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FUR -- NATIVE ISSUES

    Paul Hollingsworth, spokesperson for the Native/Animal Brotherhood states: "For 300 years the native people have been tools of the fur trade. The fur trade took our land, our culture, and our animal brothers. Once we were one with Mother Earth and all her creatures. It's time we listened to the animals' voices instead of trading in their blood. To argue that a fur ban will harm Native peoples is ridiculous. We are already harmed in many ways and at many levels. Native people trapped before white people came to North America, but their culture does not hinge on this aspect. It is rich and varied."

    Less than 1% of all fur available for sale in North America comes from native trapping. Less that one-tenth of one percent of fur available on the international market comes from native trappers.

    A fur coat is a product derived from the suffering of the animals whose skins go into its manufacture. Worldwide, over 30 million animals are killed each year for their fur.

    According to Statistics Canada, 952,000 pelts were "harvested" from trapped animals in Canada in 1991. It is estimated that another 200,000 non-target animals (including endangered species and family companion animals) were also caught in traps. Indicative of how the fur industry views sentient animal life, these unfortunate beings are termed "trash." Some animals are so desperate to get out of these leghold, snare and conibear traps that they will chew off their own limbs to escape. It is estimated that some 100,000 animals suffered this unspeakably brutal fate in 1991.

    In 1992, 997,000 animals were killed on ranches for the Canadian fur industry. The long-term confinement (in cages 12" long and 18" wide) endured by these wild animals frustrates their natural instincts. Common problems occurring on fur farms include frost-bitten feet, infections resulting from the wire footing slicing through animals' pads, tongues freezing to the metal drinking cups, and the killing of the young by the mother as a result of the cramped, high-stress environment.

    Being a semi-aquatic animal, mink would normally spend 65 to 70% of their time in the water. On fur farms, they are denied water beyond their drinking needs. A mink needs open space to run and water in which to swim and hunt. Ranch raised mink, deprived of these things, turn to self-mutilation, and exhibit neurotic behavior. As many as 15% will die prematurely from stress induced diseases, bad sanitation, or summer heat. Those that survive until pelting time will die via suffocation in a gas chamber or by neck-breaking.

    One out of every five foxes born in captivity will die before pelting season. When the killing season arrives, foxes usually meet their end through anal electrocution, or through injections of poisonous chemicals.

    Another species commonly raised on fur farms is the chinchilla, a small squirrel-like animal from South America. 100 chinchillas must die too make a full length fur coat. The fur industry argues that genital electrocution (now renamed "ventral" electrocution) and neck breaking are humane methods of killing for the chinchilla.

    The reality endured by the animals exists in sharp and brutal contrast to the glamorous image projected by the furriers.

 
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