Burlington Free Press Opinion: Fur is so 2000--B.C.
Born Free USA's 2018 Fur Farm Investigation
Protect Our Wildlife launched our Have a Heart, Go Fur Free campaign in February 2017 and we hope to assist Vermont shoppers make humane shopping decisions. Our campaign is simple: we write to Vermont retailers who have been identified as selling real fur and encourage them to go fur-free and we report back to you as to who has a heart and who doesn’t! If you know of a Vermont retailer who is selling real fur, please contact us.
Whether it’s a fur trinket, pom pom hat or a full-length fur coat, the suffering is the same. Every bit of fur you see caused an animal tremendous suffering and took away a life.
Vermont Retailers That Sell Fur (the naughty list)
Despite our attempts at encouraging these retailers to halt the sale of real fur, they refuse and still proudly sell fur items ranging from fur vests to pom pom hats. The most effective thing you can do, is write or call the stores and tell them as long as they sell real fur, they've lost a customer. It's only when retailers start hearing from you, the consumer, will they drop fur from their racks.
Monelle 75 Church St, Burlington, VT 05401 (802) 657-4074 firstname.lastname@example.org
5597 Shelburne Rd, Shelburne, VT 05482 (802) 497-0034
Green Envy 1800 Mountain Rd, Stowe, VT 05672 (802) 253-2661 email@example.com
Alpine Shop 1184 Williston Rd, S. Burlington, VT 05403 (802) 862-2714 firstname.lastname@example.org
The majority of animals—including rabbits, mink, foxes, chinchillas, raccoon dogs—slaughtered for their fur come from notoriously cruel fur factory farms. Millions of other animals, including raccoons, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, opossums, otters, beavers, and other animals are killed by trappers every year for the fashion industry.
The majority of fur comes from these ghoulish operations where animals are packed into small stacked wire cages, preventing them from taking more than a few steps back and forth. This crowding and confinement is especially distressing to minks—solitary animals who may occupy up to 2,500 acres of wetland habitat in the wild. The anguish and sheer misery of life in a barren cage leads animals to self-mutilate—biting at their skin, tails, and feet—and frantically pace and circle endlessly. Olivia Munn exposes unthinkable cruelties documented on a Chinese fur farm in this video.
No federal humane slaughter law protects animals in fur factory farms, and the animals’ deaths are as gruesome as their lives are grim. Because fur farmers care only about preserving the quality of the fur, they use slaughter methods that keep the pelts intact but that cause extreme anguish for the animals, including gassing, anal electrocution, and neck breaking.
China, which supplies more than half the finished fur garments imported for fur in the U.S., has particularly barbaric reputation for ill-treatment of animals, with no penalties for abuse.
There are various traps and snares that are used to trap furbearing animals; these traps result in prolonged suffering and ultimately death. When an animal steps on a leghold trap, the trap’s jaws slam shut on the animal’s limb. The animal is then painfully immobilized for days, in some states, until the trapper comes back to kill the animal.
While painfully restrained in these traps, animals are desperate to free themselves and may struggle so frantically that they’ll dislocate shoulders and tear tendons. They may also try to chew at the trap, which results in broken teeth and bloodied gums and in some cases they will chew right through their paw to escape. While immobilized in the trap, terrified animals are subject to predation by other animals, exposure, shock, pain, only to be met with an equally violent death. Trapped animals may be bludgeoned, stomped on (to crush the heart and lungs), drowned, strangled and shot. Conibear traps are designed to kill instantly but that is not always the case. The “right” sized animal would have to enter the right sized trap at just the right angle for the trap to be a quick kill. Victims of submersion traps, include beavers and muskrats, who can take up to 15 agonizing minutes to drown.
Every year in Vermont and across the country, dogs, cats, owls, eagles and other non-target animals, including endangered and threatened species, are crippled or killed by traps, which do not discriminate.
Although the Truth in Fur Labelling Act requires the identification of animal species on all items that contain fur, regardless of price tag, garment or accessory labels cannot always be relied upon to accurately identify the type of animal fur used. Fur from China is often deliberately mislabeled as fur from other species, or even as faux fur, and there’s no way to tell whose skin you’re wearing, including that of a dog or cat. Rabbit fur trim is not a byproduct of the meat industry; it is flayed from animals who are specifically factory-farmed or trapped for the quality of their winter pelts.
The fur trim market is an equal threat to animals as the making of fur coats. Fur trim is not what’s “left over” from making full-length fur coats. Animals are killed simply to provide trimming effects for fashion, and many parka hoods are rimmed with real fur.
Vermont Retailers That Don't Sell Fur
Good news is that countless retailers have made the compassionate decision to go fur-free! You can find a list of those retailers here.
Caplan's Shoe and Apparel
Forget Me-Not Shop
Sam's Outdoor Outfitters
Outdoor Gear Exchange