Sunday, October 25, 2009

"Fur-free Friday"

With just about a month to go till Thanksgiving, it’s time to lock up the day after the holiday for a major good deed. Although it’s also been known as “Black Friday” (for the holiday shopping, the related traffic and the hoped-for move from red to black ink in ledgers), animal advocates have turned this day into “Fur-free Friday.”

Winter will bring with it the inevitable fur coats, jackets, boots, hats, scarves – what else? -- so it’s time to remind fur consumers of how that fur was “harvested”: what animals endure, what kinds of deaths they suffer, so humans can wear their skins.

One admirable group of fighters for a fur-free world is ”Caring Activists Against Fur,” or CAAF. Based in North Jersey, founded and energized by a school teacher and a nurse, visible all over Manhattan and North Jersey on weekends and holidays, this organization makes no bones about the horrors of the fur trade and the vanity and selfishness of people who wear fur.

They demonstrate outside major NYC-area stores and furriers, sometimes with bullhorn and videos and always with leaflets to distribute and chants to get the attention of passers-by (often wearing fur).

And it’s often cold, very cold, during these demonstrations. They call for much more discomfort than writing a check or tooting a car horn while driving by. Standing in one place for a couple hours at a time during winter months is no picnic.

Just think, though: it may win the attention of some fur wearers and buyers. They may then think about how that raccoon collar moved from the animal to the neckline of their coats; how their sheepskin books meant that sheep too had to die; how even their mink earmuffs necessitated death – often grisly.

But grisly or anesthetized, what’s the diff? Why should animals die so humans – with countless other ways to keep warm in winter – can wear their skins? Supposedly, we’re millennia away from cave people days; we’re enlightened. There’s no excuse for today’s knowledgeable humans, who ought to know where those skins came from, as well as myriad alternatives to them.

Check out CAAF. Then (in your cloth coat and man-made shoes) join them!

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