Group Says ‘Righteous Fur’ Deserves a Market

Discussion
Jan 21, 2010

By George Anderson

Fur, at least the real kind, is not really in fashion in
the U.S., with most consumers preferring to buy the faux type for a variety
of reasons.

Now, however, some are suggesting that designers and retailers need
to be thinking of selling one variety of real fur because it will protect the
environment and create needed commerce right here at home.

The nutria is a large
rodent that was brought to the U.S. in the 1930s from South America for its
fur. As has happened with many other foreign species brought to the U.S., this
quickly reproducing species found a way into the wild and their numbers took
off. With the growing population came decimation of native habitat and species
in Louisiana and Maryland’s Eastern Shore. At one point, according to the Louisiana
Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, up to 100,000 acres of marshland in the
state was destroyed by the rodents. That number has dropped to 23,000 with
a hunting program to control the nutria.

In Louisiana,
according to a Times-Picayune article, more than 300,000
nutria are killed every year with hunters receiving $5 per tail. Most of the
pelts are destroyed.

Cree McCree, founder of an organization called Righteous
Fur, “It’s a beautiful
fur, and right now most of it is going to waste.”

Ms. McCree recently ran a
show in New Orleans that put products made from nutria on display.

“I’m hoping
this will go beyond a cool New Orleans event. I believe that some designers
who have been reluctant to work with fur in the past might be interested in
nutria when they understand the whole picture, that these animals are doing
terrible damage to our coast,” she told The Times-Picayune. “I
think we need to honor the animal by using the animal, not just killing it.”

Discussion
Questions: Is there a compelling for creating consumer
demand for nutria fur in the U.S.? What would marketers and
retailers need to do to overcome obstacles created for fur
sales in recent years?

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10 Comments on "Group Says ‘Righteous Fur’ Deserves a Market"


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Doron Levy
Guest
Doron Levy
11 years 3 months ago

Here is where in-store media can help. Have videos of how the animals are humanely treated and then humanely slaughtered to make you a jacket and that should convince customers to buy. Maybe that’s a bit much but I don’t see how they can shake the stigma especially since we are in an ‘era of frugality’, supposedly.

Janet Dorenkott
Guest
Janet Dorenkott
11 years 3 months ago

My feeling is put the fur to good use. If they have to kill the animals anyway, then don’t double the problem by wasting the fur. I would expect an interesting conflict between the environmentalists and the animal protection advocates–typically two strong groups. Should be interesting to see the kind of push back McCree will get.

Carol Spieckerman
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

…And rabbits eat people’s gardens and jump into car engines at the Denver airport (true!), and deer are causing all kinds of car accidents, and bears are so scary up close, and look at all the dogs and cats in shelters just taking up space, and…Wow, so much fur, so little demand. Ridiculous pro-fur argument. I wouldn’t touch the stuff.

Bill Hanifin
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

What a great case study in capitalism! The question is not for any of us to make the case for Righteous Fur, but for the business owner to see if he can create the right positioning and messaging to make fur fly (off the shelves, that is).

The “save the animal” argument may be more difficult than it appears, especially when you dig in and learn that the source of the fur is in the rat family. Wasted or not, how many people do you know who want to rock their “rat” coat on a chilly evening out?

If McCree can make it happen, more power to him. I think it will be a challenge.

PS: If he is successful, I would humbly request that the company expand their product line with products made from the skins of the Iguanas which are taking over South Florida. Same issue, non-native, permission to humanely exterminate, but what to do with them?

Where will it end?

Ralph Jacobson
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

Give it up. Society has moved on. Fur isn’t right. Cigarettes aren’t right. Etc, etc. Don’t try to spin a story into an argument for a product that has no merit today.

Paula Rosenblum
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

I agree with Ralph. Give it up.

“Righteous Fur”

You gotta be kidding me.

Bill Emerson
Guest
Bill Emerson
11 years 3 months ago

This is a perfectly logical solution to a problem that creates an opportunity for retailers. The only issue is that the general population tends to be neither logical nor rational when it comes to fur. In this specific case, there is also the marketing challenge (in my view) of “Hey honey, look at the nice rat coat I got you.”

I can’t see this as a big winner in this country.

Li McClelland
Guest
Li McClelland
11 years 3 months ago
I refuse to engage in the fur-no fur moral debate here. If people are willing to open their ears, both sides have valid points and concerns. Also, there are people–some on both sides–who are absolutely nuts and have perverted the message and actual facts beyond recognition. That said, I will cop to having purchased a hooded nutria jacket in 1973. Nutria is gorgeous, thick fur that sheds snow and rain. I found it to be essential for walking around and surviving hours outside in a big freezing cold metropolis. The jacket is no longer worn out “in public” because after 37 years it DOES show a bit of wear. However, it is the first thing I reach for when going out to the mailbox or walking the dogs on a brisk winter day. It appalls me to hear that these pelts are being destroyed after the animal is killed. Those of us who have traveled to Canada and Europe, especially Eastern Europe, know that wearing animal fur is more common there. I would hope that… Read more »
Cathy Hotka
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

And the American Petroleum Institute is running ads that say that drilling for oil in America would be great for the economy. Every interest group selling a distasteful product will appeal to better instincts…but will fail. Americans think that wearing fur is in bad taste, and no environmental message will change that.

Robert Straub
Guest
Robert Straub
11 years 3 months ago

Maybe this is a bad idea PR wise, but here in the Northwest, Nutria are truly a problem. This is an expanding invasive species that is extremely bad for the local ecosystem and environment. Anything that helps eliminate them is not a bad thing.

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