The following is a guest post from PETA Prime's Steve Martindale.
Cats, dogs, raccoon dogs, rabbits, and other animals are skinned alive in China for their fur. This fur is exported to consumers in the U.S. and abroad and often dyed to look like the fur of other animals. It's sometimes even deliberately mislabeled as synthetic! More than half the fur garments sold in the U.S. are imported from China, where more than 2 million cats and hundreds of thousands of dogs each year suffer through a miserable life and an excruciatingly painful death as victims of the fur trade. While other sources of fur are unconscionably cruel as well, few do as much as the slaughter of dogs and cats to shake consumers out of complacency.
The cultural and economic inertia driving the Chinese fur trade is daunting—but with your help, we can slow down this juggernaut through dedicated efforts to educate consumers about the true price of fur. We do see glimmers of hope, and you and I can take action right now in many ways. Our new Web site is helping to raise awareness about the cruelty involved in the bloody fur industry.
The quickest way to dismantle the fur trade is to start with your own habits. Take the pledge to stop buying fur, and encourage your friends and family to do the same. Most people aren't heartless—they do care about others and want to do the right thing. But many simply don't know about the cruelty behind the fur trim on their coats or gloves, and many are misled by false labeling and fairy tales about fur farms. So for starters, let's reveal the ugly truth so that people can make an informed decision on what to buy and what to avoid. Send your friends and family the video so that they can see the truth about fur farms for themselves.
Fake fur is fabulous and widely available—JCPenney, Urban Outfitters, Polo Ralph Lauren, Gap Inc., and Forever 21 are just a few of the companies that no longer support the cruel fur industry—but sometimes it's hard to distinguish faux from the real stuff. How do you tell the difference? What works for me is looking closely at the substrate material: Is it leathery and skin-like (real) or woven like a rug (fake)? The flame test also works well for me (but don't try this in stores). Take a few strands of the furry fibers off the garment and hold them over a small flame. Real fur smells like burning hair and leaves a strand of, well, burnt hair. But the most common synthetics smell like burning plastic and melt into a bead as plastic does.
Next, you can help our fight to alleviate the pain and suffering of animals on Chinese fur farms by using any of the arsenal of tools we have available to reach out to people:
- Join PETA's campaign Facebook fan page and share it with all your friends. Ask them to join the fan page and to share the truth with their online social circle!
- Use Twitter? Follow the campaign stream, ask your friends to follow as well, and retweet the campaign's updates to friends and family on Twitter. Make sure that you use hashtags to widen your reach. Hashtags? Retweet some of the campaigns updates to relevant ones such as #China, #fur, #dogs, #animals, and #animalrights.
- Send PETA's campaign Web site to your whole e-mail list, and if you have a blog, write a post about it. Explain why this is important to you and encourage others to help change the world for thousands of animals.
Together, we can help stop these atrocities. Please get involved, and let's create a brighter future for these abused animals.