Tail Between the Legs

I was recently in Los Angeles walking down Melrose with my friends Carly and Peter. We stopped in a shop called Slow which sells both vintage and new collections – we loved http://www.thedailytruffle.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/fox-tail-atlanta-de-cadenet1.jpgthe aesthetic, but were so shocked and grossed-out to see the volume of fur, from accessories to coats. On their website they say “Slow is also pet friendly [smile emoticon] “, and we knew the owners were failing to draw any similarities between the pets they welcomed and the animals who are bludgeoned, crushed, or genitally electrocuted on fur farms, or who slowly starve, dehydrate or bleed to death in fur traps in the wild. Carly was with her dog, and sarcastically asked the employees if they knew of a place that she could have her dog killed and his tail chopped off and turned into a key chain. To our surprise one of the employees answered in all seriousness, saying “a cat would actually be better, because it’s more fluffy“.

This trend is gaining popularity among too-cool-to-care teens and twenty-somethings. In similar über-cool stores like Oak and Opening Ceremony,  the fur industry’s trickle-down agenda seems to be working.

As The New York Times exposed, companies like Saga Furs fill the runways, providing free products and money to young designers and students, and eventually, cool-kids want it, having no knowledge or concern where it came from or that the fur was once attached to a living, breathing, feeling animal that needed to be killed in a way that did not damage the pelt.

Fox, raccoon, and even coyote-tail key chains are popping up in clubs, bars and on dance floors across the country. We can blame it on the popularity of Max’s costume in Where the Wild Things Are or Peter Pan‘s lost-boys, we can blame it on our soft-spot for childhood nostalgia from Davey Crockett raccoon-tail caps to playing Cowboys and Indians, or we can just blame it on an apathetic youth culture that attempts to gobble up any bit of twisted symbology that fills a natural desire to have contact with nature and animals.

Whether it’s a necklace, an earring, or a tail hanging from a belt-loop, this trend is disturbing on several fronts and it’s spreading faster than you can imagine among fashion consumers who want to dress like rebels (yet fail to be rebellious in any real sense, funding one of the most powerful, mainstream industries.) Maybe if these were the tails of the 4 million dogs and cats euthanized in shelters each year in the United States, we could at least claim it’s recycling (but we mustn’t acknowledge that fact, and using cat or dog pelts would be an affront to our Western sensibilities).


Slow’s website even boasts “Our Slow Production team also brings to you an exclusive fur collection, highlighting fur suspenders, leg warmers, caps, and capes. If you love funky fur, you can find it here!”.  The people wearing these things don’t necessarily hate animals, they simply hand over all accountability to stores and suppliers who they rely upon to make ethical decisions (which is a convenient, but ultimately a failed form of faith in nearly every area of consumer culture). The logic goes something like this: “If it was so bad they wouldn’t be allowed to sell it“. And then the supplier’s rationale is “If people thought this was so bad, they wouldn’t buy it.” Some even argue that tails are “scraps”. But if scraps are being sold and making a profit, they are no longer garbage – they represent a growing source of income for the fur industry.

If you see someone wearing these – speak up. Ask them if they hate animals, and if not, why they’d wear the severed tail of an animal that was killed for something as frivolous as an accessory?  If you are in a store that sells these products, make sure to speak to a manager and explain (or show with your iPod) how most fur is produced – or at least take a business card and send them an email.

Fashion trends often happen with little or no resistance, but let’s not let this one go unchallenged. As harmless as a little pink or green puff seems at first glance, the disgusting and atrocious treatment of fur-bearing animals is a big deal – especially to the animals experiencing it.

Written by joshuakatcher

Joshua Katcher is an adjunct professor of fashion at Parsons The New School. His research focuses on sustainability and ethics in fashion production. He started The Discerning Brute in 2008 as a resource for men who want to make intelligent decisions concerning their lifestyles. With a focus on “fashion, food & etiquette for the ethically handsome man”, The Discerning Brute produces expert, essential content and boldly takes a stand. Brave GentleMan, the integrated, eCommerce brother-site of The Discerning Brute was launched in 2011 and features “principled attire” and “smart supplies” handpicked for informed indulgence.
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  • sw

    Ugh, I’ve seen this trend a lot, especially at music festivals and Renaissance fairs. With all the wonderful and realistic faux fur we have access to nowadays, there’s no reason people can’t enjoy this trend ethically! I have some lovely fake fur laying around my house and actually stumbled upon your site trying to find a tutorial for making my own ethical accessories.

    Tails are cute, but let’s leave the real ones on the animals they belong to!

  • Mew Ashley

    Foxes are my favorite animals. It makes me sick to my stomach and sad to think they were killed just for the fur. However I noticed a real fox tail for auction on another website. I just had to get it. Some of the other people were saying they would use it as a cat toy, and even though I have cats I find it disrespectful to the fox to use it as a toy. When I get my tail in, I will treat it with respect and I will also mourn the loss of the fox who gave their tail. I don’t think animals are being slaughtered solely for the tail as fox fur in general is used and in some areas foxes are considered pests. I’d much rather have all of the fox used than to not use any of the fox. I don’t think foxes will ever be killed just for the tail because of the rest of the fur is also in demand. Therefore buying and wearing tails has no real effect on it. If you want to stop the killing of foxes target the head of the problem, not a side limb.

  • Jeff

    An old but annoying article, especially the condemning comments. Women on here crucifying the use of animal products, who I’m sure just pulled their phone out of a leather handbag. Guess it’s the usual with society, it’s only cruel if the animal in question is cute. Lame. Marie below me seems to be one of the few logical people to chime in!

    • http://www.thediscerningbrute.com Joshua Katcher

      You’re basing your entire gripe on the assumption that people are wearing leather. I don’t. Many of the “women” commenting on here don’t buy leather either, but even if they did, it doesn’t justify fur farming. Nor do we care if animals are cute or not – it’s not about us at all, but about respecting the fact that every animal has a will to live and a perspective that is invalidated and ignored for things as frivolous as an accessory. That seems more lame to me than your grievance about “society”.

  • Marie

    I’m sorry to comment on such an old post, but c’mon! This is so ignorant. Look, no one is killing foxes solely for the tails. The tails are scrap pieces that are usually just thrown away. Not buying a tail doesn’t save a fox. Because of this, they are actually really cheap to purchase. If you see a store selling them for more than $20, you should actually chew them out for overpricing it. Even though I cannot say I support the usage of fur for fashion, I absolutely support at least the selling of the scrap pieces. It means that as much of the animal as possible is used.

    PS: Fur coats are extremely expensive. The companies experience no loss of sales from fur boycotts as most of the people protesting couldn’t afford them anyway. Saying people shouldn’t buy fur doesn’t change anything.

    PPS: Don’t trust anything PETA says or does. Their shelter has the highest kill rate of any other in the country.

    • http://www.thediscerningbrute.com Joshua Katcher

      So Marie, let me just get this straight. It’s not ignorant to cage a wild animal for his or her entire life, deprive them of everything they evolved to do, and kill them by sticking a electrified rod up their ass so that someone can make money on a luxury product, and even more money selling the “scraps” (what is a scrap if it is no longer thrown away and makes money?). But it is ignorant to make the scientific argument that animals feel pain, have a will to live, and if given the opportunity would probably not choose to live in confinement? Real fur causes up to five times more ecological impacts than faux (see the study here: http://www.thediscerningbrute.com/2013/07/03/new-study-says-faux-fur-is-more-enviromental-than-mink/)

      Wanting to support using “as much of animal as possible” in a context of supply and demand means that you don’t understand basic economics, or you are just making excuses.

  • Lily

    My grandfather shot a Fox on a trip years ago. I made my tail from that Fox. As cute as they seem, foxes are a menace. They get into chicken coops and make a mess of everything. And just because some of us have real tails doesn’t mean they’re all real. Many of my friends have tails made of faux fur, or brushed yarn.

    • Mew Ashley

      Did you know humans are a menace? They’re killing and destroying everything, including themselves.

  • Scott

    Hi there! :D I see that this post has a massive amount of misinformation in it so I thought I would clear most of it up for you since it seems you like it when people are educated!!

    Firstly, animals are not inhumanely killed for furs! Fur farms ( also known as ranches ) have insanely strict rules and regulations they have to adhere to if they want to stay in business. This ranges from having proper housing and penning systems for the animals to having humane types of execution! What does this mean? It means NO ANIMALS GET TORTURED. The videos you see floating around where animals get bludgeoned and skinned alive are all horrid PETA propaganda. PETA funded those videos – meaning, they paid those workers to skin those animals alive just to use them as an anti-fur propaganda created solely to terrorize the masses into believing what they say. NO self-respecting fur farm would ever do that – you know why? Because a living animal means injured workers and highly damaged fur on top of causing the animal undue pain. This means massive losses of revenue, and that means they’d shut down quicker than the drop of a hat.

    Secondly, when they are dispatched, they are done so HUMANELY. The animals do not suffer. The rules and regulations cover that and any farm found violating that gets heavy fines, jail time and/or shut down. Gassing, neck-breaking and electrocution are actual things that happen, but do you know why? Gassing is basically a gaseous form of the euthanasia shot, neck-breaking is an INSTANTANEOUS death, and electrocution is also immediate. They use a voltage that could take a human out in a hot second and there’s no way the animal would survive for more than the second it takes to turn it on.

    As for trapping, there are also very strict rules and regulations for THAT, too, which you probably could have found if you searched on any state’s Fish and Game Department website like someone trying to educate the masses should have done; trappers are limited to a few types of traps that I’m aware of ( steel jaw traps with the jagged teeth are archaic and have been outlawed and are only used by POACHERS; that is to say, people who illegally hunt animals to then illegally sell the furs of which people illegally buy. This does not apply to the normal fur market! I won’t get into it here but there is a tagging system in place as well as strict import/export laws that prevent that kind of thing from working very well at all ) and those include foothold traps, body-gripping traps and snares. Most traps these days have various legal statuses in various states – places can never seem to agree on one uniform law for this type of thing – but all of them have been observed to make sure that they’re not causing the animal any undue suffering, and if it is, they have been re-designed to try and take off that suffering so the animal doesn’t break bones, shed blood or otherwise get injured.

    Also, they DO NOT STARVE. Trappers are required by LAW to check their traps every 24 hours or they risk getting their license revoked on top of things like jail time and HEFTY fines.

    Real fur is also better for the environment. Faux fur pollutes wayyy more than real fur does, even counting in the tanning processes, and the process of trapping helps keep population numbers down so the environment keeps stable – and no, leaving it be is actually BAD. If you leave deer populations to run rampant, they eat all the food, which kills off other species who rely on flora for food, which in turn hurts predators, which in turn makes it so prey populations explode which in turn makes it so there’s even LESS food. It basically could obliterate an entire ecosystem if they didn’t allow population control. This is why there’s EXTINCTION; because nature isn’t nice and isn’t stable. Nature is one mean bitch and humans do their best to actually help keep it stable so we don’t run out of animals and plants and end up in a barren wasteland. ;)

    Also, as a final note, cat and dog fur has been made illegal almost everywhere in the world – this means it cannot be imported or used in garments!

    If you’re gonna write an article like this, at least know what you’re talkin’ about or you’re gonna come off as all TYPES of ignorant.

    -Signed; A taxidermist, tanner, trapper and someone who ACTUALLY gets their facts straight rather than trying to feed people false anti-fur propaganda.

    PS: If you think I’m lying, do a little fact-searching on sites that aren’t PETA-funded. Look up things on wikipedia, read Fish and Game department laws, research the regulations garment companies have to adhere to, and find laws and regulations on fur farms. Don’t just eat shit like this up without reading elsewhere to make sure it’s not just more propaganda to try and guilt-trip people out of a legitimate industry. :/

    • http://www.thediscerningbrute.com Joshua Katcher

      Scott, I’m sorry but everything you said simply doesn’t hold up. Maybe your personal intentions are good, and maybe you follow the laws, but even if we leave Peta out of this, many investigations of even the most reputable fur farms in Europe, so called “Origin Assured” farms, have shown horrible conditions on a large scale. For example in Spain, cruelty charges are being brought against EVERY single one of the 72 rabbit operations investigated. If this isn’t a clear picture of business-as-usual, I don’t know what is:


      Other farms in Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, as well as trapping the USA were investigated by individuals and organizations other than Peta and showed similar if not worse conditions where everything you claim isn’t happening is PROVEN to have happen again and again.


      To top it off, the latest scientific studies show us that faux is up to five-times less impactful than the real thing: http://www.thediscerningbrute.com/2013/07/03/new-study-says-faux-fur-is-more-enviromental-than-mink/

      Three quick points: Just because there are laws and regulations does not mean they are enforced or effective or even relevant. Animal populations managed themselves just fine for millions of years prior to our civilization. There is no such thing as “humane” killing any more than there is “humane” rape. It’s a misuse of the word and it is pure marketing.

      Lastly, just listen to yourself claiming that organizations would pay people to skin animals alive. Where is the proof for that outrageous claim? You read it on the internet? Ask yourself what would they gain from this? Some extra membership? Some extra donations? No animal advocacy organization is getting rich and living the life-of-luxury from advocating for animals or selling water-bottles with their logos on it. On the other hand, the fur industry is a multibillion dollar industry with a lot to lose.

  • Erin

    The tail of a fox is actually a scrap item that, in the past, would be thrown out. These animals aren’t just killed for their tails and the meat goes into dog food so the entire animal is used. Also here is something to think about: to the majority of the world if an animal can’t be used for food, clothing, or to in some other way make money they are considered a pest or otherwise ignored and left to dwindle in numbers until they are no more or are but a few left. While this is happening the creatures that society makes money from are growing in numbers. The Shire horse, for example, was once one of the most widely used draft horses for farm work. Now that we have tractors and the such these strong, majestic creatures could become extinct within a generation. There are other horses that are even more rare than the Giant Panda that were once widely owned. The sad truth is, no mater how we wish it to be otherwise, if we can’t make money off of an animal then it will soon be gone forever. Yes the fur trade is horrendous but so long as foxes are bred for fur they will never be seen on the endangered species list. I am not trying to pick a fight with anyone and I too wish that this world would work differently, but it just doesn’t. Having said this I will end this post with instructions on how to tell faux fur from the real stuff (so you don’t have to trust the labels). The only way to know 100% is to take a few “hairs” and burn them. Synthetic will melt, true fur will burn. Another way, though not as accurate, is to see how many layers of fur there are. Real fur has 2: a slick or coarse layer of guard hair and a downy under coat.

  • janluke22

    Over 80$ for a fox tail? No way!
    I think the big industries are WAY better off making faux tails, as opposed to torturing and killing foxes for real tails. Plus, faux tails come in different colors and styles, which is another thing i like about them.
    6-7$ for a faux tail? Sure!

  • Anna Banana

    Was it disturbing and disgusting when Native Americans wore fur and leather to keep from freezing to death? What about our ancestors before polyester and cotton had been turned into clothing? What about the fact that the factories that make all of these unnatural materials spew out plenty of pollution into the earth and what about the animals that are killed that way? You know the fact that we have all of this unnatural material being created is the only reason people find this trend disturbing? Had we not invented factories to create blue jeans everyone would still be wearing fox and cow hide just to survive changing temperatures when the seasons change. Faux fur is actually more harmful to the environment, it cannot breakdown naturally, in fact you usually have to burn them to get rid of them and the polyester fibers used to make faux fur actually releases harmful toxins into the air. Believe it or not, these animals aren’t killed solely for their tails. Usually tails are just extra parts that get thrown out because they use the fur for other things such as coats. Also, THOUSANDS of of fisherman use fur for their fishing to make their lures and bait, are you going to tell them they are disgusting too? I’m not a fan of fur farms or killing animals, but at least having fur farms helps prevent the wildlife that is wild and free from completely being killed off. I say humanity needs to get back down to nature, if we lived off the land we would all be more conscious about taking care of the planet and we wouldn’t be in the situation we are in now.

    • http://www.thediscerningbrute.com Joshua Katcher


      I agree with most of your points. If civilization didn’t happen, then yes, we’d have much different relationship to the animals we’d share the planet with, and the functioning of ecosystems upon which we rely for survival. However, that is not the point being contested here. The problem is the appropriated aesthetic without the values and reality to back it up.

      *Fur is inherently cruel.*

      There is no kind way to cage a wild animal for its entire life – depriving them of any natural physical or social behavior they evolved to fulfill. There is no kind way to trap and kill animals in the wild – yet an entire industry goes to great lengths to veil the unavoidable reality that fur pelts comes from living, feeling, wild animals who do their best to cry out, and escape their assault.

      *Fur is unnecessary.*

      Unless one is homeless, a traditional indigenous person living in cold climates, or in a truly life-threatening situation – there really is no good excuse for wearing fur. Fur performs no better than most synthetics when it comes to retaining warmth. Arctic explorers, alpine climbers, and cold-climate sports and adventurer’s gear typically lacks one thing: Fur. Considering the leaps and bounds textile producers have made in sustainable textile production, including imitation furs, there is no reason to put animals through such incredible amounts of pain and suffering.

      *Fur has lost it’s original meaning.*

      Fur no longer communicates protection from the elements, security, luxury, wealth, taste, class or any sort of legitimate rebelliousness. Quite the opposite, fur now is a very strong visual form of communication that says it’s wearer is either ignorant or indifferent to cruelty. Conditions on fur
      farms explain why fur was recently banned from Oslo Fashion Week runways, and why so many countries are outlawing and phasing out fur farming like Denmark, Scotland, Ireland, The UK, most of Austria, and The Netherlands. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cz8XLh5crDA) (http://features.peta.org/ChineseFurFarms/)

      *Fur is a lie.*

      The fur industry is a money making enterprise. It is perpetuated by manipulative, multimillion dollar marketing campaigns that target magazine editors, stylists, fashion students, designers, and fashion consumers. The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/11/fashion/11FUR.html?pagewanted=all) recently reported on this. Yet the industry continues to peddle the myth that fur represents luxury, wealth, taste, and class – and they have gone so far as to call fur “eco-friendly (http://www.thediscerningbrute.com/2009/02/16/green-fur-green-wash/)“, and even exploit indigenous people’s traditions to accommodate their arrogant, greedy and frivolous use of animals.

      *Fur is not a “personal choice” issue.*

      The people making money from fur would like you to believe that this is simply a consumer choice issue. Sadly, choosing between a fur coat and a cruelty-free coat is not the same as choosing between red or pink nail-polish. Nor is it simply a difference of opinion, where the only factors surrounding the issue are *you and your opinion* vs. *me and my opinion*. When we consider the fact that there is a perspective conveniently left out of that equitation, and systematically invalidated (that of the animal whose very life and body are at stake, and whose will-to-live and desire to be physically and socially wild, is ignored), the “choice” becomes startlingly clear.

      *The truth is out there.** *

      *So many *investigations, documentaries and exposés from Asia, to Europe, to North America contradict the outright lies being told on the pages of fashions magazines across the globe and under the pop-culture limelight. Here are some resources to see for yourself exactly how fur is made. Keep in mind, that while animal advocates stand to gain nothing but peace-of-mind, the fur industry stands to lose billions of consumer dollars:

      Visit the *International Anti-fur Coalition* for a list of 70 international anti-fur organizations http://www.antifurcoalition.org/members.html,
      or visit the list of the *Fur Free Alliance* for 35 more international anti-fur organizations http://www.infurmation.com/members.php.
      *No One Is Perfect.*

      Most people who purchase fur garments do not know how they are made – and that’s not surprising, considering the monumental effort to keep the process hidden. Let’s say you have some fur, so now what? If you currently own a fur garment, or inherited one from family, why not donate it to coats for cubs (http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/fur_fashion/donate_fur_coats_for_cubs_11042010.html) or the homeless (http://www.peta.org/donate/ways-to-support-peta/donate-your-fur.aspx) and turn a product that represents indifference to suffering into a life-saving object?

  • gin

    uhm whos making a difference? fox tails are just as bad as eating a fucking chicken leg
    what hurts me is that we raise chickens and cows to be killed…WHATS THE DIFFERENCE? you would say “we eat them”  a humans diet dosen’t consist of eating meat wedont have the right teeth…

    sorryfor blowing up but jeez everything that consists of killing anything in mass is absolutly stupid.

  • Annabellavampirella

    I agree to wear cow, goat, emu, or any animal consumed as a food source. That is only respect to use the whole animal that gave it’s life. That is where I draw the line for myself. I also think before you morally take away an industry like trapping ( i.e. seal skins) from an indigenous peoples there should be another economic industry to take it’s place. And yes I am part Native American.

  • Silvia
    • http://www.thediscerningbrute.com Joshua Katcher

      Thats Google Ads robot for ya. It’s keyword activated. It’s actually pretty hilarious considering what a waste of money it is for that advertiser who doesn’t realize they are advertising on a critical article.

  • wow

    So did you know, most people who wear this around in the city, are actually wearing fake fur?
    I know a lot of people that have them. And all the tails are fake

  • Anonymous

    Joshua, I think the PDFs you used in this article are great. Where did you get them? Are they available in poster or sticker form?

    As for the tail-wearers…a similar, cruelty-free effect could be achieved with a long piece of draped fabric, or, as one commenter suggested, with faux fur. The great bonus is that it saves the wearer from looking like an idiot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/budleiser Bud Leiser

    Like my foxtails?

    I used them for cosplay before the bag charm or keychain fashion caught on. I think it’s cool either way.

  • Kali

    I personally think the acessory is kind of cool, but why not opt for a faux tail? Not only will a faux tail cost much less, but it is also cruelty free. I hope more people get the chance to read this article.

  • Marissa Mitchell

    Thank you so much for writing this article. I have seen this trend pop up lately, and have been utterly surprised that there has been little, to no backlash against it. And the best part is, when you look at these people in these photos THEY DON’T LOOK COOL! They look like seriously-trying-hard, ignorant, wannabe, heartless Assholes.

    Look, I’m not a saint. I wear vintage leather, and I do eat the occasional sushi. However, I DO draw the (obvious) line at participating in this heartless, and absolutely ridiculous-looking trend- which in effect- supports the fur trapping (aka animal torture) Industry. It’s just plain sad & wrong. Don’t do it people!

    So thank you, for writing such a well thought-out, and enlightening article. I personally enjoyed it and appreciated it very much.

  • alex

    this article was very well pointed. i go to fit and these fur tails have been popping up so often it infuriates me. and the first few ppl who commented on your article? wow i hate these people. i am really wanting to start a protest or something at my school. i am completely serious. if anyone who reads this and lives in ny agrees, please talk to me! i need assistance! i am not letting this trend be without a fight. its ridiculous that in this generation people are ignorant enough to support something like this, and not care. thank you for writing this. i was searching the web for articles against these tails and every one i found was about how cute they were! it is disgusting. thanks again!

  • elle

    you’re naive. And I bet you eat steaks and chicken and yet complain about the popularity of fur. Wake up. Fur has ALWAYS been in style, like it or not..I’m not into wearing it or defend the ones that do, I’m just absolutely accepting it and moving on, there is nothing I can do about it. And it’s very shallow of you to say :”oh, just buy the vegan alternatives to shoes and jackets” EXCUSE ME? May I remind you that not all countries have DECENT looking alternatives to these items ? I will NOT buy faux leather from the Chinese cheap store ..and I most certainly can’t afford anything Stella McCartney. Think twice before you make such suggestions.
    you should all wake up to reality. You can’t make the fur industry go away like you can’t make tobacco companies disappear. Just deal with it. The world is imperfect by many standards.

    • http://www.thediscerningbrute.com joshuakatcher

      Oh Elle. All you’ve done is rationalize your own apathy here. For those people who act to make change and are empowered by compassion and style and who don’t throw in the towel because something terrible seems overwhelming, the knowledge that a world where animals, ecosystems and people are respected is possible is not naive. It’s visionary.

      We’re talking about fur tails here – that have no function, yet some people are defending it as if it were clean drinking water in a desert.

  • http://www.dollskill.com shoddy lynn

    you probably will HATE our website http://www.dollskill.com
    but we love it

    they are a fox. not a dog. not your pet. bet a menace to farms around the world.

    • http://www.thediscerningbrute.com joshuakatcher

      Yeah, thank goodness that the fur industry is hard at work solving the problems of farms everywhere! Haha. This is laughable – especially since farmed foxes pose ZERO threat to any farmer since they are in cages… but whatever rationalization lets you sleep at night. You know, I am Jewish, and people once said Jews were a menace to the economy- so the Nazi’s caged us and used our hair to stuff mattresses and our fat to make soap. Yes, I know Jews are not foxes, but all I am pointing out is that once you allow yourself to believe the bullshit excuses that people use to justify doing terrible things for profit, you risk becoming a monster – and for something as silly as an accessory, it really is shameful and ignorant.
      Foxes are not our enemies… but you have certainly become their enemy.

      • http://www.dollskill.com shoddy lynn

        as far as i know the entire “fox” is not used for just the “silly accessory” it has about 10 other uses before it is given to the consumer.

        Things like manure, by products, fats and livestock poultry are used up first.

        and yes you said it yourself, a jew is not a fox. I wouldn’t compare humans to rats. Would you save a rat too if his fur was worth millions. money makes this economy go round. gives millions of people work and feeds families. I can sleep fine knowing a few million rats were killed out for billions of people to go to work every morning.

        • http://www.thediscerningbrute.com joshuakatcher

          It’s amazing the lengths people will go to in order to rationalize cruelty – they love their dogs, but will pay someone else to snap the neck or anally electrocute a fox in the name of economic gain (and from someone who identifies as an anarchist, no less, ha!).
          It’s amazing the ridiculous excuses people make to benefit financially from any sinister, polluting, and unnecessary industry. Open a 9th grade history book, and this is a clear pattern.
          It’s amazing how referring to something as a “rat” somehow justifies inflicting pain on a creature with a brain and central nervous system – especially when there are alternatives.

          Let’s be honest here. You are making keychains with no function other than aesthetics. Your trip about it being some sort of noble or natural endeavor in the name of feeding family and making fertilizer (while in fact fur-farms have been cited as causing terrible waste pollution) is simply arrogance and ego. The Cruella Deville’s of the world are real, Shoddy, and you are one of them, but you could change that in a heartbeat if you truly wanted to.

          “Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.” – Albert Einstein

          “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” – Gandhi

  • desiree

    I have been seeing these all over NYC lately, it’s really been bothering me. My first thought reading this story, though, was… Wouldn’t it be fun to be out with your friends and all be offended by the same thing! I definitely need more vegan friends..

  • James

    If you didn’t wear leather I might actually believe you weren’t just another person following the animal rights wagon with all the other vegans.

    And your friend shouldn’t ask stupid questions like “where can I kill my dog” and not expect a stupid reply.

    -James from Slow.

    • http://www.thediscerningbrute.com joshuakatcher

      Hi James,

      Thanks for responding! I actually don’t wear leather – It just goes to show that there are tons of convincing faux-leather options out there to avoid causing such unnecessary and easily preventable harm to animals and ecosystems. The boots you are probably referring to come from NOVACAS, a NYC-based, Portuguese-made vegan shoe company. There are so many awesome cruelty-free shoe companies popping up all over these days, from Olsen Haus and NOHARM to Cri De Coeur and of course, the classic Stella McCartney. Likewise, there are so many amazing faux-fur options – it’s a wonder designers still use the real thing.

      I don’t believe that the intention of my friend’s question went over your head. If you wouldn’t do it to a dog, who are clearly sensitive, emotional and intelligent animals – why is it socially acceptable to put other animals with brains and nervous systems and a will to live through such an ordeal for something as silly as an accessory (when there are plenty of other options).

      I understand where the venom is coming from, you feel I’ve attacked you or your workplace – and I don’t blame you for defending yourself. But I really beg of you to take a step back and truly consider what these animals must go through (and if you don’t know what they go through, then seek the truth – it’s out there). There are plenty of designers who once used fur and changed their materials once they found out what goes on in fur production – from Calvin Klein to Tommy Hilfiger. The world will never change until taste-makers like yourself lead the way.

      • Jessica Schlueter

        You’re my hero :)

  • Andrew

    That statement sums up perfectly this most affluent generation of young people.

  • http://yumveggieburger.com Ali – YumVeggieBurger

    I also want to thank you for writing this – you articulated so well all of the reasons why people should not buy or wear fur!
    I was in Williamsburg last weekend and saw several people wearing those tails attached to belts or handbags. I wondered if it was a new trend, and hoped it wasn’t… seeing all the photos in this post confirmed my worst suspicion :(
    I hope a lot of people read this, and I hope more people speak out about it!

  • http://www.badideapotluck.com Bev

    I’m really glad you wrote this. You articulated the issue so much better than I could have. I’m too shocked and confused that this trend is back to put things into words. I really never thought something like this would ever be cool again.

  • Kezia

    Perhaps we should all buy copies of “Skin Trade” and mail them to the store.

    • GDiFonzo

      That actually sounds like a good idea, if you include a succinct, polite-but-firm cover letter and use the proper postage and shipping materials. Let’s make a campaign out of it!

  • http://www.verhext.com verhext

    Thank you so much for writing this. This trend is disgusting and underscores the disposable and thoughtless attitudes behind fashion today – from cheap sweatshop labor to killing animals for an accessory.

  • Frani

    I swear this is what I needed to read and wake me up from LaLa Land. I’ve been debating with myself whether if I go to a vintage store or a thrift store if I should buy used leather shoes. But after reading it woke me up and made me question to myself: Would I wear used fur? Hell no I wouldn’t! And then it hit me, why is it okay to wear used leather and not used fur? Why not wear them at all and wear the vegan ones instead? The more we wear something that is not vegan the more we are keeping it in fashion. Whether it’s recycled leather or recycled wool, when you make that purchase of recycled animal products you are still contributing of the making of more products with animal products.
    I’m all for recycling but do we really need to wear clothing that comes from animals? No. It’s better to choose vegan and support companies that make vegan clothing.
    I thank you so much, Joshua for writing this post. It really woke me up.

    • http://3to9travels.wordpress.com/ Amy L.

      Thank you for writing this. Anyone who has the defense “leather this and leather that” needs to go spend a day in a slaughterhouse, behind the scenes at a circus, in Tony the Tiger’s minuscule cage at a disgusting truck stop in Louisiana, watch animals being skinned alive… and if that doesn’t do the trick then let’s just skin the human sucker alive, just a finger! And let the arrogant asshole see how it feels. If only….