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Blog for Last Chance for Animals, an international non-profit dedicated to ending animal cruelty and exploitation.

‘Fur-Free’ Brands are Still Using Fur

Shearling.HeaderWidespread public outcry has pushed a growing number of designers to announce that they will no longer use fur in their clothing and accessory lines. Disappointingly, some of these brands are now using the pelts of other animals rather than transitioning to faux alternatives. Shearling is being processed by some ‘fur-free’ luxury brands to imitate the appearance of mink and fox fur. Considering the numerous luxurious faux alternatives—many of which are virtually indiscernible from animal fur in both appearance and feel—it is indefensible that designers continue to choose cruelty over compassion.

Often mistaken to be a harmless textile that does not contribute to animal cruelty, shearling is in fact the fur of a lamb. Unlike wool, which is also a problematic industry, shearling includes the skin of lambs. Just like clothing made from mink, fox, or chinchilla—every shearling garment requires animals to be killed. This inconvenient reality is routinely ignored by brands and animal advocates alike. While many consumers and anti-fur advocates are unaware of the cruel truth about shearling, brands are strategically exploiting this ignorance to appease animal activists while continuing to use fur. Advertising shearling garments with “real fur” signs in stores, designers are able to appeal to unfeeling luxury-minded shoppers who falsely perceive faux fur to be inferior, while simultaneously claiming to be ‘fur-free’ when it is convenient and beneficial to their brand.


While eliminating the use of some animal furs is a step in the right direction, replacing one dead animal with another perpetuates unnecessary harm. Like other fur-bearing animals, many breeds of sheep are bred primarily for their pelts. While shearling is naturally light in color and coarsely textured, designers are opting to straighten and dye it to create the appearance and feel of commonly used furs, such as mink and fox. Investigations into farms raising lambs for their pelts have revealed deplorable abuse and neglect. Similar to other fur-bearing animals, lambs are slaughtered at a tiny fraction of their natural lifespan. Fashion is not worth this horrific and unnecessary cruelty.

If you currently wear shearling, please choose one of the many compassionate alternatives. Further, if you prefer to purchase from brands that do not support the unnecessary slaughter of animals, ensure that a brand is shearling-free prior to buying anything. Learn more about the cruelty of animal-sourced textiles here

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