The theme of this blog is how to live in concert with the natural world. For the most part, this is all of nature, including the environment, the planet and the animals that share all of it with us. Here in America we are working hard, collectively as a people, to heal the broken bonds with the animals around us. These bonds were broken in our history by sanctioned abuses and acts of cruelty that we justified as a fight for survival. But we are way past fighting for mere survival and animals are reduced to only a rare threat, although, on occasion, a deadly one, I admit. A shark attack, bear mauling or snake bite can end it all for any one of us. And we respect that.
But we also realize that we hold the upper hand in any war with animals, possessing weapons and clever minds that outdo even the strongest and wiliest of the wild. Here in America, we realize all of this and we fight cruelty with more zeal than any other country; our homes are populated with every kind of animal from cats and dogs to rabbits and ferrets and even snakes. We punish animal abusers more stringently than any other country in the world, although many civilized countries are also trying hard, including Australia, the Netherlands, Britain and Germany. But equally there are as many other countries, or more, that do not treat their animals kindly and, in fact, tolerate acts of barbarism and cruelty that would make most of you cry out in anguish if you witnessed them. Although, I realize that we cannot do anything about what other countries tolerate or even find justified, I also know that we can, as a people, go farther than we even imagine in mitigating this injustice by simply altering our own actions.
Part of living in harmony with nature is to love it, respect it and preserve it. It is a fact that many of us eat animals as a part of our daily lives and for the most part believe that this is a benign, even justified, activity. This is not a vegan blog or even a food blog so I will refrain from venturing deeply into the eating habits of folk. But I am motivated to point out to meat eaters that if they had to kill this prey themselves, as humans had to throughout our history, each of you would do it much differently than the way they are being slaughtered today. For one thing, you wouldn’t eat as much of it and you wouldn’t kill as many animals in the process, but this is an argument for another blog, not this one.
But I do want to address the broken bond with the animal world, the animals we profess to love so much; a bond that we help break every day when we choose what we purchase, consume and dispose of. In this process, we not only live out of harmony with nature, we contribute to it’s destruction. Only by being aware and making conscious, thoughtful choices can we be sure that our actions are not a part of the problem. This blog addresses those choices every day: what to use instead of toxic chemicals, what to eat that is more natural and healthy, how not to add to the carbon footprint that is melting our planet down. And now I want to address how not to contribute to the broken bond with animals and the suffering that results.
In many countries, in particular and on record are China and France, animals are abundantly trapped, caged, tortured and ultimately killed for fur. Fur trapping has a long history worldwide, having been one of the first materials available to man for warmth and protection for the bare human skin. In that time, when we hunted and killed these animals for fur because we had no other choices, humans killed one animal at a time, ate the meat and used the skin, the bones, the fur and every other part of the animal for a much needed purpose. And, indeed, this is often the argument today for using the skin or fur of an animal. But let me tell you where the argument strays from acceptable and into culpable.
Animals like sheep are shaved for their wool but they are not slaughtered for their meat and therefor, for the most part, excepting a few horrible miscreants, this industry is carried out with some degree of decency and is not a big contributor to gross animal suffering. Cows, which are killed for leather, are first and foremost killed for their meat and other body parts, making leather a sideline of this industry and is argued in favor of often as a thrifty industry, using all parts of an animal that will be slaughtered anyways. I guess as long as people eat cows than this argument has some merit. But the one exception in our day and time is fur. There is no reason, no other viable reason, for doing what they do to these animals other than to strip their fur so somebody can spend way too much money on an animal hide and wear it to a New Years party.
There is no industry as cruel, unjustifiable and outrageous as the industry producing fur. Animals are held in cages or trapped in cruel ways and brought to “farms”, which are actually windowless, airless, hot and dark warehouses where they are ultimately “slaughtered”. I put that word in parenthesis because the way these animals are killed cannot be compared to other methods of slaughter, regardless of how horrible many of those are. Many times these animals are skinned ALIVE in order to preserve every scrap of fur. They do not die in this process but are left, in shock and in agony, to writhe to death on the floor. One video I personally viewed showed a skinned dog crawling towards the man with the camera, who was secretly filming this event at his own peril. Many videos I have seen have made me vomit. For the first few weeks after seeing the cats, I could not sleep. I spent hours crying and praying. I have cats that I love dearly and I was struck hard by this.
They do this to dogs and cats, just like the dog or the cat in your home. They also do this to foxes, to raccoons, to rabbits and to minks. This happens mostly in the east, in countries like China and Korea. In other countries, like France, they do it differently, but no less horrid. Rabbits are often electrocuted by rods that are forced up their anus, boiling their insides. They are also often gassed or strangled. All of this bloody horror for the sake of saving every scrap of fur. All of this so some wealthy man or woman can walk around with a rabbit collar or a fox jacket. There is no real need for this; no excuse for this barbaric display of self indulgence. Not while there is world full of warm and lovely textiles available that can make us look just as lovely for half as much money and absolutely none of the agony.
The outrageous prices people are willing to pay for fur is what drives this market. It is what has hunters on the Canadian ice every year, beating Seal pups to death and skinning them right there on the ice, many of them still alive and conscious. This is another video I saw, with the seal pup torn to pieces, still alive, wiggling on the ice. Another night of tears and too sick to eat. And since seeing all of this, I am unable to forget it, to dismiss it, to go on and let it be. I feel compelled to share my feelings with my readers, in the hopes that it will make some small difference. As human beings we very much need to get back in touch with this planet if we are going to save it and this involves harmonizing with animals, too.
Most Americans are doing all that they can in their daily lives, caring for their own pets, reporting abuse when they see it, saving strays and contributing to animal welfare causes. The popularity of Animal Planet, the prosecution of a popular man like Micheal Vick, the interest in activist groups like the Sea Shepard echoes our growing love for the natural world and our strong desire to connect with it. But we have to do more than just go camping, making sure we feed the dog and contributing to PETA. We need to make conscious choices in our lives that will make large scale differences without drawing blood, without costing money, without making things worse. One of the ways you can do this is to not buy fur. Do not buy fur, even the fake stuff, because when Westerners started dismissing real fur in favor of fake, the Chinese began dieing and mislabeling cat and dog fur as fake. Almost all Chinese fur that is marked as “fake” is actually the fur of a domestic cat or dog. I kid you not. Does this not pile on insult after injury? We try to avoid contributing to what we know is a horror and they trick us. They have us buying cat and dog fur. I suppose they think this is clever, even funny. Do you?
So along with making the choice to eat organic, local food, to drive less and ride the bike more, to reduce your garbage and use electricity less, you need to also not buy anything fur, not even cutesy little fake fur toys for the kids. Not even Rabbit’s feet or those cute little fur “stash” bags. Not even a pleather coat with a “fake” fur collar. Not until this scourge has been eliminated can we ever purchase fur again. So, the rule is, do not use fur of any kind unless you made the fake stuff yourself and know it’s fake or you personally killed the animal (kindly, of course), skinned it after it was dead and made the item yourself. That is my personal rule for anyone who wants to live in harmony with nature: treat it with kindness and respect. First rule. Rule number one.
So if this is something you already know about, then keep up the good work. You are probably not wearing fur, fake fur or allowing anyone in your family or among your friends to wear fur or fake fur without hearing it from you. But if you are not aware of this, or doubt what I say is true, then I have some resources for you to explore. You do not have to watch gory videos but I strongly suggest that you do if you are harboring doubts that such evil can exist. You must KNOW that it does exist and join the forces of compassion in their rising fight against it. And if you want to fight against it, I also give resources below for you to do that. Other than not buying fur and telling everyone you know not to buy fur, there are a few actions you can take that won’t cost you anything and could make a huge difference. This post is just the first in a new series I am going to continue, addressing the human bond with all facets of nature and how we can heal those bonds for the betterment of all. Thanks for reading.
Resources for non believers:
This page has many links to videos and confirmed news reports on the use of dogs and cats by the fur industry. Go to Cat and Dog Victims and see for yourself.
Go to this site and watch the videos if you dare. Visit The Cruel Reality of Fur . Don’t forget your vomit bag.
And this site, too: Chinese Fur Farms . Warning: not for the feint of heart. Gorey.
Undercover Investigation: Raccoon Dogs
Video investigation: Real Fur Sold as Faux Fur
Video and Report: Dogs and Cats Used as Fur
Videos and more reports: Fur Is Dead
Read facts about Fur HERE
Resources for those who want to make a difference:
Donate your old furs to the Humane Society, to be used for a humane purpose. Check it out by going HERE .
Go to Change.org and vote to End Animal Torture
Go this HSUS and use their directory to see if your retailer sells fur. You should only buy from retailers who are certified “fur free”. This will help more than you know. Go to this link to see who’s on the list and who’s not. Fur Free Retailers .
Read about the history of PETA’s anti fur campaigns for ideas and information you can use. Visit this link HERE
Get Literature to pass out among friends, family and co workers. Go HERE and browse what PETA is offering.
Go here and email a letter to Urban Outfitters, asking them to dump their fur line. You can do this in a minute and it won’t cost a thing. Go HERE
Sign the Fur Free Pledge and get your friends to do it too. It only takes a minute. Go HERE
Resources for Activists:
The Humane Society has petitions and action alerts that allow you to make your voice heard where it counts. Go to Fur Free and visit the action center.
Join PETA’s Activist Network HERE
Download posters, videos and banners here for FREE. Show your friends the truth. Go HERE
Visit the Activists Corner at Infurmation