fur rates poorly compared to 17 of a selected 18 other textiles across different environmental areas


[Chemicals used in fur processing …] pose a risk to waterways as well as the workers who handle them (


To prevent fur clothing from decomposing, the fur item is treated with chemicals – which is bad for the environment when it is discharged in waste water …  (,


… in Finland, the factory farming of foxes for the fur industry is responsible for 10% of ammonia emissions, a contributor to air pollution with a documented effect on human health (


Fur tanning and dressing contribute to environmental pollution, with toxics such as formaldehyde … chromium … and ammonia applied to the pelt to prevent biodegration.

Fur processors are frequently fined for releasing toxic waste into the environment.

The Environmental Protection Agency in the US has previously fined six fur processing plants for causing high levels of pollution …



Fur farms worldwide are consistently reported to violate environmental regulations.

[Waste runoff from intensive fur factory farms can lead to contamination of water ways and soil]

Manure, extra feed and carcasses get thrown into wetlands while run-off from fur farms seeps into watersheds

Nutrients in manure runoff from fur factory farms leads to [issues such as algae blooms]

[There’s also an impact on water quality in water sources like lakes, with water degradation being a result of runoff]



[Improperly handled] Manure produced by the animals can [be released with] high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus [into the environment] … [and can] damage water and soil

[The incineration of] animal carcasses … [releases a range of gases into the air, contributing to air pollution]

Tanning and dressing also contribute to environmental pollution [with different chemicals] applied to the pelt to inhibit decay of the fur … [and] Fur dressing has been ranked as one of the world’s five worst industries for toxic-metal pollution …



From in relation to real fur’s processing stage:

Unlike the tanning of leather, where the goal is to remove hair completely from the hide, fur-tanning solutions must be gentle enough to protect hair follicles while preserving the hide and enhancing the natural beauty of the fur.

[During fur processing, natural ingredients and chemicals can be used, and] modern environmental protection controls ensure that there are no harmful effluents.

Excess fats are skimmed and pH levels must be neutralized before waste water is released from the tanning vats.


An independent study has proved that a mink coat will always be five times as harmful to the environment as a faux-fur coat (, and


Anti-fur advocates agree that synthetics [faux fur] are a less-than-ideal substitute, but they point to environmental hazards in the fur manufacturing process — the CO2 emissions associated with keeping and feeding tens of thousands of mink on a single farm, manure runoff into nearby lakes and rivers, the formaldehyde, nonylphenol ethoxylates and other toxic chemicals used in fur dressing and dyeing — as evidence that the alternative is even worse.



[The real issue for the environment might not be specifically real fur or faux fur, but rather the issue of fast fashion] (



… fur has a more harmful impact than textiles on 17 of the 18 environmental areas that are used to assess the sustainability of its life cycle [according to one report]

… in the case of mink fur, this may have something to do with the amount of food the animals eat


Humans & Human Health

The production and processing of fur may expos workers to certain chemicals and substances that carry potential health and disease risks, and, in some instances, testing has found chemicals on consumer clothing that may lead to health risks for consumers.


[Some of the potential human health and safety risks associated with fur processing might include:]

Animal skin will decompose and rot unless it is treated with toxic chemicals, such as chromium and formaldehyde [and] These pose a risk to … the workers who handle them.



Workers exposed to fur dust created during fur processing have been shown to have reduced pulmonary function in direct proportion to their length of exposure (


Fur tanning and dressing [involves] toxics such as formaldehyde (linked to leukemia), chromium (linked to cancer) and ammonia applied to the pelt to prevent biodegration.

[Fur processing plants can use solvents that] … may cause respiratory problems and are listed as possible carcinogens



The chemicals used to process fur pose an overall threat to the health of consumers who wear the products and for the workers in fur processing plants.

Toxics in fur are absorbed through air or skin and can remain in the body for over twenty years, causing chronic health effects

[Independent laboratories have] found harmful levels of toxics in fur trims on children’s fashion wear … such as formaldehyde and ethoxylates, which can cause allergies, cancer and hormonal imbalance

… tests [have also shown] toxic levels of hexavalent chromium and formaldehyde in fur collars on Blumarine Baby jackets

Currently there is no responsible authoritative body in place that monitors the values of hazardous chemicals in fur products and ensures compliance with regulatory benchmarks and maximum levels of industry standards

Formaldehyde is on every major list of toxic substances [and some list] formaldehyde as carcinogenic to humans



Formaldehyde and chromium are [on a range of toxics lists, and may cause cancer]. [… These chemicals may also post a threat to the health of workers and consumers] (


To prevent fur clothing from decomposing, the fur item is treated with [certain] chemicals – which … can also be exposed to humans (harming health) (,


… Real fur is also treated with a whole host of chemicals, many of which are toxic and associated with health risks … “There’s formaldehyde, which is linked to leukaemia, and hexavalent chromium, which is also linked to cancer.” (


… in Finland, the factory farming of foxes for the fur industry is responsible for 10% of ammonia emissions, a contributor to air pollution with a documented effect on human health (


Social Impact

Fur farms and processing facilities can have both positive and negative effects for local communities where they are situated.

There’s economic and livelihood benefits, but below are some of the potential downsides as well.


[Factory fur farms can lead to] smell, flies, noise and water pollution, disrupting rural life and lowering property values and tourism revenues [for those who live near these farms in local communities] (



Fur production may in some instances impact biodiversity. indicates that:

[The fur trade has impacted upon biodiversity and contributed to species extinction, like for example of the sea mink]

[Trapping, and escaped animals from fur farms that turn into pest or feral species, can both impact biodiversity too]


Economic Impact Of Real Fur

What can be summarized from the information below is that real fur has a bigger industry than faux fur, and the therefore, contributes on a bigger scale to economies, income and employment worldwide.

Real fur production can be important to some small, remote and local communities.

The real fur industry/trade has been impacted in countries where production, exportation and importation has been restricted or banned.

Europe is currently the largest producer of fur.


Value Of The Global Fur Industry indicates that ‘… the global fur trade has now been valued at more than $40 Billion worldwide – roughly the same as the global Wi-Fi industry’


Although, it’s hard to get a split in each country, and also worldwide of what % of the fur industry is made up of real fur value and faux fur value.


Most Valuable Type Of Fur

Different furs have a different value in terms of the value they can fetch from furriers, and in a finished product (due to things like fur traits, quality, etc.)


Farmed mink is the single most important fur type produced in North America today, in terms of the number of pelts produced and the value of the fur

[In the US in 2020, the farm-gate value of of mink production was] US$80 million



North American red foxes, particularly those of northern Alaska, are the most valued for their fur (


Demand For Real Fur Is Much Higher Than Faux Fur

One of the perceived problems with faux fur is that demand is lagging far behind real fur.

So, either consumer awareness about faux fur is questionable, or, consumers are bypassing the ethics involved with fur production for various reasons.

In 2018, the global industry [of real fur] is still valued at more than $40 billion (a number that dwarfs the market for faux fur)



Products using real fur will continue to be desirable, causing fur farming to continue (


Employment & Income For Rural Communities

[Fur farming provides employment and income for rural communities] at a time when many forms of agriculture are becoming increasingly difficult for small, family-run operations.

Fur farming also has the advantage of not needing a large land base, fertile soil, or clement weather.



Countries That Produce The Most Real Fur

– All Fur

64 percent of fur farms are in Northern Europe, 11 percent are in North America, and the rest are dispersed throughout the world … [so,] Most of the world’s farmed fur is produced by European farmers.

There are 5,000 fur farms in the EU, all located across 22 countries; these areas of production collectively account for 50% of the global production of farmed fur.

The EU accounts for 63% of global mink production and 70% of fox production



While fur farms used to be prevalent in the U.S., now China holds an increasingly large part of the market (


The majority of exporting fur farms are located in Europe and North America … (


– Wild Fur


The world’s largest producers of wild furs are Canada and the US …

Finland is the world’s leading fox producer, accounting for as much as half the total world production …


… wild fur is produced in North America and Russia (


Countries Where Fur Farming Is Banned

Fur farming is banned in Austria, Croatia, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands (effective March 2021) and Norway (effective February 2025) (


Fur factory farming has already been banned in 10 countries and has been frequently exposed by various NGOs investigations in the last 3 decades (


A few countries have strictly regulated or completely banned fur farms (Austria, the United Kingdom, and Croatia have bans, the Netherlands has a ban on fox and chinchilla farming, and New Zealand, Sweden, and Switzerland have strict regulations)

Over 60 countries have banned certain types of animal traps, and some countries have fur labelling laws.

Israel has a bill pending which would outlaw the importation, exportation, and sale of fur within its country lines.



Impact Of Recent Pandemic On The Fur Trade In Some Countries

Kopenhagen Fur (accounting for 40% of mink production worldwide) announced … it would gradually cease operations in 2–3 years [from November 2020] because the circumstances [caused by the recent pandemic] had critically undermined the future of the global fur trade (


Although, indicates that the fur industry has bounced back in some countries after the initial fallout from the recent pandemic


Potential Cost Of Escaped Species From Farms That Have Become Invasive Or Pest Populations indicates that some species were originally introduced to Europe for the purpose of fur farming, and they’ve now established themselves in the wild by escaping from farms, and have become invasive, or have become a pest species that have impacted biodiversity and other aspects of the ecosystem.

One estimate indicates that ‘The cost of invasive alien species in the EU has been estimated at least as 12 billion Euros a year and damage costs are increasing’


Examples Of More Sustainable Fur Production

Some examples of more sustainable fur production might include:

– When animals are used, rabbit and alpaca fur, as well as wild caught coyotes may be some of the most sustainable options

– Engaging in more sustainable farming practices, such as using more sustainable animal feed, properly managing farm waste, recycling or re-using farming waste, and more

– Closed loop processing where chemicals are captured and re-used, waste water is properly treated and managed, and water is re-used

– Use of less harmful chemicals and dyes during processing

– Restoring fur garments that people already own, to get more use out of them

– Buying second hand fur garments and products


Some farms do make an effort to engage in environmentally responsible and sustainable/organic farming practices, and some production facilities use closed loop processing where they capture and re-use harmful chemicals, treat waste water, or try to use naturally derived chemicals and dyes where possible (


Danish mink are completely zero waste, the fat is used for fuel on Danish busses, the bones are used as feed to other animals and a large amount are used as fertiliser for organic Danish vegetable production (


Many furriers offer a service to remodel, clean and store garments. Real fur is a durable material … [so consumers may look to restore garments they already own] (


… properly-managed manure [on fur farms] may be treated to reduce its nitrogen and phosphorus content.

When manure is treated (possibly by drying), it may be used as farm fertilizer or digested in a biogas plant.



[ makes the broad point that determining which animal fur is more eco friendly and sustainable might require breaking it down to the animal used for the fur, and whether it’s wild or farmed.]

Rabbit and alpaca fur might be more eco friendly than polyester, whilst Mink may not be.

Additionally, wild caught coyote may be eco friendly compared to faux fur.



Buying second hand fur products, like pre-used fur coats, may also be more sustainable.


Examples Of More Ethical Fur Production

Some examples of more ethical fur production may include:

– Making fur garments from road kill

– Making fur garments from pest, problem, or overpopulated species. This in turn may help with nature conservation

– Using fur by-products from other industries, that would otherwise go to waste


… attempts at ‘ethical’ fur include fur garments made from roadkill, and from exotic pest control programs such as possum culling in New Zealand (


… the fur-fashion industry reinforces sustainable fur production by hunting over-abundant species, or using the fur and leather by-products from the meat industry

Peace Fur, makes fur garments and accessories using the pelts of America’s roadkill.

… Righteous Fur … uses fur from already dead Nutria — a small rodent — to better use the dead animals rather than just letting them be thrown into the swamps



[There’s also the point made by that Nutria are degrading Louisiana’s wetlands, invasive Minks are hunting voles in Scotland, and Rabbits are leading to the extinction of other species in Australia – so, providing fur from these species may be beneficial for other species and the environment] 



Real Fur Substitutes & Alternatives

Th substitute and alternative materials and fibres to real fur depend on the end use for which they are being used.

But, some general alternative materials might include faux fur, cotton, hemp, and other fibres and materials.


Real Fur vs Faux Fur Comparison

In this guide, we provide a basic comparison of real fur and faux fur.


Comparing The Leather & Fur Industries

Some sources indicate that the leather and fur industries are as bad as each other from an animal welfare and environmental perspective, and perhaps leather might be worse in some ways due to it’s scale. compares leather to fur:

PETA argues that leather production is just as violent, painful, and deadly as the fur trade.

The environmental impact of leather is arguably worse too. … [some have pointed out] the toxic leather tanning industry in Bangladesh that puts workers and children in danger.

The sheer scale of the leather industry compared with fur is a environmental and health disaster for the communities that produce the material.

… [some say] an ethical consumer motivated by the interests of animals would not consider purchasing any new product made from fur [regardless of how it compared to leather].

Some argue fur is more sustainable because it can last a long time might indicate that:

Fur tanning (‘dressing’) and coloring [might be more environmentally friendly than leather tanning because fur tanning and dressing is] designed to preserve fur hairs and follicles, rather than remove them from the hide, as in leather tanning.

[Natural substances and chemicals can be used instead of heavy synthetic ones]

[And, some more eco friendly practices can be used]


You can read more about the sustainability and impact of real leather in this guide.
















14. Animal Legal & Historical Center (Author, Lesley A. Peterson):




























*Note that is a resource that brings together leading fur authorities in Canada and the USA, so, it mainly refers to the fur industries in those countries. It’s also worth noting that on their FAQ page, and other pages, rebuts many of the claims that anti fur groups make about the negative impact and consequences of the fur trade


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