It’s a happy new year full of new opportunities to be kind—but for a few of the un-woke folks in the fashion accessory business, it’s the same ol’ same ol’ when it comes to confining animals and skinning them (often while they’re still alive and struggling) for their fur. As if killing animals for pompom key chains weren’t ridiculous and cruel enough, people are now encasing their phones in the skin and hair of dead animals. All we can say is … why? Have these people seriously never heard of faux fur?
Human beings doing dumb, mean, and wasteful sh*t is honestly nothing new. But c’mon people, fur is DEAD.
Let’s take a closer look at these fur phone cases (which could so easily have been made with faux fur!)—and meet the animals whose lives are stolen so that these brands can make a buck.
Dude, how heartless do you have to be to kill a bunny FOR A PHONE CASE? Rabbits are super-social, clean, and affectionate animals who love nibbling on plants and green veggies. And obviously, they’re also one of the most adorable beings around.
But rabbits used for their fur are kept in tiny, filthy cages, surrounded by their own waste. They spend their entire miserable lives standing on thin cage wires that constantly cut into their sensitive feet—and they never have a chance to dig, jump, or play. Fur farmers kill rabbits using awful methods, such as breaking their necks or beating in their skulls before stringing them up by the legs and slitting their throats.
It’s heartbreaking to think that minks are the number one animal killed for fur. In the wild, they’re usually found near water, because they LOVE to swim—they also have slightly webbed hind feet that are made for the job and can actually swim down to 50 feet below the water on just one breath!
Sadly, minks raised and killed on fur factory farms are NEVER given the opportunity to swim, which causes them a ton of stress and sadness, as swimming is a natural and important behavior in their lives. (Imagine being banished from your favorite activity for life.) They’re forced to live in disgusting, barren cages with little space and are unable to roam freely. These poor animals are often seen bobbing their heads and pacing—neurotic, repetitive behavior patterns that are a sign of major psychological distress. </3
Sheep are gentle animals who—like all other animals—can feel joy, love, pain, fear, and loneliness. If left alone by humans and not genetically manipulated, sheep grow just enough wool to protect themselves from hot and cold temperature extremes.
“Shearling,” which is what these phone cases are made out of is actually the sheep’s skin with the wool still attached to it, and it’s extremely cruelly produced. Shearling is made from the skin and wool of a yearling sheep—meaning a young sheep who is between 1 and 2 years old—who is slaughtered shortly after being shorn. But no matter what it’s called, any kind of wool means suffering for animals. Before sheep are slaughtered for their skin or flesh, they’re forced to live miserably, undergoing routine, rough shearing that often results in mutilation of their ears, teats, and genitalia, and lambs’ ears are hole-punched, their tails are chopped off, and the males are castrated—all usually without any pain relief.
Go fur-free, for foxes’ sake! Foxes are super-smart, nocturnal animals who are known for their big, beautiful, bushy tails (which they use to spread scent in order to communicate with others). Young foxes learn how to take care of themselves through play. Who doesn’t love these cuties?
But foxes used for fur? You guessed it—they suffer: On factory farms, they’re raised in cramped and filthy wire cages and forced to live for years in these awful conditions before farmers kill them and sell their fur. Others are caught in steel-jaw traps, which crush their legs, until trappers arrive and beat them to death hours or even days later.
Dam, beavers! Aren’t they fascinating, though? These clever, hardworking animals are extremely gentle and family oriented. They actually mate for LIFE and remain lifelong friends with their babies. ♥ Beavers are full of personality, and their “teenagers” can be rambunctious. (Relate much?)
There was a point when beavers almost went extinct because of hunting and trapping by humans—and even today, they’re in constant danger of being caught in traps and killed for their fur. The body-gripping traps used to capture and kill beavers cause these sensitive animals so much suffering. In many cases, they don’t actually catch the animals quickly or on target—and if they don’t kill the beavers immediately, the animals can end up slowly drowning, which can take up to an agonizing 20 minutes.
Cows are social animals who have unique personalities—just as dogs and cats or humans do! They can recognize more than 100 other cows, and they form close friendships with members of their herd. Researchers report that cows grieve when their friends or family members die and can remember things for a very long time.
Buying any products made from leather or “haircalf” (which the phone case above is made of) sentences these animals to a lifetime of suffering. Many of the millions of cows who are killed for their skin endure the horrors of factory farming, including extreme crowding and deprivation as well as castration, branding, tail-docking, and dehorning—all without any painkillers. At slaughterhouses, workers cut their throats and sometimes even skin and dismember them while they’re still conscious.
There’s no way around it: Using animals for their skin and fur is cruel and inhumane. Did you know that NO federal humane slaughter law protects animals in fur factory farms? Fur farmers care only about preserving the quality of the fur, so they kill animals using some of the most gruesome methods out there in order to keep their furry pelts intact—and that can result in extreme suffering for the animals, including being crammed into boxes and poisoned with hot engine exhaust, being anally and orally electrocuted, or being poisoned with chemicals that cause them to suffocate and become paralyzed with painful cramps. Sometimes, they’re gassed to death or their necks are broken. Many of these methods don’t reliably render all the animals unconscious, meaning that some will wake up or still be conscious while being skinned.
What You Can Do
If you happen to need a phone case that ensures that your phone will be mistaken for a stuffed animal, you don’t have to support cruelty to animals to get one. There are plenty of cute, cruelty-free options available that are made with faux fur (and if you’re the crafty type, you can even make one yourself!). Check out these cute ones from Charlotte Russe (shown below in burgundy, blush, multi, and black):
There’s no reason to accessorize (or do anything else) at the expense of a living, feeling being. You’re better than that! If you haven’t thought about where your accessories or clothing come from before, it’s time to turn over a kinder leaf in 2018 and start shopping cruelty-free. ♥