As a gigantic shopping center of extravagant goods for mainland China's noveau riche, Hong Kong is a “premier global fur trade center” and the city's annual International Fur and Fashion Fair, according to the Hong Kong Fur Federation, is the most significant event in the world for fur lovers.
This year, the fair was held from February 25 to 28 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, with local pop stars and government officials attending the opening ceremony. The occasion also attracted more than 100 animal rights activists protesting the industry's cruelty against animals.
The protesters displayed photos of dead animals and anti-fur slogans such as “No blood for vanity” and “No more fur trade” while picketing the exhibition center. In response, representatives of the fur industry took out an advertisement in local newspapers to promote the idea that their business is “ecological.”
Mark Mak, one of the protest's organizers, argued on Inmediahk.net against the industry's hypocrisy:
動保和皮草工業的人是一定對立的，根本不存在任何妥協的空間。 […] 原來他們想嘗試做說客，說服我們香港的皮草業是何等人道[…] 而他們也是很愛動物的。
皮草業的朋友也愛動物，此話實在驚天地泣鬼神。其說法是，他們為了保護瀕臨絕種的野生動物如雪地的銀孤，堅決不會用捕捉回來的動物作皮草，他們的皮毛全都是來自養殖場，即是自己養的動物自己殺，自己殺了的動物自己用。 啊！ 這就是他們所說的「愛護動物，保護生態」！ […] 他們亦解釋，坊間流傳的「活剝皮草」絕對不會出現在香港毛皮業協會。 他們出售的所有制品都有歐洲的一級認證，由品質到制作過程都有嚴格監控，不可能有虐待動物的情況出現。
我先退一步，完全相信這個說法。 但就可以合理化「謀皮害命」的行為嗎？而且謀皮，只是為了炫耀，不是為了求存，那不是很缺德的行為嗎？ 再說，即管香港的皮毛業較為人道，但在中國內地將動物活剝生扑是人所共知的事實，香港人消費中的皮毛很大部份都是來自內地的， 而香港毛皮業協會每年搞個大型的皮草展，將使用皮毛等同為時尚的潮流，你不就是最大的幫兇嗎？
There is no space for any compromise between animal rights and the fur industry. […] They tried to persuade us that the fur industry in Hong Kong is very humane, green and that they love animals.
It is shocking to me that the fur industry can claim themselves animal lovers. They argue that they would not use captured animals for harvesting fur, in order to protect near-extinct wild animals such as silver fox. All their furs come from farms, which means they kill their own animal for their own use. Gosh! This is what they called “Love animal and being ecological” […] They also explained they would not skin animals alive, as their products have attained Grade-A certification in Europe, which means the quality and production process are monitored for potential abuse of the animals.
Let me take one step backward and accept their account as fact. Can we then justify the fact that they are killing for fur? And it's purely for vanity rather than survival. Isn't that immoral? Moreover, even if Hong Kong's fur industry is more humane, we all know that most of the fur products in Hong Kong come from mainland China. Every year, the Fur Federation holds this grand fur fair to promote the idea that fur is fashionable, but isn't [such marketing] assisting the inhumane killing?
Indeed, Hong Kong's fur industry caters mostly to those seeking luxury items, though cheap fur products from mainland China, where the industry isn't monitored closely, have flooded Hong Kong's local market.
The Facebook group Say No to Cheap Fur pointed out that cheap furs also come from real animals:
NoNoNo！可能好多人都有此想法，但原來真動物毛無處不在，衣領上、髮飾上、鞋上的毛毛，十幾蚊到幾百蚊，都絕大機會含有平價動物毛。平價皮草的受害者包括兔、浣熊、甚至貓、狗！買一次毛毛衣飾，動物都要承受致死的痛苦。 消費主義下，fast fashion充斥，商人刻意隱瞞產品的製造過程，尤其是藉剝判工人或動物的真相。
“[If] my clothes come from Garden Street [a bargain shopping area], how can they use real animal fur?”
NoNoNo! Many people believe so [that cheap fur isn't real fur]. The fact is that real animal fur is everywhere, on the collars of coats, on hair clips, on shoes. The price ranges from ten to a few hundred Hong Kong dollars [$2-100]. The victims of cheap furs are rabbits, raccoons, and even cats and dogs. Every time you buy fur, animals suffer from pain until they die.
Consumption culture gives rise to fast fashion and the businessmen hide the exploitative production process from the public.
The production of cheap fur is very cruel. The US-based organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) released a video on the breeding farm of Angora rabbits, depicting workers tying up rabbits’ feet, and pulling off their fur or skinning them alive. The rabbits were bleeding. Three months later, the poor rabbits had to undergo the same torture again.
The group also captured image of fur products from the online shopping platform Taobao showing that most of the cheap fur products in China are not artificial furs but from real animals:
Look at the color of the raccoon's fur—it's very similar to the color of the fur in the collars of many coats. Our team found out from Taobao that the decorative raccoon fur is sold for only RMB 18 [approximately $3]! The lovely animal is skinned alive only for RMB 18! No fur! And free the raccoons from pain!
PETA's report on China's fur Industry in 2010 pointed out:
There are no penalties for abusing animals on fur farms in China, which is the world’s largest fur exporter, supplying more than half of the finished fur garments imported for sale in the United States.