By: Staff  Date: 09/27/1991 Category: | Farm and Ranch Almanac |

This letter was written to a sixth grade student by Mark Schumacher, an NAIA board member and furrier, and was first published in an early NAIA Newsletter.

Dear Ms. Norte:

Your Animal Rights club is an interesting idea, as I support freedom of thoughts and association. However, freedom of thoughts and the expression of those thoughts should be founded on solid facts, not emotion.

The concept of Animal Rights states that we should not use animals for any human purposes, including food, clothing, entertainment, or medical research. If you want to be consistent in your thoughts, you may not eat or drink anything which is made from an animal life form: meat, poultry, eggs, fish, milk, cheese, honey, bakery products using butter and eggs, marshmallows, and on and on. You may not have leather shoes, belts, purses, furs, wool, circuses, rodeos, or keep pets. Furthermore, you should not use any medicines or cosmetics which have been tested for safety using animals.

Now then, if you are concerned about animal welfare, that is a different issue. Some people abuse animals, pets, livestock, etc., and they should not. However, most farmers take excellent care of their animals because it is in their best economic interest to do so. Sick or abused animals do not produce a salable product.

If the planet Earth is going to be saved from destruction, we cannot rely on synthetic clothing for our future existence. The extraction of oil is killing the environment by the spilling of oil and the taking of the animals' habitat or home. The processing plants used to make artificial fibers pollute the air (acid rain and the depletion of ozone), streams and rivers and create toxic waste. The clothing (fake furs, nylons, rayons, and polyester) made from these synthetic products fill up our landfills and are not biodegradable.

As to the extinction of animals, the fur industry does not use any endangered or threatened species and will not in the future. Ninety-five percent of the mink used by the fur industry are farm-raised. They eat fresh byproducts from the agricultural industry which are not desired by humans but are loved by the mink. If it were not for the mink, these byproducts would fill up our landfills, rivers, or be burned, none of which is environmentally sound.

The animals are not tortured or otherwise abused during their lives, as this would not produce a desirable pelt. The mink are killed by cool carbon monoxide. It is painless.

The manure produced by the mink is spread on the mink rancher's farm and is a natural fertilizer, not oil-based and not polluting. The tanning of the mink uses salt and alum, which is put into the sewer system and welcomed by sewage treatment plants because they help to break down the sewage. There are no harmful or polluting chemicals used by our industry.

To make a fur coat requires only cotton thread, electricity for our sewing machines and silk for the lining - no large polluting factories or large amounts of energy. The fur coat will last 40 years or more, thus requiring only one purchase in a lifetime. Thus fur can be restyled and reused from generation to generation. Finally, when it has finished its useful life, it biodegrades (rots) in six months, back to the earth from where it originally came.

In Genesis 1:28 and Genesis 3:21, God gave man use of animals for his benefit and put skins of animals on Adam and Eve. I think that using natural fibers is the way God intended us to live. They are renewable, sustainable, reusable, biodegradable, and environmentally compatible. The use of animals has been Mother Nature's choice for one million years. I think it's the natural choice for one million more years.

You are correct: there is only one world. I ask that you think about whether or not synthetics are the way of the future for this world rather than the agricultural products managed and used by man in a well thought-out, scientific manner.

I took the time to answer your letter because I feel you are smart enough to think through these long-term environmental questions. One day maybe you will be part of a Natural Fibers Club." It will definitely be the only way of the future for the Planet Earth. I invite the Animal Rights Club to come to Schumacher Fur Company so I may show you our natural product and talk about our planet and what we can do for its future.

Thank you for your concern,

Mark Schumacher, vice president
Schumacher Fur Company

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