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article imageOp-Ed: Fur, a symbol of suffering and death

By Lynn Curwin     Mar 17, 2011 in Environment
In order to convince people that it there is nothing wrong with wearing the coats of dead animals, the fur industry is now trying to promote fur as being more ethical and green, while hiding the reality of what the animals must endure.
The fur industry has come up with an "Origin Assured" label, which it says provides assurance that the fur "comes from a country where welfare regulations or standards governing fur production are in force."
Several countries are approved for fur farms. Denmark/Greenland and Norway are approved for seals, but Canada and the US are approved for a long list of wild fur-bearing animals.
Born Free USA and Respect for Animals recently released footage of what took place when an investigator spent time with trappers in Maryland and Pennsylvania. It shows terrified animals, with their legs clamped in steel traps, being crushed, strangled and drowned.
‘We’d love to believe that such blatant cruelty is unusual," the Daily Mail quoted Mark Glover, of Respect for Animals, saying in an article this week. "But it is entirely normal — and perfectly legal. In fact, such methods are enshrined in U.S. and Canadian governments guidelines on the “humane killing” of trapped animals."
A trapper is seen in one of the videos killing a trapped fox by standing on her chest, and the sound of bones breaking is heard as she struggles for her life. Crushing an animal is popular because it doesn't damage the fur.
The animals are being caught in leg hold traps that were banned in the UK in in 1958 and across Europe in 1995 because of the suffering they cause.
Some of the animals which are caught in traps chew off legs to escape, and later die due to gangrene, blood loss or predation. Others thrash about and break teeth fighting the trap.
Sometimes the traps clamp animals around the top of the head, the eyes, the muzzle, or the abdomen.
It is not only wild animals which suffer in traps, but often pets. I know people whose dogs were caught in traps just a few feet from a walking trail or road. I also had a cat brought to me after it was found with a snare still around its neck. The cat was very thin and the wire had dug into his neck until it bled, showing that the trapline had not been checked often.
The Association for the Protection of Fur Bearing Animals reported that a former Maine trapper said that, during his last year of land trapping he caught 28 house cats and several dogs. He said he did not kill the dogs, but killed 26 of the cats on the advice of a game warden and a trapper’s association representative.
While the industry tries to portray trapping as something which supports people living in remote areas, most of the money is made by fur brokers, auction houses, fur sales houses, and shops.
Fur is not necessary for warmth when there are many other fabrics which protect from cold temperatures available.
If only a small amount of fur is used on an item it does not need to be labelled as being real fur, resulting in some people unknowingly buying it.
While animals raised on fur farms do not end up in traps, they often have short lives filled with misery. They live in small cages, bored and stressed. They are commonly killed through painful anal electrocution. Some are gassed, poisoned, suffocated or have their neck or spine broken.
Aside from the ethical concerns, there are other issues with fur.
The Association for the Protection of Fur Bearing Animals reported that, according to the Encyclopedia of International Labour Organization, the chemicals commonly used to process fur include acids, hydrogen peroxide, chromates, formaldehyde, bleaching agents, and various types of dyes. Then there is the energy consumption involved in having them stored in a fur vault during the summer, and in having them professionally cleaned.
Although the fur industry may try to promote fur as being in fashion, cruelty is something which should never be fashionable. The reality of fur is not humane traps and glamorous clothing. It is fear, pain, blood and death.
Warning: The video below is very graphic, showing a trapped fox being killed through crushing.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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