Sunday, October 23, 2011

thoughts on fur

"No one in the world needs a mink coat but a mink." - Murray Banks

It's that time of year again here in Northern Virginia, and many other parts of the world when a chill in the air has us reaching for our jackets, as folks trade in their iced lattes for a steaming hot cup a joe. Recently, Kris and I headed out to a nearby retailer so I could purchase a new Fall jacket to replace the older one I had broken. Despite all the leather ones, none of which I , personally would ever buy, I was happy to have found a real nice, stylish, durable weather-proof jacket, free of any animal-based materials. Thankfully, it didn't take long at all to find, with my wife's help.  Looking at the nearby coat section for women made me happy I wasn't a girl however, seeing so many coats lined with fur of some sort. Some were downright hideous, and while I know that faux-fur is a common trend, I sincerely hoped that an animal didn't die to be made into something so incredibly ugly. The fact of the matter is however that no single animal should be killed in the name of fashion ever, period.  Unless you live in a native tribe somewhere on a vast frozen wasteland, the wearing of an animal's fur should be obsolete. Unfortunately, I know of many good folks who, due to lack of knowledge (or perhaps a decidedly ignorant stance) still find the wearing of fur as stylish and acceptable. One thing I make an effort to do when I blog is focus on the positives in life and the things that are good and make me happy or fulfilled in some way. There's nothing worse than reading a rant-fest blog,  or people who constantly complain, whine, and dwell in the negative all the time. Still, in "keeping it real", I occasionally blog about some realities that might not always be so "happy happy joy joy", to quote the great Ren & Stimpy. In this case, the reality that many people don't realize, and sometimes even refuse to acknowledge is that there is absolutely nothing glamorous about wearing the hide of an animal(s) who was brutally tortured, beaten and killed in the name of fashion and greed.

I recall a wonderful scene from the amazing Planet Earth documentary series where Tibetan citizens renounced the wearing of fur and animal skins by burning them in a fire, at the kind urging of the Dalai Lama, who himself started taking action against the illegal fur trade, a trade that many desperate Tibetans were getting sucked into at one point. You can read more about this HERE. As an eternal optimist, I believe that this will be a small but growing trend in the future of humankind, a tiny contribution towards the betterment of our world rather than towards the corruption of it. This might seem futile in a time of such human rage and violence, but rather than subscribing to what some people believe to be gloom and doom, "end days", and similar garbage, I believe that things will indeed get better for people, and all living beings in the future. That's a whole other topic however. The point is, it's the small steps like the one previously illustrated here, that will make a big difference towards the welfare of both humankind and animals alike.

It's a wonderful thing to have the freedom to choose in our society, and there will be people who choose ignorance over compassion, for a myriad of unfortunate reasons I won't get into here. I will say however that if you find fashion and so-called glamour to be of more importance than the lives and well-being of innocent animals suffering and dying in unspeakably wretched conditions, so be it. I feel for you though. If you choose certain trends dictated by the fashion industry over the possible extinction of some of the planet's most rare, majestic and incredible, respectable beasts, then so be it. Again, I feel for you. I know that most people in American culture regard dogs and cats, their pets, almost as members of their own family, and sometimes even treat them better than they would most other people. The animals sacrificed for the fur industry are no different, and it's incredibly tragic that they had to spend their dying days in the most unfortunate of situations, created and supported by the people, the buyer, the impressionable consumer. The choice indeed is ours.

I'd like to end this post with one of my favorite quotes by a man, much like the Dalai Lama, who spent his entire life dedicated to fearless spiritual and moral advancement,  Mahatma Gandhi :
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."