Japan has no official PETA branches that I know of, but PETA recently got one of Japan’s top models to pose semi-nude for one of their campaign advertisements in which she is partially covered by a sign reading “Anti-Fur.” In my search for animal rights movements in Japan, I did come across an animal liberation front that did an anti-fur walk in Osaka in 2006. A more recent fur protest was held in Osaka in the summer of 2008.
Fur is a big business in Japan and they are one of the world’s biggest importers of fur. Mink seems to be a favorite, along with sable, fox, and beaver. Of course, killing just for fur is not a good thing. However, if you are going to eat the animal anyways, at least you are utilizing resources. But I haven’t seen chinchillas on any menus recently.
However, maybe a century ago, and still in some places today, animals were killed for their fur in order for people to survive in extremely cold climates. For example, Native North American tribes used fur long ago to survive the harsh winters in the North, Scandinavians in Northern Europe did the same, and people in places like Greenland, Antarctica, Russia, and Mongolia also did this. The key was survival. Archaeologists have found settlements of Scandinavian people who froze to death after arriving in Greenland and not adapting to the ways of the native people who were living there. The native people survived the harsh climate because they were wearing fur.
Of course, poaching and killing endangered species for fur is illegal in many countries. In the case of celebrity Big Brother in the U.K., house member Pete Burns stated his fur coat was made of gorilla and the coat was immediately confiscated by the police for investigation.
Warmth, not fashion, is apparently the main reason for wearing fur. Among consumers surveyed, 69% say they wear fur for warmth, 25% for fashion, according to the Fur Information Council of North America.
In Osaka, where the winter is only mildly cold, we can definitely agree that the fur is probably most likely worn for fashion.