Animal
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Animal
Rights
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Newsletter - Animal Writes sm
25 August 1999 Issue

TRAPPING and FUR
Excerpted from ARO chat log of 8/22/99
Speaker - FurCare@aol.com

Trapping is a cruel method of collecting animals for fur. The most common method of trapping is the leghold trap used by some 80% of trappers. This trap clamps the leg of the animal and is secured to prevent the animal from escaping. The trapper comes along later and kills the animal, most commonly by clubbing or shooting. Commonly trapped animals include mink, raccoon, skunk, coyote, fox and beaver. Trappers are business people, not sportsmen. They are in this for money and that creates a number of problems.

Trappers claim to be useful in controlling animal populations...not so. Game departments have no way of predicting the amount of animals that trappers will take since it is a business. When fur prices are down...so are trappers. Fur prices usually go down when animal populations go up... simple supply and demand economics...so they cannot be effective in any predictable way in population control. Trappers do not contribute to PR taxes with the equipment they use...so they cannot claim to be "paying for conservation" as hunters do. They are basically freeloaders taking from OUR resources and giving nothing in return. Traps themselves are a cruel method for animals to die. After the animal is caught it is exposed to many dangers until it is killed. Predators are just one of these dangers. Rather than "preventing" diseases like rabies, trapping can actually increase exposure to other animals. If a sick animal is caught, it is held where it can be exposed to any dogs, cats or other wild animals that come along, rather than being able to escape.

Now as to fur itself...fur produces no heat...it is an insulator, not a heat source. The animals metabolism provides heat by converting food into energy...the fur holds it in...more correctly, fur is part of the SYSTEM that holds it in. The fur that people wear is commonly known as "guard hairs". The thick, woolly hair that lies underneath is removed by the furrier. That is the true insulator of the fur...that is also what you see an animal "shedding" in the spring. The layer of fat is also an insulator, and of course that is removed also. The long soft guard hairs are actually there to whisk away moisture...and to increase surface area for cooling in the summer. What we are left with is the animals cooling system... not his insulation. Therefore, fur is not a good insulator when compared to the way it is supposed to function. Fur is also not nearly as good as synthetics on the environment. Synthetics are much more efficient than fur at retaining heat.

That is why our homes are insulated with fiberglass and not recycled hair from the barber shop. Most all synthetics are by-products of oil production. Oil is mined for gasoline and heating fuels, mainly...it is NOT mined for fabric. When gasoline and fuel oils are refined, certain WASTE products are produced...these can be dumped in the environment...or used for other products. Chemical companies BUY this waste from the refineries and produce useful products from it. Thereby REDUCING the waste placed in the environment. Were it not for oil BY-products we would have much MORE toxic waste...not less.

Now, fur..in theory fur is environmentally friendly....but not in practice. Fur IS biodegradable...SO biodegradable that it must be preserved...And waterproofed, to a point and the hide must be tanned. Chemicals are used for this...silicones and TriCloroethene are the most common..also Toluene. ALL very dangerous and toxic chemicals. Then the coats and other articles receive a synthetic liner and insulation, because fur really isn't that good at insulating as we get it. So there is no PRACTICAL reason for fur. And therein lies our argument..most fur buyers could care less about animal cruelty....but if you can convince a fur buyer that synthetics are a better value...he may not buy fur. And what do WE care WHY they DON'T buy fur? Look at it this way....you can buy a fur coat... or you can buy an excellent synthetic coat for 10% of the cost... and heat your entire home for several years with the savings!!!! Turn up the thermostat!!!! Think of that!!!! You can have an excellent coat and heat for your home for the price of a fur coat...and synthetics save more too. No special cleaning or storage costs. Synthetics are the way to go!!!!!! Environmentally friendly, inexpensive, efficient.

The oil industry has problems ... no doubt. But not buying synthetics is not the way to correct their problems. The oil industry does not make synthetics...they make waste, chemical companies make synthetics. NOT buying synthetics would raise oil prices...and increase waste disposed. Now if we mined oil FOR synthetics, it would be a different story. But we don't. Imagine if someone came to your home and PAID you for the trash that you threw in a landfill... then made something useful from it and sold it for a profit...would that be bad or good for the environment?

This is an argument for ARAs to use other than ethics..it may work to convince more people...and that is the goal.

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