Find Out. Get Smart. #SpeakUp
In order to expose the cruelties of the fur industry to a broader public, we must not only participate in organizations and protests, but also act as individuals by confronting fur wearers on the street.
// This resumé is inspired by Canadian animal rights activist Len Goldberg.
What you need to know about confronting fur wearers
Some people know what they're wearing, others don't.
Those who don't know should be educated
Those who do know should stand up to it
In order to not put someone off who doesn't know - and who might be open for education - be friendly at your first approach. Always start with a question: "Excuse me, did you know ...?" The question can vary but the essential is to find out whether the person is informed or not.
Did you know that you're wearing real (dog) fur?
Did you know that you're advertising for animal abuse?
The person will either be open for a conversation, react defensively or ignore you and keep walking. If they want to be educated - perfect. If they get defensive or ignore you, you can be pretty sure that they already knew something. In either case, you want to have your facts ready.
Alternatively, you can also confront someone with facts directly by asking: "Excuse me, do you mind if I give you a flyer? It's about the fur on your jacket."
Engage them in a conversation if you can, but let them know anyway - even / especially if they don't want to hear it. Walk with them and tell them what's on the flyer if they don't want to he take it. Ideally, do it loudly, so that all passers by can hear you as well. Fur wearers need to hear the facts, whether they want to or not.
Facts / statements that can help when confronting fur wearers
Fur in general:
"Did you know why there are no fur farms in Switzerland?"
... "Because the standard production methods of the fur industry are legally considered animal abuse here. The animals are kept in tiny wire cages by the thousands, with nowhere to retire, no access to water or distraction whatsoever. Self-inflicted wounds and stereotypical behaviors are a daily occurrence. The recommended methods for killing mink and fox in Europe are gassing and anal electrocution. In China, they are battered to death and often skinned alive because it's faster. Factory farm workers in China earn less than one Swiss Franc per killed animal. And China is the biggest producer of fur worldwide..."
"Did you know that Canada Goose kills dogs for fashion?"
... "Canada Goose uses real coyote fur on their fur trims. Coyotes are part of the canine family; they are directly related to gods and can even produce offspring with the ladder. Wild coyotes trapped for the company's fur-trimmed jackets can suffer for days and face blood loss, shock, dehydration, frostbite, gangrene, and attacks by predators. Mothers desperate to to get back to their starving pups have been known to chew of their own limbs to escape. Animals who don't succumb to the elements, blood loss, infection or predators, are often strangled, stomped on, or bludgeoned to death when the trapper returns - all for the fur on your fur trim. The infamous leg-hold trap is STILL legal in every province of Canada and remains the most widely used trap, despite being banned in many countries across the world."
What reactions to expect when confronting fur wearers
When confronting fur wearers, there are a couple of possible reaction. People might be open for conversation, ignore us or - worst case - become aggressive. Especially in that last case it is important to stay cool. Take a deep breath and keep your emotions in check. Remember: You don't have to convince that person. The important thing is simply to get out the facts.
// Here are some suggestions on how to behave according to the different reactions.
If they are willing to listen:
If people are open to talk you to, hand them a flyer and offer to give additional information (f.e. by telling them about this website). You can also show them how to differentiate real fur from fake fur, or offer to look at the clothing tag together. You could then tell whether it has been declared correctly and explain the declaration duty in Switzerland. If they are interested, let them know they can declare any falsely labeled furs at the BLV. Also, you might want to ask that person if he / she is willing to unzip the trim and donate it (or you could donate it for them). Here's how to do that.
If they ignore you:
If the person you've approached ignores you / just keeps walking, they most likely already know that there's something wrong with their fur - and they're making the statement that they don't want to hear it. Of course it's up to you, whether you want to accept this or not. As mentioned above, our opinion is that people who make such a statement should "stand up for it". Meaning, we will keep asking the question: "Did you know?" - until they actually admit that they did. Or, if they keep ignoring us, we will at least make sure they are confronted with the facts . Ideally, all passers by should hear those facts as well.
If they become defensive or aggressive:
If a person you've approached gets defensive aggressive towards you, decide for yourself whether you want to pursue it or not. Safety first: If you feel physically threatened, it's probably best to drop it. But in most cases, you will be able to handle verbal aggressions if you stay calm.
// Remember to not engage in discussions and to keep control over the confrontation.
Smart comebacks for stupid things fur wearers say
"Why do you care?"
- "I care because of the animals. I think they shouldn't be abused for a fashion statement. Why do you NOT care?"
"Why don't you criticize people who wear leather or eat meat?"
- "Because wearing leather and eating meat is still socially accepted. Lots of people who eat meat still believe that it's vital for their health. They have a moral basis, even if it's questionable. But fur is worn purely for decoration - you cannot claim to need that fur, do you? You support animal cruelty simply for a fashion statement. That is a provocation."
"Why don't you mind your own business?"
- "I am. I've made it my business to speak up for the animals, because they can't speak for themselves. I'm also personally affected every time I see someone wearing a fur trim. It makes me think of all the horrible footage I saw from fur farms. How do you think it feels being confronted with those images dozens of times a day? Images of animals being skinned alive, anally electrocuted... "
"You can't tell me what to do!"
- "That's true, I don't - and I'm not. I am exercising my right to call you out on your provocative behavior. That is my right as a citizen in a liberal society. We all have a right to speak up for the oppressed. If you saw someone beating up their dog on the street, wouldn't you intervene? When I look at you I see someone wearing a tortured and murdered dog around their shoulders..."
Important: When confronting fur wearers, always make sure you can tell real and fake fur apart first. It's also handy to have a flyer or a sticker at hand at all times.
🐰FIND OUT. GET SMART. #MAKEFURHISTORY ✊