In My View
One irksome fetish in recent years is a showy trend of purchasing tiny dogs and trotting them around as fashion accessories. The focus of a striking aura of triviality, these little domesticated beings are outfitted with Gucci coasts, Hermes collars and leashes, and Louis Vuitton monogrammed dog carriers, and on a similar whim they may find themselves abandoned. When the novelty of transporting a dog in a handbag wears thin, or the puppy grows larger and heavier than expected, the inconvenient soul may suddenly be dispatched like last year’s ill-fitting clothes.
Then there’s the doom faced disproportionately by black cats and large black dogs when they’re discarded in a municipal pound. The problem isn’t their temperament, but simply the hue of their fur. When I adopted a black kitten from a Connecticut animal shelter years ago, the workers kept asking me if I was sure. After all, there’d be more cats next week. Black cats and dogs, I learned, were passed over for brighter-coated animals. A manager at a no-kill shelter in Atlanta likewise explains that they turn away many black dogs. They can likely place three dogs in adoptive homes in the time it takes to find a home for one black-coated Lab or mixed-breed dog.
Speaking of fashion as the bane of animal lives, Peter Kobel’s feature article inside this issue, “Misadventures in the Fur Trade,” discusses the volatility of the business and the work ahead to reverse fur’s comeback. Sales of fur and fur trim in the United States alone recently reached $1.82 billion, an 82 percent increase over sale in 1991, the hopeful year fur sales last bottomed out.
Fur manufacturers have helped some designers appeal to a younger, less moneyed and more diverse range of consumers by using coyote and other skins as fur trim – using its similarity to fake trimming to escape the stigma of wearing a fur coat.
Eighty-five percent of animals killed for the global fur market are bred, caged and have their lives snuffed out on commercial farms, according to the International Fur Trade Federation. Trapping and clubbing free-living raccoons, seals, otters and other animals fills the remaining 15 percent of the world’s supply of animal pelts.
This autumn and winter, the activists of Friends of Animals have launched a fresh, new anti-fur publicity campaign with an emphasis on fur trim. For a preview, see page 8. We’ve reserved space in the November and December issues of Animal People, E Magazine, Harper’s, The Progressive, Rolling Stone, Shape, VegNews, and Vegetarian Times magazines. Your kind contributions support this anti-fur and pro-respect message, and allow us to get it out into many publications that accept effective animal advocacy advertising. Thanks so much for making our work possible; it’s your commitment that’s always in style.