Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today

Wearing Pain: Canada Goose's Fur Policy Is Lame and Self-Serving

There is no reason to kill animals for clothing.

There is absolutely no reason for most people to wear animals as clothing or trim, and surely there is no reason for the existence of commercial fur farms and companies. Recently, a few people sent me the fur policy for the company Canada Goose and I was surprised, well maybe I wasn't after all, by how it was filled with self-serving, read money, justifications for their use of coyote fur on some of their products.

Some snippets from Canada Goose's fur policy include:

" many regions of Canada coyotes are considered a pest as they attack livestock, endangered prey species, pets and sometimes even people.

...those who suggest faux fur often don't take into account the environmental consequences of using a petroleum product for aesthetics only (see below)

...The capture of fur-bearing animals in Canada is strictly regulated by the provincial and territorial government wildlife departments. These regulations specify which types of devices can be used to capture each species. In fact, Canada is the world leader in scientific research to develop the most humane trapping systems possible, and has invested more than $20 million in trap research and development, providing the scientific basis for the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards that has been signed by Canada, the European Union and Russia. Only furs taken with methods that meet this international standard may be produced in Canada. Trappers in Canada are licensed and they cannot renew their licenses without taking training courses to learn how to use the new and more humane methods.

...wildlife populations must often be regulated to maintain a balance with available habitat, to protect endangered species, to prevent the spread of disease, as well as to protect property and human life. Overpopulation also leaves coyotes susceptible to disease and parasites. For example, when coyotes overpopulate, they become weaker, allowing diseases and parasites to take hold. A coyote with Sarcoptic Mange (a highly contagious skin disease) will scratch itself raw and suffer for many weeks before it dies. New trapping systems allow these animals to be captured and euthanized much more quickly and humanely.

...Modern foothold traps can restrain animals with little or no injuries.

...Some online videos shown by animal rights activists display coyotes or foxes struggling to free themselves from restraining traps, but this is because they are being approached by a human. Research shows that once these animals know they cannot escape, they generally lie down and wait quietly until they are quickly dispatched when the trapper arrives."

Canada's fur industry is horrifically and historically inhumane. In addition, there are a few things to consider: First, verified attacks by coyotes on humans, pets, and endangered species are extremely rare, and weather and disease account for the vast majority of livestock deaths. And, sure some trapped animals lie down and wait to be killed by a trapper because they're severely injured, in shock, and terrified. Imagine your dog in that situation (see for example).

Fur farms and the people who trap and use animals for clothing are purveyors of the most unspeakable horrors even if regulations exist. In the process of becoming a coat or trim, the bones of coyotes and many other animals including fox, chinchilla, or mink go snap, crackle, and pop as they are tortured unrelentingly and unnecessarily.

A trapped coyote

Let's return to the idea that fur is green. Fur surely isn't green despite the past claims of the Fur Council of Canada. They write, "buying a fur coat is the ecologically correct thing to do because fox stoles and mink coats are natural, renewable and sustainable. By contrast, synthetic furs are no more than by-products of the petro-chemical industry. Making a single faux fur coat can chew up 19 litres of petroleum, a non-renewable resource, says the council. Ergo, buying a fur coat is good for the planet." Of course they don't consider the horrible lives of the animals they torture.

We can all make more compassionate choices to expand our compassion footprint in who we wear—not what we wear—for animals used for fur are sentient beings not unfeeling objects. Among the easiest things we can do is to stop buying clothing that is made from animals. Doing more for animals is actually pretty simple. For example, an 8-year-old boy humbly reminded me that when we buy something, we're essentially saying "It's okay for the store to carry it," and "It's okay for the manufacturer to make whatever it is we buy." Everything we purchase is a vote to make more of it. Let's stop the use of animals for clothing by refusing to buy and to wear the skins of abused sentient beings. Let's give thanks to the clothing manufacturers and stores who have stopped offering fur products, and I'm sure the animals who are saved from unnecessary suffering and death would thank us for making more compassionate and ethical choices if they could.

If you wouldn't allow a dog to be treated like a fur animal, then let's not treat these other sentient beings as if they're unfeeling objects. They're not.

You can contact Canada Goose here. The picture of the trapped coyote is here.