Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Animal Cruelty Awareness

Millions of animals are killed for the clothing industry every year. Whether the clothes come from the Australian outback, Chinese fur farms or Indian slaughterhouses, a disgusting amount of suffering goes into every fur coat, leather boots and wool jumper. Animals, like humans are capable of suffering and have emotions and interests. They are not put on this planet for the use of humans, that use being food, clothing, experimentation and entertainment. There are many smaller industries within the fashion industry which practice animal abuse including, wool, silk, skin and fur. I will talk about each of these industries separately. Through this post I hope to create awareness and promote a world where non-animal abuse alternatives are used within the fashion industry.

Whether people believe it or not sheep, like all animals, have emotions. But because of the demand for their skins they are treated as a money making machine in which produces wool. Their fleece provides them with the insulation that protects themselves against extreme temperatures. Shearing isn’t essentially causing damage or pain to animals therefore it is considered ethical. But shearers are paid by volume, not by the hour, which encourages fast work without any regard to the welfare of the sheep. This can lead to injuries due to the selfishness of shearer’s wanting to earn more money rather than being ensure of the sheep’s well-being. If a shearer does end up hurting the sheep they use a needle and thread to sew the wound shut, without giving the sheep any pain relief. This is traumatic for the sheep and strips of skin, tails and ears are often ripped off during the shearing. A PETA investigation of more than 30 shearing sheds in the U.S. and Australia uncovered rampant abuse. The abuse included kicking, punching and stomping on the sheep, hitting them in the face with electric clippers and standing on their necks, heads and hind limbs. Abuse like this would be totally unacceptable if done to a human, why should it be acceptable to do to an animal? More than 50% of the world’s merino wool comes from Australia. Merino wool comes from a gruesome procedure called ‘mulesing’. Mulesing is when huge chunks of skin are cut from a lambs backsides without any painkillers. Just a couple of weeks after birth, lamb’s ears are hole-punched, their tails are cut off and the males are castrated when they are between 2 to 8 weeks old. This is all done without any painkillers. Hundreds of lambs die before the age of 8 weeks from exposure or starvation. Mature sheep die every year from disease, lack of shelter and neglect. Unwanted Australian sheep are shipped off to the Middle East on overly crowded ships. This trips can often take a couple of weeks and go to countries where animal welfare standards are non-existent. The sheep are pulled off the ships while suffering, then loaded onto trucks and dragged by the ears and legs to slaughterhouses where their throats are slit while they are conscious. Any person who buys wool supports a cruel and grotesque industry. There are so many stylish, durable and warm fabrics that are available which aren’t made from wool or animal skins. Click here to watch a video of what sheep go through to prouduce wool for humans. 

Silk is the fibre that comes from silkworms who weave to make cocoons. The domesticated insect known as the silkworm goes through stages of metamorphosis. Silk is taken from the cocoons of larvae. Therefore most of the silkworms which are farmed in the industry don’t live past the pupal stage of metamorphosis. This is because they are steamed or gassed inside their cocoons. To make a pound of silk it takes 3,000 silkworms to die. Even though the silkworms can’t show their hurt or emotions in ways that humans can, doesn’t mean that they are sensitive. They actually produce endorphin's and have a physical response to pain. Today, 100% of silkworms are bred and raised in homes and on farms.

Leather can be made from many different types of animals. Which are cows, pigs, goats, sheep, alligators, ostriches, kangaroos and even dogs and cats – who are killed for their skin and also meat in China. China then exports their skins out to the world. Leather is never normally labelled therefore you never actually really know where the skin came from. Leather mostly comes from India and China where animal welfare laws and non-existent. A PETA investigation was carried out in India and they found that workers break cows’ and rub chilli and tobacco in their eyes so that they can make them get up and walk after they have collapsed from exhaustion on the way to the slaughterhouse. Millions of animals endure abuse in these slaughterhouses as they routinely have their throats cut and are skinned all while still conscious. As well as this they experience crowding, castration, tail-docking and dehorning – all without any painkillers. If a person chooses to buy real leather over fake they are deciding to support factory farms and slaughterhouses, with every real leather product someone buys they are choosing to sentence an animal to a short lifetime of suffering followed by death. Even though there are many styles of fake leather products that are just as stylish and durable. The production of leather also affects the environment through the pollution cause by the toxins used in tanning. Exotic animals also suffer immensely due to the demand in fashion for their skin. Snakes are skinned alive without any pain relief as it is believed that live flaying keeps the skin supple. They are nailed to trees and cut from one end to the other. Their disfigured bodies are then abounded but because reptiles have slow metabolism it can take a couple of hours for the snake to die therefore they suffer. Lizard’s heads are often chopped off and then the skin is ripped from their bodies as the squirm in pain from the violence. Alligator skins come from farmed animals who are raised in crowded tanks. Alligators are shot or workers sometimes use a mallet and chisel to detach the alligators’ spinal cords, which then paralyzes the animals but does not kill them and again then leads to gruesome suffering. A Herpetologist Clifford Warwick a reptile biology specialist once stated “There is no scientific question as to whether alligators are capable of feeling pain and sensitivity to stress—they are.” But then he came to find that farmed alligators “develop abnormalities and deformities because they can’t walk or swim” in the crowded enclosures.” Laws that protect reptiles from abuse are not often enforced. This industry is quite wasteful in addition to being vicious. It can take up to four alligators to make just one hand bag.

No matter where the animal may come from, be it in the wild or on a fur farm, every fur product sentences and animal to suffering and their life taken away. Animals raised on fur farms spend their lives in crowded, and filthy cages. All fur farmers are worried about is the amount of money they can make from these animal so they use the cheapest killing methods available. These methods include suffocation, electrocution, gas and poison. China supplies more than 50% of the fur in the U.S. Chinese fur is often mislabeled and there is no way of knowing whose skin you’re actually in. A person could buy think they have bought a fox fur coat but in reality they are wearing a cat’s fur coat. This is due to mislabeling. Animals in the wild are caught in steel traps that slams down on their legs, often cutting into their bones. Due to this they will suffer from blood loss, shock, dehydration, frostbite, gangrene and attacks by predators. There are many different types of traps for catching animals in the wild. The conibear trap crush animal’s necks with 90 pounds of pressure per square inch. Water-set trap leave animals like, beavers and muskrats struggling for their lives for almost 10 long minutes before letting them drown. In Canada they hold an annual seal slaughter where more than 10,000 baby harp seals are shot and bludgeoned with clubs tipped with metal hooks. Also in Canada, black bears are trapped and left to suffer for days or are shot at point-blank range so that their skins can be used to make the ceremonial hats worn by Queen Elizabeth II’s Five Guards’ Regiments. Buying any real fur product is supporting the abuse of animals. There is no need to support this kind of abuse to stay warm. There are many cruelty-free fabrics and faux furs that are available worldwide. Click here to watch a video on the fur industry. 

There are many other ways humans can feed, clothe, experiment and entertain themselves without the abuse of animals being involved. Because of awareness groups like PETA and NEAVS that non-animal alternatives are the future and this will happen sooner rather that later. This due to the fact that these awareness groups are getting a widespread support from those working in the fashion industry and outside it.


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