LETTER IN RESPONSE TO “FOR THE SAKE OF VANITY”
By: Mark Schumacher Date: 11/15/1994 Category: | Farm and Ranch Almanac |
In your article you correctly state that “we must know the facts” about a particular issue and that we “must be able to allow others their right to an opinion.” I could not agree more.
However, with regard to animal use, you obviously possess an “opinion”, but you do not have the facts. Your “opinion” as it concerns your personal ethical code for animals lacks consistency and this troubles me. Please allow me to explain: Your article tells the reader that it is OK to use livestock for food and clothing, because we need them for “sustenance and survival.” No Ms. Baxter you do not need to eat animals for “sustenance and survival,” just ask a vegetarian. You also state that it is ok to breed, keep and display dogs and cats; however it is not ok for a pet shop to sell a puppy or kitten to a child who wants to love one. Neither practice may be acceptable, just ask an animal rights activist. In fact they may say that pet ownership is not necessary to our “sustenance and survival” at all.
You see Ms. Baxter, the only things really “necessary” for our “sustenance and survival” are food (you could be a vegetarian), water, air, clothing and shelter. Everything else that we possess or desire is the essence of being human, whether it be a pet, fur, nice home, education, television, telephone, automobile, our religion, culture or even our civilization. None of these are “necessary” for our survival. Therefore, should we be denied these things because they are not necessary? I think not. Our American society allows us the opportunity to be productive creators, builders and achievers to choose our lifestyle and freely pursue those things which make our lives fuller. The alternative is like a communist Russia. The result is a down-trodden and dehumanized society.
You write that when you see a fur you are “painfully reminded of the living, breathing creature of beauty that used to own that skin, the owner declared by God or nature.” In fact for those who read the Old Testament, God thought so much of the use and value of these fur bearing animals that he made them “man’s first clothing.”
Permit me to ask: Are you also “painfully reminded of the living, breathing creatures of beauty” every time you feed your dog the flesh from these creatures?
As your article concerns vanity, there is a fine line between vanity, self-esteem and pride. I suggest there is nothing wrong with getting up in the morning, brushing your hair, put on clothing which is color coordinated, putting on some makeup and feeling good about how we look. Is this vanity? Maybe, Ms. Baxter, however, I think it is just our self esteem and pride in ourselves which motivates us to look our best and feel good about ourselves. Many animal activists and others who do not feel good about themselves attempt to make others feel that way too, through cheap shots, clichés and trite slogans not based on facts, such as “For the Sake of Vanity.”
The “facts” about fur that you state in your article are very similar to the misinformation provided by self serving animal rights groups. Please allow me to set the record straight.
First of all, mink are not “wild animals” kept in captivity. They are 75 generations removed from the wild. They are not kept in “cramped and unsanitary” quarters, they are provided with conditions which maximize their health and fur quality: and minimizes stress and disease. Why? Because as you correctly state, it is in the best financial and social interest of a fur farmer to raise a healthy, non-stressed, animal, both for the quality of the fur and the reproduction of those animals.
In addition ninety percent of all fur farms in the US have voluntarily become certified veterinarian inspection to comply with humane care standards for confinement, food, water, health requirements, euthanasia, and sanitary conditions. No other animal industry can document this high percentage of voluntary compliance for humane care.
I am sorry Ms. Baxter but, neither of the “one or two methods” you stated for euthanizing fur bearing animals is either approved or used by the fur farm industry. They are put to sleep via cool carbon monoxide gas, whereby lose consciousness and die, more humanely than most animals in animal shelters. See, you just didn’t get your facts straight.
Furthermore, of all the clothing in your closet, you could not find anything, yes anything, which would be more friendly to the environment than a fur. The purchase and wearing of fur minimizes the environmental impact on animals around the world. Ranch raised fur is renewable, non-toxic, to produce and tan, biodegradable and reusable. Mink are NET pollution consumers not pollution producers. They each consume 100 pounds of fresh livestock and poultry byproducts each year. They convert these byproducts into organic fertilizer. The carcass is rendered for its useful oils and fed back to the chickens from which it came. The manure is spread onto the fields and it grows the grass for the cows and sheep. Does this sound like an industry which pollutes and destroys or does it sound more like a natural and perfect system created by God?
If you wear nylon or polyester clothing you are wearing a bucket of oil. A non-biodegradable product which is associated with oil spills, degradation of pristine areas, non-renewable resource, toxic waste, acid rain and high energy use in the production and manufacturing of plastic clothing.
If you wear cotton, you are wearing a product which uses high amounts of irrigation water, synthetic fertilizers and consumes over ¼ of all pesticides and herbicides used in the entire USA. Furthermore, the bleaches and dyes used to color the product are toxic. The hot water and energy used for maintenance of the product contribute to global air problems.
Wool and leather require animals that graze our public and private lands and some “environmentalist” charge them with soil erosion, stream pollution and the degradation of our natural vegetation. I do not think that is completely true. However, wool requires that use of perchloroethylene or halogenated hydrocarbon Freon to clean and maintain, which contributes to ozone depletion. The tanning of leather uses heavy metals and acids which are toxic, thereby explaining why leather tanneries in the US are almost non-existent.
Oh, you say “rayon”! “I wear rayon.” Sorry, Ms. Baxter rayon is made from tree pulp and requires 100-200 gallons of fresh water1.15 pounds of cellulose pulp and 4.4 pounds of caustic and poisonous chemicals to make one pound of yarn. Also, a large factory is necessary to weave the yarn and manufacture the garments. Again the dyes and resins used to finish the fabric are toxic to our environment, not to mention the depletion of our forests to make your blouse or coat.
Ms. Baxter I know you are confused about this issue, so let me help you. Simply put, animals are a gift from God, and a product of nature. Man and woman are also a gift from God, and a product of nature. Man and woman are allowed by both God and nature to use animals. We are also required by this gift to care, keep and use animals humanely. Most of us develop a love for animals and what they do for our personal self esteem and enjoyment of our brief life on this earth. This love is normal and promotes compassion for animals, nature and our fellow man. And because of our symbiotic relationship with animals and our use of animals the world is a better place to live and our lives are fuller.
We in the fur industry hold high regard for this natural relationship between man and animal. In fact we depend on it for our survival. When all the oil is gone and forests are depleted by acid rain; furs will still be around, and God’s gift of fur will still be available for you and I to use and enjoy.
Remember Ms. Baxter, some people see things as they THINK they are – and condemn them; other people seek the facts – and understand why.
For more information and common-sense care and use of animals as they relate to man and the world around us, please contact us at the National Animal Interest Alliance.
I sincerely hope that I have been of some help.
About The Author
All Authors Of This Article: | Mark Schumacher |