Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Fur Shop Political Crisis

Recently in Portland, Oregon, a local fur store decided to run TV ads to try to make wearing fur fashionable once again. The ads featured some very cute models which pouting faces that most would agree are real babes. But what Greg Schumacher, the owner if Schumacher furs did not realize was that he was laying down the gauntlet for a war of wills with the animal rights community.

While not the draw to cities like Birmingham of the 1960's to fight segregation or other civil rights abuses, still indeed Schumacher Furs has become a political crisis point of friction between Greg Schumacher and the animal rights protesters.

Schumacher has tried to get protesters arrested for anything that he considers to be criminal. He even photographs protesters looking for any action that crosses the line in his views. But most of the protests have beeb entirely legal. Only some incidents of blood throwing against the store windows have crossed the line.

And Schumacher has added fuel to the fire by posting signs in his store window that suggest that protesters should be skinned into furs. His arrogance has only encouraged more of the animal protesters. After all, why attempt to make a politically incorrect like animal furs seem cool in this day and age. There are numerous other opportunities in business such as a red hot real estate market that makes affordable housing more and more unobtainable for working families, yet draws in huge profits for real estate developers and other investors.

And some of the wealthy customers of Schumacher's fur store have also displayed a Marie Antoinette type arrogance as well. One recently barked at protesters that they should eat a "steak", as if cutting a hunk of flesh from an animal and cooking it is a real positive thing, let alone the high price for such a hunk of animal flesh in a meat counter.

But just like Wal-Mart, American fur shops are yet just another example of vendors for more Chinese made goods. Often a $1,300 fox or mink fur purse, or a top grade $30,000 mink coat are examples of the huge Chinese trade in furs.

China is the world's largest producer of animal fur products. In large trucks in China as many as 8,000 dogs and cats, or other animals are thrown into together without food or water and skinned into coats, hats, purses or toys.

Even Hartz Mountain, the dog and cat toy company, has been accused of using real fur in their Chinese made toys. While the type of fur used in these toys is not stated, it is indeed ghoulish to think that a toy for a beloved dog or cat might have been made out of a dog or cat in China.

A loophole in U.S. law allows fur products to be sold without labeling. And this works to the advantage of Chinese companies that sell dog and cat fur items, as normally this would be an illegal practice to ship dog or cat fur products into the U.S. Dog or cat fur often finds itself into coats, hats, clothing trim items, drums and some musical instruments.

During the Chinese cat fur season, hundreds of thousands af dogs and cats are either raised solely for their fur, or else are stolen from homes. These beloved house pets by thousands are slaughtered for fur products. Generally male dogs or cats have more usable fur as female animals nipples will reduce the usuable fur of the animals. The BBC in London found some large fur sellers actively involved in selling dog and cat fur products. In the U.S. no doubt many fur as well as lower dollar value retailers may also be selling dog and cat fur.

The fight between those who continue to sell animal fur and those who wear it, and animal rights critics is only likely to heat up as China continues to fuel an international animal rights abuse crisis.

It is just another area where gross capitalism from China conflicts with the moral views of many in the Western world.


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