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Looking-Glass ... the art of compassion
A PHILANTHROPIC INTRODUCTION TO LOOKING-GLASSThe Lighthouse. An enlightening landmark, guiding passage to important issues around Looking-Glass Looking-Glass Homelands reception. Click on this house if you ever get lost.
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"Love the animal ... not just its skin".

First of all, we explain what may arguably be the only ethically acceptable reason to wear a fur item in the 21st Century - and it only includes a minute percentage of the global population - Unless you are an Inuk living in the arctic region by eating and wearing what you kill for survival, then you simply don't need to be wearing a fur product at all.
Up until around 500 hundred years ago, the ecological balance between humankind and animals in nature was still relatively healthy, In those times the use of animal-based clothing was still an integral part of human survival in colder climates. We didn't have thermally-sealed houses full of radiators, heated transportation or hi-tech heat-retaining materials to wear on wintry days. Fur and animal skin was one of the only solutions to stay warm.
In the superheated 21st century, fur and even leather should be no more than a bygone legacy. It's only the fashion industry that keeps refueling this redundant barbarism. And while fashion houses roll out a full-on revival, an insensitive new generation of fashion followers have been buying and wearing real fur clothing again. Designers have decided to target consumers with clothes laced with dead animals ... which include cats and dogs.
Even though the UK government banned fur production in 2002, British furriers have reported a massive surge in sales since then - and in a shocking report by the BBC's The Money Programme, young people said that "moral objections are old hat"...
Previously, fur wearing had fallen sharply by the end of the 1980s, helped along by hard-hitting anti-fur campaigns. These included David Bailey's shock cinema advert of a model strutting the catwalk in a fur coat which begins to splatter blood across the stage, and then over the spectators. Later came the advert showing super-models without clothes, claiming they would rather go naked than wear fur. At that time, emotions were so high about the tastelessness of clothes made of dead animals that it became simply un-cool to be seen wearing anything that resembled one. (Although, ironically, leatherwear never seemed to loose popularity).
But the trend of dressing up in furry dead creatures reemerged in the mid 2000's, and this upturn in sales brought about the return of the infamous practice of seal clubbing. 25 years ago there were global protests against this barbaric treatment of young seals ... now seal murder was back with a vengeance.
By early 2004 - and in just a few weeks - hunters in Canada had already clubbed to death 70,000 harp seal pups to keep up with the demand for fur. One million were killed over the next three years for their fur. In 2005, 300,000 seal pups were killed, the largest cull since 1970, and from March 2006 a further 317,000 seal pups were again slaughtered - In 2007 around another 250,000. This cull has continued to take place regardless of conversationalists concern that such a massive cull would seriously under-populate seal numbers, which could lead them to extinction.
The rise in the killing of seal pups relates directly with fashion trends. Although the USA, and some of Europe banned the import of seal products, other countries like Poland and Russia cash in on these ongoing demands, which includes the fur of four week old baby seals.

So who is to blame?

The fashion industry have effectively brainwashed gullible young trend followers into believing that real fur is cool, even though fake fur has been perfected to a point where it's almost impossible to tell the difference.
But clearly, it seems that non-compassionate consumers find humane alternatives of no importance as sales in fur rose by 35% in 2003 alone ... and between 2005 and 2007 it was still rising.
Since fur farming has been outlawed in the UK, British traders buy and sell legal fur from countries like Denmark. In fact the Brits buy a staggering 50% of the world's fur, and many UK fur farmers have simply moved their practices to other countries.
2006 figures revealed that Canada was earning 16.5 million dollars in commercial seal meat and fur each year.
Psychological propaganda used by pro-fur organizations is also aimed at young people in an attempt to cloud their morals. After Kate Middleton was seen wearing a fur hat at a horse race meeting in 2006 - much to the dismay of anti-fur campaigners - a spokeswoman for the British Fur Trade Association arrogantly stated to The Scotsman newspaper that "More and more young women like Kate are wanting to make their own decisions and not have things dictated to them". She also added, "There's more fur on the catwalk and it's no longer seen as only for older women in floor-length coats". This kind of commentary, for the sake of self-promotion of the fur industry, is designed to initiate a reaction in young people searching for individualism by subliminally suggesting they "rebel" by wearing fur. Intelligent young people though should see through the baseless hype created by pro-fur organizations built on an ignorant appraisal of an abhorrent trade.
(For Scotsman "Middleton" Article see:

Further reports in the UK press and TV uncovered various activities taking place in Europe and the Far East:
A BBC news report describes a video of a Belgian furrier displaying a blanket he says was made from cats farmed in Belgium. (Up to 12 cats are needed for a blanket.)
Other reports say that more than two million dog and cat furs are believed to have been processed though countries such as Belgium - imported from the Far East and from live animals farmed or stolen within the country itself.
UK newspaper the Daily Mail were running regular articles with shocking pictures from the Far East showing areas the size of football pitches laid out with thousands of dog furs. Many of these animals are skinned alive or drowned so that their coats remain undamaged.

Europe has turned into the hub of fur trafficking, boosted by western fashion victims' craving for fur trimmed clothing or even complete coats.
Major anti-fur campaigner and British MEP Struan Stevenson collected evidence of:

  • A blanket made out of four golden retrievers, bought in Copenhagen.
  • Individual cat skins complete with eye-holes, paws and tails, bought in Barcelona. (Up to 24 cats are needed for a cat fur coat.)
  • A full-length coat made out of up to 42 Alsatian puppies, bought in Berlin.

However, France, Italy, Denmark, Belgium and Greece have now banned the trade of cat and dog fur ... but their is a twist of double standards as far as Greece is concerned. The Greeks falsely believe that the thousands of stray animals in their country are being trafficked to west Europe for fur (and vivisection and to be eaten by west Europeans!). Patriotism and pride runs very high in Greece and some of its citizens and media have dreamed up these claims to distract international condemnation of the gruesome poisonings of cats and dogs taking place in the cities and resorts of Greece itself. Incredibly, innocent animal rescue groups have been targeted as apparent traffickers of the animals for fur and stories of Belgian and German coats made of cats and dogs have only added to the mass delusion held by the misinformed Greek public. In fact, as in any country, the amount of companion animals targeted as potential fur products is minuscule compared to the millions of dogs and cats abandoned and ultimately poisoned inside countries such as Greece - which has one of the highest stray populations in the EU.

Deeper in the black market, domestic cats and dogs across Europe have become the victims of fashion - stolen from homes and slaughtered to make blankets, coats, shoes plus other fur and leather accessories. However, the Far East is the main hub of dog / cat slaughtering and trading. In China, two million animals are rounded up and brutally slaughtered and skinned each year. Many of these are reported to be still alive when being skinned. The meat is also sold off as delicacies in restaurants.
Dogs such as St Bernards are reported to be trafficked from countries like Switzerland to the Far-East, then either crossbred or slaughtered for coats, which bring in higher prices. In fact, domestic pets fetch higher prices than strays. In Eastern Europe, such the Ukraine street dog catchers are known to skin the strays while still half dead and sell the pelts on the black market. Most of the furs collected from the far-east and eastern Europe are imported into Western Europe where dealers and manufacturers openly trade these furs for the manufacturing of clothes and accessories to be sold in your local high street shops.

"How many more animals are going to be mutilated because of your vanity?"

Harsh words? But dumbed-down fashion victims have adopted a frame of mind which is both anaesthetized and blinded to blank out compassionate thoughts. In fact many don't even put two and two together when it comes to wearing clothes trimmed with fur. It could just as well been have picked from a "fur tree" as we have actually heard someone say (and they weren't joking), rather than been sliced from a terrified animal, often still alive while it was being skinned. So, in countries where cat and dog fur trading is banned, fur sourced from animals of all kinds is still finding its way into products sold worldwide.
Cat and dog fur is used in coats and coat trimming, hats, gloves, shoes, blankets, stuffed animals and toys.
Dog fur is sometimes labelled as: Gae-wolf, sobaki, goupee, Corsac fox, Asian jackal, loup d'Asie, dogues du Chine, or simply fake or exotic fur.
Cat fur is sometimes labelled as: goyangi, wild cat, katzenfelle, rabbit, mountain cat and even house cat.
Mink, Chinchilla, Raccoon, Beaver and Fox fur is often used in more expensive designer wear, either as coats or trimmings.

While designers are firmly set in generating a demand for fur fashion then trading looks set to increase even further.

"Wear your heart on your sleeve ... not the fur of an animal".

There has naturally been a resurgence of active protests by the anti-fur lobby.
Croatia are the largest world producer of chinchilla fur, with up to 50% of global production. Croatia's own animal welfare organization Animal Friends (AFC) launched an anti-fur campaign with TV's "ER" star Goran Višnjic and PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).
PETA have also organized disruptions of catwalk shows in London and in America.
Unsurprisingly, Brazil - well known for their appalling treatment of animals and the environment - produced a super model named Gisele who signed a modeling contract (reportedly worth $500,000) with a leading US fur company.
Many highly paid models now seem to have no moral concern about promoting fur, but former Miss Great Britain, Yana Booth was showing her support for the anti-fur lobby by posing nude for a photo campaign, with the slogan 'Bare skin, not bear skin'. Even Italy, normally known as a Mecca for fur coats worn by affluent women - particularly in the north, have seen a rise in anti-fur campaigning by the country's antivivisection league (LAV). The organization have been demonstrating outside large chain shops in Turin to make shoppers aware of the huge increase of cat and dog fur appearing on jacket collars, which are being sold around the country.

Above all, the trade of cat and dog fur in the far east and the killing of seals on the Canada ice floes produces the most horrific scenes of cruelty and torture ever witnessed in modern society. To help put an end to this horrendous activity you are urged to interact and support the organizations presented on these Think About Fur pages.

So what is the UK and EU government doing about it?

By mid 2003, only 71 out of 659 British MP's had signed a motion urging the government to ban the import and export of dog and cat fur.
For example, the Secretary of State and Industry, Patricia Hewitt was asked by a Dr Tonge what steps her department was making to a) control and b) prohibit the import of furs from domestic cats and dogs. In true, politician-style-babble Ms Hewitt's answer was:
"The government are investigating possibilities for labelling any products that may contain domestic cat and dog fur. Equally, we are working to ensure a reliable scientific test is in place to validate the accuracy of any such labels. This will give consumers the information they want about what they are buying. It is not proved possible to determine either through trade statistics or through scientific testing what levels of these products, if any, is entering the UK. Therefore the government do not consider any prohibition on imports to be proportionate to the scale of the problem at this time."
Ms Hewitt's bizarre reply is in effect saying that the import and export and manufacturing of products, if made of cat and dog fur is fine as long as it's labelled. Therefore, according to her logic, a product labelled "made from 42 of the finest Alsatian puppies" would be morally acceptable.
Ms Hewitt's words of " giving consumers the information they want" is displaced and out of touch with the real issue. If anything, those words should pertain to informing the UK public that the import and exports of any fur products in their country will cease immediately. Any other definition of that sentence is meaningless and simply condones the continuation of one of the world's most barbaric practices against animals ... purely for vanity. Therefore, in June 2003 new rules to ensure that the Brits "know what they are buying" were put into practice to inform shoppers if a fur product contains "domestic animal". As mentioned, all this does is label the product ... not ban it.

In 2003 EU Health and Consumer Protection commissioner David Byrne's response to questions about the issue was, "Let me say that cats and dogs are not farmed for their fur in the (then) 15 member states of the European Union." Mr Byrne also claimed he has no authority to act - despite having complete authority to ban this practice under internal market regulations to protect consumers (see below). Other officials in Brussels also continue to deny that cat or dog farming in the EU exists. They also say it is up to national governments to ban the trade in cat and dog fur.

Although fifteen EU countries have taken some action to ban the cat and dog fur trade it's worth noting that the United Kingdom is one of the other ten that haven't.
At the other end of the scale it's worth noting that Belgium stretch their ban to include seals. They have severed commercial trading ties with Canada's seal hunt who have increased the barbaric clubbing to around one million over the next three years (see top of page). But there is no doubt that black market activities still take place in all of the EU countries which have otherwise, officially banned the trade.

A breakthrough by the European Commission was reached in December 2003 when more than half of the members of the European parliament supported a ban of dog and cat fur.
This majority vote by MEPs was good news on the surface, but there was a catch: A majority vote would normally mean that the European Commission would have to draw up an EU-wide law. Thereafter, the Council of Ministers are required to enact the law and implement it in their own countries. However, Commission officials didn't believe they have the power to pass such a law in the first place. They claim it is up to member countries to implement their own law if they wish to. In other words, the EU have nothing to do with creating such a law and expect each member country's own parliament to create one instead.
By the beginning of 2004 a stalemate situation looked imminent but there was still be hope. By June 2007
Although not relevant in terms of animal welfare, there was another reason why domestic animal based fur may be banned. It's all to do with the dangerously high chromium levels used to dye fur during its processing for clothes - simply to disguise the appearance of the product. (I.e. making the pelt of a kitten look like an unknown exotic creature) The EU are always hot in these details when it comes to chemical hazards and it may prove to be an independent reason to ban cat and dog fur in all EU countries.

In the meantime, millions of animals of many species are continually murdered each month of each year for the sake of vanity. It's only the mindset of the general public who can stop this barbarism - by simply spending a few moments while browsing in a clothes shop - and to think about what they might be about to buy.

Is it time for you to "Think About Fur"?

NOTE: For news and events relating to the infamous Canadian Seal slaughter see the reports page at our news site (opens new window):
Looking-Glass Global News

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