Poorva Joshipura: Only one type of fur is really humane. It's called 'faux fur'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Consumers who want to rest assured that no animal suffered for a fur garment need only look for one label: faux. Despite the fur industry's desperate attempts to dupe consumers into believing otherwise, the only humane fur is fake fur. Most people aren't comfortable with wearing fur that has been ripped from an animal's back – hence the fur industry's new "Origin Assured" (OA) label: a shameless attempt to make consumers feel good about buying an inherently cruel product. The labelling in no way translates into acceptable treatment of animals who are killed for their fur.

Not a single federal humane-slaughter law protects animals on fur farms in the US, which is one of the countries included on the OA list. This means that after spending their lives in tiny wire cages where they often go insane from confinement, animals on US fur farms may be killed by having rods forced into their anuses and being painfully electrocuted, being poisoned with strychnine or weed killer, being gassed or having their necks broken.

Animals who are caught in steel-jaw traps can suffer for days, with the trap's teeth cutting into their leg bones, before dying of blood loss, infection, gangrene or attacks by predators. Some animals, especially mothers who are desperate to return to their young, attempt to chew or twist off their trapped limbs. Trappers kill animals who are still alive when they return by jumping on their chests.

In Canada, another country on the OA list, hundreds of thousands of baby harp seals are bludgeoned for their fur each year. Sealers routinely hook live seals in the eye, cheek or mouth; drag them across the ice and beat in their skulls with steel-tipped clubs. Many of these gentle creatures may not even have eaten their first solid meal or taken their first swim before they are slaughtered for their skin, yet these babies' furs can bear the OA label.

No real fur can be considered humane because no animal would ever choose to die painfully so that someone can wear their fur. Luckily, it's the 21st century, and luxurious, humane options abound. There is simply no excuse for turning sentient animals into fashion victims.

Poorva Joshipura is Director of Special Projects at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) www.peta.org