On a recent shopping trip to BJ's Wholesale Club, I was shocked to see several racks of real fur jackets and trim. There was a saleswoman there who verified that they were real fur, although there were NO tags in any of the jackets stating that they were real, which was made illegal by the Fur Labeling Act in 2010.
This is of great concern due to the inherent cruelty involved in its production - all animals killed for fur, whether they are trapped in the wild or intensively farmed, experience immense suffering prior to death.
Despite the industry attempting to promote the image of fur products coming from nature, 85% of fur used in fashion now comes from animals raised on fur farms.
Fur farms are remarkably uniform around the world with animals being raised under appalling conditions, often kept crammed into row after row of tiny barren cages, and left to stand on metal bars for their entire lives. Such conditions fail to accommodate their natural behaviors, driving many to exhibit clear signs of emotional and mental suffering.
When the animals are slaughtered, the methods chosen – which are known to routinely include gassing, neck breaking, electrocution and live skinning – are designed to protect the pelts from damage with little consideration for the animals’ welfare.
Every year in the wild, millions of animals are trapped using devices such as steel-jaw leghold traps, body-gripping traps and wire neck snares – all of which inflict a great amount of pain and suffering.
I went to the manager of the store and complained. She said that the fur dealers were doing a road show traveling to several different BJ's club locations. She took down my information and seemed sincerely bothered that they were real. I told her about the fur industry and gave her some information that I always keep handy for times like this. She was so kind and just horrified about what I told her.
A few days later, I followed up the complaint with an email to BJ’s. I had also asked other animal advocates to call the store and voice their opinions about fur. This was their response:
"As promised I sent your inquiry to the relevant department and as per their response this was already addressed by BJ's Corporate. We pulled the product off the shelf as soon as we received the initial complaint as well as the information regarding the labeling. We will not be selling fur products again."
I checked two local stores just two days later and every rack of fur is GONE! I am so happy that they actually cared and that all of the calls and emails they received really made an impact.
If you ever see fur products, don't be afraid to voice your opinion to the manager, in a nice, calm way.
The animals need us to be their voice! And please feel free to thank BJ's for making a compassionate decision!
[BJ's online contact form: http://www.bjs.com/contact-us.content.contact_us.A.about]
It gives me hope and I feel empowered that we can really make a difference by speaking up.