In Defense of Animals has been sending out requests for animal rights
activists to demonstrate against the wearing of furs for as long as I can
remember - probably since the 80's and 90's. At one time I was so happy to
see a group of young people in downtown Cleveland parading in front of the
then May Company with their banners proclaiming the cruelty of wearing
fur. I'm sure many of the larger cities had demonstrators who also engaged
in similar protests in front of large department stores and stores which
primarily sold furs.
Our wonderful group of activists disbanded sometime in the 90's. Sadly, there
weren't enough volunteers coming forward to do these worthwhile protests. I
was glad that I had participated in a couple of them before this happened. One
protest I attended was near the Metro Hospital where nurses were practicing
intubation on live cats. Those poor cats. I could well imagine just a little of
their pain because I sometimes even gag when brushing my tongue or when
the dentist's drill is too long in my mouth. To have a tube coming in and out of
their trachea seemed unimaginably cruel to us who came to protest. A
mannequin would have been a more humane teaching instrument.
Last year a small group of us did demonstrate in front of a small furrier. I don't
know whether that furrier is still in business, but I was even gladder to see on
TV this week that a much larger Cleveland furrier was closing two of its stores.
Is this a sign of the times? Are less people buying furs because of the economy
and/or are they coming to a realization that furs look a lot better on their original
owners? Or have they finally gotten the message that the harvesting of furs
either from mink or fox farms or from the woods is inherently cruel?
Re the closing of the two fur stores in Gr. Cleveland- while a victory for the
animals, it is a small one when one considers the many, many more stores out
there still engaging in the selling of furs and causing much suffering to the fur-
bearing animals who are killed for this vanity statement. The big stores like
Nordstrom, Saks, Macy's and Neiman Marcus are still very much in the fur
In November 2009 IDA sent out a "fur" flyer before the Thanksgiving weekend.
The beginning sentence started with a horrifying statistic: ---" FACT: Each year,
more than 50 MILLION fur bearing animals-including TWO MILLION DOGS and
CATS -are slaughtered for fashion."
In an Illinois fox farm an IDA undercover agent (Matt) taped how these wild animals
are forced to live their entire lives in filthy cages and are only released from their
confinement by being brutally killed by anal electrocution or the breaking of their
Blake Nordstrom whose family owns 176 stores in 28 cities and whose stores
are considered one of the country's foremost fashion retailers agreed to watch
Matt's tapes. He and his family do care about animals and refuse to wear furs
themselves and were appropriately disgusted by the tape. To their credit, they
no longer have fur salons in their stores and have removed all fur from their
private line. Unfortunately, the directors of Nordstrum were not so easily moved
or convinced that they should no longer sell furs. They claim that its customers
demand fur. Too bad that they can't show those customers the footage which
caused Matt so much pain to witness.
Here is Matt's personal account:
"My heart was breaking every day, and I was so depressed, and even more
furious that these poor creatures had to endure the stench, the boredom, and
the depravity of this living hell hole, for something as frivolous as a fur coat.
The ony thing worse than death for one of these furbearers is their life. Confined
inside tiny cages and exposed to harsh weather extremes, they run back and
forth acorss the wire desparate to escape, going mad, sometimes even
cannibalizing one another. I personally witnessed the callous indifference of
a fur farmer who denied water to foxes dying of dehydration. His rationale: "that's
one less fox I have to kill." And in the end, death came by anal electrocution, a
crude and horribly cruel process.
These were the most difficult, conflicted days of my life, but I felt I had no other
choice. I had to share this horror to change people's hearts, and I made a silent
promise to each fox that I wouldn't let their death be in vain. I would do
everything in my power to help end forever this needless suffering."
Thank you Matt. I can't imagine having to witness that cruelty day in and day out
and being powerless to do something -anything to help those poor foxes. I hope
anyone reading this will realize that the only way things will change is if we the
consumer will dry up the marketplace for furs. If you want to be an active
participant in ending this cruelty - don't buy fur or fur-trimmed products. You
can be stylish and warm by purchasing compassionate alternatives. For more
info visit IDA's web site: www.furkills.org