Human Exceptionalism

Fur as a “Green Fabric:”: Animal Rights Versus Environmentalism?

I have been noticing a slight trend, or perhaps better stated, the hint of a breeze that could become a slight trend: Animal rights versus environmentalism. Animal rights, very generally stated, fervently promotes the equal moral worth of animals with people based on the capacity to feel pain or otherwise suffer. This leads to devotion to the “rights” of every single animal as individuals.

Environmentalism isn’t so much interested in individuals–people or animals as I see it–but the protection of macro systems, with the goal of preserving and promoting the breadth and depth of life on the planet. Sometimes animal rights can conflict with environmentalism, as in the call by environmentalists for Australians to eat kangaroo as a method of reducing green house gasses.

Perhaps sensing this trend, the fur industry is promoting fur as a green fabric. From the story in the Times of London:

Fur trade groups claim that the stigma associated with wearing fur no longer exists, with Britain one of the fastest-growing markets in the world. Some furriers claim that the apparent success of the fur sales is because fur is a green commodity.

Keith Kaplan, at the Fur Information Council of America, said: “Fur is the grand-daddy of green. It comes from a renewable, sustainable resource. There is very little pollution involved in the production of it and it is biodegradeable.”

Clever pitch: The animal rightists won’t buy it, of course, but apparently the public is buying fur. According to the story, prices are at a record high.

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

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