Prada Goes Fur-Free

By: Megan Wilson

On May 22, Prada announced they will stop using fur. The change will roll out starting in the spring-summer 2020 collection.

This news follows a train of other brands making changes to become more environmentally friendly and sustainable. Gucci announced plans to stop using fur in their spring-summer 2018 collection.

Animals have been used and exploited not only in the food industry but in almost every industry from entertainment to fashion as well.

Prada’s announcement followed their collaboration with the Fur Free Alliance, a coalition of more than 50 animal protection organizations from 40 countries. 

According to CNN, Prada has clarified to them that the decision is limited to fur and that it will continue to sell leather and other products that are considered to be a by-product of the meat trade.

Leather, fur, wool, feathers, and silk are taken from millions of animals a year. Leather and fur make up the largest percentage of animal product used in the fashion industry. However, not all leather is cow leather. Ostriches are farmed for their feathers, and their leather is commonly used to make products strong, but flexible.

Most furs are produced in other countries, but the United States and Canada are large producers of mink and fox.

Mink: In the United States, there are 275 minks farms in 23 states producing four million pelts annually, valued at $200 million, according to Truth About Fur. Wisconsin is the largest mink-producing state with one million pelts produced annually. In Canada, there are 210 mink farms in eight provinces producing three million pelts annually, valued at $150 million, according to the Truth About Fur.

Fox: There are 56 fox farms in 10 states in the United States producing 1,500 pelts a year. There are 35 fox farms in six Canadian provinces producing 5,000 pelts a year.

While the big discussion seems to be around fur usage, people neglect to talk about leather and how prevalent animal skins are in the fashion industry. Each year, 139 million cows, calves, sheep, lambs, and pigs are killed for food. Skin accounts for 50% of the total byproduct from cows. The United States is the largest producer of hides and skins with 1.1 million tons a year.

Banning animal fur is a great start and some industries have a long way to go before animals are treated fairly. I'm not saying we shouldn't use any animal for food, but I do think there should be a more ethical way of getting the products that we want from animals. It's wrong that millions of animals are killed for no reason and we all have a responsibility to learn about ethical consumption.