Ad Campaign Banned Claiming “Wearing Fur is Eco Friendly”
Since the beginning of time, cave men and the earliest human settlers used animal fur to keep from dying of harsh cold weather. After the invention of weaving technology, fur hides were much less imperative. Fur coats and garments became less of a necessity and more of a symbol of status and wealth. In today’s generation, they are still considered earmarks of elite superiority particularly because of the glorification through fashion and its history of royalty. Unfortunately, the glamorizing of fur has led to fur farms killing 45 million animals a year, and despite this, people still continue to wear it. Last week the fur industry took it far beyond the justifications of fashion and committed the ultimate unethical form of greenwashing by launching an ad campaign claiming, “wearing fur is eco friendly”.
The UK based company Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) works to make sure all advertisements are legal, decent, honest, and truthful according to their website. Last week they received complaints by the Global Action In The Interest Of Animals (GAIA) about a recent ad campaign regarding eco friendly fur so they did some investigating. The magazine campaign created by the European Fur Breeders’ Association (EFBA), touted a laundry list of reasons “why wearing fur is eco friendly.”
Some of the things they said was that the fur is “naturally long lasting”, can be “recycled easily and biodegrades” and is “one of the most ecologically balanced systems in agriculture”. The GAIA complained to the ASA saying that this ad was misleading and that fur farm manufacturing was quite hazardous to the environment.
Putting animal ethics aside, these were the only grounds on which the ASA could ban the ad. The ASA stated this regarding the ad ban, “We considered that that headline claim would be understood as an absolute environmental claim,” said the ASA. “Because we did not consider that we had seen sufficient evidence that the product would cause no environmental damage, taking account of the full life cycle of the product from manufacture to disposal, we concluded that the ad was likely to mislead.”
Some people came to defend this deceiving ad like The International Fur Trade Federation claiming that exotic coats like mink are sustainable and can last upwards to 30 years and more, and argued they can be recycled into bags and cushions.
The European Fur Breeders Association really reached far to capitlize off of the modern green movement. They tried to convince people something was truly sustainable and green when in fact the fur industry is just as harmful to the earth as the meat sector. The fur trade associations have to fight diligently against anti-fur activism but this was unquestionably a pathetic effort.
Sadly, fur continues to cover magazine spreads and hang in high-fashion boutiques. The 2012-2013 winter fashion shows from Milan to New York were speaking loud and clear what the new global trend is this season- FUR! From patented, woolly, and glossed furs, there were wide varieties to choose from for any occasion. Sadly, as furry fashion trends gain momentum the fur industry could be heading towards higher demands and bigger operations. Fashion needs to take a U-turn and steer people another way. If only designers could familiarize themselves with hemp and bamboo instead of animal skins we and the animals would be much better off.
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