(JLibourel @ April 11 2005,15:54) For some reason I couldn't access the video. It seems to me that the number of pelts required to make garments is greatly hyped in many cases on that site. Thirty wolf pelts for one coat? Maybe if King Kong heads north. Eight mountain lion pelts for one coat? (Didn't think they really were much good for fur, being rather short haired.) How do you get fur off a sable antelope? Who the hell wears opposum fur--the grubby looking things. Let's look at the positive side of fur. It is very eco-friendly in some ways. Furbearing mammals are a readily renewable resource. Many of them are abundant enough to be pests--nutria in the American South and beaver that are making a strong comeback in many places, for example. If fur is a sustainable cash crop, it is an incentive for preserving wetlands and other wild areas. Trapping and harvesting fur is often an important source of income to native/indigenous peoples. Contrast this with the ecological damage wrought by sheep, my wool wearing friends, or cattle, all you of who wear leather shoes, or the destruction of wild habitat to raise cotton or flax. A consistent philosophy toward animals is probably an impossibility. We sanction hunting but severly punish dogfighting--go figure. Unless you either are strict vegan and believe that animals have equal rights and equities with humans or go to the other extreme and hold that society should impose no standards whatsoever on how animals should be treated (anti-cruelty laws, etc.)--and both these extremes are unacceptable to normal decent people--we are going to remain inconsistent. Frankly, I lo-o-o-ve fur when it is adorning a sexy young woman (quality fur, anyway--sable, mink, etc.)...or even a sexy middle-aged woman, for that matter. Fortunately, my wife doesn't care for fur...which is just as well. The only way I could ever festoon her in sable is by winning a high-dollar lottery.
I think the main issue here is not using the animals for their products, but rather the way that they are housed and killed. Â True - animals are a renewable resource, but you also have to remember that you are taking the life of a living thing. Â The difference between hunting and the behavior seen on the video is that most hunters will take a shot at the vital organs or a head shot and get a clean kill, rather than knocking an animal unconscious, cutting off it's limbs, and skinning it while still half-alive. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of fur (though I do have a pair of soft rabbit fur-lined leather gloves, and a shearling coat - but I consider that to be leather). Â To me it's overly glamorous and showy - very flaunty and unnecessary. Â Unless you live in Siberia. Â But that's just my opinion. I guess my hippie-ness has been exposed on the forum, don't hold it against me. No offense was meant in the above post, as I said it's just my opinion.
I think that if some animals are killed and skinned in an inhumane manner for the sake of their fur, that does not morally condemn the practice of raising or harvesting furbearing mammals for their pelts. Obviously, I cannot condone inflicting unnecessary suffering on animals, but some aspects of this business strike me as curious. What possible advantage is there to maiming and skinning a stunned and possibly semi-conscious animal as opposed to a dead one? Moreover, many animals ranched for their fur--fox and mink, in particular--can bite like hell. Would you want try skinning an animal that might revive and sink some very sharp teeth into your hand? In brief, I don't see extreme cruelty as a necessary concommitant of the fur business. A quick, crushing blow to the head is probably as easy a death as we can inflict on an animal, except maybe for some kind of injection. As to the moral superiority of hunting over harvesting fur with the "quick, instantaneous kill" of the hunter, isn't this obviated by the fact that every hunting season enormous numbers of birds and mammals are only wounded and escape to be pulled down by predators or die painful, lingering deaths? And I am at least an occasional hunter. As I commented in my original post, coming up with a consistent philosophy toward the treatment of animals is an extremely difficult one unless one takes a radical, extremist position that most of us are unwilling to adopt.