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If you’re stuck between wanting to wear fur but not wanting to be responsible for an animal’s death, Petite Mort Fur might have the answer.
The Boston-based company, founded by Pamela Paquin two years ago, sells fashion made from roadkill, or “accidental fur,” as she calls it, reports the Associated Press. Paquin believes her company is offering a win-win alternative to customers who like the look or feel of fur but don’t want to support fur industry practices.
“All this fur is being thrown away,” she told the AP. “If we can pick that up, we never have to kill another fur-bearing animal again.”
Many animal-rights organizations, however, aren’t embracing her business idea.
“A business that promotes wearing real fur as fashionable and acceptable may well create more demand for fur from all sources, and could give all fur wearers a shield from legitimate criticism,” Virginia Fuller, of the Boston-area Citizens to End Animal Suffering and Exploitation, told the AP.
Kara Holmquist, speaking on behalf of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said only: “We’d just say it’s in very poor taste.”
The fur industry is also predictably at odds with Paquin’s idea. Keith Kaplan, head of the Fur Information Councils of America trade group, only defended the North American fur industry’s practices when asked to comment on Petite More Furs’ “accidental fur.”
“Production of fur in North America is highly regulated with guidelines set through years and years (and millions of dollars) of scientific study,” he told the AP via email. “In fact, the populations of every species used by the industry today are as abundant, or more abundant, than they were a century ago.”
Paquin, who has no background in fashion and worked mostly office jobs for environmental and sustainability organizations, stands by her business and says she launched it to meet the fur demand from consumers especially in China and Russia, who are gaining wealth rapidly. According to the Fur Information Council of America, global fur sales in 2014 reached over $35 billion.
“Clearly advocacy had failed,” Paquin said. “Alternatives must be found. Making use of animals that would otherwise be thrown away is sensible.”
Fur ear and neck muffs, purses, leg warmers and other accessories sold by Petit Mort, which means “little death” in French and also refers to the sensation of post-orgasmic unconsciousness, range from $800 to $2,000, depending on the product and fur. They are sold online and in Boston’s posh shopping district on Newbury Street.
Each of the company’s furs are collected by animal control specialists and skins many of them herself.
“The value that these products have is that they’re handmade, local and last a lifetime,” Paquin explained. “That’s not just couture and high end, but that’s also sustainable.”