Did you know that an investigation by the Humane Society found that 96% of the fur on fur-trimmed jackets sold at large retail stores in the U.S. came from dogs, wolf's and the Asiatic raccoon dog, and that these jackets were either mislabeled or not labeled at all.
Did you know that many sheep freeze to death or die from exhaustion because of an unnatural overproduction of wool? Or that it takes over 100 worm cocoons to make a tie and over 600 cocoons to make a woman's blouse, which are only to be steamed or boiled alive? Needless to say, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the commonality in fur, leather, wool and silk.
Certainly, not everybody goes vegetarian or vegan in the name of animal rights. For some people, it is simply a choice of nutrition. But for the majority of vegans, however, animal rights plays a major role. Whether you are vegetarian, vegan or not, considering the myriad of sustainable clothing alternatives that are not just better for their dead benefactors, but are also better for you and the environment - fur, wool, leather and silk really do have less relevance this day and age.
Leather especially has a severe toll on both the animals providing it and the environment. Over 1 billion animals are killed each year for leather, the bulk of which are cows in the U.S. Notwithstanding the cruelty component, nor the fact that leather is tanned with a number of environmental toxins like formaldehyde, cyanide-based oils, dyes and cold-tar derivatives, did you know that half of the water supply in the U.S. goes toward growing the crops that are made into feed for the agriculture industry? Furthermore, the same animals that are killed for their skin and meat contribute nearly 20% of all global warming gases and consume 90% of soy crops, 80% of corn crops and 70% of grain crops grown in the U.S. - all of which are high-pesticide crops.
When searching for cruelty-free and sustainable clothing alternatives, look for 100% organic cotton, bamboo, recycled polyester, PET (recycled plastic), hemp, and soy fabrics. Pleather and vinyl are great alternatives for leather, while Tencel is a great alternative for silk and Fleece and Flannel are excellent substitutes for wool. If you do buy wool clothing, be sure you know where it's coming from. There are some sheep farmers who use sustainable and humane practices for harvesting their wool. Eco-friendly shoe manufacturers, like Simple Shoes use this very same wool in some of their eco-friendly shoes. Last but not least, shop for your clothes at secondhand stores. Not only is this a great economic alternative, you are bound to find some fashionable, vintage duds.
Author: Ryan Jones