Greeting everyone, this post is by Ron Gold.
One of the reasons I respect Judaism more than most religions is that the faith mandates a relatively humane treatment towards animals. In contrast, every now and then I run into a Christian who seems to take the perspective that God put animals on the Earth for humans to exploit, putting them on a similar level to resources like oil or timber. But Jews rarely take that view, and indeed, Israel might be the first country to ban fur:
The international anti-fur campaign, backed by animal rights activists such as Brigitte Bardot and Sir Paul McCartney, has picked Israel as the perfect starting point because the fur trade is tiny — worth about $1 million a year — and because, under Jewish tradition, the undue suffering of animals is forbidden.
“The market here is not that big,” said Josh Rotbart, a legal representative for the Israeli organisation Let The Animals Live, which also runs an animal rescue centre in Lod, near Tel Aviv. “We are not talking about Canada or the US or China. It’s a small industry and it’s pretty easy to ban a small industry. It’s hot here. You don’t really need to wear fur.”
The chief opposition comes from ultra-Orthodox Jews who wear shtreimels (pictured below), a hat made out of sable fur. However, I think they would be better off using a synthetic material, particularly since they might accidentally be wearing someone’s pet:
The campaign began when an Israeli news station reported that much of the “fake” fur being imported from China was, in fact, made from the pelts of cats and dogs.
Yikes, that’s some highly disturbing stuff, and another reason to avoid fur all together.
Whether the ban succeeds or not is anyone’s guess, though Rotbart says he is “pretty optimistic” of an eventual victory. I can’t speak for other atheists, but I’m hoping he is right.
However, one thing I am sure of is that the United States won’t be banning fur anytime soon. I happened to witness a protest outside a fur store yesterday, and it was attended by exactly three people.