I am glad that an article about fur was included in the News (“Fur in the Elm City,” Nov. 10). However, I feel that this article did not capture all of the ethical concerns of wearing fur. All animals used for fur, whether they are trapped or raised in a fur farm, lead miserable lives fraught with intense suffering. Animals are often left in traps for days as they desperately struggle to escape, sometimes even chewing off their own limbs in an attempt to get free. The use of traps also results in the unintended capture of other animals, including pets and endangered species. On fur farms, animals are kept crammed in tiny cages throughout their life before they are killed using the most brutal of methods, including anal electrocution and live skinning. The horrors that these animals must endure so that shoppers can continue to buy “stylish” clothing is completely unjustifiable, especially when faux fur and other forms of warm outerwear are so easily available. I encourage anyone who is unconvinced to watch “The Witness,” an award-winning documentary depicting the plight of animals raised for fur, or to visit one of several Web sites examining the issue, such as furkills.org.
Furthermore, I feel that the level of opposition to fur in the larger animal rights community goes beyond that depicted in the article. Several other major groups, in addition to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, take a very active stance against the fur industry, such as the Humane Society, In Defense of Animals and Compassion Over Killing, and they each employ a variety of tactics to dissuade customers from purchasing fur. Major retailers and designers such as Calvin Klein, Bebe, Express and Guess have pledged to go fur-free in recent years, and in 2008 the European Union created a complete ban on the import, export and sale of cat and dog fur. This really is an issue that is extremely important to the animal rights movement, and any further coverage of this topic should take into account all relevant facts and give adequate consideration to divergent viewpoints.
Finally, I would like to point out that Friday, Nov. 27 is Fur-Free Friday, an annual event organized by animal advocates to protest the fur industry. This is a perfect opportunity for all consumers who buy fur to step back and consider the sort of industry practices that their purchases are supporting.
The writer is a sophomore in Silliman College and the President of the Yale College Student Animal Welfare Alliance.