There is an Alternative to Fur!
FROM THE COLD NORTH washed with aurora borealis; from the rainforests of the Amazon; from the hot land of black Africa; from the acid rains of washed forests in industrial Europe; from the cruel and wide Asia; from the trendy distant Australia. Over the fashionable catwalk of New York, Paris, London, Milan, Munich, Sydney; to local shops; and finally in our homes and on our winter chilled bodies. So soft, smooth, beautiful and extremely expensive – FUR!
ACCORDING TO the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English, fur is: 1) soft thick hair which covers certain species of animals like cats and rabbits and 2) animal leather covered with fur, especially when it is used as piece of clothes, while according to the Encyclopedia of Leksikografski Zavod fur is refined and tanned leather joined with hair of fur-bearing animal.
More or less, these definitions are well known to everybody. But, are we also that familiar with the origin of that eminently admired expensive and traditional elegant apparel? Has it indeed, along with camera flashes, and rapturous applause of infatuated audience of some fashion designer, simply "jumped in" into our closets, where it waits for its golden opportunity in order to "be shown" and brings amazed looks, sighs of envy and social status to its owner? Or is there behind all those fur scenarios, another, darker story, that truth which rarely anyone knows, and rarely anyone wants to hear.
IN THE EARLY MORNING HOURS of cold Newfoundland, hunters are sneaking up to sleeping babies of Greenland seals, wrapped in beautiful white fur, soft as the nicest blanket. And then, along with powerlessness of the adult seals to protect their babies, the hunters raise their hakapiks and ferociously torture them with their spikes to death. They leave the small bodies to decay on the ice floe, their fur skinned off them, which most often ends up as fur garnish or fur gloves, usually on the West European market. Irony here is that the little white coat the baby seals were born in is retained only the first 9-15 days after which they cast it off, getting their silver-grey fur – which is not of financial interest to hunters. Like this the life of Greenland seals after their first two weeks is not dangerous anymore (at least as far as fur is in question).
Similar stories are repeating all over our lovely planet where billions of animals are lurked and caught in different ways. For example, animals captured in sharp steel traps (which are forbidden by law in more then 70 countries due to their disrepute and cruelty) suffer dreadful pain from the sharp steel which stabs their legs, bodies or paws. Hunted animals suffer in traps for hours or even days, before fur hunters tear up their chests or break their necks.
These same traps cripple and kill thousands of dogs, cats and other animals "hunted by mistake or by accident". In an effort to free themselves from that steel embrace of death, hunted animals sometimes bite off their own paw to escape. In America alone nearly 3.5 million fur-bearing animals die!
WHICH ANIMALS are "popular" in the fur industry, and therefore lifelong bounty is written for them? We are talking about mammals: different predators from species like cats such as leopard, tiger and others alike them; dogs (commonly blue, silver and white fox, golden jackal, and others); marten (stoat, golden marten, otter, etc.); rodents (beaver, muskrat, squirrel, chinchilla and nutria - coypu); ungulate (karakul-sheep, Tibetan sheep); bears; aardvark (ant eater); marsupials; seals; while most likely the skin of some birds along with feather of grebe, goose, swan are processed.
THE FUR MARKET is so irresistible, that nowadays more and more farms have been established to breed animals for their expensive fur. Most common animals that are bred on farms are the silver and blue fox, mink, musk-rat, beaver and skunk, and farms like these are the most developed in Canada and USA. Due to that 2.7 million animals bred for fur die each year.
Animals that have been bred on fur farms spend their entire lives in small, dirty cages, constantly living between stress and boredom. To avoid the fur being damaged, some farmers kill bigger animals (like foxes) with electric shock, which means they electrocute them through their mouth, anus or vagina, where they literally burn their inner organs, those animals condemned to be killed by electricity feel intensive pain of heart attack while they are at full conscience. In order to avoid these breeding animals to bite, fight or hurt themselves, breeders of chinchilla and other fur-bearing animals cut their teeth.
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) caught a fur manufacturer in Maryland who killed weasels by injecting insecticides into their heart. This cruel method of killing causes animals to suffer in unbearable pain up to ten minutes before they die.
Another method of killing includes poisoning with gas and suffocation. In some cases, nearly 20 little animals have been pressed into a box in which through effusion pipes filthy exhaust gases from farmer trucks are released. Since gases from the engine are not always 100% lethal, it could happen that animals «wake up» from obfuscation and the animal is skinned at full consciousness.
Other methods include killing animals in a decompression chamber, with compressed air where they burst their inner organs or simply wring their necks or break their backbone.
All animals treated by these extremely inhumane procedures, get sick from different inflammations which are not treated, and they feed them poorly and insufficiently, in some cases people even force them to cannibalism, by throwing the remains of their own kind into the carnivore cages, after having skinned the animals.
DO WE STILL THINK that the fur coat that we rejoice with the arrival of the cold winter-days still is soft, innocent and attractive? Or does a new smell start to spread – a smell of suffering, unutterable pain and death? Smell which can't be eliminated by anything... Statistics we now provide shed more light into the disclosure of the truth on producing fur clothing.
To make one fox coat, 10-24 animals need to be killed. The rest of the numbers, provided in the table below, are not any less shocking. On the contrary!
|FOR ONE COAT FROM||REQUIRED NUMBER OF ANIMALS|
|Fox||10 - 24|
|Beaver||16 - 20|
|Racoon||20 - 30|
|Nutria||26 - 34|
|Opossum||30 - 40|
|Marten||40 - 60|
|Sable||60 - 80|
|Muscat mouse||60 - 120|
|Squirrel||100 - 400|
|Chinchilla||130 - 200|
|Ermine||180 - 240|
WHICH PLACE in fur production has and what part does Croatia play? Unfortunately we can praise Croatia for being on top of the world for one thing. As incredible as that sounds, four years ago, Croatia was the biggest fur manufacturer of chinchilla, a small - almost extinct - South American rodent, with its biggest mainstream chinchilla farm in Europe and altogether world production which exceeded 50%.
Chinchilla d.o.o. in only six months produced 10 tons of dead bodies from skinned animals, which is a scary number when you take in count that the chinchilla is a fairly small animal. There remains, along with moral and ecological questions on disposal of this residue, the question which chemicals are used for protection and processing of the fur.
FROM THE DARK INSANITY of mind, blinded by profit and the idea of hunt as sport, conscience is slowly awaking on a global level. In accordance with time shows up a link in the production chain 'alive - animal - captured / tortured - animal - dead - animal - advertised / sold - fur - me', obliged to newest trends a new more important role starts playing its part : REAL FUR IS NOT MODERN ANYMORE, ARTIFICIAL COATS ARE IN!
Huge numbers of leading names in the fashion industry turn to artificial fur as a trendy hit for their new creations, inspired by the awakened sense of their consumers who would rather walk naked than wear fur. And some of them are literally doing that, trying to draw attention to horrible crimes for people whose voice of sense is still too quiet and their conscience asleep in deep hibernation.
Next is one positive thing: The world is begining to awake from the fur illusion and starts to take note of the entire situation with clearer eyes. People are slowly understanding that THERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE for fur as well as that we are living in the world which is not tolerating exclusivity anymore. Fur is only attractive to those who with easy earnings try to come to dirty blood-money, disregarding codex of manners, ethics, and least empathy.
Like a producer of every product that appears on the market, its destiny is in the hands of their consumers. And, what is more important, so are billions of innocent animals. Ignorance or not being informed cannot anymore be the excuse for not acting, for no one.
Everyone can make her or his contribution to save the lives of those who possess fur from birth, sparing them from torture.
An open boycott of purchase of fur products is only a one way of doing it. Fact is that if we do not stand up against those who try to build up their empire on the dead bodies of others we are no better than them. Our hearts will further remain cold, and again removing the fur coat when spring starts, we will realize that we are bloody beneath it and that we did not keep as warm as we hoped.
* Animal Friends are also against capture, killing, and breeding of animals for production of clothing and leather shoes.
Celebrities in action around the world
- Alicia Silverstone
- Brigitte Bardot
- Carnie Wilson
- Dominique Swain
- Joaquin Phoenix
- Kathie Najimy
- Kim Bassinger
- Linda Blair
- Linda Evangelista
- Pamela Anderson Lee
- Paul i Linda McCartney
- Princeza Stephanie od Monaca
- Stella McCartney
- Todd Oldham (modni kreator)
- Tyra Banks