Cruelty Free Friday
On Friday morning, November 29, 2013, the day some call “Black Friday” or the biggest shopping day of the year, I too will set my alarm, slip into my black combat boots and a warm jacket, and head out to Denver’s prestigious shopping district, Cherry Creek. That’s where I’ll pick up my signs, find a good spot to stand, and join thousands of others around the globe by speaking out against the fur industry. Don’t get me wrong! I love fashion and getting noticed for my personal style. A look in my walk-in closet or a brief conversation with my husband will easily confirm this. But I refuse to make a fashion statement by exploiting animals that nature equipped, for good reason, with warm, fuzzy coats for which they are now inhumanely slaughtered in the name of fashion.
I’ll spare you the gory details about the day to day business of fur farms–the electrocution, the skinning alive part, the small wire cages, and the fact that it often takes more than 40 animals to produce one coat–mostly because I myself can’t bear that visualization. But think about it! We have become such a conscious, caring society; checking if our morning coffee is truly fair trade because we want to make certain that the farm worker in Guatemala is earning a living wage. We recycle with a passion to conserve landfill space; go through great length to purchase a dining room set made from sustainable wood; drive energy efficient cars and keep our thermostats at moderate temperatures to do our part in the fight against global warming, the extinction of polar bears and the destruction of the rain forest. And yet, we thoughtlessly take some of our fashion cues from starlets and designers who tell us fur is where it’s at.
I once owned a fur coat. It was my mother’s gift for my twenty-first birthday. The label called it a “gaywolf” fur. I didn’t wear it for long, because my neck, wrists, and other parts of my skin that came in contact with the fur, developed an unsightly, irritating rash. Years later, when I chose a German Shepherd mix from a local shelter as my companion, an identical rash returned whenever we cuddled. Over time, I grew out of this allergic reaction, but I now live with the strong suspicion that the beautiful grey and tan fur of the coat I wore many years ago once belonged to a sad dog, bred and imprisoned for slaughter in a Chinese dog fur farm.
Fur is not green. Fur is not pretty, and, I know, it’s been said before, fur simply isn’t ours to wear. If you still have a fur coat in your closet (or know anyone who does), now is the time to get it out and donate it to an animal shelter or wildlife rehabilitation center so that it can be used as bedding for newborn pups or orphaned wildlife. And instead of fighting the early morning crowds for that discount deal at your local department store, why not head outside, grab a sign and some leaflets, and take this message to the streets: Fur Kills!
Go to http://www.peta.org/action/cruelty-free-friday/ for a list of worldwide Fur-Free Friday events, or click on http://www.meetup.com/AnimalActionNetwork/events/119935552/
to learn where and when to join local activists in and around Denver. Hope to see you there!
Oh, and those black combat boots? They aren’t leather either. But I’ll save sharing that conviction for another time.
Gabrielle Allen is a Colorado vegan and former marketing director, librarian and community relations manager for a national bookstore. Gabrielle currently devotes her time to writing and animal rights activism