OpEd: Fur, the defense
[Reprinted from original]
There is nothing ethical about the opinion calling for a ban on the sale of new fur in Minneapolis ("Don't defer any longer — de-fur Minneapolis now," Opinion Exchange, Oct. 4). The writers distorted many facts. And what next? Ban meat in restaurants or the sale of leather shoes? What has happened to a person's right to choose for themselves. If people don't want it, they shouldn't buy it.
Fur farming poses no threat to public health. Yes, mink have tested positive for COVID-19 on farms, but it has yet to be proven that mink pass it to humans. On the contrary, it is believed the humans passed the virus to the mink. Don't forget that in rare cases dogs and cats have tested positive for COVID. Why do you think the pharmaceutical companies rushed to produce a vaccine for mink, which was given on farms this year?
Currently, world production is estimated to be less than 20 million pelts, which may or may not include China's production. Even if you added harvested wild fur, I don't believe you would reach 100 million pelts.
In North America, production of farm-raised pelts might surpass 2 million this year. The fur raised in the U.S. and Canada are raised on family farms in accordance with the animal welfare standards of each country. These standards cover every aspect of husbandry practice for these animals and are verified by veterinarians.
I started working in the fur industry in the late 1980s, at which time the then Fur Farm Animal Welfare Coalition implemented their certification program, conducted by veterinarians. It has been updated several times since with input from people outside the fur industry. I will stand corrected, but if this was not the first livestock welfare program it was close.
When you purchase meat and fish products at your local market, where do you think the rest of the parts go? Instead of going to landfills a large portion has gone to the fur industry to feed the animals and to the pet food industry to feed your pet a high-quality meat-based diet. In fact, your meat-based pet food has connections to the fur industry.
To my knowledge, Norway is not a significant fur producing country; the writers may have meant Denmark, which has been the largest fur producer for many years. Last fall due to COVID, the Danish government forced the fur producers to euthanize their animals with an expected government "buy out." I don't believe any compensation has been paid yet. Also, I believe a moratorium on starting up fur farming again is in effect through 2022.
Wanton killing of Canada lynx, beaver, otter, wild mink and bobcat is just not true. These animals are harvested in accordance with the trapping laws of the places they inhabit.
I'm sorry to see Ribnick's close. I believe it has more to do with the business environment of Minneapolis than with "ethical consumerism," but in the end it is their "choice."