During this year’s Annual Town Meeting, Wellesley’s town meeting members will vote on a citizens’ petition to prohibit the sale of fur. This citizens’ petition is being proposed on the heels of the statewide California fur ban, recently signed into law, and simultaneous to other state and local initiatives to ban fur sales in Connecticut, Hawaii, New York City, Minneapolis, Portland (OR), and Toronto. The primary motivation for these bans stems from the rampant animal cruelty in the industry, which results in over 100,000,000 animals being killed every year for their fur by anal electrocution, clubbing, gassing, or poison. 85-95% of these animals are raised in cramped, filthy cages on fur farms, unable to ever participate in behaviors natural to their species, and where the skinning of animals while incapacitated but still alive has been regularly documented.
Often left out of discussions of the fur industry, however, is the significant detrimental impact it has on the environment. While the fur industry regularly markets itself as sustainable and eco-friendly, EU regulatory agencies have deemed these claims as false and misleading advertising. A recent study by the independent consulting group on environmental sustainability, CE Delft, shows why. It found that fur is the worst offending textile, natural or synthetic, in 17 of 18 environmental categories including climate change, ozone depletion, and toxicity (only cotton scored worse in the category of water depletion), ranging from 2 to 28 times the environmental impact of other textiles.
For example, the climate change impact of mink fur is 5 times higher than the second worst offending textile, wool (sheep being high methane producers requiring lots of land and feed). Put differently, producing 1 kg of mink fur requires 11.4 minks and 563 kg of feed comprised of mostly chicken and fish. This highly inefficient process taxes land and water resources, and produces significant waste runoff that is consistently reported to pollute local water supplies. And for what? Is a decorative pompom on a winter hat or trim around a hood worth the toll this industry takes on animals and the environment alike?
While fur farming has been banned in nearly all countries in the EU, 80% of the fur purchased in the United States comes from China, where there is no regulatory oversight of either animal cruelty or environmental harm caused by fur farms.
For more information on Fur-Free Wellesley, including the complete bylaw, please visit this website or Facebook page, or contact the organizer, Liza Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org.