Monday, May 12, 2003

If you're interested in the story about trade in cat and dog fur, here's a link to an activist group called Voice 4 Dogs. It's an activist site and so I won't vouch for the accuracy of everything in it, but you might check it out. I've made up my mind on this one, and my position is somewhat different than the one you'll see farther down. If we kill rabbits and pigs and sheep for their meat, all right. Humans are naturally omnivores and if you eat meat, that's your right. I am not going to criticize you. I don't eat meat, but I won't say you shouldn't. (Full disclosure: I do occasionally eat fish and arthropods, at restaurants or at someone else's house. Never birds or mammals. Haven't done it since I was 13. I also do my best not to buy mammal meat for the cats.)

But, unless we're Eskimos or, like, a stone age tribe in the Amazon, we don't need furs or skins. We Westerners can live just fine with leather substitutes and fake furs. Since we're already killing millions of cows, it would be pretty dumb not to use their skins to make leather, and I do wear cow leather shoes and belts. If we stopped eating cow, though, then I'd change my position on leather.

I'd like to see the fur trade outlawed. I don't care whether that's non-libertarian or not; it simply is not necessary to kill animals for that purpose, whether minks or seals or beaver or cats, and I would therefore like to see it illegalized. What to do with the domestic animals: sterilize the great majority of them and let them live out their lives peacefully. The number of domestic animals would drop 99%, and we could be eugenic and choose the ones we don't sterilize for characteristics that promote good health and high quality of life--i.e. none of those too-short Persian noses or deaf Siamese. Those domestic animals who will be descended from those few not sterilized (naturally, we'll keep neutering 99% of them) will be scarce, expensive, and highly cherished, just like horses are today in the West.

It'll never happen, of course. It's much too utopian. But I am never going to buy anything ever again that might possibly be made from an animal skin or animal fur. And I am going to continue picking up the abandoned cats that I can on the streets.

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