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20 December 1998 Issue

Thoughts on Fur
By Gary Yourofsky

After an 18-month undercover investigation, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) released appalling information about the fur industry's clandestine and worldwide dealings in domestic dog and cat fur. Millions of Americans tuned in to Dateline NBC on December 15 and watched in horror as an Asian dog furrier slowly skinned a German Shepherd alive.

The brutality was swiftly condemned by the TV-news magazine and a majority of Americans who empathized with human's closest companion. However, virtually no one wanted to recognize the hypocrisy in not condemning the entire industry of fur.

First and foremost, what's the difference between coyote fur and a dog fur? The thought-provoking animal rights adage "Why do we call some animals pets and others dinner?" can be slightly altered to rhetorically answer the first question: "Why do we call some animals pets and others fur coats?"

The continual demarcation of one sentient being over another is unethical and unjustifiable. Moreover, this arbitrary discriminatory mind-set only allows the relentless exploitation of non-human animals to flourish.

The HSUS report documented dogs and cats living in deplorable conditions waiting to be hanged, suffocated, bludgeoned or skinned alive. However, minks, foxes and chinchillas live and die in similarly hideous ways. Manual neck-breakings, mass gassings, anal electrocutions, genital electrocutions, drowning and toxic chemical injections are the standard killing techniques on every fur farm. Plus, the snaring of millions of free-roaming animals like coyotes, cougars and wolves in vicious steel-jaw leg hold traps is comparably vile.

The HSUS story should shock no one. The fur industry exists to profit off the deaths of fur-bearing animals; domestic or non-domestic. It is void of ethics, compassion and altruism.

Antithetically, the animal rights movement exists to eradicate the injustice, iniquity and barbarity hurled upon our planetary companions. It has no money vested in the freedom of animals. In fact, if the depraved forms of animal exploitation were abolished, animal rights humanitarians would only gain justice. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of individuals and corporations would stand to lose hundreds of billions of dollars. Therefore, it is easy to understand why the myriad forms of animal murder, especially the bloody, nefarious and shameless fur trade, escape total condemnation.

Also, those guileful magicians who work for the fur industry's public relations departments and entice the media with those defeasible fur-is-back stories, create a smokescreen of misinformation. The spin doctors manipulate sales figures even though the new Sandy Parker Reports (SPR), a fur trade publication, stated that fur farmers will be cutting back this season due to low pelt prices, an outbreak of distemper and fur farm raids.

SPR also said that some of the 440 U.S. fur farms are expected to go out of business in early '99. And, if the situation doesn't improve by the February auctions, others will sink, too.

Anyone who condones the lamentable industry of fur should call ADAPTT at 810-763-2715 or DogmaDay@aol.com and request a four minute fur farming video. Then, if anyone still believes that any fur is acceptable, I suggest she or he reflect on the meanings of empathy, morality, honor and dignity. India's great leader Mohandas Gandhi once proclaimed, "The life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. The more helpless the creature is, the more it is entitled to protection from humans from the cruelty of humans."

For more information on fur, contact J.P. Goodwin of the Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade (CAFT) at 214-503-1419 or MinkLib@aol.com

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