Hayley Matthews: I can’t keep my hair on when it comes to real fur

We've come a long way since the likes of Smalls of Princes Street was sending out models into the Gardens to pose in fur coats ' or have we?
We've come a long way since the likes of Smalls of Princes Street was sending out models into the Gardens to pose in fur coats ' or have we?
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With the weather plummeting to brass monkey conditions this week I’m sure we’ve all been taking out our cosy clothes.

Now, if it was the 1940s we would all be rocking about in mink. However, this is 2019 and hopefully, we are better humans than we were back then. Sadly though, from the amount of real fur I’m seeing on people’s jackets this isn’t the case. We seem to be regressing to the Ice Age, all in the name of fashion.

I can spot real fur swaying in the wind on a Canada Goose hood trim a mile off and it makes me sad. It’s made me think recently about the sheer amount of real fur that I’ve been seeing on people, and I have to admit that it makes me feel quite uncomfortable. I want to speak up.

It worries me how we seem to have gone back to cruel fashion with the use of real fur. ­However, what worries me more is that I don’t think many people realise they’re wearing it. I used to be that ­person that would go up to people in the street and ask them if they knew they’re wearing real fur but I’d be spending all day stopping people in the street if I kept it up.

So why all the fur? I’m sure if many people knew they were wearing the skin of a coyote, or a dog that has been skinned alive in another country, they’d think twice or check that it was definitely fake.

There is a way if you’re unsure. Try the burn test. This requires the loss of few pieces of fur or faux fur. Pull out two or three strands. On a flame-proof item (such as a ceramic plate), hold a match to the strands. If it is real fur, it will singe and there will be an odour similar to that of burnt hair. If it is faux fur, it will smell like melted plastic, melt like plastic, and curl into hard balls.

It just fills me with sadness knowing what the animals have gone through. I’ve watched many videos on the skinning of animals for fur that’s shipped to the UK from China and other parts of the world and I have to tell you, they are all a really difficult watch.

I’m sure all the dog lovers out walking in the cold would be saddened to discover their fur trim was real. So please check if you don’t want to ­contribute to the cruelty.

Surely we’re not a generation of Neanderthals who have no issue inflicting so much pain on other beings. I don’t think Kim Kardashian and Kanye West do the young generation any favours by encouraging them to wear real fur and rock about the place like we’re all living the gangsta life.

So, are there really lots of people going about their day knowing that they have a dead animal hanging round their face, and one which has suffered massively and are OK with it? Or, are we just all living ignorantly in bliss?

I can’t quite work it out. I’ve checked my jacket trim and it’s ­definitely fake. I always buy from retailers that I know will put on their label, with honesty, if it is faux fur. However if you’re buying online or from another country and you don’t want real fur then I reckon it would definitely be worth avoiding. Stay cosy in this cold snap but please, do it with compassion and awareness.

Oh, and PS. Do a bit of good and give your leftover rice, pasta and cheesy nibbles to the birds because they can’t go and buy themselves a jacket with a faux fur trim for the cold snap.