Fur is a body hair of any non-human
mammal, also known as the " pelage". It may consist of short ground hair, long guard hair, and, in some cases, medium awn hair.
Mammals with reduced amounts of fur are often called "
naked", as in " The Naked Ape", naked mole rat, and naked dogs. An animal with commercially valuable fur is known within the fur industry as a furbearer. (See fur clothing).
The acquisition and use of fur is controversial.
Animal welfareadvocates object to the trapping and killing of wildlife, and the confinement and killing of animals on fur farms. More than 40 million animals are killed worldwide each year for their fur, 30 million of them on fur farms.
Nature of fur
Fur usually consists of two main layers:
*Ground hair or underfur or
down hair— the bottom layer consisting of wool hairs which tend to be shorter, flattened, curly, and denser than the top layer. Its principal function is thermal insulation and thus thermoregulation.
Guard hair— the top layer consisting of longer, often coarser, straight shafts of hair that stick out through the underfur. This is usually the visible layer for most mammals and contains most of the pigmentation. It protects the underfur from outside factors, such as rain, and is thus often water-repellent.
A third layer, the
awn hair, may also exist. It is intermediate between the two others.
Use in clothing
In clothing, fur is leather with the hair retained for its insulating properties. Fur has long served as a source of clothing for humans, especially in colder climates. Modern cultures continue to wear natural fiber fur and fur trim and for many, such natural fibers are preferred alternatives to synthetic clothing from petrochemicals.
Animal furs used in garments and trim may be dyed bright colors or to mimic exotic animal patterns, or shorn down to imitate the feel of a soft velvet fabric. The term "a fur" is often used to refer to a fur coat, wrap, or shawl.
Common animal sources for fur clothing and fur trimmed accessories include
fox, rabbit, mink, beavers, ermine, otters, sable, seals, cats, dogs, coyotes, and chinchilla. The import and sale of sealproducts was banned in the U.S. in 1972 over conservation concerns about Canadian seals. The import, export and sales of domesticated cat and dog fur was also banned in the U.S. under the Dog and Cat Protection Act of 2000. [ [http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/textile/fedreg/001228-fur.htm dog and cat protection act of 2000] ]
The manufacturing of fur clothing involves obtaining animal pelts where the hair is left on the animal's processed skin. In contrast, making
leatherinvolves removing the hair from the hide or pelt and using only the skin. The use of woolinvolves shearing the animal's fleece from the living animal, so that the wool [Australian Wool Corporation, Australian Wool Classing, Raw Wool Services, 1990] can be regrown but sheepskin shearling is made by retaining the fleece to the leather and shearing it. Shearling is used for boots, jackets and coats and is probably the most common type of skin worn.
Fur is also used to make felt. A common felt is made from beaver hair and is used in high-end cowboy hats.
Fake furor "faux fur" designates any synthetic materialthat mimics the appearance and feel of real fur, without the use of animal products. It is not renewable or biodegradable, and there are mounting concerns about its ecological footprint. [http://www.furcommission.com/resource/perspect999ce.htm Plastic Bags on Our Backs]
Animal welfareadvocates object to the trapping and killing of wildlife, and the confinement and killing of animals on fur farms. More than 40 million animals are killed worldwide each year for their fur.
The soft, warm texture of fur appeals to many people; for some, the attraction becomes a
fur fetishism, a fetishistic attraction to people wearing fur, or in certain cases, to the fur garments themselves.
Cat coat genetics
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