A Fur-Free Culture

Along with colorful leaves and crisp apples, fall brings an increase in the amount of animal fur worn and sold—and untold suffering to furbearing animals, 40 million of whom are slaughtered each year for nothing more than vanity. The aim of The HSUS's new Fur-Free Campaign is to create a culture for compassionate clothing, from the top executives in the fashion industry to the single shopper at the local retail store.

Starting at the top, the campaign is raising cruelty-free consciousness in the fashion industry and networking with opinion makers. During New York's Olympus Fashion Week in September, campaign members talked to the fashion world's power brokers to open their eyes about the cruelty stitched into every fur fabric, including fur trim. You can read about their efforts in the Fashion Week 2005 Fur Blog.

With an eye on the future, the campaign has launched a new design contest called "Cool vs. Cruel," which challenges fashion design students to create cruelty-free versions of outfits designed with fur. The winner of the contest, to be announced December 19, will receive a publicity boost and an expense-paid internship with a pair of famous designers, Marc Bouwer and Atom Gaelyn, in New York City.

The campaign's "Coats for Cubs" program is spreading the message of compassion to even younger people. In cities around the country this fall, Girl Scouts and animal advocates will gather used fur and fur-trimmed garments and send them to wildlife rehabilitators, who use the fur to provide warmth and comfort to orphaned wildlife. Traditionally, the day after Thanksgiving is the start of the holiday shopping season, but to the Fur-Free Campaign it's "Fur-Free Friday," when we have a special collection drive and ask shoppers not to buy fur or fur trim.

Finally, there's the grassroots element—in this case, the consumers, who are the foundation upon which the Fur-Free Campaign is built. Besides posting our fall fashion guide, the campaign is running ads in People magazine with the message that the animals need their fur more than we do. In conjunction with that advertising campaign, we invited people to take the Fur-Free pledge not to buy or wear fur. Please join the more than 53,000 people who have already signed the pledge, and ask your friends to join you.

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