Fur and Trapping
Using animals for fashion cheapens life—including our own.
Synthetic fabrics, both warmer and lighter than fur, have eliminated the
need to kill animals for their fur. Yet each year more than 40 million
animals are killed for their fur: minks, foxes, bobcats, beavers, raccoons,
sables, lynx, chinchillas—the list goes on and on. Each piece of fur trim
represents an animal who suffered and died; a full coat represents many
animals. There is no reason to kill animals for fashion, and many reasons
Supporters portray fur "farms" or "ranches" as humane
environments, but in fact, these facilities are little more than a series of
small wire cages in an open shed. Animals suffer extreme confinement and
poor housing conditions. Many of them exhibit behavioral disorders such as
constant pacing, self-mutilation, and infanticide. Many suffer physical
abnormalities as a result of inbreeding. They suffer as they die, too: neck
breaking, gassing, and anal electrocution are the most common methods of
killing animals raised for fur.
Trapping is well known for the suffering it causes—torn
flesh and tendons, broken bones, dislocated joints, crushed pelvises,
swelling, and blood loss. Traps and snares, especially the archaic steel-jaw
leghold trap, have been so maligned in the United States that many believe
they have been banned. While both the number of active trappers and the
number of animals who fall victim to these inhumane devices have declined,
the leghold trap remains the most commonly used trap in the United States,
despite a reported 74% of Americans who want the trap banned (Caravan
Opinion Research Corporation, October 1996).
Strides have been made to eliminate the use of cruel and
indiscriminate traps in the United States, with eight states (Washington,
California, Massachusetts, Colorado, Arizona, New Jersey, Florida, and Rhode
Island) now banning their use. And the notion of trapping as an essential
wildlife management tool is being dismissed with the success of these bans.
The public has accepted trapping as an anachronism that should be relegated
to the history books.
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