5 Reasons Why I Support the Canadian Seal Hunt

seal skin, fur, seal hunt, canadian fashion

Two weeks ago I went to NAFFEM, a large fur tradeshow in Montreal. I was invited as a blogger, to check out the beautiful pieces and choose some of my favourites items for sale at the show. I am a huge supporter of the Canadian fur industry (read about my reasons here) but I’ve been less vocal about the seal hunt, primarily because I didn’t have enough information to make an informed opinion about it. Well, now I do, and I would like to share it with you because I think it is important.

seal skin, fur, seal hunt, canadian fashion

Seal skin dyes really well, I love this pink pelt.

1. Seals are a sustainable resource and are in abundance. We live in a world where resources have become an issue, and many of us are choosing to consume products that come from renewable resources. Seal is a great example of this – there are tons of them in Canada and they are not at all at threat of becoming endangered. Speaking of sustainability, seals are part of the reason why fish stocks are very low (although overfishing is also a big issue) and the seal hunt not only provides jobs and resources for the hunters, but also allows the fish populations to regenerate (a bit.) All major conservation groups will agree that a responsible use of resources (like hunting seals for food and clothing) is a good thing, and is often the central principle of modern conservation.

2. Seals are local. The green topic is a big one right now, and part of the green movement focuses on buying local. Canada has a lot of great resources, but when it comes to fashion, few are 100% Canadian. Nearly all of our fashion products are in some way sourced from overseas (where it be raw materials or construction) but seal skin and wild fur are 100% free range, local products.

seal skin, fur, seal hunt, canadian fashion

The seal skin mittens I bought for my son.

3. The seal hunt supports Canadian communities. There are two major seal hunts in Canada, one in the Arctic sea (seals hunted by Inuit people) and one on the East Coast (a commercial seal hunt.) Both provide jobs and resources for those people. The meat is eaten, the fat is used for a variety of products, and the skin is sold so that these people can support themselves. Food, as you may know, is extremely expensive in the Arctic, and there are limited jobs in that area, or in the Maritimes. The seal hunt is a very important Canadian industry for the people who depend on it.

4. The seal hunt is not inhumane. The animal rights activists will have you believe that the seal hunt is inhumane, but this is not the case. First of all, most seals are killed with rifles (not clubbed to death.) Secondly, there have been numerous studies done on the seal hunt, and biologists and veterinarians have all agreed that the seal hunt is no less humane than any other hunt.

seal skin, fur, seal hunt, canadian fashion

Seal skin slippers for babies and toddlers.

5. The media paints an unfair picture. My question, after having learnt all the above, was why does the seal hunt have such a bad reputation? There are two answers to this. First of all, seals are cute, and people are more likely to be protective of cute animals. If we were all truly concerned about cruelty and sustainability, why aren’t we doing more to save fish? Many species of fish are far more at risk than seals, yet their not-so-cute appearance doesn’t exactly inspire people to campaign for them. (Notice how we care more that our tuna is “dolphin safe” but so much if that particular tuna is endangered.) Secondly, the seal hunt is a much more visible than other hunts, and the access to it allows for more imagery. The seal hunt happens in certain places at very specific times, and so it is very easy for activists to turn up and take photos of blood on the ice. Those same activists aren’t invited into abattoirs, and therefore we don’t have the same images in our head of cows or sheep. The fact that seals are cute, and that we have access to photos of them being killed, means the seal hunt has been very unfairly portrayed by the media and activist groups.

Many of us are so far removed from nature, farming, and hunting, and it is so easy to forget that our food comes from the land. While I will admit I don’t like seeing photos of any dead animals, I do appreciate the process and am under no illusions about the realities of eating meat and wearing animal products. For those of us who do choose to consume animals, the best we can do is consume sustainable resources that are treated humanely – and the seal hunt is just that.

Here’s a video of me at the fur trade show. Just to remind all my readers… I am totally open to comments from people who disagree with me – but please don’t be rude!

  • Lara

    Thank you for educating me on this

  • http://www.facebook.com/jasperkhlam Jasper Lam

    this really is great information to know!

  • Guest

    I love my seal fur winter jacket. It’s amazing, unique and it keeps me warm. I’m amazed how people react when they learn it’s seal: the usual response is “who knew seal was THAT awesome!” I love it so much that I know I won’t be buying another winter coat for a while. This is a great informative article, thank you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002202350084 Facebook User

    Great blog! People need to be better informed about the seal industry and you are doing just that with your comments. Congratulations for supporting a viable, renewable, humane, free range, local and necessary industry : )

  • Mustachioz

    Thank you for presenting the issue fairly. I’m a Newfoundlander, and while I’m not personally involved in the seal hunt, I have many family and friends who do participate in the hunt and support their families that way.

    It’s endlessly irritating to continually see bleeding-heart types clueless on the issue trash and malign all of us over the hunt.

    Another myth that hasn’t been true for decades is that the hunters cruelly slaughter baby seals – that simply is not the case. The image of the doe-eyed whitecoat about to be mercilessly clubbed to death is just cleverly misleading propaganda that makes ‘animal rights’ groups like Peta and Sea Sheppard millions.

    Seal hunters are not needlessly cruel barbarians, roving the ice flows looking to cause pain and suffering to seals. They’re, by and large, family men from rural areas in a tough situation with few prospects of employment since the collapse of the fishing industry, beyond up and moving to the oilsands in Alberta.

  • yaas

    This post is in regard to this one and the fur one (I agree with you on both topics)

    while I believe causing pain to any creature is absolutely wrong (I mean people who torture any creature for the sake of torture and because it gives them pleasure), I have no problem with animal related industries with regulated systems. I am always amazed that some people are very obsessed with not eating animal, not using leather and fur and … and think they are being so harmless and thoughtful …

    Cooked meat has had a strong contribution to the evolution of human brain, so I am always worried about children who are denied meat and forced to eat iron or other sup. pills instead (I think it is sort of a child abuse just like when they are prone to obesity by careless parents). I eat a lot of healthy vegetables (I love them and they are very beneficial) with a normal doze of animal protein. I am curious what they think those pills have been tested on? How should we balance the life chain and the number of over populated ones? Lets say killing animal is bad, do they want to eliminate lions and wild cats, those vicious animals or it just causes pain when done by human? I am sorry, but that’s the brutal truth of survival, specially when we are 8 billion and don’t think about slowing down. With this number just eating veg. and fruits we probably need one planet to farm and 2 other ones for polys and chemical waste (clothes, shoes and …) ruined. And probably lots of cancer and different side effects … Not everybody has Pam. Anderson’s money to afford expensive products, 2-3 houses in the US and Canada (how many lives/nature should be sacrificed for that and lets not mention Energy consumption, personally I don’t have a problem but I am not the one pumping PETA)

    I hope someday we can grow body parts of animals or their skins in the lab, but till then lets be real and respect all aspect of this life as we know it …

  • http://twitter.com/inukartprof Heather Igloliorte

    Nakurmiik (Thanks in Inuktitut) for a great article contributing to telling the truth about the seal industry. Seal fur (and meat) is sustainable, local, ‘green’ and as cruelty-free as any animal product could be. Seals are not raised in captivity, they are not pumped full of hormones, and their fur products are ideally suited for the Canadian (and other) Northern climates – lightweight, super warm and water proof.

  • Helena

    Excellent post! Will be sharing it!

  • yaas

    Sorry, it may sound irrelevant, but where can one purchase Canadian seal skin/pelt or products (as shown in pictures)? preferably online but Canadian stores are also fine.

  • Alice_In_Furs
  • http://www.facebook.com/matty.conor Matty Conor

    your as sick as those who kill these beautiful animals!! saying its alright the brutal killing of an innocent animal…the way that their beaten to death…how would you like to feel that pain!! your nothing but a selfish being who needs to go get some compassion & brains!!!!!!!!

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Did you even bother to read my article? They aren’t beaten to death. I think you are the one who needs brains… LOL

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    People don’t wear seal skin for fashion’s sake. They wear it to keep warm. It’s not about being stylish, it is about 1-needing a winter jacket (this IS Canada), 2-wanting to buy a material that is organic & biodegradable, and 3-wanting to buy local. What’s your jacket made of? Petroleum? Sheep who have lived miserable lives in cages?

  • Andrew

    This is a very well written and easy to read article. I wholeheartedly agree with all of the points you’ve made above. The problem is that people have already made up their minds about this issue. Anyone who is anti-seal hunt who reads this or other similar fact-based articles aren’t going to change their opinions of the hunt. They simply don’t want to hear it. And that’s the problem; most anti-seal hunt people are brainwashed by the celebrity activist types (Paul McCartney, Bridget Bardot, etc) and literally just don’t care about facts. You can tell them that seals aren’t at all endangered and are even overpopulated in some areas. You can tell them that 9/10 times seals are shot with a rifle. You can tell them that it’s been illegal to kill “baby” seals since the 1970s. You can tell them Canada has probably the most regulated, humane and ethical hunt in the world. You can show them DFO data, or data from veterinarians, non-partisan research groups and agencies that indicate the sustainability and economic benefits of the hunt. But they just ignore it. In my opinion, there’s is nothing that can be done about this. They’ve already made up their minds and they just don’t care. The ironic thing is that most of the anti-hunt people probably lean lefti-ish in their political views, and probably feel the same sense of frustration towards the tea party/birther/ann coulter types as I do towards them on this issue. Pardon my language, but it is FUCKING FRUSTRATING to hear these people in the media and not be able to do anything about it.

  • Andrew (again)

    And don’t get me started on the hypocritical Europeans, many of whom have banned seal products. The Spanish still practice bull fighting, but ban seal products from their country on the grounds that they are unethical? Half the reason why many Newfoundlanders have to rely on the seal hunt for income is because the cod stocks have been depleted and they have no other means of work. Guess what bull-fighting country fished Newfoundland fish stocks dry and contributed to the reliance on seal income?

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Hi Andrew,
    I have to disagree with you about changing people’s minds. The ones like Matty, who commented here, are probably not going to change their mind. But there are TONS of rational, intelligent people who are on the fence about issues like this, or are willing to change their minds and perceptions if someone shows them the facts. I lecture about the fur industry at local fashion schools, and I know for a fact that I’ve changed people’s perception about the industry in MANY occasions. We need to spread the message in a clear, consistent way.
    And we also need to throw seal blood at that moron Paul McCartney next time we see him! Just kidding…

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Yeah, it is gross. The Europeans have really let us down here. They are allowed to kill seals if they are at risk of having their fishing gear damaged, but they can’t actually do anything with the body. That’s disgusting.

  • John Peddle

    There’s such a thing as a food chain and humans are at the top of it, sorry to the environmentalists. It’s been proven a sustainable food and fur source, is part of Native Canadian traditional life and is a valuable resource. It is an important part of Native Canadian diet. It is a humane, the pictures that the anti-sealing groups use are not true depictions of what a seal hunt, they just use them in order to avoid getting real jobs and pretending that they are working to protect the world or they are fallen stars that need something to keep their names in the media.

  • Rachel Glover

    Seals ARE beaten to death…some adults are shot but baby seals are clubbed. Where are you getting your facts from. Oh yeah, the Seal Industry. Why don’t you go and actually watch a seal hunt and see how you feel then. I think it is sickening that you are writing in support of this.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Have you actually watched a REAL seal hunt? Or just watched PETA videos? Because you clearly don’t know your facts.

  • Andrew

    Great point. I admire your optimism, but my experience with this issue has made me a little more pessimistic. Ironically, one effect that this whole controversy has had on me is that it has caused me to seriously doubt the legitimacy of all animal rights activist groups. Years ago when I heard about the Japanese whalers, I automatically thought they were wrong to hunt them and I thought the Japanese fisherman were horrible. But now, experiencing the amount of disinformation that has been thrown aroung regarding the seal hunt, I am not so quick to dismiss. As a Newfoundlander I think “Well if the animal rights people are SOOOOO wrong about the seal hunt, maybe there’s a lot more to the Japanese whale hunt story”. And now I’m not so quick to dismiss the Japanese without more information. Interesting stuff! Keep up the good work Alex.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matty.conor Matty Conor

    have you ever seen the pics or the videos…I have, and they do beat these animals to death…and ppl do wear them for fashion sake!! No one needs to eat seals, or wear them for their fur…there are plenty of man made materials that will keep you warm!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/matty.conor Matty Conor

    You ppl are not intelligent, but selfish non-compassionate fools. to justify killing innocent animals for their skin is evil!!!!!!!! you ppl don’t care about the environment, the animals, or anything else but yourselves!!!!!!

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Matty, do you ANY IDEA what man made materials are made from? I don’t think you do. Man made materials are MUCH worse for animals and the environment, then sustainable hunting. I’d suggest you do some research (and that doesn’t mean PETA videos or seal hunting videos from the 60’s) and then come back to me about how great man made materials are.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matty.conor Matty Conor

    yah tell that to J Lo & Beyonce and all the others like them…they do wear fur as fashion!! your trying to justify killing an animal for its fur. we do not live in the ice-age anymore, there is absolutely no need to wear real fur!!! and my jacket is not made from sheep or any other animal!!!!!!! It all boils down to money (greed) not to stay warm or for food, there are plenty of other things to eat & wear!!! Fur is just animal cruelty, and your promoting it…SHAME ON YOU!!!!…..you could careless about God’s beautiful animals!!!

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    If your winter jacket isn’t made from sheep or any other animal – then its made from petroleum. Any idea what that has done to the environment and animals?

  • http://www.facebook.com/carly.niceferguson Carly Nice

    They’re not beaten to death? When did this sudden “humane practice” commence?

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    As far as I understand, the 80’s. But I will look into this and confirm – check bag next week.

  • http://www.facebook.com/carly.niceferguson Carly Nice

    From the mouth of a Canadian Sealer

    “Prior to March most females were killed with the pup inside
    them. I seen seven pups threw over the side after the female was pelted.
    I took two out myself. Me and another sealer even agreed that this was
    shocking and there should be another way to hunt seals. We were in the
    whelping on March 10/98 because I observed that eight of tens pans of
    ice had young pups with the after birth and other debris from the birth
    on the ice. There was once I can remember the young seal watching his
    parents being hoist aboard. He watched the boat as we steamed away. The
    pups were not killed but left by themselves on the ice.”
    – Sealer’s statement, taken by Fergus Foley, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

  • http://www.facebook.com/carly.niceferguson Carly Nice

    They’re not beaten to death? Please enlighten me on when this sudden “humane method” of killing commenced.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matty.conor Matty Conor

    do you realize Animal
    skin is turned into finished leather through the use of dangerous
    mineral salts, formaldehyde, coal-tar derivatives, cyanide-based oils
    and dyes, chrome, and other toxins.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Yes, I am fully aware of that. But guess what? Fur isn’t leather. Leather requires very harsh chemicals to be tanned, because you are essentially burning the hairs off the skin. Fur is completely different. You need to use very mild ingredients to dress fur, and one of the most common ingredients used is epsom salts – which are completely safe. There are very few harsh chemicals used in dressing fur because the hairs are delicate and need to be kept in good condition, in fact, it uses way less harsh ingredients than what is used in leather, cotton, or other fabrics. While dyeing and bleaching fur uses similar chemicals to any other dyed/bleached material, fur is frequently used in its natural state – as the natural colours of fur are considered beautiful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matty.conor Matty Conor

    Fur coats, like other animal skins, are loaded with chemicals to keep
    them from decomposing in the buyer’s closet. The laundry list of
    chemicals used during the dressing process includes sulfuric acid,
    ammonium chloride, formaldehyde, lead acetate, sodium perborate and
    more. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, one of the
    chemicals used in dyeing furs, hexavalent chromium, is a hazardous
    waste.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matty.conor Matty Conor

    Stop trying to to say wearing fur is green, cause its not!!!!!!!!

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Carly I can’t make this link work. Can you send another one?

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    How do you define green then, Matty? Because last time I checked, sustainable, biodegradable, local, and long lasting were “green” fashion qualities, and fur is all of those things.

  • Micky

    When people talk about “humane death” I really really wish I wasn’t considered a human.

  • Harp Seal

    So FAUX FUR is good for the environment.
    It’s made from petroleum and not biodegradable.

  • Harp Seal

    Hexavalent chromium is also used in faux fur. Bitch about that.

  • Harp Seal

    Coyotes being shot and poison in Ontario to protect livestock.
    I bet there fur is better for the environment because Matty is not complaining about it.

  • Harp Seal

    It’s a seal getting shot.
    Because seals are cute and HSI/HSUS makes millions of dollars in donation. Harp Seals are nothing but a CASH COW in the animal rights world.

  • Harp Seal

    Your beef must been kill humane then. If you’re a vegan. Corn fields kill BEES.

  • Harp Seal

    Untrue Matt. I put my time and research in seals. Endangered ones like the MONK SEAL.
    You can google it if you like. IFAW or HSUS doesn’t do nothing to protect them. No profit to be made.

  • Harp Seal

    HSUS made over $100 million in donation against the seal hunt and not one penny goes towards animal shelters. PETA kill cats and dogs and IFAW was found guilty of inhumane skinning a seal alive in Germany and all because of greed.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    I like you Harp Seal. Thanks for all the great, informed comments.

  • Damian

    While I do appreciate your comment, and respect your personal opinion. I 100% disagree with what your saying. PETA and Sea Shepherd don’t make millions of dollars off the seal hunt. Sea Shepherd is one of the poorest conservation organizations in the world. Yet they are the most effective because they are a direct action organization. Just because this person believes this hunt to be humane, doesn’t me we all do. I 100% disagree with this hunt. I will never support it, and I will advocate against it. Also what your saying is that sealers never clubbed baby harp seals?? Are you kidding me.. Video footage from years past clearly indicate that while some harp seals were shot with rifles, they were more so clubbed to death with a club, and a hakapik. Don’t try to fool people by insulting our intelligence. I also understand that some of the hunters are doing this as a way to support their families. And while I can’t judge them for doing so. I will say in my opinion however, that making a living off of an innocent sentient being who has every right to live wild and free as we do, isn’t justifiable.

  • Elizabeth

    A few comments, and genuine ones that I would appreciate answers to!

    Firstly, I am confused at the argument that wearing seal fur is better than man made fur because it is natural/biodegradable/not treated with chemicals. Seal skin is tanned in a similar process as leather. Seal fur (and all seal fur products – coats, mittens, etc) is still attached to the skin, so even though the fur would not breakdown, the skin (hide) has to be tanned. For the most part tanning consists of soaking in brine (natural), dehydrating, dehydrating, and stretching. But the actual part of tanning that modern factories use so that the pelts don’t break down within a few years do include chemicals. EZ-100 and similar substances are generally what they work with. Traditional native tanning was all natural and do last, however (unfortunately) modern tanning factories are producing pelts for mass consumerism, and do use very similar chemicals to leather production. In fact, the two main seal pelt factories often use the same chemicals that are used in leather production. Saftee Acid is used for pickling, Phenolic Syntan is a chemical used for preservaton.

    I’m in no way saying this out of dislike for synthetic fabrics, or trying to call you out on wearing them or anything. I simply noticed in the comments that you responded to some comments saying that seal fur is biodegradable. One poster (who I disliked because of his aggression, but we’ll leave that alone) stated that “fur coats, like other animal skins, are loaded with chemicals to keep
    them from decomposing in the buyer’s closet. The laundry list of
    chemicals used during the dressing process includes sulfuric acid,
    ammonium chloride, formaldehyde, lead acetate, sodium perborate and
    more. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, one of the
    chemicals used in dyeing furs, hexavalent chromium, is a hazardous
    waste.” This is actually true, and while its possible to tan all skins and furs without chemicals — thus leading to the ability for people to say seal fur can be biodegradable, because it IS possible to make biodegradable furs — the ones produced and sold in capitalist markets (i.e. not individually tanned piece by piece at home) do contain these chemicals and are not biodegradable, and no more environmentally friendly than other, entirely synthetic products. Well, I won’t say no better, because they may have a very slight degree lower chemical rates because the material itself is natural. It is, however, bathed in chemicals.

    This leads me to my second question (and please remember these are legitimate questions not rhetorical ‘activist-throwing-asshole-remarks-in-your-face’ questions): if tanned seal skin is just as chemically affected as leather (it is, or extremely close to it) and you stated your dislike of leather because of the chemical aspects in the comments, then why do you prefer seal skin to leather or other chemically synthetic fabric? I mean, with the information that chemicals are used to treat essentially all fabrics in a modern market (as consumers demand clothes that hold up) I think it’s fair to take the ‘which fabric is more green’ question entirely off the table, for the purpose of the seal v. leather or any skins v. synthetic fabric argument. (It is, I think, a valid conversation to have, but I doubt it pertains here in any measurable way to the seal debate — after all, we’ve just explored in the previous three paragraphs the amounts of chemical treatments seal pelts are exposed to, unless you are self-tanning).

    As someone who has wore leather and synthetic fabric, but never seal fur or any fur, I can speak from a (limited) experience that I do find leather shoes more malleable to my foot shape, leather bags/coats that look nicer for often longer than synthetic fabric. I’ve never worn fur, but imagine it’s significantly warmer. I won’t say that the perks of skin versus synthetic are undeniable, but I think there’s a general consensus that they can be more quality, in certain goods (shoes, coats).

    Where my problem lies is that people are extremely advanced. We can make synthetic goods that are 99% as effective and study as animal products. I live in a city where snow from October to May is normal, and a negative-degree day is not unusual. Synthetic coats and boots absolutely function to protect people. Are animal products warmer? Sometimes, I suppose, depending on the thickness and length of each garment: the synthetic and the animal. But to claim that even the most northern parts of Canada actually need animal products to stay warm out of survival is not accurate. It may be a more comfortable option, but largely the people who are buying fur are not doing out of actual necessity. It is far more expensive to buy fur, and synthetic coats are absolutely capable of keeping people warm and dry. So I just don’t feel that I could have a clean conscious knowing that synthetic products are completely capable of keeping me safe, warm, and dry.

    I’m putting the cruelty issue aside entirely here (I don’t wear any skins, but not necessarily because of animal cruelty reasons). We should be celebrating the fact that humans have gotten to the advanced stage that we have come up with a way to live without hurting animals. I mean, yes, native cultures relied on animal skins because they had to. But how great is it that we are past that point? We can live without hurting anything (I’m not talking about dietary choices here, but fur).

    I just think that ethics of animal furs have changed. Was is ethical for people to wear animal skins in the days before modern clothing was able to keep up with the protective aspects of it? Absolutely. If it is a matter of humanely killing an animal for your benefit, to live, then I feel it’s ethical. But now, animal fur may be warmer or slightly more durable. But it is NOT necessary to wear it to survive. So, fur to me is made for having the option of people to buy slightly warmer and slightly longer lasting products. But the price is killing a seal for their fur. Okay, so you weigh the options. Dead seal? But warm and comfy clothes!

    Personally, I can’t reconcile wearing fur. It’s not necessary. It’s just nicer. But to make the choice to purchase from an industry that kills (seals or any living being) for the option of having slightly warmer clothing? slightly longer lasting? That doesn’t fit in my ethics code.

    If I can live fully safe and protected from the elements without killing a living creature, I will absolutely do it.

    My question for you is — what can you say to back up your claims. I do genuinely want to know. My sister has fur coats and loves them, I’m no activist (and in fact, tend to despise people who shove their beliefs in others faces). Is there a substantial reason you feel that you can tell me about the benefits to wearing fur? I’m definitely one of those ‘on the fence’ types, I guess. I mean, I’m a vegetarian who fully believes meat is delicious and a non-animal product wearer who fully believes that leather shoes are wayyyy better than non-leather shoes (this shoe problem is the bane of my existence!).

    I just can’t seem to force myself into wearing (or eating) animals, when I know that for the last 10 years I’ve lived animal-free with not a single complication.

    Cheers! This article was really great, especially dealing with the economics of Canadian fur trade, and the amount of people benefiting from it :)

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Hi Elizabeth, thanks for your long and interesting comment. I’d love to spend an hour responding in full detail but I’m (as usual) pressed for time so here are a few points.

    1. I don’t recall ever saying I don’t like leather – but if that was implied, then that’s a mistake. I love leather!

    2. Leather tanning is different to fur dressing, with tanning, you need to burn the hairs off the leather, but with fur, it is about preserving the delicate hairs. Yes, there are some chemicals used, but the main ingredient used in fur dressing (at commercial levels) is alum salts. This is far less harmful then the harsh chemicals used in leather tanning. Bleaching and dyeing do use chemicals that are not necessarily environmentally friendly, but they are not very different to the ones we use in almost all garment materials. And I think it is very important to note that a LOT of fur is used in its natural state, whereas other fashion materials are very rarely used in their natural state. How often to people wear unbleached, undyed cotton? Or wool? Hardly ever. But many, many furs are used in their natural state, which eliminates the need for those chemicals.

    3. I resent it when people who imply that fur is not necessary, yet we need meat. Choosing to consume animals is just that, a choice. We don’t need meat. We don’t need fur. Some choose one, or the other, or both. But both are optional.

    4. Synthetic materials are frequently made from petrochemicals. Oil is not sustainable or environmentally friendly, and it is the cause of massive environmental damage and many a war. So while someone might choose not to wear animal products, it is very hard to argue that synthetics are an environmentally friendly alternative.

    With regards to the “benefits” of fur, it is hard to convince someone who doesn’t want to consume animals that it is a good idea to wear fur. But here are the reasons why I am a huge fan of fur:

    -It is a local industry (in Canada.)

    -it supports people who live close to the land and therefore protects those areas from being developed into other industry

    -It is a sustainable industry

    -Most fur companies are small, family run businesses and I try and buy most of my clothes from those types of businesses.

    -Fur is long lasting

    -Fur is biodegradable (most of the chemicals used in dressing do not remain in the material, and therefore if you bury a fur coat next to a synthetic fleece, the fur coat will be gone MUCH faster than the fleece.)

    -Fur is beautiful

    -Fur is warm

    You can’t get something for nothing. There are consequences with all consumption, but I prefer taking the lives of 20 animals to make a coat, then buying a jacket made from petro chemicals and then manufactured in a factory on the other side of the world, with questionable working conditions.

    Here is a blog post I wrote a while back that explores a lot of these issues.

    http://searchingforstyle.com/2012/02/5-reasons-why-stella-mccartneys-peta-video-is-crap/

    Feel free to keep the conversation going – and thank you agin for your insightful comment. And look out for “fur week” on my blog next week, documenting my experiences learning about mink farming in Denmark.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    “Video footage from years past…” – exactly right – but this practice was stopped in the late 80’s. It is not used in any commercial seal hunt and the Inuits also use rifles.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    I only had time to watch one video, the middle one. The sealers are not killing the seals with the pick – they use it to drag the carcass back to the boats. As demonstrated in the video, seals are shot. Sadly, sometimes the hunters miss and a seal gets away, injured. Similar things happen in fishing, slaughterhouses, etc.., this type of hunting is done by humans and is therefore not perfect. But mistakes are VERY rarely made, most hunters don’t miss. The video is all cut up – you can tell it has been doctored by HSUS to make it look more cruel than it is. I’d love to see the undoctored version. And did you see the comment below? “HSUS made over $100 million in donation against the seal hunt and not one penny goes towards animal shelters. ” – I don’t trust them.

  • Jekka

    I’m a fan of leather, I think Fur is just fine, just like you said, Renewability and efficiency.
    I’m still looking for fur clothing for men though.

  • Harp

    if the $100 million donation is for protecting the seal, why would they build animal shelter? O, you mean animal shelter for the seal? how do you do that?

  • Diana

    Disgusting. again killing animals for money. You are as guilty as the ones killing. Get a freakin life or get a real job.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Killing animals for money so that people can buy food and shelter – I wouldn’t call that disgusting.

  • Joe Bloggs

    “They just use them in order to avoid getting real jobs and pretending that they are working to protect the world or they are fallen stars that need something to keep their names in the media.”

    Source?

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    No source needed. It’s fact. The anti-sealing groups are a waste of space.

  • Joe Bloggs

    Ok, it’s a fact. Could you please provide proof for this please?

  • arnaud

    Please ! overfishing is the main and biggest reason why fisk stocks are in huge decline : millions of people eating suchis everyday : doest it ring a bell to anyone ? seals like all animals are not (only) natural resources but sensitive creatures. It is aknowledged by scientist and veterinarians that mamals feel pain and stress like us.
    For the rest of your arguments, i totally understand the inuit lifestyle as a subsistence lifestyle but certainly not as a global trade. what is the limit ? For more integrity you should have recalled that 85% of the fur produced today comes from factory farming : places where animals are caged their entire lives for the most frivolous thing : fashion. But this is not what fashion is about. fashion should stay fun, positive and light, the opposite of the fur trade. I totally support faux fur for people who really want to have that look.

  • Garvie

    Have you read the whole article? There are plenty of people in the seal hunt that eat the meat. Have you ever had to pay $17.00 dollars for milk? No I don’t think so. So people that live up in the north what are they to eat? SNOW?? Vegetable from Mexico? Tofu? Flashed dried chemically preserved vegan food? Ok so now how do they pay for it? Selling ice? At least they use ever part of the seal.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    People who are against the seal hunt don’t bother to try and understand why it happens and who the hunt provides for. There’s no point even attempting to convince them. Let’s just drop them into the Arctic instead.