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where furry animal toys really come from

Someone please tell me the logic in skinning an animal to make toys for other animals to play with.  I can’t wrap my head around this and I know if you are reading this blog, you likely feel the same way I do.

The other day, I received an email as part of PETA’s Skinned Alive campaign.  They were preaching to the choir.  Just a few months ago, my fellow animal-lovin’ friend Elinor called to my attention the grotesque fur-wearing “high fashion” models peppering the pages of  Allure Magazine. We both took it upon ourselves to post our disgust on their Facebook page and I wrote a letter to the magazine indicating their irresponsible and uncompassionate behavior has caused them to lose at least one reader.  When the first PETA note came through, like most people, I signed the petition and made the decision to move on and forget about it for both self preservation and truthfully (and shamefully) because I didn’t have a lot of time to think about the issue at that moment.  Today, I checked my email and there was a thank you note from PETA for taking part in this campaign.  This note contained information that I simply cannot let go.

The current focus in on the Chinese fur farms, which have no regulations and are undeniably a living hell for the animals who end up there.  I’ll give you only a few wretched facts because I do want you to sleep at night after reading this. First, it is “easier to get the skin off an animal who’s alive and warm than one who’s dead.”  Second, animals often “remain in agony for more than 10 minutes after their skin is peeled from their bodies.”  I can’t even write that without choking up.  This includes millions of animals per year, from raccoons to rabbits and shockingly including 2 million+ cats and 100,000+ dogs.  According to the note, the fur ends up in things like clothing, shoes, and animal toys.  Yes, animal toys.  Skin a cat and create a cheap toy for another cat to play with?  This makes no sense.  My cats prefer things like string, hair bands, and Q-tips anyway.

Look, I don’t know how to solve the problem of Chinese fur farms.  In fact, it is easier to shut-down because the thought of it can become so overwhelming.  My takeaway: there is only one thing we can do.  We have to reduce the supply and demand, which means not buying fur and refraining from any pet toy that even resembles fur (apparently many toys end up in stores that say the fur is fake when in fact it is not).  Since  “China supplies more than half of the finished fur garments imported for sale in the United States,” and these farms are not regulated, clothing with any hint of fur should be avoided.  Why not even take it a step further and express your feelings about this to the store.

There is one other thing we can do:  we can tell other people and increase awareness.

You can get more information and sign the petition here.  Signing a petition may feel unproductive compared to the acts in which we are petitioning against, but I have to believe that every little bit helps.

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