Un-TreeHugger: Astrakhan Fur

The winter fashion has hit the late-summer runways and hot trends were recently revealed for luxury shoppers. From Armani to Dolce & Gabbana, designers have incorporated astrakhan into their collections. Astrakhan, in simplest terms, is the fur of newborn or fetal Persian lambs called karakul. It’s an old practice and in Soviet times, it was fashionable among Communist party leaders and their families. Today, celebrities and the elite are expected to dish out up to $24,150 for a single item such as a coat designed by Prada. In TreeHugger terms, this means that 30 fetal lambs need to be killed and their carcasses will be thrown in the trash. And not only are they killed, but the pregnant ewes are as well. So why do retailers and designers think this fur is so special?

Most astrakhan lambs have shiny, black, tightly curled rows of wool that form smooth ridges when they are first born. After one to three days, the color lightens rapidly, loses its luster and becomes coarse and wiry. Astrakhan items expected to be sold this upcoming season include coats, skirts, vests and even boots. Undercover investigators from the Human Society of the United States (HSUS) spent twelve months documenting and videotaping a karakul farm in Central Asia. Click here to view a brochure from them (PDF format) and visit the HSUS website to take action. Via ::New York Times ::Human Society of the United States