Home Society & Culture  “The Ethics of Fur”: The First Multidisciplinary Book to Address the Subject

 “The Ethics of Fur”: The First Multidisciplinary Book to Address the Subject

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The new book The Ethics of Fur edited by Professor Andrew Linzey and Dr Clair Linzey, Directors of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, is the first multidisciplinary book that addresses this “urgent” issue of animal protection.

The purpose of the volume is to open up and advance further the ethical, political, and, specifically, legislative endeavours now moving at pace and to encourage the anti-fur movement. 

There is much to learn from this book about the history, culture, and political arguments for and against fur that should interest scholars and students, as well as those engaged on either side of the debate. It is not common for academics to engage with pressing and contentious moral issues, but this is precisely where the eighteen contributors to The Ethics of Fur lead the way.

The Ethics of Fur is divided into three parts. The first addresses historical and religious perspectives, including opposition that the fur trade has received from as long ago as the 17th century, plus the 19th century boycott against feathered hats. It also discusses subjects such as the use of fur in clerical robes.  Part two of the book explores ethical and cultural perspectives, including how Disney and pop music have influenced attitudes towards fur. Part three looks at political and legal issues.

Co-editor Clair Linzey says: “Whatever might have been true of the past, the production of fur is now morally problematic in terms of both necessity and suffering. There is no necessity in killing animals for nonessential purposes, such as adornment, fashion, or vanity. The argument for utility simply doesn’t hold up. Alternative clothing is now readily available, enduring, and less costly. Worse still, since we know that the animals exploited are sentient, causing them suffering or making them liable to suffering is arguably intrinsically wrong.”

Dr Liz Tyson of Born Free USA describes The Ethics of Fur’ as “an important book exploring the moral and ethical questions behind human society’s exploitation of animals for their fur. Informative and challenging, this book pulls no punches and provides a comprehensive overview of the fur trade’s history, present, and future. There is still work to be done to end the use of animals for their skins, but progress has been made by dedicated advocates over many decades. This book makes a valuable contribution to the urgent debate on fur and presents vital arguments in favour of the protection of animals from this archaic and cruel practice. I applaud the authors for this ambitious work.”

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