A little nudging from one’s friends can be good thing, especially when it comes to actively advocating for all nations of animals who are captured, bred and confined for our malevolent pleasure. In the farmed animal industry 65 – 70 billion land animals and trillions of aquatic animals are murdered annually.
Upon reading these gruesome figures, some might think that I made a couple of big typos, but sadly these figures are accurate. The figure for the aquatic animals appears to be a “Guesstimate” only because they are measured in tonnage rather than individual numbers. These staggering numbers do not even include the animals waiting in the wings to take the place of those who are already damned.
And what about the fur industry? How many wild animals are either trapped or bred, confined and brutally murdered for their skins, for a fashion statement, for the sake of protecting and bolstering the bottom line of profiteers? According to Liberation BC:
50 million animals are killed for fur worldwide every year. Approximately 74% of that fur comes from fur farms.
Canada is a major producer and exporter of fur for fashion:
More than 85% of Canadian fur garment manufacturing is located in Montreal.
Canada’s most important fur markets are U.S., China, Hong Kong , Europe (Italy, Germany, Denmark, Poland, Greece.
So, when a pro fur article, Montreal Furriers Still Ply Trade Amid Changing Times appeared in The Montreal Gazette on March 3rd of this year, my good friend and fellow vegan activist, Karen Messier sent me a message telling me that she had written a letter to the editor and encouraged me to do the same. The article contains the same party line drivel about the fur trade being a long held and proud family tradition and is callously couched as a justification for using living beings as commodities.
As Sarkis Ajamian carefully slices the head off a silver fox pelt — being sure to not cut any of the silky grey hair — he’s participating in an increasingly rare Canadian tradition.
It includes the usual euphemistic terms to legitimize the barbarity:
something from nature…completed products…work appreciated as art….versatile fur pieces….the softness, durability and luxurious feel of fur
In general, if I am invited to a party, I get on board and go. I wrote a response and submitted it after a revision to reduce the length and a correction on the e-mail address.As a result, I did not forward it in time to be considered for publication. Karen, who is a pro at this by now, did and I am happy to report that her submission made the news. In it she covers the ironic placing of two articles side by side: the aforementioned one and an article about a little neglected dog found wandering the streets of Montreal. I will let Karen explain.
The juxtaposition of these two articles was striking but I wonder if anyone caught it. In one we read about Penelope the abandoned little dog with the sweet face who suffered at the hands of an abuser, and our hearts break for her. In the other we read about Mr. Ajamian slicing the head off a silver fox pelt. Sweet Penelope is ultimately euthanized because of organ damage and a poor prognosis and we are outraged that anyone could have hurt this helpless being.
But then what about our silver fox? A beautiful animal most likely bred and raised in a fur farm; she lived her entire life in a small cage on a wire floor. She was killed and her skin was stripped from her body by an industry that should not still exist in 2016. Her fur was crafted into a coat or trim for a hood and was sold as a piece of fashion. Apparently she matters not. She had no face and no name.
And here are my two cents. It is still probably too long. I will have to work on that.
I remember very clearly the days of seal skin boots, mink coats and pill box hats. I was delighted when my parents bought this 19 year old college student a black Chinese fur coat with toggles that bound the skins of murdered animals to my body. I wore this coat until the toggles ripped and the fur became threadbare.
In 2016 the fur industry is garnering negative international attention because animal rights activists are speaking up about the atrocities visited on these animals for their fur. Jo-Anne McArthur, is a Canadian photojournalist who documents the unconscionable exploitation of all animals caught in our various death for profit industries, in hopes that people will stop turning away, will stop being complicit.
We live in an industrialized nation where the need for fur to keep us warm in our often cold winters has long since vanished. There are plenty of warm, synthetic alternatives which suffice without the cruelty inherent in what is euphemistically referred to as “the softness, durability and luxurious feel of fur”.
Advertising campaigns of the late 1980’s did not merely “paint” this industry as blood soaked, but rather reported the gruesome truth of this vile industry. This modern day version of the trapping and fur industry of the Hudson Bay Company is completely outmoded, unnecessary and cruel beyond comprehension. It exists because of greed and because we use glowing terms in heralding it as a family business of great tradition.
What about the families of minks, foxes, beavers, seals and wolves who are brutally destroyed in the name of fashion? Who will speak up for them?
It is interesting to note that Karen and I did not consult with each other before writing these pieces. They are eerily similar in intent and view. The fur trade is outmoded. All animals deserve equal respect and freedom.
Annie’s Vegan View
Arm chair advocacy has the ability to reach many.
Speak up wherever you can. You never know when your words and actions will hit the mark.
May all beings be happy and free.