Prevalance of Fur in Singapore


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(Companion entry to BBC 20070618: EU moves to ban cat and dog fur).

This is a letter I wrote to the Singapore Fashion Festival 2005 after reading about the lambskin shawl on one Ponz Goo, co-founder of a beauty centre/brand here. Yes, fur cruelty is in Singapore too. Wheee.

No doubt, Ms Goo, being a jet-setter (a recent Sunday times article focused on that I believe), probably bought the offending lambskin piece in some expensive location like Paris or Milan, but fur is in Singapore. I’ve seen it in stores. You don’t think the pricey display windows in Takashimaya and Paragon would actually show you anything fake, do you?

I just don’t get it – Singapore has 95% humidity, the temperature causes sweaty armpits if not sweaty backs, why is fur popular here? Heck, why is it even sold here as fashion items? Take a walk down Orchard road, stroll into any luxury brand or high fashion outlets and check out their Autumn/Winter collection. Show me a brand, barring the ones that have averred from cruelty materials, that DOES NOT have fur or fur trim of any kind and I will eat my bulky CRT 17″ monitor. Seriously.

Needless to say, I did not get a response to my letter. But here it is.

Subject: Life! Singapore Fashion Festival 2005 – Their Favourite Things
From: calsifer
Date: Thu, March 31, 2005 10:59 pm
To: sti@sph.com.sg
————————————————————————–
Dear Fash Hag,
I write in reference to the Life! Singapore Fashion Festival 2005 – Their Favourite Things spread on 31 Mar 2005. Looking at the get up of Mdm Ponz Goo, I was deeply attracted to the phrase ‘lamb skin fur shawl’.

Dear Hag, I’m sure being the fash hag you are, you know that lamb skin is variously known as Persian lamb, broadtail, caracul, karakulcha, cha, breitschwanz, swakara, namikara, nakara, astrakhan, agnello di persia, and krimmer, and is derived from the karakul – or Persian – lamb, but do you know the process by which lamb skin for fashion is retrieved?

According to Sean Gifford, of Peta: ‘Sheep raised in this business give birth about four times during their lives…. During the first three pregnancies, the lambs are ripped away from their mothers one or two days after birth.’ He said these lambs are then skinned. On the fourth pregnancy the mother is killed with the lamb still inside her. This is supposed to make the lamb’s fur even softer after it is removed from the dead mother. ‘It is just an evil way to treat an animal,’ added Mr Gifford.

The Humane Society of the US did an investigation and details were aired on Dateline NBC, this article has the details:
http://www.hsus.org/wildlife/issues_facing_wildlife/fur_and_trapping/mary_wore_a_little_lamb_an_investigation_into_karakul_lamb_fur/. (edit: this seems to be the new link since I wrote this letter http://www.hsus.org/furfree/campaigns/investigations/karakul/karakul_investigation.html)

I am deeply shocked to read: “The fur industry dismisses the charges that adult karakul sheep are killed for the fetuses. Why, it asks, would a farmer kill an adult breeding animal to produce a single pelt? The answer: Because there’s plenty of money to be made. A karakul lamb coat sells for as much as $12,000, while the price of a broadtail outfit costs upwards of $25,000.”

Or better yet, how about seeing it for yourself? Renowned fashion designer Stella McCartney narrates this under-cover investigation video http://www.petatv.com/tvpopup/Prefs.asp?video=furfarm. She’s the one who got her friend, Madonna, aka Mrs Guy Richie to ditch her astrakhan coat, a few years back.

Dear Hag, before you dismiss me as a crazy animal activist, I want you to know that I’m not what some would call a ‘professional agitator’. I’m just a concerned girl who is categorically against an industry that is animal-cruelty central, and all in the name of something as frivolous as a fashion trend, especially when it goes to the extent of killing cats and dogs, but calls it something else just so the delicate conscience of fur-wearing fashionistas are not upsetted.

The evidence is in this article, which cites a BBC Newsnight undercover investigation –
http://www.animalaid.org.uk/campaign/sport/catsdogs.htm. (edit: this seems to be the new link since I wrote this letter http://animalaid.org.uk/h/n/NEWS/news_other/ALL/995//. The previous fuller version I read can be found here)
“Imagine someone stealing your cat or dog and skinning it alive before it dies a slow, agonising death. Yet, as hard as it is to imagine, this is the daily reality for over two million domestic animals every year in China.”

Speaking of China, fur-supply central, there is also this video which shows exactly how a fur-bearing animal is fatally detached from its hairy skin, while alive: http://hk.geocities.com/blood1213/fur.html You’d need to scroll down a bit. By the way, if you don’t already know, the skinless mug of the dying racoon dog on the latest anti-JLO advert from peta is from the main star of this video.

I’m sure, as resident Fash Hag, you know that there is no humane way of taking fur from an animal. These videos are not pretty but they are certainly not fake. Are they just for shock value, publicity? With your fashion industry savvy, you probably know better than me. Me, I’ve gone through many websites, and I can only conclude that the brutalities in these videos are run-of-mill operation – bearing in mind the BBC newsnight investigation cited above.

Fash Hag, I feel fur is way past passe and I cannot understand why otherwise intelligent women and strong career super-women like Mdm Goo would support the very cruel and very passe fur fashion, paying high high prices to people like D & G and perpetuating brutalities of fur fashion – beyond a doubt, fashion is all money and bloody murder.

Maybe as a regular plebian low on the Singapore class-distinction rung, I cannot hope to understand what is the appeal of fur fashion. But of course this is a free world and everyone is free to do as they will. Heaven forbids that the tai-tais and wealthy fashionistas are deprived from their fashion splurges. But for anyone who stands adamant on her right to fur accessories, I invite her to view the videos in their entirety so that she knows what she is supporting. After all, in this day and age, the discerning modern woman knows exactly where her money goes, and she should know what her fur shawl looked like before it was reduced to the trendy drape hanging on her arms.

What do you say to that, dear Fash Hag?

A plain Singapore girl,


(If you find this post informative, you might like to check out these.)

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One response to “Prevalance of Fur in Singapore

  1. which reminds me..i was strolling thru isetan at tampines mall a couple of months back. and at the accesories section, they had shawls and gloves with the label: real rabbit’s fur. i was staring at the items in disbelieve and this salesgirl/woman happily came up to me and was like “our new items..made of rabbit’s fur. want to try?” i looked at her, disgusted, and was like “how can u people sell this?! did u know that they skin the animals alive?” then i walked away. a couple of weeks later, my fren told me she didnt see the items there anymore