Dear Animal Rights Asshole,
Before we begin, please allow me to give you a little background on my position on fur and animal cruelty:
–My first memory as a child was of wearing a blue velvet coat with white rabbit fur trim and a matching white rabbit fur muff. I remember feeling beautiful and I loved the softness against my skin.
–As a teenager I becaume obsessed with old Hollywood movie stars and their glamour (still am), which led me to collect vintage fur coats and muffs. I especially loved monkey fur, which is black and long, and now illegal.
–I now understand the cruelty behind the fur trade, and would never buy it again, vintage or otherwise. But I own two rabbit fur jackets that my mother bought me 20 years ago that I love and just don’t have the heart to part with yet.
–I work in fashion and have worked very hard to raise my co-worker’s consciousness about animal cruelty and child labor. I have had major, weepy arguments about the wholesale buying and selling of fur; I have calmly explained my position using photos and news articles to illustrate the points. I currently handle one small section of the buying and in my department there is no fur allowed.
–I currently own three dumped-at-a-shelter cats and an abandoned dog who was neglected and beaten so badly that it took me a good four or five years to help him get straight enough to be able to eat and socialize properly.
–I regularly donate to the HSUS, ASPCA, WSPCA, PETA, ALDF, HFA, WWF, the AAVS and local rescue groups in my area.
–I am not a vegan, but I eat meat and animal products sparingly, on special occasions.
–I have panic attacks at night sometimes about the animals and children that aren’t being loved across our planet, and every time bad weather hits I pray for the safety and comfort of all creatures outside. I pray every day that all small creatures, human or otherwise, might find the peace and love that they deserve.
–I take animal rights very seriously.
Dear Animal Rights Asshole,
With that in mind, I would like to let you know that it is a waste of your time and energy to shout the question, “Is that real? Is that thing real??” at me as I enter the bank wearing what could easily pass for a muppet pelt. My response at the time, because I was so shocked at the aggressiveness of your tone, was “Ah…NO.” But if I had had the time to formulate a proper answer it would have been this:
No, you imbecile, if you had half a brain you would see that it is clearly faux. And it seems that if you are going to get obnoxious with strangers on the street, it might behoove you to be able to spot the differences between real and synthetic fur.
And let’s say that the coat was made from the skin of a once-live animal. Do you really think that your random, unasked for, intrusive, self-righteous attack-in-passing is the magic bullet that would sway me to the side of compassion? Do you really believe that making an enemy out of me will show me the way?
And as a side note, did you notice that I’m wearing knee high leather boots, a leather belt, and jeans with leather lacing? And you sir, are wearing a leather jacket. Not a cool-looking one, mind you, but leather nonetheless. So where do you stand on that issue, your holiness? Surely if you are this fired up about one kind of skin, you must have some feelings about the others. Are you a vegan? Do you only wear skins or do you eat them too?
At least you ran at someone like me, who loves animals enough that I won’t be dissuaded by douchebag tactics, rather than some fashion child who might have been on the fence and easily pushed into the non-compassionate camp by an attack like yours. Because let me tell you, once on that side of the fence, they are not easily dissuaded. I work with people who will put the head of the last baby seal left standing in the arctic on their Chanel bag, and never give it a second thought.
I promise you, they do not see the pain, there simply is no consciousness for it. And the main energy (besides vanity) that fuels their callous blindness? Yours, my friend. YOURS. You and your paint throwing, street-shouting, self-righteous nonsensical approach to this issue. Your attacks gives them a reason to feel righteous about buying fur.
Last year I was encouraged when my co-workers conceded to my pleas and bought a stock of faux fur tails that looked very real. It would be great if we didn’t have to have tails at all, but it was a step. We had a party at the store and I noticed a group of fashion types hovering admiringly around the basket full of tails, choosing which color they would purchase. I was so proud of this mini-victory and I said happily to one girl, “They’re faux!” She tossed the tail down in disgust. Her mouth curled into an ugly snarl and she said, “I HATE PETA.”
I had to turn my back, I was so angry and hurt by the exchange. It was an awful moment and it colored the rest of my night. But it was also informative and I know the Universe put that woman there to teach me something.
When I was young my mother told me that you cannot light darkness with more darkness, that you have to bring in light, because darkness is simply the absence of light. This makes a lot of sense. I know that an aggressive stance is necessary sometimes. But why should there be a war on the sidewalk between two strangers over an issue of compassion?
How about some education, some convincing, some consideration for our fellow man and his thought process? He may not know as much as we do about the issue…yet. If we preach love, don’t we have to live it? How about we teach instead of alienate? How about instead of screaming for Michael Vick’s head, we support Wayne Pacelli in his effort to get Vick out there lecturing to fans about the evils of dog-fighting. That education and reach to kids who wouldn’t ordinarily ever hear the message, is in my mind, more important than the witch hunt. Ultimately, all I care about is which outcome is going to keep the most dogs from suffering.
So, Sir Lame Jacket, I respectfully ask that you shut the fuck up, let me do my banking in peace, and start looking for ways that your dumb fuck ass can bring the light. Take it from someone living behind enemy lines, right now you’re only hurting the cause you claim to love.
Dear Animal Rights Asshole,