Author Topic: Real Animal Products in Costuming?  (Read 3053 times)

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Offline Necryn

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Real Animal Products in Costuming?
« on: July 14, 2011, 09:11:14 pm »
I know most furry costuming is synthetic, but I have seen real fox tails for sale at conventions.  I have also noticed real fur headdresses for sale online, as well as arts and crafts made with animal bones, teeth, or claws.  How do you feel about costuming made with materials from real animals?

I personally don't have a problem with it so long as the parts are acquired ethically.  What I mean by that is I WOULD NOT be ok with fur that came from an animal killed exclusively for its fur.  I am personally fine with secondhand animal fur (recycled from vintage clothing, for instance), parts from roadkill or animals that died a natural death, or parts from animals that were killed for some reason other than fur (some animals are killed due to being an invasive species that is damaging to the local, naturally occurring wildlife, for example).  I'm also less picky about things like leather that come from what I consider "food animals."  So long as the animals in question weren't killed exclusively for their parts, and so long as the remains are treated in a respectful manner, I don't personally have a problem with it.

Two of the main vendors I buy fur from get it from what I consider ethical sources, and those two vendors also donate a portion of the proceeds to wildlife organizations such as Defenders of Wildlife, which I see as an added bonus.

What are your thoughts?

Offline Kobuk

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Re: Real Animal Products in Costuming?
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2011, 09:30:57 pm »
I am pretty much against any animal part being used in costuming.  >:(

But.........I sorta agree with the following also. As long as the parts were obtained ethically, then I might not have a problem with it.

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I personally don't have a problem with it so long as the parts are acquired ethically.  What I mean by that is I WOULD NOT be ok with fur that came from an animal killed exclusively for its fur.  I am personally fine with secondhand animal fur (recycled from vintage clothing, for instance), parts from roadkill or animals that died a natural death,
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Offline Alexandre

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Re: Real Animal Products in Costuming?
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2011, 10:25:33 pm »
I've thought a lot about this subject.  In general, I'm against using animal skins as costuming.  However, there are groups that do this as a sort of spiritual or religious ritual.  If they do so in a respectful way, I can tolerate it.  I wouldn't participate, but I could be okay with it.

Fursuits and furry accessories should never be made from animal parts.
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Offline Avan

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Re: Real Animal Products in Costuming?
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2011, 12:41:23 am »
Even if it were obtained ethically, I would not use them anyhow, because organic matter is much more subject to deterioration than inorganic matter. Synthetics are, well, not going to bio-degrade as easily.
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Offline Yip

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Re: Real Animal Products in Costuming?
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2011, 01:00:32 am »
Lets say a loved one of yours dies, and to remember them you cut off one of their fingers, preserve it, and wear it on a necklace.  To me, wearing real animal parts in costuming is kind of similar to that.  So long as it is not a product of harm, I don't have a major problem with it, but I still find it distasteful. (And yes, I'd find someone wearing the finger of their dead aunt distasteful as well.)

Offline Foxpup

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Re: Real Animal Products in Costuming?
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2011, 01:53:31 am »
I agree with Necryn. Killing animals just for their fur is wrong, but if you kill them for good reasons, there's no sense in letting anything go to waste.

Lets say a loved one of yours dies, and to remember them you cut off one of their fingers, preserve it, and wear it on a necklace.  To me, wearing real animal parts in costuming is kind of similar to that.  So long as it is not a product of harm, I don't have a major problem with it, but I still find it distasteful. (And yes, I'd find someone wearing the finger of their dead aunt distasteful as well.)
Actually, if you replace "preserve" with "carbonise, then press into a diamond", you'll find a few synthetic diamond manufacturers willing to do exactly this. De gustibus non est disputandum.
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Offline Yip

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Re: Real Animal Products in Costuming?
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2011, 02:02:15 am »
Actually, if you replace "preserve" with "carbonise, then press into a diamond", you'll find a few synthetic diamond manufacturers willing to do exactly this.
I've heard of that, and I still find that to be distasteful, but not quite as bad.

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De gustibus non est disputandum.
I agree with this. I specifically used the word 'distasteful' because it's not something I'd try to impose on anyone else.

Offline Avor

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Re: Real Animal Products in Costuming?
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2011, 05:07:07 am »
I've thought a lot about this subject.  In general, I'm against using animal skins as costuming.  However, there are groups that do this as a sort of spiritual or religious ritual.  If they do so in a respectful way, I can tolerate it.  I wouldn't participate, but I could be okay with it.


You bring up the idea that religous/spiritual  reasons can make a shameful act acceptable. I not afree with concept. If an animal to be harmed, it should be done out of need, not want. The native around here not only use animal parts in theier costume, their sense of arrogance and entitlement causes some of them to poach bald eagles just for feathers.

I would never support such a disturbing level of vanity.


Offline Drake Blackpaw

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Re: Real Animal Products in Costuming?
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2011, 09:02:24 am »
Someone whose religious practice requires part of an animal would argue that killing the animal is a need, not a want. 

I seem to have my own double standard when it comes to this topic.  I wouldn't want to see an animal be killed for a part of a costume I'm wearing, yet I wear leather shoes to work and I wear leather motorcycle gloves and boots when I ride.  I'm sure if I really tried, I could find a pair of synthetic shoes that would be acceptable to work (must look like a dress shoe), and I suspect there are at least synthetic motorcycle gloves that would provide enough protection.  My motorcycle jacket and pants are synthetic and have been tested to withstand crashes at over highway speeds.

So I am being hypocritical when I look at that fox tail being sold while I walk around in my leather shoes, and yet I still look down at the idea of buying a real fox tail just to wear as an accessory.

Offline Kay Alett

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Re: Real Animal Products in Costuming?
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2011, 12:02:39 pm »
I have heard many taxidermists now use lots of synthetic materials in making mounted animals and are even able to fully recreate an animal mounted using pictures for those who'd like a mount but don't want to kill the animal.

I personally don't know if this is completely true of not.

I would not use actual animal parts in a suit but I do agree that religeous ceremony items are an exception.
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Offline Yip

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Re: Real Animal Products in Costuming?
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2011, 12:17:02 pm »
So I am being hypocritical when I look at that fox tail being sold while I walk around in my leather shoes, and yet I still look down at the idea of buying a real fox tail just to wear as an accessory.
Although it probably shouldn't make a difference, leather doesn't look like the animal it came from and thus is more acceptable because it doesn't act like a reminder of the dead animal. Cattle are also a food animal, as in we have an industry devoted to raising them and killing them so that we can eat them. As long as that's the case, I don't think wearing leather is that egregious.

It would be nice if we as a species did not exploit other species for our own gain. But it's too ingrained in the culture and how society works, so I don't see this changing without some kind of radical shift in how we operate.

Someone whose religious practice requires part of an animal would argue that killing the animal is a need, not a want.
And a religion that supports human sacrifice would call that a need. So what, that doesn't make it one.

Offline Alsek

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Re: Real Animal Products in Costuming?
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2011, 06:19:22 am »
Here's the thing,

I'm fine with hunting,  but if you kill it,  you had better be using every piece of it possible for a good purpose.  I don't consider a fursuit a good or practical purpose. Parading around looking like a fox or a bear just isn't a valid reason for anything to die.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2011, 06:23:52 am by Alsek »

Offline Fenny the Fox

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Re: Real Animal Products in Costuming?
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2011, 08:04:12 am »
I am not opposed to animal products being used, respectfully and responsibly, I use many myself in everyday life [leather for the most part]. But to use it in a fursuit, to me, is far from being a respectful use.


As someone brought up religious use, I am not inclined to believe it 'wrong' - given they do so with respect for the animal that died.
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Offline Yip

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Re: Real Animal Products in Costuming?
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2011, 04:18:04 pm »
As someone brought up religious use, I am not inclined to believe it 'wrong' - given they do so with respect for the animal that died.
I think you mean IF they do. The word "given" there makes it sound like all religious use of animal products is done with respect to the animal, and that simply isn't the case. Some do, but some do not.

Offline Fenny the Fox

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Re: Real Animal Products in Costuming?
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2011, 09:59:31 pm »
As someone brought up religious use, I am not inclined to believe it 'wrong' - given they do so with respect for the animal that died.
I think you mean IF they do. The word "given" there makes it sound like all religious use of animal products is done with respect to the animal, and that simply isn't the case. Some do, but some do not.
I get what you mean. Yes, "if" could work well here.
But, no, I said it as I meant it. "Given" is correct - it is a clarification of my previous point: "I am fine with it, given [that] they do it with respect". It is a conditional probability, you could say; I am likely/probable to be okay with it (using real animal products in a "costuming" situation), given a named condition is met (it is done with respect of the animal).
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Offline Yip

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Re: Real Animal Products in Costuming?
« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2011, 11:28:42 pm »
I get what you mean. Yes, "if" could work well here.
But, no, I said it as I meant it. "Given" is correct - it is a clarification of my previous point: "I am fine with it, given [that] they do it with respect". It is a conditional probability, you could say; I am likely/probable to be okay with it (using real animal products in a "costuming" situation), given a named condition is met (it is done with respect of the animal).
Yes, I can see it being read that way. I was mostly concerned with making sure the meaning was clear.

Personally, I don't care if the use is done "with respect" to the animal; that by itself doesn't justify the killing. And religious or spiritual reasons alone do not justify killing. Now, I don't have a problem with cases where the animal is killed for other reasons which are justifiable and there is a ceremony or something to honor the dead animal as a "it gave its life so that we may live" sort of thing. That sort of "religious use" I don't really have a problem with.

Offline Fenny the Fox

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Re: Real Animal Products in Costuming?
« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2011, 02:50:52 pm »
I can see it being read that way. I was mostly concerned with making sure the meaning was clear.

Personally, I don't care if the use is done "with respect" to the animal; that by itself doesn't justify the killing. And religious or spiritual reasons alone do not justify killing. Now, I don't have a problem with cases where the animal is killed for other reasons which are justifiable and there is a ceremony or something to honor the dead animal as a "it gave its life so that we may live" sort of thing. That sort of "religious use" I don't really have a problem with.

I never stated what my criteria for "respectful" is - though it is much what you just named out.

I don't view it as respectful to the animal or to nature to kill only for the sake of ceremony/etc. Only if the animal is actually used appropriately -food, etc.- and the skin then used for religious ceremony and garb is it "respectful'. Or, as you posited, if the ceremony is held for the animal in question, as thanks - to the animal and/or God/nature.
Otherwise it is merely wasteful, and no better than sport hunting and the like.
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Offline Necryn

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Re: Real Animal Products in Costuming?
« Reply #17 on: August 01, 2011, 09:32:07 pm »
Just thought I'd clarify that I'd never use such for a fursuit for several reasons.  I mostly use the real animal crafts and such that I have for pagan events or spiritual purposes, though I'd never condone killing an animal just for its fur or other parts.  Was just curious as to what everyone thought, considering I've seen some real animal parts (like the aforementioned fox tails) for sale at furry conventions.

There are a lot of interesting points of view.  Merely having animal parts doesn't bother me depending on where they came from.  As to the person who mentioned human parts, I honestly wouldn't mind having, say, a human skull in my collection so long as it was legally acquired.  Yeah, many might consider it to be poor taste, but I'm weird like that.

It's also kind of interesting how we view certain animals as being "above" others.  As in, we care about predators, but food animals seem to be fair game to several people in this thread.  I wonder why that is.  Is it because more of us identify with canines and felines?  Do people with deer, cow, or other hooved fursonas feel differently?  How about herbivores that we don't consider "food animals?"  Would you treat a horse's remains better than a cow's remains?  They're similar animals, but we view cows as food animals, whereas in the United States, we don't typically eat horse meat.