29 November 2010

Designers push new lines of clothing featuring 'guilt free' fur


As protests were being staged last week as part of fur free Friday, a new type of fur is being promoted as being “guilt free."

Oscar de la Renta, Billy Reid, Michael Kors and the trendy House of Yes, have all started to use the fur of the nutria, a rodent also known as a swamp rat, in their recent designs.

The fur originates from nutrias that have already been killed as part of a Louisiana state initiative to control the animal’s population. Nutria were first imported from South America by fur farmers in the 1800’s. Some of the animals escaped into the wetlands of the gulf coast where they thrived and have wreaked havoc on local eco-systems, devouring marsh grasses and decimating wetlands.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is currently paying trappers $5 for each nutria tail brought to the department. The trappers then sell the pelts of the animals to design houses.

Nutria fur is being used to make hats, muffs, leg warmers, jackets and vests this season. The rodent's hide is also being utilized to sole shoes, and their teeth as jewelry.

One fashion house, the House of Yes, recently had a show devoted to nutria fur called Nutria Palooza.

The fur is being touted as both guilt free and environmentally friendly as the animals are not being killed specifically for their fur, but because of the damage they are doing to the eco-system in the gulf coast.

The New Orleans based group Righteous Fur is promoting the use of nutria fur with the slogan “Save our wetlands, wear more nutria."

Who knows, other animals that are deemed pests, like beavers, coyotes and raccoons might end up being the next big thing in fashion.

Robin Lawless | @robmlaw | email
Robin lives in New York City where she loves to check out all the vegan eateries. When she's not writing for TDIV, Robin enjoys taking dance lessons, reading, practicing yoga, hanging out with her cat Maggie, baking vegan treats, and volunteering at Catskill Animal Sanctuary. Feel free to add Robin as a friend on Facebook.

Photo Credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/ndomer73

17 comments:

  1. this is so upsetting to see how people will simply present the same old thing with different words to make the cruelty go down easier.

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  2. Animal fur is animal fur. No matter which animal is used and the reason for it....it's still sending the message that fur is o.k. to use in fashion. Sorry, designers, the only way to be "guilt free" is to use fake fur - you'll get better press if you do!!

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  3. I think it is a great idea! Nutrias are a non-native, highly invasive species. Even with the $5 per tail the number of nutria is not decreasing. They are destroying our wetlands and need to go. They should maybe look into selling the meat as another source of income. Anything to get rid of these creatures!

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  4. Animals must be killed to keep environments and habitats thriving like they should without spread of disease. If animal populations are not managed by means of hunting or trapping, they would be destroyed!

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  5. Hey you two anonymous commenters: You want to talk about invasive species? How about humans? Shall we start offing people too? It's human hunting season, YEEEEEEEEEEEEEHAAAAAAAAAW!

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  6. Larry - really? You would put animals before humans? Explain to me how using the nutria pelt instead of leaving the carcass out in the marsh is a bad thing? The nutria are being trapped, shot and hunted regardless in order to attempt to control their populations due to their destructive nature, why not use them for pelts? That would be as if you were offended by using leather products after butchering cattle for beef.

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  7. Larry, that was uncalled for. Get educated before you make ridiculous comments like that.

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  8. @Anonymous Who deemed Humans as God? Why do you feel the need to decide what animals should or shouldn't be living?

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  9. Humans are god until your "god" proves us as fake deities. So until that day we decide what animals we should eat and wear their skin because we are more intelligent than they are... and we have the guns to hunt them of course!

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  10. This is a great idea. There is barely am incentive to trap invasive animals. Nutria are a problem we as humans started by introducing them to our coastal marshes where they thrive on native grasses. We need to look at our entire ecosystems when we make decisions to harvest wild animals, and this is a good thing for our Louisiana wetlands which support a great number of plants and animals as well as humans ourselves. We have to be willing to manage wildlife in a means that is effective and cost efficient way or we will not be able to slow the deleterious effects of our drastic anthropogenic changes to the landscapes that support us. Sale of nutria pelts is a great answer to the problems they've created. Not to mention the positive economic impact of revitalizing a market for furbearers in the United States.

    -Christine

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  11. Man all of you retarted animal activists are retarted.... If we do not hunt nad kill animals they will die a more cruel death of starvation. Think before you open your mouth. If we didnt hun anything the population of all game animals would be outrageous and disease and starvation would be greatly widespread.

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  12. I say they should be used so i can start making money on fur again There killing them anyway

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  13. Nutria are lovely creatures...they make lovely fur...they make lovely table fare...we eat Nutria and love it.

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  14. ignorant people should be hunted just like you , you and you

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  15. WTF? Fur is fur whether it comes from an invasive species or not. There are a lot of unwanted stray cats around too. Is that guilt free fur??

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  16. If they are going to be captured and killed regardless then at least have a use for them. It shouldn't matter if it be food or clothing. Fur farmers brought them here so let them fix their mistake before anymore habitat is lost even if the fur industry will profit. The same people who buy fur will buy the nutria fur. I doubt any veg*n would make this purchase. Humans do enough damage alone without introducing non-native plants and animals into the wild. It is still killing and it is not any less cruel but that is also part of life. Just don't let the nutria go to waste if they are hunted.

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  17. I imagine dishonest designers and manufacturers are already figuring out ways to pass off their non-nutria fur items as nutria, knowing that most people are too ignorant to know the difference. Clueless consumers are already buying Chinese cat and dog fur that is mislabeled as faux fur. Greed always, always finds a way.
    Trapping is trapping is trapping. it means suffering, no matter the animal. Making ANY fur-wearing socially acceptable is a start down a slippery slope, and you can bet furriers are salivating over the nutria marketing ploy. Honestly, people, open your eyes.

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