Originally Posted by mrclmind
I believe the switch to synthetic was rather gradual. I think that even though they might not admit it, some houses still use some animal products. Of all the synthetic animal notes, synthetic Civet is by far the one that is the most consistently right on the money in my opinion. I have smelled more than my fair share of the real thing.
I agree both that the switch was gradual - through the 50s and 60s mainly - and that modern synthetic civet provides an excellent substitute.
I personally do not use natural civet because the means of production seem to me to be cruel: The animals are not
slaughtered for the product, but captured and caged and have it taken from them repeatedly - several times a week. A bamboo spoon is used for the purpose with the animal held, still in its cage, for the duration. The cages are tiny, the animals are kept in over-heated conditions because this increases the yield and, according to some authorities, they are repeatedly aggravated in the belief that their distress increases both the quantity and quality of the resulting secretions.
Since there are effective synthetic substitutes I don’t want to be party to that sort of treatment of animals. I don’t believe there is a moral equivalence in this with the killing of animals (for meat, leather or whatever else) as long as those animals either live wild or are farmed humanely and in either case are killed quickly, I’m comfortable with that.
As a result I am OK with the use of natural castoreum, which is taken mainly from Canadian beavers killed in the course of annual culls considered necessary to prevent environmental destruction resulting from overpopulation of beavers. These culls currently produce so much castoreum that the fragrance trade does not consume it all and as a result it is quite cheap.
These are complex moral judgments as we’ve been exploring in the closely related thread on natural deer musk
, and as I’ve said there I don’t presume to impose my own moral judgment on anyone else. I do think it is helpful to have all the facts before forming a view however.