ABOUT THE CLOTHES YOU WEAR ***
Did you know that over 40 million animals are
being killed each year because people want to wear their skin? In the wild, they
suffer horribly in steel-jaw leg-hold traps. Animals sometimes remain in traps for a
long time before the trapper comes to kill them. While theyre in the traps,
they cant get any food or water; they cant hide, and they cant get out
of the rain or snow either. Some animals actually chew off their own foot to escape
the trap! Some of the animals have babies waiting for them back home who die slow
deaths when they lose their mom. Even though trappers only want to catch certain
kinds of animals, like foxes, raccoons and beavers, other animals such as dogs, cats and
eagles get caught too. Trappers call these "trash animals" because the
traps were not intended for them.
Some animals are raised under terrible conditions
on fur ranches and are killed in the most horrible manner so that people can wear
fur. Some countries are even raising dogs and cats for their skin and fur that is
used to make coats, gloves and even kids toys!
Avoid all products made from the skins of animals. You
might not think you would ever buy fur, but fur sneaks into clothes when you dont
expect to see it. For example, gloves are sometimes lined with fur, and jackets are
sometimes trimmed with it. You might find fur on a hat or on ear muffs. Let
your family know if you dont want any presents which have fur in them.
If you get something with fur on it for a gift, you can still
say "thank you." You might want to very politely tell the person how you
feel about fur though so they know not to buy it for you any more. If youre
nice about it, theyll probably be very understanding, and theyll learn about
fur just like you have.
If you see furs being bought, sold or given away in contests,
write letters or make phone calls to protest.
You can check toy stores and look for stuffed animals made of
fur or trimmed in fur. If you write to the manager of the store to say how you feel
about fur toys, he or she might decide not to sell real fur any more.
Lots of people in the
Congress of the United States are trying to make the leg-hold traps illegal. You can
write to your senators and representatives and ask them to vote against cruel traps.
Ask your parents the names of your senators and representative in Congress, or click here to look it up yourself. Mail to senators can
be directed to: (Name of Senator), United States Senate, Washington, DC 20510. Mail
to representatives can be sent to: (Name of Representative), House of Representatives,
Washington, DC 20515.
If you or someone in your family already has a fur coat, you
can donate it to an animal rights group. They use them in protests or they mark them
and donate them to the homeless. You can also check with your local wildlife refuge sometimes they use them
for orphaned baby animals to snuggle in.
Wool is sheep fur, but its different from mink fur or
fox fur because you dont have to kill the sheep to get it. Because you
dont have to kill the sheep, people think theres no cruelty involved, but this
is not true.
Most wool comes from sheep who live on big, crowded farms in
Australia. Sheeps wool can get really dirty and sometimes buggy. On a
lot of the big sheep farms, people cut off the skin around the sheeps rear
ends so that wool wont grow there anymore. Its very painful to the
Sheep from Australia are often sent to other countries on
crowded ships. They are treated badly and many die during these trips.
Some sheep have their fur cut off when its still cold
out and suffer terribly in the cold weather.
Sheep are often injured when they get their wool coats cut off
because people are in a hurry, arent careful and handle them very roughly.
If you decide
youd rather not wear wool, you can ask your parents to buy you clothes made from
cotton, flannel, corduroy and other materials. If you do get a wool sweater as a
gift, remember that not everyone knows what happens to sheep. You can let them
know, which is a great way to help animals.
The soft feathers of geese and ducks are called down.
Down is warm and light and people like to use it to make jackets as well as to stuff
pillows, comforters and sleeping bags. Some down comes from geese and ducks who are
killed for their meat. Some is pulled right out of the geese while theyre
still alive. This is a painful process.
If you need a jacket or sleeping bag, you can ask your parents
to choose one stuffed with fiberfill or some other warm, synthetic material that
isnt from animals.
If you have feather pillows and comforters at home, make sure
that they last a long time.
Leather is the skin of animals, usually cows, pigs and sheep.
Some people think its OK to use leather because it comes from animals who are
killed for their meat. They figure the leather is just a by-product of the meat
industry. But food animals like cows, pigs and sheep suffer terribly on factory
farms. Their lives are sheer misery and their deaths are too. Theres no
reason to use leather when there are plenty of substitutes for it. Why would you
want to wear someone elses skin?
Did you know that sometimes even dog and cat skin is used to
make leather products? Lots of things may be made out of leather including jackets,
pocketbooks, shoes, belts, wallets, watchbands, etc.
In order to turn animal skin into leather, people have to
clean it and put chemicals on it. This process is called tanning and tanning can
cause a lot of pollution and it really hurts the environment.
Many people think that leather is fashionable, but its
cruel because it hurts animals and the environment.
You can let your family know that youd rather not use
leather. You can get rubber or canvas shoes, or shoes made out of
"man-made" materials. If you do have leather shoes, take good care of them
so they last a long time and you wont need another pair too soon.
Keep an eye
out for dead animal parts:
Dead animals show up
everywhere. There are beads made out of sea creatures, sculptures made out of
elephant tusks and earrings made from animal bones or horns. Doesnt it seem
silly and unnecessary to kill an animal to make some jewelry?
Some stores sell raccoon, fox or squirrel tails for people to
hang from a hat or their car or some other place. Some sell rabbits feet for
good luck. The poor rabbits werent too lucky!!! Sometimes whole animal
heads are sold for decoration.
Animal parts which are sold for decoration dont come
from animals who have died naturally. People killed them.
If you dont want to contribute to the death of animals
for trinkets or decorations, be careful that you dont accidentally buy a part of a
You can visit stores in a mall or shopping center and check
for dead animal parts. If you see any, you can write to the store manager about how
it makes you feel to see animal parts for sale.