No to fur

Posts Tagged ‘thoughts’

The fight against the fur industry

Posted by oneandonlyhypnos on January 20, 2010

In Europe a battle is waging…the struggle between ethics and empathy on the one hand and profits, cruelty and indifference on the other. The last few years have been hard for animal activists, but not without result. Recently Ireland became yet another european nation that banned fur production: Ireland bans fur
Ireland now joined countries such as England, Scotland, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, …

The struggle against fur is also mounting in traditionally pro fur countries such as Norway or Danmark. Recently Danmark outlawed the breeding of foxes for fur out of ethical concerns, and now the fur industry is again feeling threatened. Danish TV2 plans to air images taken of 32 different Danish fur breeders showing the deplorable conditions in which the animals live, newspaper Extra Bladet will also do an exposé. And just like in the US, the fur industry is going beserk. Norwegian Animal Rights group Nettverk for dyrs frihet (network for animal freedom) made a fitting post about it on their blog. (If you just happen to read norwegian, here it is: Danish minkbreeders panicking

Basically Danish fur breeders are trying everything to counter the truth about their bloody business. They issued a ‘bounty'(crazy right?) for information about the people who took the images of the minkfarms,they linked the footage to illegal activities (releasing of minks in the area) … and more of the same Shenanigans that also happen regulary in the US or Canada. But here comes the good part…Extra Bladet is actually defending the cause of the animals and is fighting back. Even better: journalist Miki Mistrati openly declared that the fur industry is just trying to divert attention from the terrible conditions in which the animals live.

Now why do I find this so exciting and important? Well, for starters this means that we are making progress and that opinions and views are shifting in our society. More so here in the EU then in the US (example: only +- 40% of US citizens are against fur). The climate is also quite different. I have never observed american/canadian reporters defend animal activists, causes or groups (or at least not as explicit as we get here).

What does all of this mean? For one thing: things are looking up for the animals. Now that fur is being tackled even in traditionally pro fur nations, vegetarianism/veganism is on the rise too. In Danmark alone the Danish vegetarian union doubled their memberships. In Ghent and other cities here in Belgium we know have one vegetarian day a week,… I can keep on going like this for quite some time. This tells me that there is hope for the future, and that a step by step approach is helping society evolve.

But what puzzles me is this: how come we don’t see such results in Canada, Australia or the US? This is where you come in. I want to know. What do you think is the major difference between the animal activism and the ‘climate’ in Europe and the US/Canada or Australia. I often wonder about these things and I honestly find it staggering that with so much work and effort, there is so little result. What do you think: How come? Is a different strategy needed for certain countries? Are some countries just hopeless causes? Did something go wrong? Does the opposition (special interest groups) have more power or influence in certain countries and how do we stop them?

This post was crossposted on the vegansoapbox and appeared originally at the empathy for animals blog

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Victory in the fight against fur!

Posted by oneandonlyhypnos on April 4, 2009

The fight against fur once seemed to be an almost impossible undertaking, but more and more victory seems to be within our grasp.

Recently major retailer JC Penny decided to go fur free! Even better is the announcement that the italian Benetton group will go fur free as of 2010. (link )

With their new fur-free policy, Benetton and all of its influential brands are sending a powerful message that cruelty has no place in fashion,” said Andrew Page, senior director of the Fur-Free campaign for The HSUS. “We are thrilled to recognize Italy’s largest retailer for setting a new standard of compassion — one which will undeniably reverberate throughout the global fashion industry.”

In order to improve the moral of everyone who fights fur – and to utterly destroy the good mood of fur loving fashionistas): allow me to present you with a list of recent victories and evidence that this cruel international trade is being taken into a stranglehold…

1. In recent years fur breeding was made illegal in the United Kingdom, Austria, Croatia and Bosnia Hercegovina.
2. In Holland the fur farming of foxes and chinchilla’s has been outlawed. And now parliament is discussing outlawing mink fur farming as well.
3. Fox fur farming has been outlawed in Sweden and is currently being discussed in Denmark.
4. Pressure in mounting in Norway to pass legislation against the fur trade, especially now that disturbing footage has been made public of norwegian fur farms. Fur farms that were supposed to be amongst the best in the world…Where have we heard that before? If you want to see the footage, visit this forbypels.no
5. Cat and dog fur have been made illegal in the European Union (such legislation is still necessary in the US). And yes, much cat and dog fur is being used in fur products. French customs officers recently confiscated a large batch of illegal dog fur trim.
6. In Ireland, pressure is mounting to outlaw fur farming
7. Israel is well on it’s way to become the very first fur free nation in the entire world. Knesset member Nitzan Horowitz proposed legislation that will outlaw not only the production of fur, but also all import of this unnecessary and cruel product. More information can be found on the site of the international anti-fur coalition

One of the reasons for the proposed ban is again, dog fur…

Last month, a report on Israel’s channel 10, led by SPCA Israel and International Anti-Fur Coalition, had revealed that items from the top fashion chain stores to cheap toys in bazaars, that what was being sold as fake fur was indeed real fur. Lab tests had shown that several articles taken from leading Israeli brands and sold as fake fur were made of dog and rabbit fur!

This is just the tip of the iceberg, when it comes to the fight against fur. It would seem that some sense of decency, morality and empathy is going to win out against fashion whims and vanity. At least let us hope so. Untill then, I will march against the fur industry. Are you with me?

Than lets march on…

And yes, I do like to play command and conquer, perhaps a bit to much…

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Liz Hurley loves her fur

Posted by oneandonlyhypnos on March 3, 2009

I’ve heard and read some weird and wacked out statements before in order to defend the fur trade. But this is absolutely insane. Elizabeth Hurley has recently become the new face for Blackglama. In an ad she poses in mink fur coats. During the last couple of months, this attracted some media attention. This article is the paramount of fur madness that I have ever seen. You can read this nice pice of prose here.

After nearly suffering a heart attack, caused by the rethoric and flawed logic in these statements and crazy reasoning, I decided to write of my frustrations in this little rant…

Here it comes

In Iceland, parts of the shore where the seals congregate were sold as agricultural assets. Farmers would facilitate the natural seal colonies, protecting them from predators, and once a year they’d cull them. But since the seal market has collapsed, so have the care and value of the shoreline, and so have the seals. All over the North Sea, their populations are fluctuating. They’re caught in fishing nets, shot by fishermen. They hang around ports and fish farms like water foxes. The seals have gone from being valuable, protected and plentiful, to being waterborne vermin and endangered, because we have removed their value thanks to ignorant squeamishness and class politics.

sealing is however still happening in Iceland! And yes, the number of seals in the entire North Sea is declining. But the reasons are not the ‘evil’ ethical consumers who refuse to wear fur. The BBC reported in 2002 that seals are succoumbing to a disease called the phocine distemper virus (PDV). This isn’t the first time either:

On 11 July, the scientists reported on the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat’s website that more than 1,400 dead animals had been recorded in Scandinavia and nearly 60 on the Dutch coast.

They wrote then: “The mortality of harbour seals during the 1988 outbreak in the above areas was estimated at 40 to 60 % of the population.

“It is hard to predict how many seals will die during the current PDV epidemic and this will depend on different factors, including acquired immunity, pollutant load, and general health status.”

Indeed, the number of seals has continued to decline the last couple of years, but not just the seals. As the Telegraph
reported the number of sea birds has dropped as well. Is that because we don’t turn them into coats? Or could it be that the causes of these problems are somewhat more complex than what you and certain furriers would claim? Seals are being shot, that is correct. Far to often even and totally legal (so far for sqeamishness. But it is clearly not the only problem. As we can also read here: link

There have always been people who are funny about their relationship with animals — vegetarians who got religion, a few people who swept the street in front of them so as not to hurt a flightless fly — but the majority of us, the vast, vast majority, have gone on eating anything dumb enough to taste good with chips, and squashing cockroaches wherever possible. But that odd prejudice, the fatwa on fur, has become automatic and universal in our select and ethically compromised bit of the First World. The virulence and viciousness of fur vigilantes mean that few of us now bother to brave the spittle-flecked venom of that nylon Taliban of self-righteous pressure groups and dim, new-age absolutists. The argument against fur has always been more about class and money than dumb critters.

Aside from the fact that this entire piece of prose is full of contempt for just about anyone who is against fur (which is the majority of the british, dutch, belgian, german, austrian public (and many other countries). It show the clear lacking – or unwillingness – of understanding why the public feels making animals suffer for a piece of luxury fabric is wrong.

With this remark about eating dumb animals the writer tries to defend wearing fur by comparing it to something else…eating meat. This is typical and fundamentally flawed. I refuted this sort of wacked out thinking in my previous blogpost. You can find it here: is fur the same as leather?. I don’t need to go into it further here.

The writer also seems to claim that only people in ‘the first world’ are opposed to wearing fur. This is not true either. Fur farming has been made illegal in Croatia: link. Croatia is as you well know a former member of the USSR and a so called Second world country. The majority of the population is also against fur, just like many ‘evil’ western folks. This country has also outlawed seal products of the inhumane canadian seal hunt. source. Mexico isn’t that found of seal fur either, but they aren’t the ‘First world’. source

Opposition to the fur industry seems to be more of a world wide phenomena. It’s not about being poor or rich. That’s just pure nonsense and rethoric. It’s not about class and money. This shows a clear lack of understanding of the WHY. This is the why:

What is the WHY of wearing fur. Vanity as far as I am concerned.

Now…on with the provocative statements:

Of all the animals that we kill for our personal use, mink have by far and away the easiest passing: well fed and unstressed, they’re gently gassed.

Yes, absolutely right. As we could all see in the clip above! I guess free range chickens should envy mink and foxes.

Many furriers and fur fashionista’s claim that the animals have a good life and are ‘put to sleep’ by CO or CO2 gas. They are not put to sleep, but slaughtered…putting to sleep is what the vet does. There is virtually no scientific evidence by the way that proves that these animals die a ‘humane’ death.

Cotton is an ecological nightmare. Our demands for a cheap, inexhaustible T-shirt supply cause more damage than oil wells. Cotton has to be grown as a mono-crop, so you can’t have cotton in your allotment, or sell it in the farmers’ market

Have you ever heard of organic cotton? Of Hemp clothing or other ecological alternatives? Eco-fashion is a hype these days, and it seems the fur industry is trying to ‘green up’ their image.

What about fur trim stiched to cotton or polyester clothing by the way? Or what about jeans? What’s the idea really? Jeans made from mink as the green alternative?

And if you’re still not convinced, then would you for a moment consider your own cushions, your pillow. The feathers inside, the bird fur, where do you imagine that came from?

You mean my synthetic pillow? Or the one in the store with bird feathers from animals killed for meat, who actually were able to walk around and interact and live a somewhat normal life? Yes, I now about intensive farming…an other wrong doesn’t make the other right. And not all farming is the same: free range, bio-labels,…

I could go on like this…The ‘fur warriors’ always come up with the most ridiculous excuses to wear fur. At some times it is tiresome. It is as if any logical argument that has ever been made against these insane practices just evaporates. These people are impervious to logic…or compassion.

And since so many people like the ‘I rather go naked than wear fur campaign’… Here is another clip. This time: Amanda Beard speaking out against fur.

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Norwegian fur documentary

Posted by oneandonlyhypnos on March 1, 2009

Here is a small norwegian made documentary about fur ‘farming’. It is fascinating to notice the difference in the way the animals are kept, that are shown to the public (as you can see at the beginning of the documentary), and how they really live on those fur farms.

And don’t worry, they speak english! No need to learn norwegian.

Part 1:

Part 2:

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Is fur green? part 1

Posted by oneandonlyhypnos on February 28, 2009

If I have to believe what fur traders are claiming, fur is back in the market. People apparently get their kicks again from fur and it’s OK ‘again’. I have my doubts about that, but it does not even matter to me if fur is ‘in fashion’ or out of fashion. What I care about is sound ethical arguments. What I care about is: Is it just what is being done to these animals for a bit of fur trim or other fashion items?

I am not the only person that asks himself this question, and I guess the fur industry knows it. Organizations like PETA, HSUS and other animal right groups have been campainging heavily against the fur trade, which they claim is unethical. Likewise animal welfare organizations such as the british RSPCA, are not too keen about fur: don’t be fooled by fur

Lately, people have been bombarded with fur ads by the fur industry. They almost throw the fur-bearing anorexic models in our face and celebs dress up in it.

But this was not enough, these days you can easily come across a campaign of the fur council claiming that fur is green. Fur is apparently the new sort of eco fashion. The environmental activist according to the campaign: activist So I guess, we will soon run into Greenpeace activists dressed up in mink and sable? NOT so fast!

Let’s take a good look at this campaign. First and foremost, let us delve into the ecological argument. On this part of the website we can read the following statement: ecological

up to one gallon of petroleum – a non-renewable resource – is needed to produce three synthetic jackets. The production of synthetic fibers also involves chemical reactions at high temperatures, producing potentially harmful substances.

Here they are attacking synthetic clothing. clothing is often made from polyesters these days. But what they are saying seems to be somewhat misleading. To asses if their statement is correct, we must delve into the wonderful world of polyesters. The website of the Australian government has some very interesting information to share with us on this issue. I will quote the most important paraghraps on my blog. you can read the original text here.

Polyesters play a predominant role as biodegradable plastics due to their potentially hydrolysable ester bonds. As shown in Figure 3.1 below, the polyester family is made of two major groups – aliphatic (linear) polyesters and aromatic (aromatic rings) polyesters.

Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are aliphatic polyesters naturally produced via a microbial process on sugar-based medium, where they act as carbon and energy storage material in bacteria. They were the first biodegradable polyesters to be utilised in plastics. The two main members of the PHA family are polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) and polyhydroxyvalerate (PHV).

Aliphatic polyesters such as PHAs, and more specifically homopolymers and copolymers of hydroxybutyric acid and hydroxyvaleric acid, have been proven to be readily biodegradable. Such polymers are actually synthesised by microbes, with the polymer accumulating in the microbes’ cells during growth.

Off course synthetics entail more than polyesters. On wikipedia you can find a lot of usefull information on this topic. For those that are interested: synthetic fiber

If you take the time to look into their argument against synthetics, it just does not make sense. There are biodegradable synthetic fibers. It can be environmentally sound. And it should too! We all wear t-shirts…what do you think they were made from? What do we have to do? Produce T-shirts made from mink? How if fur going to solve environmental problems? How is fur trim helping the environment? After all, it is stiched to a synthetic piece of fabric, isn’t it? So how is fur making it any better?

There are some other…quite interesting remarks being made on their website:

Fur tanning (“dressing”) and coloring, however, are relatively benign, as they must be, to preserve fur hairs and follicles. (By contrast, in leather tanning the hair is intentionally removed from the hide.)

The main chemicals used to “dress” fur pelts are table salt, water, alum salts, soda ash, sawdust, cornstarch, lanolin and other natural ingredients. Small quantities of formaldehyde can be used to protect fur follicles during dressing or dyeing, and gentle acids (e.g., acetic acid, which is vinegar) activate the tanning process, but local environmental protection controls ensure that there are no harmful effluents. Excess fats are skimmed and even PH levels must be neutralized before wastewater is released. And because furs are available in an extraordinary range of natural colours, only a small proportion are dyed.

On first glance, the word formaldehyde jumps out as far as I am concerned. Why you might ask? Because formaldehyde is a dangerous substance. On wikipedia we can find the following:

Formaldehyde is classified as a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that there is “sufficient evidence” that occupational exposure to formaldehyde causes nasopharyngeal cancer in humans.

That does not seem very green to me…What do you think about this?

Off course they state that it is sometimes used and they only use ‘a little’. But what exactly is sometimes? What exactly is a little? And we will have to take their word on it, since they just state their ‘facts’ and hardly back anything up with solid hard evidence.

What is even more shocking to me, is that they use so-called ‘gentle acids’. They just happen to mention acetic acid. That is not so gentle as they may want you to believe…On wikipedia we can read the following:

Concentrated acetic acid is corrosive and must therefore be handled with appropriate care, since it can cause skin burns, permanent eye damage, and irritation to the mucous membranes. These burns or blisters may not appear until hours after exposure. Latex gloves offer no protection, so specially resistant gloves, such as those made of nitrile rubber, should be worn when handling the compound. Concentrated acetic acid can be ignited with difficulty in the laboratory. It becomes a flammable risk if the ambient temperature exceeds 39 °C (102 °F), and can form explosive mixtures with air above this temperature (explosive limits: 5.4%–16%). The hazards of solutions of acetic acid depend on the concentration.

They also state that acetic acid is vinegar, apparently…but that totally correct. On wikipedia we can find the following: “Acetic acid, also known as ethanoic acid, is an organic acid, giving vinegar its sour taste and pungent smell” It is not vinegar itself. It is the main ingredient.

The ‘fur is green’ site also mentions soda ash and labels it natural, BUT they forget to mention that most soda ash is being produced synthetically via the ‘Solvay process’. If it is synthetic, it’s not a natural ingredient…

I can go on like this for quite some time and this way I will most likely bore you all to death… But I’m just trying to show that it’s not that simple and clear cut as the makers of this website (the furcouncil) will have you believe.

You can find more information on the fur is green campaign on the blog of Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society of the United States of America: link

You can also find more information here: cruelty is not green

Keep an eye on this blog, I will write part 2 on the ‘fur is green’ website soon. And feel free to comment if you have something to add…

Now, on a lighter note…here is a video that actually mentions the campaign ‘fur is green’.

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fur: the spark of a celebrity war

Posted by oneandonlyhypnos on February 19, 2009

Fur has been a controversial subject for several decades. It seems that almost no one is left without strong feelings against or pro fur. And anyone who follows the media and has not been living on the planet Mars is surely well aware of this.

The way I look at it, Hollywood and celebrities reflect our society…up to a degree off course. What lives in the media has an influence on us all. When somebody wants to make a point and wants to reach people, celebs will be involved. If you want to sell a product (fur, or for what I care a ball of string: celebs!).

Not only does it reflect our society, we often are influenced by them. They are – in their own way – powerful people and can sway public opinion.

When I turn my TV on I can see that a big and controversial subject – the theme of this blog by the way – is being fought on the small/big screen, in the tabloids, blogs, sites, magazines,…

And that subject is fur. Is it ethical to farm animals for fur? Is it o.k. to trap animals and kill theme to have a little bit of trim? People feel strongly about this, not just activists, but just about everybody it seems.

There seems to be some sort of divide in society, some are totally against and others totally pro. There is no doubt about it, the ‘battle’ of fur rages in the media. Take this recent article for example: celebs wearinf fur

It shows pictures of celebrities turning to fur as a ‘fashion statement’: people included are Eva Longoria, Jessica Simpson, Kelly Rowland or Demi Moore. Naturally not left without respons from animal right protesters, welfarists and others.

On the other side we can find people like Pamela Anderson, Pink (Alicia Moore), Christina Applegate, Jamelia, Christy Turlington, Christina Aguilera (wears only fake fur) or singer Leona Lewis

Lewis for example is a woman who clearly feels very strongly about fur, as she is quoted as saying:

She added to Britain’s Hello! magazine: “I don’t have anything against the store or the owner – all I am against is fur. I think it’s totally cruel and I can’t endorse or support anything related to that as it’s against my beliefs, no matter what you pay me.

Apparently she turned down one million pounds to open a shop that sells fur (this proves off course: if you want to sell something, try to use celebs). Personally, I have a lot of respect for that.

Anyways…with this small opening post I just wanted to make clear what this blog is about: fur and how society looks at it, the ethics of it all, pro’s and cons, fur addicted celebrities and the anti-fur celebs battling it out… It is going to be an interesting ride.

OK…I could not resist it, just about any site on the net about this topic is apparently packing at least one PETA poster against fur…here is mine

Christy Turlington

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