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Anti-Fur Demo Cape Town 11-Dec-2010

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Tomorrow, 11 December is for personal family reasons, both a joyous and sad day. Tomorrow is also a day of activism and action. Since I am not to keen on going into my personal life on this blog, lets see what the activism and action entails.

Fox skinned for its fur

In Greenpoint, Cape Town, Beauty Without Cruelty SA will be holding a NO FUR rally outside the Cape Quarter Lifestyle Centre from 11am to 1pm. They are protesting the cruel deaths of some 50 MILLION animals farmed each year for the fur trade. These animals are usually kept under shocking conditions and die horrid deaths through being beaten, electrocuted, gassed, strangled and generally tortured to death. A further 10 to 15 million animals are savagely trapped each year, choking to death in snares, or being crushed in body traps.

10-15 million animals trapped each year

You can make a difference, not only in your attendance of this event, but also by educating others about the plight of these animals. Make informed decisions when buying garments and chose not to be a part of it. Don’t be fooled by terms such as “Faux” because more often than not these are rabbit or cat. Origin Assured is propaganda put out by the fur industry to fool you into thinking fur is not cruel. Don’t be deceived by this bull.

If you wish to attend, wear red to signify the blood shed. Fur belongs on the loin-cloth of Neanderthals, not on the garments of modern man in an age of internet and air-conditioning.

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Bag a Bob-Cat

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The 26 November was World Wide Fur Free Day. Fur Free South Africa, in conjunction with the Global Fur Free Initiative, held demonstrations in Johannesburg. It was attended by a fair number of people.

While putting together a portfolio of cruelty, which I will use in educating others about the fur industry, I came across this clip on You-tube. Watch this and then tell me if YOU think this is acceptable.

Trapping is responsible for the death of over 10 MILLION animals each year. Personally I feel trapper mentality belongs in an era of loin cloths. Not the 21st century. You don’t need to be a member of PETA to realise this is a cruel practice.

Save the Rhino!

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Poaching of African rhinos has risen 2,000 percent in the past three years & Rhino horns fetch up to $30,000 per pound.

The poaching of rhinos for their horns has risen dramatically over the last year and a half, conservationists report.

These crimes are fueled by demand for African rhino horn from the Asian market, where it can fetch more than $30,000 a pound ($60,000 per kilogram).

Africa is losing a rhinoceros every other day. South Africa, which holds more than 80 percent of the continent’s rhino population, has been losing at least 20 rhinos per month.

“Within South Africa’s national parks — not counting private land there, where poaching was rare — there were 10 rhinos poached in 2007,” said Matthew Lewis, senior program officer for African species conservation for the World Wildlife Fund. “Thus far in 2010 alone, more than 200 rhinos were poached within South Africa, with a lot of those poached outside national parks, so that’s a more than 2,000 percent increase in just three years’ time.”

The horns might weigh 6.3 to 8.1 pounds (2.9 to 3.7 kilograms) on average. Bits of crushed horn are a prized ingredient in traditional Asian medicines.

The crisis in Africa

Two species of rhino are native to Africa, while three are native to southern Asia. Of the two African species, the white rhinoceros is near-threatened, and the black rhinoceros is critically endangered. Some 4,000 black rhinos and 17,500 white rhinos are all that keep Africa’s rhinoceros population from extinction.

Hundreds of thousands of rhinos once roamed throughout Africa. Now highly organized international groups of illegal hunters are using helicopters and deploying technologies including night-vision scopes, silenced weapons and drugged darts to find and kill these giants.

“We’re up against the emergence of really high-tech poachers,” Lewis said. “This tactic of using helicopters and veterinary drugs on darts has really only come out in the last six months to a year. It really points to organized crime.”

Greed and nonsense

Most rhino horns leaving southern Africa are destined for markets in Asia, especially Vietnam, where demand has escalated in recent years.

“A lot of that has to do with how Vietnam’s economy has grown astronomically,” Lewis said. The country’s newly affluent middle and upper class seems to be seeking rhino horn as some kind of miraculous remedy, he said, although its traditional use in Chinese medicine is for fevers and nosebleed.

Rhino horn is made from keratin, “from compacted hair, a very similar substance to the hooves of a horse or a cow, or a person’s own fingernails,” Lewis said. “Taking rhino horn has the same effects as chewing on your fingernails: no medicinal properties whatsoever.”

With prices that high, there’s also the prospect “of creating anything and calling it rhino horn,” Lewis said. “People can throw in all kinds of crazy things, and it could actually be very dangerous.”

Trouble in Asia

Asian rhinos, which generally have smaller horns, seem to be less of a target for poachers. Still, two of the three Asian rhino species, the Javan and Sumatran rhinoceroses, are critically endangered at populations of 40 and 400, respectively, Lewis said, and only 2,400 or so Indian rhinoceroses remain in the wild.

“They were nearly wiped out 100 years ago, and they’re hanging on by a thread,” Lewis said. “Indian rhinos have much larger horns than the other two Asian species, and we’ve seen escalation to their poaching similar to Africa in the past three or four years.”

“We have to raise awareness and get on top of this,” Lewis concluded. “Rhinos could go extinct in our lifetime as a result of this if awareness isn’t raised.” He hopes increasing public awareness about the plight of rhinos could spur a crackdown on the criminals who buy and kill for these horns.

Facts on Fur

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The fur trade. Just the very mention and the mind starts spinning. Of course it is an emotional issue, but before you think I am some kind of weird hippie or am here to promote my moral superiority, please bear in mind that I have actually done considerable research into the subject.

As with any argument, it is of utmost importance that one is first presented with the facts. Here they are. Undisputed.

Each year around 50 MILLION animals are slaughtered for their fur. Animals include, but are not limited to foxes, rabbits, cats, dogs, wolves, bears, hamsters, raccoons, mink, moles, chinchillas, lynx, beavers, skunks, seals, coyotes, leopards, tigers, otters and squirrels.

Around 85% of these 50 million animals are raised in various fur farms around the world. The living conditions of these caged animals invariably involves unhygienic, cramped and squalid living accommodations, with insufficient space for maneuverability and a lack of water. Cages, made out of wire mesh, are usually stacked on top of one another in long rows under an open shed. Sometimes, while being moved around, animals inside these cages have their legs broken. Small farms usually have around a hundred animals, while some of the larger fur farms, such as those in Scandinavia, can have up to a hundred thousand.

Animals subjected to these conditions frequently develop physical and behavioural problems induced by the stress of their caging. Aside from frantic and ceaseless pacing, reports of self-mutilation where the animals bite their skin, tails and feet are not uncommon. Malnutrition and overcrowding also result in increased disease susceptibility and more parasites. Because of these un-natural conditions one finds an unusually high rate of cub mortality, as much as 25% in foxes. Infanticide, where the mother eats her own young, is also a regular occurrence. Mink, which rely heavily on water, are often found dead from heat exhaustion, especially in summer where they cannot find water to cool themselves. Water is usually via a nipple system which freezes in winter.

Number of Animals to Make a Fur Coat:
12-15 lynx
10-15 wolves or coyotes
15-20 foxes
20-25 cats
60-80 minks
27-30 raccoons
10-12 beavers
60-100 squirrels

In order to preserve the pelt, and thus maximize profits, fur farmers employ some fairly gruesome methods in order to kill the animals. Some of these are listed as follows. Anal electrocution, where the shock causes the animals eyeballs to burst and it contorts so violently the spasms break its back. Some animals, struggling in pain and terror have their necks twisted and broken. Others, particularly seal pups, are bludgeoned to death. Their heads beaten so hard the skulls collapse. Some fury creatures are injected with strychnine which causes spasms in the muscles, starting with the head and neck. The spasms spread to every muscle causing continuous convulsions until death, in the form of asphyxiation caused by paralysis, comes some 15-25 minutes later. Cats are usually strangled with wire nooses and have water poured down their throats until they drown. Many creatures are simply gassed with exhaust fumes. This unreliable method often leads to the animal waking up to find itself being skinned alive.

As for the environment, it has been found that the amount of energy required to make a genuine fur coat is approximately 20 times that of a fake fur garment. Chemicals used to stop the fur from rotting also render it not bio-degradable and the very use of these chemicals can also lead to water contamination.

Unlike the meat industry, where the meat is used as a source of food, the fur industry serves no purpose other than to pander to the whims of vanity. Some 80 000 Cape Fur Seals and a further 350 000 Harp Seals are slaughtered each year in Namibia and New Foundland respectively. If you were to line these animals up side by side, you would have a line of almost 300 Kilometers long. However, less than 2% meat is used and carcasses are left to rot on the ice floes.