For as many times as fur in fashion has been proclaimed dead, it’s been resurrected. In 2015, it was featured in 73 percent of 436 Fashion Week shows in New York, London, Paris and Milan, according to Saga Furs, a Finnish fur auction house. A recent Gallup survey found that 59 percent of Americans think buying and wearing clothing made of animal fur is morally acceptable.
But that also means 41 percent think fur is a fashion faux pas, a view that’s gained more prominent backers in the design world. When Giorgio Armani cut his ties with pelts this spring, he joined a fur-free club that includes Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, Stella McCartney and Calvin Klein.
So it’s safe to say we humans remain conflicted about wearing animal fur. But let’s say you’re on the Armani side of this debate, and you inherit your grandmother’s mink coat or come across a fox stole at an estate sale. What is the right thing to do?
One answer to this moral conundrum, should you face it: Help adorable, orphaned baby animals.
It seems animals who have lost their mothers like to snuggle up to fur, according to several organizations that will happily collect your donated items and give them a second life at wildlife rehabilitation centers. Born Free USA, an animal welfare and conservation group that collects fur, says the baby and adult critters find the garments cozy, comfy – and, Born Free claims, comforting.
Its latest case in point: 28 parent-less coyote pups in California that are now cuddling with a donated fox coat. The group says the coat had been dyed to look like lynx, but a furrier who examined it determined it was made from as many as 20 arctic fox pelts that originated in Finland. Adam M. Roberts, Born Free’s CEO, said in a statement that the foxes had probably been raised in crowded wire cages on a fur farm, adding that a “coat that came from so much cruelty” is now helping animals that “will potentially get the chance to live full lives in the wild.”
The coyote pups, the most tiny of which were found roaming alone after their mother was hit by a car, are living at the Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in Ramona, Calif. In the last year alone, Born Free says, furs it has collected and shipped off to the center have been put to use by 54 skunks, 141 Virginia opossums, 38 coyotes, five bears, four bobcats, one gray fox, one mountain lion and dozens of other animals.
Furs collected by Born Free have also been appreciated by baby skunks, some frisky adult bobcats and a wild boar duo in Texas.
Born Free says many of the fur items it receives are accompanied by donors’ notes about their provenance. One note accompanying a fur coat read:
“This was purchased around 1972. When I learned about the plight of the fox, I refused to wear it (around 1974). Please put it to good use.”