Minks in the closet



By this cold, anyone who would let himself be tempted by wearing a little fur would expose himself to a criticism: being against the tide of history, so many days of this animal matter seem numbered. At the end of September, François-Henri Pinault, CEO of Kering, a global luxury heavyweight, announced that the last two houses in his group that still used fur, Saint Laurent and Brioni, would in turn give it up in their collections of fall 2022.

While some Kering houses, such as Gucci in 2018, had already made this choice, sometimes by virtue of the personal sensitivity of an artistic director, “This decision has a wide scope, says a spokesperson for the group. We will not go back, regardless of the changes at the head of the houses. You have to live with the times and listen to the younger generations. “

These are, in Europe, less inclined to purchase fur, in line with the awareness campaigns led by animal rights activists. Peta, one of the most powerful organizations in the industry, has been proclaiming since the early 1980s: “More naked than fur”. “The use of this material is on the decline today, notes Anissa Putois, from Peta France, to the point that we are considering stopping this campaign. ” In recent years, many countries have changed their legislation, such as the United Kingdom which, after having long banned the production of fur, is now considering banning even its importation.

In addition to the battle of animal rights activists, the health crisis has accelerated the decline of fur. Cases of Covid-19 spotted among mink, by far the first animal raised for its fur, have resulted in the eradication of the entire herd in Denmark, which was until then the leading fur-producing country in Europe – she -same stronghold of world production. “It was no longer a question of animal welfare, justifies Loïc Dombreval, veterinarian and Member of Parliament engaged in the fight for animal welfare, but of human health. “ In France, the health context has also accelerated the process. The law on animal abuse adopted last November, which initially provided for the closure of mink farms over five years, made the measure immediate.

The text, which prohibits the breeding of animals “Only for their fur”, spares the farms of Orylag rabbits, used for their skin but also their flesh. But that is the end of the farmed mink, at least what remains of it: of the four remaining farms in France, only one, in Normandy, is caught off guard, the others having already suffered. the intimidation of animalist organizations and prepared the end of their activity.

The French fur industry regrets the Danish decision on mink, which its spokesperson, Pierre-Philippe Frieh, considers a “Extreme application of the precautionary principle, never practiced in any other sector”. Tired of being singled out by animal organizations “With colossal budgets”, the fur trades – which have between 2,000 and 2,500 employees in France – claim that they are part of a typically French know-how which remains highly valued.“The demand for fur in the world is increasing, advance Pierre-Philippe Frieh, and I think that after his “coup de com”, Kering will one day reverse its decision. ” Fur is displayed on luxury men’s clothing “Chic and sportswear”, which rich Asian customers love and who derive more than 90% of European production.

This market structure has prompted the LVMH group, the world leader in luxury goods, to adopt a more cautious strategy than that of Kering, leaving the artistic director of each of its houses the freedom to adopt or not animal fur. “This economic activity will not stop under the pretext that we would give it up, supports Hélène Valade, environmental development director at LVMH. We constantly ask ourselves how to combine nature and creativity. Each equation is complex and invites us to ask ourselves, in the use of materials, what are the impacts on both the environment and local communities. “

According to the LVMH group, breeding is also good: in the 1980s, the partnership signed by its house Loro Piana and the government of Peru saved the vicuña from extinction, a small South American mammal appreciated for its oldest boy.

LVMH therefore prefers to collaborate in the development of international standards such as, in fur, Welfur, which includes certificates of quality and traceability of the skins. Corn “It is difficult to trust labels offered by the industry itself, denounces Anissa Putois. Despite the guarantees, there will always be abuses, as our surveys have shown. “

“It all depends on the governance of these organizations, concedes Hélène Valade. It must be open. The Welfur program takes into account managerial and animal welfare criteria, and each breeding practice must be verified by three audits. Because we are all in the process of progress, we also need to monitor what is happening downstream, for example in the tanneries. “

Criticized, the fur industry is not giving up. She will sue in every country where the magazine appears She, which plans to remove the fur from its editorial content such as advertising pages by 2023: the industry feels aggrieved by the “Denigration” of natural fur and deplores the magazine’s promotion of synthetic fur which it believes is bad for the environment.

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