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Religion and the Morality of Wearing Fur

Though Judaism and Christianity may have different traditions and rituals, believers of both persuasions challenge the morality of killing animals for their fur. Every animal was created with the capacity to feel pain, but the fur industry cares nothing about their suffering. Animals caught in steel-jaw traps (so cruel that they have been outlawed in 89 countries) suffer excruciating pain, sometimes for days, before their chests are stomped on or their necks broken by trappers. On fur farms, animals spend their entire lives in tiny, filthy cages, exposed to searing heat and bitter cold. There is no federal humane slaughter law to protect animals on fur factory farms, so they are killed using gruesome methods such as electrocution, suffocation, carbon-monoxide poisoning, and neck-breaking. Sometimes these methods only stun the animals, who end up being skinned alive.

Why Jews Should Pass Over Pelts
"Why should people be allowed to kill animals if it is not necessary, simply because they desire the pleasure of having the beauty and warmth of fur coats? Is it not possible to achieve the same degree of warmth without fur?"
—Rabbi Halevi, Late Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv

The Torah prohibits Jews from causing tsa’ar ba’alei chayim—unnecessary pain to any living being—but trapping animals causes immense pain only for the sake of vanity. Putting animals through intense suffering simply to indulge human vanity is not in harmony with Jewish teachings.

In his book Horeb, Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, 19th century philosopher and Torah commentator, notes that Jews "are faced with God’s teaching, which obliges you not only to refrain from inflicting unnecessary pain on any animal, but to help and, when you can, to lessen the pain whenever you see an animal suffering, even through no fault of yours."

Why Christians Should Forgo Fur
"[A]mong the most gratuitous [cruelties] in our culture is the wearing of fur. The same people who are scandalized by reports of youngsters who will kill another child because they covet his sneakers covet the skins of animals and are willing to have them killed in order to steal their fur."
—Rev. J.R. Hyland

Jesus counseled love and compassion, yet there is nothing loving or compassionate about confining animals to filthy little cages on fur factory farms until they go mad. Jesus mandates kindness and mercy for all God’s creation and would reject the degree of suffering inflicted on animals for the sin of human vanity. Rev. J.R. Hyland notes in God’s Covenant With Animals that wearing fur violates three commandments: Thou shalt not kill, covet, or steal. Rev. Hyland writes, "Now that synthetic materials are easily available and are more durable and warmer than animal skins, there is no excuse to slaughter animals for their fur."

Choose Compassion, Not Cruelty
Jews and Christians can either add to the level of violence, misery, and death in the world or they can respect creation by choosing not to purchase products that involve animal suffering.

Refuse to buy or wear fur or fur-trimmed clothing and accessories. Help animals who will be killed for their fur and let others knowabout the cruelty of the fur industry by handing out our Jewish and Christian anti-fur leaflets at places of worship this winter.