As most of you are aware, for the past couple months I’ve been co-coordinating a campaign asking fashion powerhouse INTERMIX to stop selling fur. Since day 1, I’ve received messages/comments from people wanting to know a) why are we focusing on fur when we know that by far the largest number of animals are exploited and killed for food, and b) if we’re trying to stop the fur industry, why only focus on one particular store? Both are very valid questions, and my response to them is long overdue.
Every year, 50 billion animals lose their lives unnecessarily to become food for humans. The approximately 31 million animals that are murdered annually on fur farms could almost feel negligible in comparison to the slaughter perpetuated by the meat/dairy/egg industries. However, there are a few reasons why I focus so much energy on the fur fight:
1) It should be an easy win. Anyone with a heart can agree that fur for fashion is wrong. Vegans and omnivores alike acknowledge the barbarism of raising animals in solitude and confinement and then killing them (fun fact: foxes are commonly killed by anal or vaginal electrocution because it’s the easiest way to avoid getting blood & guts on the pelt) for an item of clothing that hasn’t been necessary in the modern world in at least 100 years. Throw in that much of the world’s fur supply comes from China, where they routinely mix dog & cat fur in with other pelts, and you have most rational and compassionate human beings on your side.
2) People actually listen. Most people are terrified to learn about the horrors of the animal foods industry, because meat/dairy/eggs are so deeply engrained in their concept of a satisfying meal. People tend to be much more willing to learn about the fur industry, because even if they own a couple pieces of fur (which in itself is rare), it doesn’t play nearly the role in their lives that food does. The notion of giving up fur is dramatically less intimidating than giving up cheeseburgers, so we run into to much fewer instances of people closing their eyes and ears and shouting, “I don’t want to know!” (which I encounter quite frequently when I bring up factory pig farming).
3) It’s a gateway cause. To me, this is the most compelling reason to promote the anti-fur movement. Many articles related to the fur industry or fur protests link to other animal-rights-related causes, so a person who goes online to learn about fur may very well end up seeing an undercover video of dairy farm. Googling “fur” may lead you to Mercy For Animals’ “Fur Farms” page, which could easily bring you to their home page (which currently features information primarily related to the food industry). I suspect there exists a large group of vegans that were first introduced to humanity’s widespread abuse of animals by an anti-fur demo/leaflet/page.
Okay, so now you get why I’m harping on the fur issue- but why INTERMIX? After all, it’s not a household name; many people I talk to (especially on the West coast) have never even heard of them. To be honest, it was Amy, my partner in fur-fighting crime, who selected INTERMIX as our target because she loves fashion, loves to shop, and loves (most of) INTERMIX’s style, but knows she can’t give them any money until they go fur free. That said, I’m thrilled that she chose this company, and here’s why:
1) They’re the perfect size. INTERMIX has between 25-30 locations across the US & Canada. They aren’t so big that we’re fighting a losing battle, but they aren’t so small that their choice to stop selling fur would have no impact on the industry. While I don’t expect to see change overnight (like we’ve seen in other small boutiques), I absolutely believe it’s a winnable battle. An insider has told us that the INTERMIX PR team is monitoring this campaign closely, so we know they’re paying attention.
2) They’re trendsetters, and I’m not afraid to admit that. Listen, I’m not here to destroy INTERMIX. I am happy to tell you that their non-fur items are kind of awesome (I fell in love with a full length python patterned skirt upon my last visit). Fashionistas love INTERMIX because they tend to truly represent what’s cool and current in the fashion industry. When they eventually go fur free, it’s going to send a significant and symbolic message that compassionate human beings, even those with a passion for fashion, refuse to accept death and abuse for a piece of clothing.
I believe with 100% certainty that we can win this, but it will take action and dedication from people like you. There are so many ways to get involved, whether it be tweeting at @INTERMIX, commenting on their facebook posts, signing our petition, sharing our posts, joining our super fun Fur Free Photo Campaign, or attending/organizing a protest at one of their locations! Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you’d like help composing a message, posting your photo, or organization a protest. I cannot thank you all enough for taking the time to help us be voices for the voiceless.