Back to School Shopping – Fashion With Compassion

Back to school shopping can be a wonderful time to educate your children about humane treatment of animals. One of the worst and most offensive industries concerning animal welfare is the fur industry. Although the United States has a ban on the use of cat or dog fur, it is allowed in several other countries including China, and dog and cat fur has been illegally imported and used for clothing in the United States. The fur industry is barbaric and brutal. In order to get a pelt that looks nice, healthy animals endure horrific violent deaths which may include being clubbed to death or multiple electrocutions. As many as 45 million animals are used annually for fur, and many of these animals are raised inhumanely and endure tremendous suffering during their short lifespan.

Fortunately, there is an exciting movement within the retail industry to boycott the fur industry. More and more retailers and designers are adopting fur-free policies. They either sell no fur or they sell only faux fur (something made with synthetic products, not animals.) The Humane Association of the United States maintains a list of “fur-free” retailers and designers. The list includes popular stores such as The Gap, which includes Banana Republic, and Old Navy, J. Crew, Footlocker, and the Limited which includes Victoria Secret, Express, and La Senza. Polo Ralph Lauren has stated that as of its holiday line in 2006, it will eliminate fur usage world-wide. Many designers and fashion models are vehemently opposed to the use of fur and work to educate the public about the atrocities of the fur industry.

If you are shopping and notice a retailer is selling fur, please boycott the store. Consider writing a letter the store manager letting them know you are boycotting the store because it sells real fur products and you find this unacceptable. Use this as an opportunity to teach your children about compassion for all beings.

The Fur Free Alliance ( is a worldwide coalition dedicated to terminating the use of fur. In order to combat fashion designers that commit to fur- free designs, but then do not follow through, the Fur Free Alliance maintains a current list of fur-free designers.

Both the Fur Free Alliance and the Humane Associate Website ( have videos, pictures and more information on the fur industry. Parents should view the pictures and videos first to see if they would be appropriate for their children. However, both website contain information about the fur industry and how you and your children can help improve animal welfare.

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