A Campaign for Compassion

The Human Cost

Consider these statistics:

Fur: Sadist Symbol

What is a "feed-in?"

Who Are We?

What Can You Do?

Click Here For a Food Not Fur Certificate

Click here for our printable flyer (PDF)

Fur: Crass, Cruel, and Insensitive to Humans and Animals

The Human Cost

It's a well-known fact that animals suffer in the production of fur coats, and that people who wear fur are viewed as insensitive to animal suffering, but fur is insensitive to human suffering, too. In a world where so many human needs go unmet as a result of poverty, flaunting symbols of wealth like fur suggests apathy for human suffering. People wear fur to elevate their status, but the "beauty" of fur is only skin deep. By wearing fur, you send the message that you’d rather spend thousands of dollars on your own narcissism rather that devoting those fund to helping people in need.

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Consider these statistics:

• In New York City, one in three children lives in poverty.

• 400,000 people in New York City suffer from moderate or severe hunger -118,000 of them children.

•40% of emergency food programs reported an increase in the number of working poor seeking assistance. But lack of food has left emergency food programs unable to meet the increased demand.

• 74,000 people were turned away from NYC emergency food programs in January 1999 alone, up from 59,000 one year earlier -59% children, 11% elderly.

•41% of NYC food pantries ration amount of food by giving smaller amounts.

• There are over 1,000 soup kitchens & food pantries in NYC and 2,700 in NY State serving 2 million New Yorkers annually. They will serve 60 million meals this year to hungry men, women & children. But everyday they turn away over 2,500 people.

In a world where so many human needs go unmet as a result of poverty, flaunting symbols of wealth like fur suggests apathy for human suffering. People wear fur to elevate their status, but the "beauty" of fur is only skin deep. By wearing fur, you send the message that you’d rather spend thousands of dollars your own narcissism rather that devoting those fund to helping people in need.

Emergency food programs need a steady supply of wholesome, nutritious food to meet the ever-increasing demand.. In this holiday season, aren't our dollars better spent on compassion than vanity?

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Fur: Sadist Symbol

The jaws of a Conibear trap snap shut on the head and face of a domestic dog.
Fur comes from animals who are either trapped in the wild or raised in cages in fur factories -- often referred to as "fur farms" or "ranches." Altogether, roughly 40 million animals are killed for the fur trade each year. Millions of additional animals, including dogs, cats, and endangered species, are caught accidentally in traps each year. Both trapping and ranching cause animals to suffer extreme cruelty.
Another bloody victim of the steeljaw leghold trap.

So-called "ranched" animals spend their entire lives in tiny, dirty, wire mesh cages on "fur farms", where they are prevented from expressing nearly every basic instinct and behavior. Mink are semi-aquatic animals who in the wild spend considerable time in the water; yet, in fur factories, they are given no access to swimming water. Foxes in the wild run and dig in search of food; in fur factories, they are prevented from ever touching soil or taking more than a few steps. These unnatural and stifling conditions foster repetitive neurotic behavior like pacing, head bobbing and weaving, and spinning.

Standard killing methods for "ranched" animals are gassing and neck-breaking for mink, anal electrocution and poison injection for foxes, and neck-breaking and genital electrocution for chinchillas. The United Kingdom has banned fur farming because of its extreme cruelty.

Spending their entire lives in tiny cages, animals suffer intense boredom and frustration. Driven crazy by the confinement, animals self-mutilate, pace incessantly, and perform pathological repetitive motions. When animals share cages, cannibalism is not uncommon under these conditions.
"Your fur coat is almost ready." The remains of an animal used for a single fur coat includes the pelts of 15 to 400 skinned animalsns.

Millions of wild animals are trapped each year for their fur using steel-jaw leg-hold traps, body crushing Conibear traps, and strangling snares. The steel-jaw leg-hold trap is the most commonly used trap in the United States despite being considered "inhumane" by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the World Veterinary Association, and the American Animal Hospital Association.

Terrified and often injured animals caught in these traps try to escape by lunging away and biting at the trap and their own limbs for up to several days before the trapper is required to return and kill the animal. Standard industry killing methods include beating or shooting the exhausted animal in the head. Of course, traps cannot discriminate between their victims, and often the animals who are maimed and killed include endangered species and family cats and dogs.

Every time we refuse to buy or wear clothing with fur or fur trim (contrary to popular belief animals are killed specifically for trim; it is not a byproduct), we reduce the amount of animal suffering in the world. Fur bearers such as bobcats, foxes, mink, beavers, coyotes, and chinchillas are individual animals who, like our companion dogs and cats, can suffer from pain, fear, frustration, and neglect. Suffering is the main ingredient in any fur trim or fur coat.

As seen in this picture, foxes are commonly kiiled through anal or genital electrocution to avoid damaging the pelt.

Food Not Fur is a campaign to redirect the dollars misspent on garments created through animal suffering into efforts to help alleviate human suffering. We invited compassionate New Yorkers to refuse fur— don't buy it for yourself, don't give it as a gift, and don't allow a loved one to give it to you as a gift. You'll be saving animals lives' and you'll be saving money that can be better used to improve human lives, through "feed-ins" run by volunteers.

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What is a "feed-in?"

At "feed-ins" volunteers set up tables in various parts of the city and serve warm, nutritious meals to hungry passersby. By serving on the street, we minimize bureaucracy and overhead costs, allowing us to direct funds into direct service efforts. Sometimes we serve in front of fur retailers to illustrate the irony of selling luxury items while others' basic needs fail to be met. At other times, we focus on neighborhoods where the greatest needs exist — areas where homeless folks congregate.

Food Not Fur feed-ins serve strictly vegan food— food produced without the use of animal ingredients. Vegan food is healthier than non-vegan food, avoids contributing to the suffering of animals raised for their flesh, milk, and eggs, and has significantly less impact on the environment in its production. To learn more about veganism visit http://whyvegan.org. We also encourage direct food donations from individuals and restaurants, including food that would otherwise go unused (e.g. restaurant surplus), a policy that reflects our distaste for wastefulness in a world where the needs of so many go unmet.

We view violence towards animals used for clothing and food and apathy towards human suffering as different aspects of the same problem, and are working to model an ethic of respect for all, rather than challenging one form of injustice while reinforcing another

In the words of civil rights activist Dick Gregory, "Animals and humans suffer and die alike. If you had to kill your own hog before you ate it, most likely you would not be able to do it. To hear the hog scream, to see the blood spill, to see the baby being taken away from its momma, and to see the look of death in the animal's eye would turn your stomach. So you get the man at the packing house to do the killing for you.

"In like manner, if the wealthy aristocrats who are perpetuating conditions in the ghetto actually heard the screams of ghetto suffering, or saw the slow death of hungry little kids, or witnessed the strangulation of manhood and dignity, they could not continue the killing. But the wealthy are protected from such horror...If you can justify killing to eat meat, you can justify the conditions of the ghetto. I cannot justify either one."

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Who Are We?

Food Not Fur is a project of the Activism Center at Wetlands Preserve

Recognizing the common roots of all forms of oppression, The Activism Center at Wetlands Preserve rejects the traditional viewpoint that segregates concern for animal rights, human rights, and environmental issues into separate categories. Fundamentally, we are working to create a world where compassion and justice are held as higher values than greed and profit, a world where people respect the earth and honor the dignity of their fellow beings, both human and animal.

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What Can You Do?

1) Never buy fur or fur trimmed or fur lined garments.

2) Fill out our Food Not Fur certificates and give them to friends and family. The certificate informs your loved ones that you would prefer to have the money they would have spend on a fur or fur trimmed gift for you directed into the Food Not Fur holiday season meals program.

3) Make a financial contribution to Food Not Fur. Instead of buying fur gifts for others, why not give the gift of compassion this holiday season by supporting Food Not Fur's effort to provide a warm meal to people in need. You can give gifts in your friends' and family members' names. Contributions can be made through Paypal (below) or can be mailed to Food Not Fur, c/o The Activism Center at Wetlands Preserve, PO Box 344, NY, NY 10108.

4) Volunteer your time with Food Not Fur. Food Not Fur has no paid staff and needs volunteers to help with food service, preparation, transportation, and soliciting financial and food donations. To find out how you can help, call Adam at (201) 968-0595 or email furfreenyc@wetlands-preserve.org.

5) Consider a vegan diet. Veganism is one of many ways we can lessen our impact on animals and the environment while preserving food resources to feed the hungry. Visit these sites for more info:
Earthsave International
Physician's Committee for Responsbile Medicine Information on Vegan Diets
Viva Vegie Society

6) Learn more about the fight against hunger locally and world wide at these sites:

Food First: Institute for Food and Development Policy
Food Not Bombs International
Food Not Bombs New York City
Global Hunger Alliance

7) Learn the facts about fur and pass the info on to friends and family considering a fur purchase. You can find info on the cruelty of fur at these sites:

Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals

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