Friday, January 14, 2011

Why Oslo Fashion week went fur free

Revevalp i bur uten skygge

I recently blogged about the Oslo Fashion Week(OFW) going fur free. A few weeks later this news is still making headlines all over the world in both online and traditional media.

Browsing through the blogosphere one thing quickly became self evident. Not many people knew what the hell was going on in Norway. This is why I started this blog. Face it: norwegian is a language spoken by a few million people, so most people will never know what is being said in the norwegian media...unless someone writes about it in plain english. This is what I am doing and will continue to do.

So why did the Oslo Fashion week go fur free? Why was fur fobidden? Not done?

Since 2008 animal rights activists from such groups as dyrs frihet(animal freedom) have been documenting what has been going on behind the scenes in the norwegian fur industry. Year after year they brought out videos and pictures of norwegian fur farms. You can find the pictures and videos here: fur farm pictures

You can find documentation on their campaignwebsite (in both english and norwegian) here

This short documentary (with english subtitles) gives you a good idea of what is going on. You get to hear veterinarians on fur farming, the activists and see the fur farms:

Up Against the Wall / Kniven på strupen from Ola Waagen on Vimeo.

Of course this is not the first time animal activists expose atrocities in the fur industry. And most of the time the activists are accused of being criminals, hoaxers, ... the usual propaganda. But this time the situation was different. And I blogged about it before: veterinarians want to ban fur farming

Already in august 2009 the norwegian veterinary association issued this statement (in norwegian): abolish fur farming

Dagens pelsdyrhold er basert på hold av aktive rovdyr i små nettingbur. Driftsformen betyr at dyrene ikke får tilfredsstilt naturlige adferdsbehov.

DNV har tidligere uttrykt skepsis til pelsdyrholdet. På tross av gode intensjoner i næringa, viser det seg at det fortsatt er store dyrevelferdsmessige problemer i pelsdyrholdet.

Translation: Todays fur farming practices are based on keeping active predators confined in small wire mesh cages. This means that animals cannot act in a natural way.

The norwegian veterinary association had in the past already expressed their scepticism to fur farming. Even with good intentions in the fur industry, it is clear that there continue to be strong animal welfare problems within the fur industry.

And yes, this is a big deal. But this isn't everything. In the last few years, the Danish fur industry has been exposed as well to the general public. Here is my previous blogpost about it: Another blow to the danish fur industry

The images of animal rights group Anima created a shockwave. Denmark suddenly got confronted with the 'ethical' fur industry in their own backyard. Official authorities started inspecting the farms and guess what? Mink were living under bad conditions in two out of three farms. This was all over the danish media.

Also in Sweden the fur industry is now under attack...And if you put all of this togehter. It is not difficult to see why fur got banned at the Oslo Fashion Week. Scandinavia, the heart of the international fur industry, has been exposed. The general public, celebs and even politicians are turning against them. This could very well be the end for this industry. Just one example of the broad opposition against the fur industry in Norway is the facebookpage Forby pels nå
(outlaw fur now). It has over 174000 members as of this moment. You can read more about the public outcry against the fur industry here

The more you read and think about it, the more these words make sense...don't they?

It has been a very natural choice for us,” says Paul Vasbotten, general manager of the Oslo Fashion Week. “We are doing this in order to increase ethical values in fashion.

The ban itself was made possible by people from the fashion industry itself:

The ban is a response to the efforts Mote Mot Pels (Fashion Against Fur), an anti-fur initiative that has received the support of more than 220 Norwegian fashion industry insiders
(source:discerningbrute:oslo fashion week bans fur

I just hope other fashion week events will one day soon do the same and ban fur. They are right over there at the fashion guard when they say this:

New York Fashion week could learn a thing or two from Norway.

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