Letter: Pass bill that bans sale of new fur products

Posted 6/10/22

To the editor:

This is a plea to Rhode Island state senators to take quick action in passing S2646, the bill to ban the sale of new fur products throughout the state.  

This bill …

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Letter: Pass bill that bans sale of new fur products


To the editor:

This is a plea to Rhode Island state senators to take quick action in passing S2646, the bill to ban the sale of new fur products throughout the state. 

This bill prohibits the sale, offer for sale, trade, or distribution of new fur products, making violations punishable by a civil fine. It does not apply to second-hand or heirloom furs, wool, leather, fleece, or fur harvested by individuals for their own personal use. It targets the commercial fur industry, and aims to end the inhumane treatment of animals processed on fur farms and by commercial trappers. 

The majority of new fur products are sourced from unregulated “farms” where animals are warehoused in barren, filthy, crowded enclosures. Prevented from exercising every natural instinct, they resort to stereotypic and pathological behaviors like pacing, self-mutilation, and cannibalism. These animals suffer untreated diseases and injuries. Exempt from humane slaughter laws, they are typically killed by gassing, electrocution, neck-breaking or bludgeoning. Many are skinned while still alive. 

Like factory farms in the food industry, fur farms take an environmental toll. Waste runoff pollutes soil and waterways. Tanning and dying involve toxic chemicals such as chromium and formaldehyde. Fur farms are also likely sources for the next pandemic outbreak. In China, the world’s largest commercial exporter of fur, foxes and raccoon dogs at fur markets have tested positive for SARS coronaviruses. In the United States, the Netherlands, Spain and Denmark, mink on fur farms tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. 

Commercial trapping is as inhumane as fur farming. Animals often suffer for days in leg-hold and body-gripping traps. If they do not drown, die of blood loss or trauma, or chew off their own limbs to escape, they are killed just as brutally as their fur-farmed counterparts. Furthermore, these traps indiscriminately capture non-targeted species, including domestic animals and endangered species.

Eighteen countries have either banned or are phasing out fur farming. (See: www.furfreealliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/National-legislation-on-fur-farming.pdf) In 2021, Israel became the first country to ban fur sales. The state of California and several cities, including Plymouth, Brookline, Weston and Wellesley, Mass.; Hallandale Beach, Fla.; Boulder, Colo.; and Ann Arbor, Mich.; have banned new fur sales. 

Hundreds of fashion designers and retailers, including Neiman Marcus, Gucci, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Prada, Chanel, Coach, Versace, Burberry and Armani have gone fur-free or are phasing in fur-free policies. 

Fur is already a marginal industry in Rhode Island. A companion bill to S2646 passed overwhelmingly in the Rhode Island House of Representatives in April, reflecting the public’s momentum toward a more humane consumer ethic. On behalf of animals suffering for fashion, I respectfully call on our senators to ensure this bill reaches the finish line before the end of the 2022 legislative session. 

Christa Albrecht-Vegas

259 Sprague St.


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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.