If you live in Australia- chances are you have seen these little devils at your local Wildlife Park or Zoo. The world's largest surviving carnivorous marsupial, the devil has a thick-set, squat build, a relatively large broad head, short, thick tail and cannot be mistaken for any other marsupial. Its spine-chilling screeches, black colour, and reputed bad-temper, led the early European settlers to call it The Devil. Although only the size of a small dog, it can sound and look incredibly fierce.
Devils once occurred on mainland Australia, but it is believed the devil became extinct on the mainland some 400 years ago – before European settlement. But did you know that these unique creatures are now facing extinction across Tasmania due to Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD)?
DFTD is a term used to describe a fatal condition in Tasmanian devils which is characterised by the appearance of obvious facial cancers. The tumours are first noticed in and around the mouth as small lesions or lumps. These develop into large tumours around the face, neck and sometimes even in other parts of the body. Adults appear to be most affected by the disease - males the first affected, then females. Badly affected devils have many cancers throughout the body.
As the cancers develop, they find it hard to ingest food and the devil weakens further. Affected animals appear to die within three to five months of the lesions first appearing, from starvation and the breakdown of body functions.
The first signs of DFTD were observed in the mid 1990s. Since this time, sightings of the Tasmanian devil have declined by more than 80%. As at October 2009, DFTD can be found at 64 locations across more than 60% of the Tasmanian State.
The transmission of Devil Facial Tumour Disease is still being explored. Preliminary results support the increasingly accepted hypothesis that we are dealing with a transmissible cancer and that cancerous cells are passed directly between devils as an allograft. DFTD is extremely rare and is one of only three recorded cancers that can spread like a contagious disease. When a healthy devil is infected with DFTD from another animal, the infected devil's immune system assumes that the new cancer cells are the same as its own cells and fail to reject them.
The daunting task ahead is to learn how to persuade the devil's immune system to recognise the cancer cells as hostile infectious agents, which will then alert the devil's immune system to destroy these cancer cells.
It is difficult to estimate exactly how many Tasmanian devils remain in the wild, but the best approximation is between 20,000 - 50,000 mature individuals.
The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program began to establish an Insurance Population of Tasmanian devils in 2005, gathering animals from areas of the State where there had not been evidence of DFTD. The Insurance Population is designed to ensure the survival of the species and these animals could play an important role, if ever needed, in helping to re-establish healthy wild Devil populations in Tasmania.
Tasmanian devils in the Insurance Population were initially isolated and housed in purpose-built quarantine enclosures before being sent to wildlife institutions in mainland Australia and overseas approved by the Zoo and Aquarium Association.
There are approximately 610 devils in the Insurance Population, including 132 joeys born in 2013–14. It appears that efforts to secure the species in captivity have well and truly succeeded.
The decision to remove Tasmanian devils to the mainland of Australia was based on the need to ensure that a healthy population of devils that was at absolutely no risk of infection from diseased wild devils. As it became clear that DFTD was not airborne, and therefore the risk of infection to captive populations was much lower than first thought, the Program instituted a locally-based Insurance Population that is housed at facilities in Tasmania.
The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program used Free Range Enclosures (FRE) as an economically and behaviourally sustainable alternative to intensive management for devils. The benefit to the Insurance Population of these animals housed in the FREs is that they tend to retain wild behaviours because of their less intensive management. The first of the Devil Island FREs was constructed on land donated by the Devil Island Project in 2008.
The Program is also exploring options and implementing projects to isolate and protect populations of healthy devils within the landscape. The first translocation of a population of Tasmanian devils to Maria Island (an off-shore island on Tasmania's East Coast) took place in November 2012. This island was chosen as the first island translocation for a number of reasons, including its large area, the fact that the habitat appears to be suitable for Tasmanian devils and that it is solely managed by the State Government.
The Program is also looking at the feasibility of ‘virtual islands' - fencing off peninsulas or other geographically suitable areas of land in Tasmania. These geographical landscapes lend themselves for use as virtual islands for the protection of healthy populations or for the reintroduction of healthy animals to areas that have been decimated by Devil Facial Tumour Disease.
Want to secure the future of the Tasmania Devil? Consider making a donation at;
Who doesn’t love the Giant Panda? These beautiful animals are often pictured lying around, slumped dozing over trees- the epitome of relaxation. As China’s unofficial mascot and the symbol of the World Wildlife Fund, the giant Panda is one of the most beloved animals in the world. However, do you know that they are also one of the more endangered species in the world? There is only an estimated 1000-2000 living in the wild.
The Giant Panda is protected as a national treasure in their native China. However due to habitat loss and fragmentation, illegal poaching and deforestation, the Panda population has been pushed to the risk of extinction.
China’s love affair with the Panda is a fairly recent occurrence, and while strong, is not indicative of a deep culture of animal welfare. China has a no animal welfare laws and Pandas are among a tiny minority of animals unlikely to end up in as a cultural dish.
The elevation of the black and white bear to China’s national symbol happened gradually only over the last century. In ancient times, Chinese people feared Pandas and described them as metal-devouring tapirs (herbivorous mammal resembling a pig). The bears were known to descend from the mountains to forage for utensils made of bamboo, iron, or copper, and could chew the nails off a city gate.
Chinese used to hunt Pandas for their pelts because it was believed that sleeping on Panda fur could ward off ghosts and help regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle. They also thought Panda urine could dissolve a swallowed needle.
It was in 1957 London, however, that a stateless bear’s sudden popularity made the Panda the poster child for all things endangered. Having been caught in the wild as a baby in Sichuan and housed in Peking Zoo, ‘Chi- chi’ was originally destined for an American zoo, but at the time Washington had banned all trade with Communist China. Chi-chi was branded ‘communist goods’ and was refused entry to the United States. The London Zoo made a successful bid for Chi-chi in 1958, and she quickly
o’s star attraction. As it happened, London was also the home of the newly formed World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which still lacked a logo. Deciding that there was no better candidate than the lovable Chi-chi, the WWF
an international symbol of wildlife conservation ever since. Chi - chi went on to become the London Zoo's star attraction and Britain's most loved zoo animal.
The WWF’s choice of logo helped align international concern about the species with a new Chinese effort to address dwindling Panda numbers and the destruction of their habitat - the bamboo forests. China made giant Pandas a protected species in 1962, the first captive-bred Panda cub was born in 1963, and poaching was criminalised in 1987, setting strict new penalties of at least ten years in jail or even death. Even so, it took time to stamp out the practice of panda poaching. In 1987, three smuggled pelts were reported seized by Hong Kong customs and China made 203 arrests for Panda hunting in 1988 - recovering 146 pelts.
Although intentionally harming a Panda is now unthinkable, other bear species do not enjoy the same protections. Chinese today still consume the bile extracted from moon bears, sun bears, and brown bears – believing the substance to be therapeutic. Bile extraction is a painful and invasive process, and some bear bile farms keep bears locked in tiny cages for years at a time. The bear bile industry is completely unnecessary – plentiful and inexpensive synthetic and herbal alternatives to bear bile are readily available.
It is a source of great sadness (and double standards) to see that these bears suffer immensely at the hands of this cruel practice. Pandas and other bears share so many similarities, but are treated so very differently.
China spends a great deal of money on Panda preservation, from breeding parks to research, but also earns millions of dollars annually by leasing the animals to overseas zoos and by displaying them as tourist attractions at home. Today there are approximately 40 Panda reserves across South Western China. Some are Nature Reserves providing a safe habitat for wild Giant Pandas; other reserves protect the wild Giant Pandas while providing scientific research centres to breed and study their behaviour.
Over the past several decades, Chinese scientists have developed and honed the difficult techniques required to breed Pandas in captivity and in 2010 made a breakthrough that may help Pandas bred in captivity to return to the wild. They have also developed a program that utilises ‘foster Panda Mothers’. Pandas are frequently born in pairs but mothers struggle to care for both cubs; simply - another captive Panda female fosters one of her cubs.
The national embrace of the Panda has generated a shared affection that could provide a template for saving other species in the future. There are signs that Panda love may be spreading to other species. Eating shark’s fin has sharply waned in popularity due in part to anti-cruelty campaigns backed by Chinese celebrities like basketball star Yao Ming. There are large protests surrounding the annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival, sometimes physically preventing those transporting dogs to enter the city. China announced in April 2014 that anyone who eats endangered species, or buys them for other purposes, is punishable by up to 10 years in jail. The interpretation applied to 420 different endangered species, including tigers and golden monkeys.
The good news is that giant Panda numbers are increasing. Slowly but surely this remarkable species is edging away from the brink of extinction - thanks to a host of successful conservation projects.
But Pandas still face a number of threats, particularly habitat loss and fragmentation, so extra efforts are needed to ensure that they continue to survive and thrive. But simply providing more land for Pandas is not enough. Only by effectively addressing the needs of local people and sustainably enhancing their livelihoods can we hope to guarantee the long term survival of the giant Panda.
So you just happened to be passing the shops and notice that cute little fluffy cardigan in the window? Stop. Think. Educate yourself. What is it made from? While you might be inclined to reach for a soft angora cardigan this season, you should consider the pain and suffering that occurred to make that cardigan possible. Let’s have a look at the truth behind the angora industry.
Angora is one of the most sought after materials for those soft, warm sweaters. The fine fibres come from the domestic angora rabbit. Although its history is contentious, the angora rabbit has been bred for centuries throughout Europe and was only recently brought to the United States in the 1920’s.
Today, 90% of angora fur is produced in China. Remember, China has NO animal welfare laws and there are more than 50 million angora rabbits, growing 2,500–3,000 tonnes of fur per year. Harvesting occurs up to three times a year (about every 4 months) and is collected by ripping the fur from the animal.
These intelligent, docile and clean animals spend their lives on angora farms in tiny filthy cages surrounded by their own excrements. In 2013, PETA released footage from their undercover investigations of ten angora farms in China. The footage is graphic, but it is heartbreakingly real.
Only female angora rabbits are used within the fur trade as they grow much larger than the males and therefore produce more fur. Males chosen for breeding purposes are selected and then caged. Those not required for breeding within the angora fur trade are killed automatically at birth. PETA stated that the male rabbits are considered the luckiest of rabbits as their life and death is quick and virtually painless.
A PETA undercover investigator visited almost a dozen angora rabbit farms in China and found that rabbits screamed and writhed in pain as workers ripped the fur out of their delicate skin. Rabbits endure this terrifying ordeal every three months for two to five years before they’re ultimately killed. They are then strung up; their throats are slit and then they are fed back into the human food chain. After the fur has been harvested the angora rabbit is then returned back to its cage, naked, freezing and in shock - the rabbit will sit still quivering in fear in a trance like comatose state. Death is common yet still the trade continues.
There are no penalties in China for animal abuse on rabbit farms and no standards that regulate the treatment of animals.
Sometimes the rabbits are sheared which can be as traumatic as having ones fur ripped clean out. This is known as ‘plucking’. During this process, their front and back legs are tightly tethered and the sharp cutting tools inevitably wound them as they struggle desperately to escape. Some farmers will suspend the rabbits from a block of wood fixed to a beam in the fur room. Bleeding and shaking in shock the process is not fast. Taking on average around ten to fifteen minutes the pain inflicted is gruesome and barbaric.
Rabbits are one of the most abused species on the planet. They are not only used for angora and in the fur industry but for animal testing and experimentation, meat, Easter gifts and in the entertainment industry. Rabbits are considered very delicate and sensitive animals of which suffer more or less the same stress and loneliness feelings as we humans do.
Stress in the fur trade kills 90% of all rabbits. However, this is not the only factor. Heat stress is also commonly known to kill many rabbits, loud noises, irrational human behaviour, confusion or inconsistent mishandling can also lead to the deaths of many Angora Fur farm rabbits.
Rabbits are social animals and being separated from another rabbit causes immense stress. This social deprivation leads to stereotyped behaviour such as gnawing on cage bars and over-grooming. Even group housing of adolescent sibling rabbits is no better. The overcrowding of the cages leads to increased aggression and fighting. Fur-plucking and ear-biting are behavioural manifestations attributed to overcrowding.
What can I do?
Since the exposure of the angora rabbit trade many retailers across the UK, Europe, America and Australia have decided to cease the trade of angora fur. In 2013 several clothing retailers suspended the sourcing of products containing angora wool after the footage was released from Peta. Major retailers that banned angora products in response to welfare concerns include Gap Inc., Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, H&M, Esprit Australian retailers and designers like David Jones, Myer, Sportsgirl and, most recently, the Just Group.
Optimistically, the angora fur trade is on its way out. Talk to your friends and please pledge to leave angora out of your wardrobe and instead choose cruelty-free alternative materials.
Please take the time to read the label If it says ‘angora’ - leave it on the rack.
“Let me paint you a picture - A beautiful gentle female tiger, named Darika, is unable to have cubs as she is in with a male tiger far too young to mate. She has be born slightly deformed in her feet and hips which make her limp, but she is such a stunning girl, and oh so gentle.
One night, her "keeper" walks to her cage, she greets him; he puts a lead on her and walks her outside. She trusts him, and goes without a problem. She is then injected and she falls down onto a canvas unconscious. She is lifted onto the back of a truck and she is driven out of the Tiger Temple, never to be seen again. She is taken to Laos, to a Tiger farm, and there her life ends. Her body is carved up and used in the fake Chinese traditional medicines and she (her body parts) are sold into the black market. Her fur is sold. She is gone.”
Be a smart traveller
Put your hand up if you would love to cuddle a baby tiger? Irresistible isn’t it? They are one of the most gorgeous and exotic big cats and with an estimated 3200- left in the wild, the opportunity to get up close and personal with a cub would be highly desirable.
But, this is not about you and your needs and your social media profile. This is about what we are doing to our tigers by supporting the Tourism Trade. And it’s heartbreaking.
But I’m supporting an Animal Sanctuary - so it must be okay?
It can be difficult to identify a sanctuary or ‘rescue centre’ that is ethical, responsible and sustainable. Many will claim to be a place of sanctuary for rescued, abandoned and injured wildlife. It may even be endorsed by the national tourist board. If the sanctuary claims to work for the conservation of the species then there should be some guarantee that the animals will one day be released into the wild.
It is often only through reports from travellers that concerns about practices are raised, leading to investigations undertaken by animal welfare organisations.
Genuine sanctuaries will rescue, rehabilitate and release animals back to the wild where possible. Otherwise, they will provide animals with quality lifetime care. In circumstances where wild animals are kept captive for exhibition to the public, reputable sanctuaries should apply the five freedoms. The five freedoms of acceptable animal welfare standards are:
• Freedom from hunger and thirst – access to fresh water and a balanced diet representative of that in the wild
• Freedom from discomfort – a living environment that provides shelter, privacy, mental and physical stimulation
• Freedom from pain, injury and disease – provisions in place to minimise the risk of injury, illness, disease or infection
• Freedom to express normal behaviour – suitable facilities and enough space to permit natural behaviours
• Freedom from fear and distress – precautions in place to minimise any likelihood of suffering, stress or distress
Animals in captivity are known to show typical stress behaviour if they feel uncomfortable with their surroundings. This is demonstrated through pacing, rocking, swaying, bar-licking and other compulsive behaviours which may arise as a result of captive environments that compromise (or have once compromised) an animal’s welfare.
A reputable sanctuary will ensure that their animals are not made to perform for visitors. At no time should you be encouraged to have direct contact with a wild animal such as stroking, petting or forced interaction with humans. A human touching or stoking an animal is completely unnatural for the animal and can cause it severe distress, placing both the animal’s and human’s life in danger. Contact with animals can also have disease implications for both humans and animals alike.
One of the better known Tiger attractions amongst travellers is Tiger Kingdom in Phuket and Chiang Mai and the Tiger Temple (Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua) in Bangkok— and you’ve probably seen pictures of people posing next to a majestic tiger, bravely holding up a tiger’s tail and grinning proudly, or perhaps even cuddling or feeding a cub. Both the Tiger Temple and Tiger Kingdom have inadequate and appalling animal welfare standards.
As the legend goes, the owner of Thailand’s Tiger Kingdom was given a tiger cub nearly 30 years ago because its mother had been killed. The villager who found the cub gave this particular man the tiger cub because he had the land and money necessary to care for the cub. Naturally, as he acquired more animals, he needed to make more money to support them and thus the idea for Tiger Kingdom was born. The land where the initial “rescue centre” was founded is not a zoo. In 2008, Chiang Mai’s Tiger Kingdom was opened. Originally, the facility was run like a standard zoo but as time went on, visitors were allowed to interact with the tigers. Thus begun a new and inventive way to ‘make more money’ for the tigers at the facility. Hundreds of foreign tourists daily visit the tigers to see and take pictures. It is lucrative business. The entrance fee is 500 baht (US$15) per person while taking photos with the Tiger costs 1,000 baht (US$30) extra. To feed the cubs and watch them exercise, tourists have to pay 4,500 baht (US$120).
Tiger Kingdom runs a breeding program, which operates under the guise of being part of their ‘conservation’ efforts. However, hand reared tigers are not equipped to be released into the wild which raises the question as to what the funds generated by the facility are actually going towards. Hand-reared is essentially a euphemism for saying that cubs are taken from their mothers at a young age and raised by humans instead. In doing this, the tigers are then completely reliant on humans for food and care, rendering them virtually unable to fend for themselves in the wild. At around the age of two years old, the tigers are separated into a different living area, away from their younger counterparts to avoid them fighting with each other (their natural behaviour). The most money is made from everything cub related. As such, female tigers are made to repeatedly breed in quick succession; they would have a litter of cubs and when the cubs were 7 – 12 days old, the cubs were taken from their mothers and hand raised (with incorrect formula, usually dog milk formulas).
Tigers are solitary animals and do not usually leave their mother until the two year mark. So not only do these cubs have to endure being separated from their mother, they then are subjected to extreme petting from tourist and subject to multiple feedings.
The adolescent and adult tigers are kept in isolated in their cages, 24 hours a day, except when they are taken out for photos. Each ‘trainer’ at Tiger Kingdom is given a bamboo stick to control the tiger. If they behave badly they will be hit on the nose. They are retrained every morning before the tourists arrive.
The website states that the Tiger Temple was founded in 1994 as a forest monastery and sanctuary for numerous wild animals. It received the the Golden Jubilee Buddha Image soon after and its first cub in 1999 – which did not live for long. Several tiger cubs were later given to the temple, typically when the mothers had been killed by poachers.
Although the Tiger Temple may have begun as a rescue centre for tigers, it has become a breeding centre to produce and keep tigers solely for the tourists and therefore for the benefit of the Temple. Illegal international trafficking helps to maintain the Temples’ captive tiger population. There is no possibility of the Temples’ breeding program contributing to the conservation of the species in the wild. In the case of the Tiger Temple there are no pure bred Thai Indochinese Tigers inside of the Tiger Temple It is believed that they are breeding the Tigers from the ongoing wildlife trade of India's Bengal Tigers shipped via the wildlife trade route, out into Laos, where they are inbred and cross bred with the random Malayan or part Indochinese Tiger, procured from forests. On the black market, tiger parts can be worth more than the live tiger itself and if no one is tracking the animals in and out of the facility, the wildlife trade can run unchecked. Under Thai law, the exchange of tigers internationally is entirely prohibited, but after a series of investigations between 2005 and 2008 took place on the Tiger Temple, it was discovered that at least seven tigers vanished from the facility without any context, and five new tigers appeared – again –with no explanation. Evidence was later found that workers at the temple had coordinated deals with a tiger farm in Laos where older felines were traded for cubs. The cubs were then given the same names as their traded counterparts to hide the fact that tigers were being imported and exported between multiple facilities.
The Tiger Temple does not have the facilities, the skills, the relationships with accredited zoos, or even the desire to manage its tigers in an appropriate fashion. The fact that these tigers are raised by monks, not wildlife experts or conservationists, seems a little bit suspect. Like all wild animals, tigers require people who understanding their behaviour and nutritional needs. How do these monks (with no animal training) make these particular tigers so docile and friendly around tourists?
"If you think Tiger Temple is some kind of spiritual tiger sanctuary, it isn't. If you think they rescue abused tigers, or that the tigers will be released into the wild, they won't be. If you think that a tiger wants to live in a small bare cage, have a chain around its neck and have tourists sit on its back, I'm pretty sure it doesn't."
Care for the Wild CEO Philip Mansbridge
Tiger Temple Thailand is one of the most widely known attractions where tourists can come – and for a price- spend the day hanging out with tigers. Care for the Wild International carried out a series of undercover investigations into Tiger Temple and found that the animals there were subjected to extreme heat and left in cages barely large enough for them to move for 20-21 hours per day. The Temple runs a captive breeding program where the cubs are taken from their mothers at an early age and physically abused to teach them to be submissive to humans.
The Temple has been accused of abusing their animals and trafficking their tigers in and out of the facility many times and in April 2015 Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Director- general, Nipon Chotiban, ordered all tigers to be removed from the Tiger Temple by the end of April. However, in May, Thai authorities retracted their decision to seize all 147 tigers from the Tiger Temple. Instead, the tigers will be allowed to remain at the temple on the condition that the temple is not run as a business and the temple does not continue breeding tigers. It is unclear what caused this dramatic change of heart and the move is considered as a step backwards by wildlife activists and animal lovers who envisaged a better future for these “working” tigers. With the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation apparent watering down its of its initial resolve to seize the tigers, it may seem that efforts to free these tigers from commercial use has been thwarted, and the fate of these tigers has been sealed by “the powers that be.”
Although we know that these animals would never stand a chance in the wild, does that mean we have the right to treat them as we please while they are in our captivity? Change may not happen overnight, but there is an undeniable growing awareness which is becoming impossible to ignore. There may still be hope for these tigers. So let’s keep talking, educating our friends and keep reminding people why they should not visit places like the Tiger Kingdom or the Tiger Temple.
Every action, every word we speak in support of animal rights can and will contribute to change.
It is easy to disconnect yourself from the fur trade, until it becomes apparent that you could mistakenly be supporting this industry by purchasing mislabelled items.
Ornaments, toys and trinkets made with cat and dog fur are being sold to unknowing consumers across Australia, despite laws in place prohibiting their importation. The cats and dogs used overseas for their pelts are the same species that are kept as pets. Look at your fur kid – is their life worth a trinket?
Following a campaign in 2004 by the Humane Society Australia, which exposed the cruelty of the Chinese cat and dog fur industry, the Howard government announced a ban on the import of products made with cat and dog fur. A petition with 70, 000 signatures calling for the ban was sent to then Prime Minister John Howard. However, despite this ban, clothing, accessories, toys and ornaments made using cat and dog fur are still being sold in Australia. The cat and dog fur trade is an international issue, one that is continuing to plague the retail industry.
In March and May 2011, department store Myer and national chain Wittner Shoes came under scrutiny following claims by Humane Society International that some of the products on sale contained dog fur. Twelve items from Myer and Wittner that were labelled as either rabbit or raccoon fur, were tested by the Humane Society International and all tested positive for dog fur.
Myer responded to the claims quickly, pulling the line of clothing in question from the racks to allow for independent testing by CSIRO to verify the species of the fur. The issue was raised with Chinese suppliers that week. Myer and Wittner fought the claim, stating that independent testing was performed and that the fur was rabbit, not dog fur.
There is an ornament commonly sold at weekend markets that is produced from cat fur. The ornament is a curled up sleeping cat figurine covered in fur that looks and feels just like a real cat. There is no product label specifying the species of the fur and most believe that the fur used is rabbit fur which has been dyed to replicate the markings of a ginger or tabby cat In fact, the fur may have originated from what was once a treasured pet, stolen from a home. Clearly, the laws banning the import of dog and cat fur into the country are failing to be properly enforced if products like these are still available for sale.
China is the world’s largest producer and exporter of fur, supplying 85 per cent of the fur available globally. There are currently no Animal Welfare laws in this country. An estimated 2 million cats and dogs are slaughtered for their fur in China every year with many of the cats and dogs slaughtered for their pelts raised on fur farms, some are strays taken from the streets and others are actually pets stolen from homes.
Dog and cat fur farms are commonly found in the northern regions of China where exposure to the cold climate will result in longer and fluffier pelts. These animals live in overcrowded wire cages that offer no protection from the weather. They are deprived of proper food and fresh water, as they believe a weak animal is easier to slaughter.
If they need to be transported to slaughterhouses adjacent to wholesale markets (which sometimes take days) they are crammed into cages or sacks and are thrown from the top of the truck upon arrival, shattering their bones.
Australian consumers find the idea of wearing cat and dog fur abhorrent and refuse to support the trade and a growing number of Chinese consumers feel the same way and strongly oppose the cat and dog fur trade. Fur suppliers are well aware that Western consumers will not knowingly buy cat and dog fur, so therefore, items containing cat and dog fur are mislabelled, written in a foreign language, or not labelled at all.
It is difficult to distinguish between the look and feel of cat and dog fur and that of other species for the average consumer, especially if it has been dyed. Imported items made from cat fur are often mislabelled as fox, mink, mountain cat, or rabbit. Dog fur has been found mislabelled in Australian stores as Asian jackal, corsac fox, Mongolian dog, pommern wolf, raccoon dog and sobaki. Products made from cat and dog fur may even be mislabelled as faux.
The dog and cat fur issue will continue to be problematic, until harsher import and product labelling are enforced. Even if the laws do change to require all fur products to be labelled with the species and country of origin, DNA testing is the only way to be certain if a product contains cat or dog fur.
Given the risk associated with this deception, all Australian department stores (David Jones, Myer, Target, Big W and Kmart) have pledged to go fur free since October 2012.
This world first industry move will go a long way toward preventing the trade of cat and dog fur in Australia and protecting consumers.
Remember: Each fur article comes with an unimaginable amount of agony.
Thanks to: http://www.businessinfocus.com.au
Here at Snuggle Coats we are not only anti fur, but opposed to any form of animal cruelty and this is why we will be attending the Global March for Lions next Saturday. So what is the Global March for Lions about? It is about bring awareness to an intensive, cruel and inappropriate hunting practice – Canned Hunting.
Canned Hunting is a trophy hunt in which a wild animal is kept in a confined area, from which they cannot escape, increasing the likelihood of the hunter obtaining a kill and in South Africa, this barbaric practice is flourishing.
Hunters from all over the world, but notably from the United States, Germany, Spain, France and the UK, flock to South Africa in their thousands and send home lion body parts, such as the head and skin, preserved by taxidermists, to show off their supposed prowess.
The animals involved are habituated to human contact, often hand-reared and bottle fed, so are no longer naturally fearful of people. Such animals will approach people expecting to get fed, but instead receive a bullet, or even an arrow from a hunting bow. This makes it easier for clients to be guaranteed a trophy and thus the industry is lucrative and popular. Anyone can go and hunt lions in South Africa – a hunting licence or proven hunting experience isn’t necessary. This often means that lions are not killed by the first shot, which results in them experiencing an agonising death.
Volunteers are flying to South Africa and helping to raise lion cubs in the belief that they are going to be released back into the wild, only for those lions to be used purely for the canned hunting purposes. These farms are often advertised as wildlife sanctuaries to lure foreign volunteers under the pretence of helping to save a species.
Breeders remove the cubs from their mother so that the lioness will quickly become fertile again, as they squeeze as many cubs from their adults as possible – five litters every two years. For an animal that is usually weaned at six months, missing out on the crucial colostrum, or first milk, can cause ill-health. These breeders tell you they removed the cubs because the mother had no milk; however this is not the case. Lions and tigers in captivity may kill their young because they are under a lot of stress. But the main reason breeders separate the young from their mother is because they don't want them to be dependent on their mother. Separation brings the female back into a reproductive position much faster than if the cubs were around. It's a conveyor-belt production of animals. Many of the animals bred for the canned hunting industry (which fetch between $5,000 to $50,000 per head - for a male lion with mane) suffer defects due to inbreeding – rickets, back and eyesight problems.
After the ‘petting’ stage of raising these cubs, the lions are trained to walk with one group of tourists, one after another, day in, day out. This familiarity with humans simply means that they will not run away when the client walks up to them to kill them.
When these lions become too big to be trusted to walk with tourists, they are returned to the breeder to be crammed into overcrowded enclosures, to be grown out until they reach huntable size.
For trophy hunting in South Africa, lions are bred on more than 160 farms. In the last six years, the number of farm lions has risen by 250 percent. Today, around 6000 captive animals are threatened with the same gruesome fate – more than ever before. South Africa has an estimated wild lion population of approximately 1200 lions.
So this Friday or Saturday –depending where you live – join us for The Global Lions March 2015. For more information please make sure you visit organiser Feline Foundation webpage http://www.felinefoundation.org/events/ Sarah does amazing work raising money for partner charities around the world, who rescue unwanted domestic cats, and work in preserving the big cats of Africa.
Remember: The more people that attend, the louder our ROAR.
So – is it really acceptable to buy and wear fur just because it’s vintage or belonged to your grandma?
I believe that wearing real fur is unacceptable. I can’t conceive of any situation where it would be right to kill an animal purely so that you can look fashionable wearing its skin. By buying vintage fur, you are perpetuating the trend that wearing fur is acceptable and supporting the current fur industry. Just because the animal died years ago does not mean that it did not suffer a painful death. Although historically, the fur trade played a role in the development of the early economies, tradition never justifies abuse. There are many cultural practices once seen as acceptable that are now viewed as horrific relics of a more brutal time.
Every year, more than 50 million animals are violently killed for use in fashion. Eighty-five percent of the fur industry’s skins come from animals on fur farms—dismal, often filthy places where thousands of animals are usually kept in wire cages for their entire lives.
To cut costs, fur farmers pack animals into unbearably small cages, preventing them from taking more than a few steps in any direction or doing anything that is natural and important to them, such as running, swimming, making nests, and finding mates. Many animals go insane under these conditions. The anguish and frustration of life in a cage leads many animals to self-mutilate, biting at their skin, tail, and feet; frantically pace and circle endlessly; and even cannibalize their cage mates.
In China – where there are no animal welfare laws, approximately 2 million dogs and cats are bred or taken from the street and killed each year for their fur. Australia has banned the import of dog and cat fur, but international investigations show that Chinese dog and cat fur is frequently mislabelled (as fox, rabbit or mink fur). Even accessories, trinkets and children toys have been found decorated with dog and cat fur.
The list of animals suffering for fur production is long. Mink, foxes and rabbits are the most frequently bred, but also squirrels, badgers, possums, racoons, beavers, lynxes, coyotes, seals, otters, bears, chinchillas, martens, bobcats, dogs and cats are killed for their fur. The number of animals that need to die for one fur coat varies from 30 – 40 for rabbits to 30 – 70 for Minxes. Even for fur trim, mass production of these items equates to huge numbers of animals who suffer and die unnecessarily.
Remember – fur is only beautiful on its original owner
Thanks to; www.peta.org, www.animalsaustralia.org, www.weheartvintage.com, www.bornfreeusa.org
Ultimately it is up to us – the consumer – to make educated choices about what we are buying. So how can you be sure that gorgeous little coat is real or faux?
Take the little jacket above – looks fake doesn’t it? Nope. It’s from China – probably originating from a fur farm. The jacket does not state what it is made from. It’s actually rabbit fur, dyed pink.
So how are we supposed to know if what we’re buying is faux, “faux sure”? Let’s take a look at what you can do -
Separate the fur and look at the base. Genuine fur usually protrudes from skin or leather, while faux fur generally has a mesh or threaded backing. If the backing looks like skin (which just makes it doubly gross!), don’t buy it. Genuine animal pelts will resemble smooth suede leather and are often sewn together in strips, sections or pieces like a patchwork quilt.
Look at the tips of the hairs. Real animal hairs taper to a fine point unless they have been sheared or cut. Faux fur, on the other hand, typically does not taper at the ends. So if the ends of the hairs taper to a fine point, play it safe and leave it on the rack.
Do a burn test (obviously, this one’s only for things you already own).Remove a few hairs and hold them with tweezers over a non-flammable surface. Light them with a match or a lighter and let the smell do the talking. Burning animal hair smells like burning human hair. Fake fur, which is commonly made from acrylic or polyester, smells like melting plastic when burned.
Remember – no coat, hat or other fur item is worth the kind of suffering these animals go through.
And if you do have a real fur product – consider donating it to Snuggle Coats to assist in rehabilitating animals and give the fur back to the animals.
Thanks to www.peta.org
So how does it work? I just donate my old fur coat to you and you just pass it on? Right?
Well, not exactly (I wish it was that simple).
These furs, in the most part, are used to rehabilitate animals. They like to snuggle and burrow into the fur. And we all know what baby animals like to do - chew things! So we need to make the Snuggle Coat as 'fur kid friendly' as possible!
At Snuggle Coats we take the fur coat apart and bring it back to a fur piece. So that means we gently remove the lining (sometimes these coats are double lined), shoulder pads, wadding, buttons, metal hooks and other construction items. Depending on the item and the type of fur, this process can take a few hours.
The fur is then cut into smaller pieces - sleeves and hats are turned inside out to provide snuggling burrows - and packed and sent to Animal Welfare Groups