Ban the sale of real fur and down in Scotland

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Over the past year or so there appears to have been an upturn in the popularity of coats containing real fur and down feathers - Canada Goose being the brand that seems particularly on-trend. Whether or not those buying such clothing are aware that the fur they wear is real or the means by which it is obtained is not always clear; it is reasonable to assume that some do and some don't. However, I firmly believe that the majority of people are, like me, disgusted by the use of real furs, due in no small part to the particularly cruel means by which they are obtained - by way of traps which see defenceless, wild animals trapped, often gnawing at their flesh in an attempt to free themselves or otherwise injuring themselves in the hours and sometimes days wait they have before the trapper returns to kill them - these are the actions of a sentient being, desperate for their freedom, for their life, free to live with their own fur on their back.

Moreover, traps are non-selective - often the intended target is not the victim.

Then there are fur farms, banned in Scotland in 2002 (although the last such farm closed in '93) but currently supplying approx 80% of fur used worldwide - mink and foxes among the most widely farmed, with the market producing approx 50 millions mink-pelts alone, 100 million overall including various animals - an obscene number. China, the largest producer of fur and finished fur products are noted to keep animals in particularly unhealthy, cruel environments; having very few protections in place such as those in the EU. However, there is no protection short of an outright ban that can end the needless cruelty committed to satisfy nothing more than human vanity.

China also produces the most down, 80% of the worldwide supply. Geese and ducks are also subjected to considerable cruelty, leading miserable lives in horrific conditions - only to die painfully, often having their feathers ripped from their flesh, which, if torn is sewn without anesthetic or painkillers - a process with happens multiple times (as in the Capitalist norm - to maximise productivity / profits) before the bird is eventually killed; that's if the trauma of live plucking hasn't already killed them. This is not to say that being raised in such conditions and being killed before being plucked is any better.

Subjecting other beings to such needless cruelty is almost beyond description; hours, days, lifetimes spent in abject misery - at the very least living in deeply uncomfortable, unstimulating environments, before prematurely losing their life simply to provide us with a 'product' which serves no purpose so vital or uniquely so as to warrant its existence. In the modern world, there is no purpose for which fur / down is used which cannot be served equally well by synthetic materials - people on Sauchiehall Street, wearing coats of synthetic materials are no closer to death caused by low temperatures than those in Canada Goose apparel. Moreover, there is little if any aesthetic difference, proven by the fact that many, perhaps most simply don't know what is and isn't real - with many unaware they own real fur.

I don't exaggerate the cruelty of these situations for effect, or because of some other agenda - this is the reality of the commodification of animals.

Fur farming was banned in England and Wales in 2000 and in Scotland in 2002 - so, if it is too cruel an industry to have on our shores then how can we justify supporting it elsewhere, where we have considerably less control over it.

I believe the Scottish Government may already have the necessary powers to ban this now, given a consultation on Animal By-Products in 2010 - http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2010/08/19161058/3

However, with Brexit talks ongoing, there may be the opportunity to seek the devolution of these powers if they are not currently available and instead dictated by EU or UK level policy.

The UK Government can't be trusted on animal welfare, given their track record. In response to an open petition (which ends in March and has over 50,000 signatures), the UK Government said, "While some fur products may never be legally imported into the UK the Government’s view is that national bans are less effective than working at an international level on animal welfare standards." Going on to say they were helping phase out cruel and inhumane practice as well as encouraging an outright ban on particular species, such as cats and dogs. I see all production as cruel and inhumane and do not differentiate species in such ways, no animal is more or less important than any other.

Moreover, a full ban does not disable us from continuing to work on an International level. I believe the UK Government's answer to be a total cop out and hope that the Scottish Government won't take such a view but instead takes the most direct and meaningful action - ensuring the closure of the market for fur and down in Scotland; there is no more important step to ending cruelty than simply ending your participation in it.



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