Profit or Principle

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In a society so sensitive to the protection of human rights and the freedom of expression, does the protection of animal rights become lost in the process of “humanity”?

Is wearing fur perfectly justifiable, as one’s outfit choice directly correlates with his or her freedom to express individuality? Or, has the act of wearing fur become outdated? How far is one able to stretch his or her expression of speech and individuality before crossing the line of inhumanity?

According to the Montana Trappers Association, a leading database for International Fur Farms, animals bred for fur farming are, “the world’s best cared for domestic animals,” and since, “the livelihood of the professional fur farmer depends upon producing top-quality fur,” the welfare of the animals is of prime importance.

Claiming that the care of animals bred for fur products is imperative, Dr. Fredericksen, President of the Animal Welfare Association, insists that farm animals are killed humanely with “bottle carbon-monoxide or carbon-dioxide gas, electric current and lethal injections.” All of these efforts leave the animals without “unnecessary suffering.” However, this brings about the question: although legally within their rights to euthanize bred farm animals for the direct purpose to creating clothing from their skin, have these farmers pushed the limit as to how they make their business?

According to PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the answer is: yes. While the killing of these animals are considered humane by fur farm standards, PETA insists that, “animals on fur farms spend their lives confined to cramped, filthy wire cages,” where the fur farmers, “use the cheapest and cruelest killing methods available, including suffocation, electrocution, gassing and poisoning.”

The cruelty does not stop there, though, according to the organization. Within the authorized and sponsored webpages of PETA, many sources of abuse can be found, from dogs and cats being, “bludgeoned, bled to death, and sometimes skinned alive for fur,” while animals who contribute to the leather fashion trend, “routinely have their throats cut and their skin ripped off while they are still conscious.”

There seems to be a conflict in viewpoint, as the two different ideas of treatment differ from humanity to cruelty. While there is physical evidence of animal cruelty on the PETA website, broadcasting unquestionable maliciousness by fur farmers toward the animals, there are also professional, medical opinions given by trained veterinarians, who discuss favorable treatment toward the animals. So which is correct?

Just like any argument, both sides can be viewed objectively. It is factual and without doubt that the wearing of fur is constitutional. No one can be stopped from wearing fur and a person is completely within his right to express himself through this type of clothing. However, although something is legally protected, should the idea of humanity be addressed when making a conscious decision to wear the skin of an animal?

If you were to ask the fur farmers, the answer is no. If we could ask the animals, we might get a different answer.