One Day A Girl Went Walking…

The title’s a nod to my siblings. Growing up, my brother used to sing a song he claims he learned while a boy scout.

Mr. Mr Johnny Rebeck how could you be so mean. I told you you’d be sorry for inventing that machine. Now all the neighbors cats and dogs will nevermore be seen. They’ve all been turned to sausages in Johnny Rebeck’s machine.

Well one day this girl went walking down what seemed to be Fur Avenue here in NYC. As I walked east across the island, I looked up to see the passing store was a fur distributor. ‘Ugh. Yuck,’ I thought. Then again…and again. It seemed every shop I passed on the stretch “specialized” in fur. Apparently on another day, somewhere in Brooklyn months prior, another girl walked into a flea market and was overcome with a very different feeling.

I’m still not sure what possesses a person to walk up to a known vegetarian, especially in the workplace, and announce ‘I’m getting a fur coat.’ Nonetheless, one of my female coworkers did just that and I flinched at the thoughts. First, of her just swaddled up in fur; and second, where the material came from.

PETA is well-known for their ‘I’d rather go naked’ ads, featuring celebrities flaunting their birthday suits. The shock value of these ads stem from their pushing our society’s taboo over nudity. Maybe less publicized, their ‘Here’s the rest of your fur coat’ ads, again, featuring well-known faces, shocks via grotesqueness; showcasing skinned animals.

These ads are efficient in their message. So much so I can’t imagine anyone seeing them and not being swayed. However, socialization coupled with media overload can create a numbness. Additionally, the extent to which PETA seeks to push buttons and boundaries has caused some to write them off.

While not all animals used for fur are necessarily skinned alive, seeing videos of those that are skinned while still conscious makes my limbs twitch. I whine like a brat when I skin my knee or get a paper cut; to have my epidermis ripped off is unimaginable. (Ok, actually, it’s imaginable…but I prefer not to.)

Remembering back to before I switched from eating animals, after about age 10, when I made the connection that my rabbit’s foot keychain may actually have been from, um, a rabbit, the idea of fur never settled well with me. Even if I had never changed my dietary habits at 17, I doubt I’d ever have found a desire or justification for fur.

Animals used for fur are rarely used for meat. If many people justify the consumption of farmed animals like chickens and cows for sustenance, the argument does not hold for animals farmed for fur. It is not a byproduct of the meat industry but rather one unto-itself, which produces a high level of waste, especially given the reasoning for the product that waste stems from.

If I was writing this in Russia at the turn of the 20th century, and yes I am aware of how anachronistic that would be coming to you via the internet, fur would be mandatory. However, I am writing from a laptop in 2011 in a city where indoor heating is ubiquitous and  the distance we travel outdoors when it is actually chilly out is nominal. ‘Taxi!’

It is in the waste that fur finds its value. To be able to afford a coat, the product of such a resource intensive sector, has been a status symbol for centuries. Again, though, the time is now. Forward thinkers like Vaute Couture are working fabrics to make fur obsolete. The company’s fashionable designs have garnered a cult following.

At a time when anything seems possible, why cling to relics of a cruel past. Take a Stand Against the Fur Industry and pledge to go fur free.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s