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Some facts about fur

Dear Editor:

To me, the Aspen Farmers’ Market conjures up images of fresh green veggies and plants, pastries and breads, organic goods and sustainable products. So when I saw a stall this year selling fur, I was flabbergasted. I think it’s time we talk about the facts of our animal slaves, specifically the fur trade.

Twelve billion animals are raised and killed each year in the United States alone. There are no federal humane slaughter laws to protect animals in fur-factory farms, and therefore the killing methods are gruesome. Many times, to preserve the precious fur of an animal, these creatures are killed by electrocution (both anal and vaginal), gassing, poisoned with strychnine, or have their necks snapped. As these methods are ineffective, many animals “wake up” while being skinned alive.

In 2000, the American Veterinary Medical Association deemed genital electrocution “unacceptable,” primarily because it causes vast suffering and pain by forcing animals to undergo cardiac arrest while still conscious. Even so, because there is absolutely no judicial accountability, it is cheap and doesn’t harm the product, this method for slaughter is still widely used. In 2004, 2.56 million minks were skinned in the United States alone, an even more staggering number when considering that only 12 percent of all fur farms are in North America (73 percent are in Europe, and the rest are scattered mostly in China, Russia and Argentina). France kills 70 million rabbits for fur every year!

This isn’t even to mention the environmental damage caused by both the animal excrement and the heavy chemicals that leak into our water supply. Nor is it even to mention that these animals, because there are pretty much zero laws protecting their right to exist, live in some of the worst conditions on this planet. Crammed into extremely small cages, surrounded by waste, driven mad by the complete lack of stimulation, they often succumb to cannibalism of their cage mates, gnaw at their own bones, tear their skin by throwing their body against the cage walls, and have open sores, infections and no veterinary care. In the wild, one in four animals caught in a steel-jaw trap will gnaw their limb off to escape. The rest spend days in agony waiting to die.

These are the facts, but they aren’t all of them. Nor do they truly shed light on the awful villain that the human IS to these sentient beings. If we were truly aware of these horrors, I really believe we wouldn’t continue to buy these products. But the media and the advertisements work to suppress real knowledge, and so we find ourselves believing the lies purported by the sellers. It is so sad. Just think about it.

Thompson Alexander Bishop

Aspen


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