Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Know the Fur Industry: Would You Wear Your Cat or Dog?

**This post contains no pictures or videos, because photo evidence of the fur industry can be too graphic for some. However, I would appreciate if you gave this a read, for the sake of love and compassion.

The cruelty of killing animals for their fur has long plagued my mind. Although I have known about this heart-wrenching side of the fashion or clothing industry for quite some time, the truth just gets uglier and uglier with each new thing I learn about this atrocious practice.

In November of last year, I wrote a brief post on this issue- "Killing Animals for Their Fur Breaks Hearts." As I have become more and more conscience and attuned to animal-suffering related issues, I can not sit back and let the cruelty continue. Innocent animals are suffering in these times because of human greed for profit and also because of human ignorance to these problems. The people who condemn animals to a life or death of misery and pain for profit motives are supported by you, me, and all the consumers out there. It doesn't take someone who has studied economics to understand the concept of demand and supply in capitalist society.

Companies, regardless of industry (fashion, food, manufacturing, etc.), exist today because they earn enough money to stay afloat or even thrive in the midst of competitors. And you know how companies receive profit-- consumers pay for their products and services. When consumers keep buying products, demand is created and companies or industries are more than happy to keep producing (or supply) people with what they want.

$$$. Why are people selling their souls to the devil for this thing we call money?

In the clothing industry, somehow it has become acceptable to kill living creatures to make fur-embellished clothing and profit immensely through that practice. Do animals need to be killed in order to make clothing? Do animals need to be killed in order to make fashionable clothing? Do animals need to be killed in order to protect consumers from freezing to death?

If you say yes, then you might as well take your dog, cat, or backyard squirrels and raccoons and slaughter them up so you can wear a patch of their fur on your body.

If you are not able to do such a thing, why would you allow this kind of slaughtering to happen in the world?

One of the life sayings I stand by is this: With knowledge comes responsibility. 

If you do not purchase fur, chances are that you know about the fur slaughter and that it is plain wrong. It is wrong in terms of ethics, and it is wrong in a basic human sense.

According to PETA, the organizations based in both Germany and Asia have seen firsthand the fur-skinning practices occurring in China that leave about 2 million cats and hundreds of thousands of dogs slaughtered each year. Investigators describe the butchery in fur farms:

Hundreds of animals crammed in tiny cages are transported by trucks across China, and some of the dogs and cats still have their collars-- domestic pets are sometimes abducted for slaughter.

The cages are so full the animals can not move and have no access to food or water. Dying animals are crammed together with living animals, while they all are terrified and act out in psychological distress.

The cages are thrown down 10 feet from the top of the trucks to the ground, shattering the bones of the animals.

It only gets worse. The "cost-effective"methods used to kill these animals are also the most cruel. In order to cut costs and avoid damaging the fur, the killing methods including" anal electrocution, bludgeoning, kicking, strangling with wire nooses, drowning by forcing water down animals' throats with a hose" and very commonly, skinning the animals alive. (Keep in mind, there is NO method that will ever be humane enough or that justifies taking an animal's life to make clothes to be sold in this industry).

These animals that are having their bodies sliced open and their fur torn apart from their flesh are the ones you see in homes-- tabbies, Siamese, German shepherds, golden retrievers, etc. Kittens and puppies are not spared.

Where does the fur go? It is used as collars on shirts or coats, lining in gloves/boots, or even rugs. Of course you will not see a clothing item that lists "dog fur" or "cat fur" on its labels.. instead it will be purposely mislabeled as things like "Asian jackal" or "rabbit." (Although I can not understand why it's deemed more acceptable for people to buy Asian jackals or rabbits when they are killed in the same ways). These mislabeled items are sold in the U.S. and Europe.

Other animals like raccoon dogs, foxes, coyotes, and lynxes all suffer in similar ways for the fur trade. As PETA describes it, the scenes of the fur slaughter are worse than horror films. I can attest to that through undercover documentaries and footage of the slaughter in China. Cats, dogs, rabbits, raccoon dogs, and other animals writhe in terror and pain as they are hung up by their legs and tails, while their fur is peeled from their flesh. Their bleeding bodies, with only a layer of flesh remaining on their bones and organs, are then tossed on to a pile of other bodies.. while they continue blinking their eyes, struggle to breathe, and slowly suffocate as their heart and lungs die.

The fight to end fur farming and such slaughter of animals is not a lost cause. After meeting with PETA, Polo Ralph Lauren went fur-free. Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein are now removing fur from their collections.

The first step towards fixing any problem is to become educated on an issue and knowing your position, morals, and standards. The simplest thing to do, to help save animals from torture they don't deserve in any lifetime, is to not purchase clothing items with fur or material resembling fur.

Also, the state of California has been placing animal-welfare measures on its ballots-- it is important to vote for what you believe in. I know that the issue of mislabeling of fur on clothing items is gaining momentum right now, so if there's a way to vote against animal suffering, I trust you will take that step as a responsible and intelligible being no matter where you are located in the world.

As I grow on this journey to being my own animal activist by learning about issues and spreading awareness and knowledge, I welcome you to tune in to my future posts on ways to be a loving and compassionate person by helping the animals whose voices are silenced and unheard.

*All facts mentioned are credited to PETA.

Want to learn more?
Click here to see the PETA factsheet on (fur) factory farms.
"A Shocking Look Inside Chinese Fur Farms" (more info and video)
Fur is Dead:
Wikipedia on Fur Farming
Video on China's Cruel Fur Industry

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