Being Kind to All Living Things

Red Fox Alert - original painting by cofounder DJ Geribo

Killing for Skins

One summer, when I was around eight years old, my mother took my siblings and I on a train ride to visit her parents in Utah. We also visited her sister in Utah, another sister in Nevada, and a brother who lived on a farm in Idaho. The farm was my favorite place and although this uncle was likely the poorest financially, I have the fondest memories of our week-long visit with him and his family.

One memory that stands out for me is the day my uncle took us to the mink farm where he worked. There were rows and rows of these small weasel type animals locked in cages and I was a little afraid of them when my uncle showed us the bites and scratches on his farm-worn hands. “Vicious” is the word my uncle used to describe the furry critters.

Years later I remembered his description and when I thought about the mink coats the skins of these small animals were used for, I thought that I would like to wear one someday. At that point in my life as a young adult, working as a fashion model in Boston, I thought killing foxes to make a fur coat was barbaric and I would never wear one. But I would wear a mink since these animals were not only vicious but they were bred specifically to kill and skin to make fur coats for those who could afford the expensive and beautiful wraps.

And now, many years later, after learning even more about animals, their plight in life, and how barbaric man can be to all animals, domestic and wild alike, I fight back tears every time I think about the small defenseless minks, locked in tiny cages on death row. I, too, would fight and bite anyone who had locked me in a tiny cage where I waited to die.

When I think about these animals, all animals who are used and abused for our pleasure, comfort, warmth, or any countless other reasons, I believe that we all have an inborn instinct to fight for our lives. From the tiny minks, to the harp seals, to the Bengal tigers, they all want to live the lives they were put here to live and have as much right as any human to do just that.

If we could only learn to appreciate and understand this and learn to live with them and see their true value on earth, their interconnectedness to us, I believe we would all live a richer and more balanced existence.

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