From all-creatures.org
and The Mary T. and
Frank L. Hoffman
Family Foundation

Letter from PETA to Rev. Ross About His Fox Fur Farm - Sep 2010

[Ed. Note: Also read Callous Clergy Corrupt Churches: Rev. Richard Ross of St. Bernard Catholic Church and Tell the Rev. Richard Ross to Close His Fox Fur Farm.]

August 16, 2010

The Rev. Richard Ross, Pastor
St. Bernard Parish
1313 Ridgewood Ave
Joliet, IL 60432-2698

Dear Rev. Ross,

Peace be with you. As a Catholic who works for PETA, the world’s largest animal rights
organization, I was shocked to learn that you reportedly operate a “fur farm” at 17135
Rosalind St. in Joliet on which you keep foxes confined in cruelly unnatural conditions to
be slaughtered and skinned for their fur. I write today to ask you, respectfully, on
behalf of PETA’s members and other decent, compassionate people, that you stop
intensively confining, killing, and skinning God’s creatures in order to make money.

Video footage and photographs of the operation were recently sent to our office. They
show dozens of foxes who are crammed in cages with little or no shelter from the sun,
scorching heat, and snow and who are forced to stand, walk, and rest on the cages’ rusted
wire floors. According to an eyewitness, the foxes are confined in this manner 24 hours a
day, every day, until they are finally killed. We suspect that they are killed through genital
or anal electrocution, as is usually done so that fur farmers can spare as much of the
animals’ pelts as possible. The photos that were sent to us show that some cages confine
up to five foxes at a time and that some of the animals are provided with murky, green
drinking water. Video footage shows one fox pacing and spinning rapidly in circles—
likely a “stereotypic” behavior indicative of the stress, boredom, and/or frustration caused
by the inhumane conditions in which these animals are warehoused.

The church teaches that humanity’s dominion demands “a religious respect for the
integrity of creation.” Conditions at this “farm” mock creation. Foxes naturally claim and
defend their own territory and run at high speeds in order to cover large areas—caging
them in groups in small spaces makes this impossible. Denying animals the opportunity to
live according to their God-given nature like this ignores their “particular goodness,”
which we must respect lest we make “disordered use of [them],” showing “contempt of
the Creator and … bring[ing] disastrous consequences,” such as stereotypic behavior. As
His Holiness Benedict XVI stated during his previous tenure, an “industrial use of
creatures” in which animals “live so packed together that they become just caricatures of”
themselves causes the “degrading of living creatures to a commodity [and] seems to …
contradict the relationship of mutuality that comes across in the Bible.”

While the church teaches that using animals for clothing is “legitimate,” it is “contrary to
human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly.” There is no need, today, for
fur and its inherent cruelty and death. Please leave this perverted industry behind, Father.
Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.

Dan Paden
Cruelty Investigations Department
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)