Fur flies in animal rights debate

Cape Town - There has been a heated response to Fin24's article Fur fury over Investec tenant, with users on both sides of the fence sending in their comments thick and fast.

Animal activist Dr Margaret Wilhelm has been concerned with landlord Investec’s lack of engagement over the issue of its tenant, fur retailer Robert Fischer of Erich Fischer Furriers, in the Firs Shopping Centre in Rosebank, Johannesburg.

Fischer prides himself on being Africa's only fur specialist that abides by the Origin Assured (OA) label, which means his fur produce is audited to the highest standards to ensure they have been sourced ethically.

“Investec, with its zebra logo, claims excellent business ethics and stresses its commitment to society, the environment and preservation of animals,” said Wilhelm. “It is, therefore, an anomaly that Investec profits from the fur business through its lease.”

Read: Fur fury over Investec tenant

Most of the comments have been squarely on the side of the animal rights activists.

Says Fin24 user Clairwyn: "OA label or not, there is no such thing as humane killing. That goes as much for killing a cow or pig for its meat, shooting a lion for a trophy or skinning a seal, chinchilla or cat (quite common, apparently) for its fur."

She argues that fur is a luxury item, and that people who wear it "can’t even use the excuse that they are hungry". They are also fully aware that "an animal, or more likely many animals, died for their whims".

Addressing the owner of Erich Fischer Furriers, she said there must be a more compassionate way to make a living.

Rosana concurs: "I don't agree with this cruel way to use an animal's skin: fur, leather, etc - just human clothing." 

Ruth points out that Fischer "can make millions of money (sic) by making the same product from faux fur". She said she will share the article with friends around the world so we can stop this barbaric way of killing animals as well as for the sake of protecting our environment."

Winnie also weighs in on the part of the animal rights activists. She says: "What a revolting, barbaric industry the fur trade is. I have personally seen a video clip from China as to how they skin the animals ALIVE for their fur, as it comes off easier this way.

"Fur belongs to the rightful owner - the animal who was born with it! Who are we to steal it from them - and that just for vanity sake.  It's a despicable trade and fashion, to say the least."

Erwin's opinion is short and sweet: "We live in modern times. Down with fur!" Beatriz is equally to the point: "BAN FUR INDUSTRY!!!"

Elaine is a vociferous animal rights supporter: "I am strongly opposed to the killing of animals for their fur.  I will never condone the wearing of real fur. Fake fur will be good enough for me."

Pam raises the matter of ethics: "I do believe it is a very amoral thing to use the skin of animals for clothing of humans. Besides that, the farms where these animals live are in many times very bad places for animals.
They see the animals not as souls like ours but they just mean MONEY!"

User Anastasia was appalled to discover the location of Fischer's shop: "I am an animal lover and would like to state that I am horrified that such a shop exists so close to where I live! I am completely against the fur trade! 

"How anyone can make a living off the pain of another living being is beyond comprehension. There are not enough decent adjectives to describe how I feel about this.

"I will gladly join the activists outside this shop in protest."

Says Jaboet: "The fury with which some apologists react to calls for compassion and an end to fur farm atrocities seems to suggest they are quite comfortable with sadism and cruelty. This is quite revealing."

This, says Jaboet, also shows that they do have a conscience, which "pricks their egos into overreacting the way they do". He concludes: "They are are simply unable and unfit to join any debate on ethics/morality."

But not everyone agrees. Although in the minority, there are some who feel fur is a trivial issue compared to more pressing global issues.

Says Yvonne: "The world is burning but people are battling with 'fur' or 'No fur'.  Is it not about time to try and solve more important issues, for example the Ebola epidemic?"

Tanja also makes no secret of her stance. She says: "I’m with Fischer all the way. The market for fur in SA is minute, but if customers want to buy fur, let them." She feels it is unfair to "victimise the last remaining fur trader in Africa", and says "Investec shouldn’t bow to the pressure".

Lunga feels there is no such thing as bad publicity, and adds "now I know we have a fur store in SA. Thanks Doc, I think there are more pressing issues that need doctors than worrying who sells fur and who doesn't."

Another anonymous user writes: "It's amazing how we go on and on about fur when the same people eat beef, mutton and chicken. Those animals get killed as well for consumption by human kind.

"If those 'activists' are for animals not being killed, I would expect them to be vegetarians but I doubt 10% of them are vegetarians."

NOW VIEW: Protest against the fur trade in SA

 - Fin24

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyFin24 have been independently written by members of the Fin24 community. The views of users published on Fin24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent those of Fin24.

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