Cleveland Plain Dealer
Via E-mail:
1801 Superior Avenue, N.E.
Cleveland, Ohio 44114-2198

Dear Editor:

Too often I have heard animal defenders accused of hypocrisy for less than altruistic behavior--allegedly showing more concern for animals than for members of their own species. Aside from the fact that this accusation is not a logical or fact-based argument, it is almost laughable now in light of recent events. I am referring to the situation with Burlington Coat Factory and the media. The discovery that dog fur rather than the coyote fur was being used in the production of fur-trimmed coats set off a media frenzy.

Suddenly, these fur-trimmed coats were repulsive to consumers, to store officials, and to journalists. Why? The differences between the coyote (Canis latrans) and the domestic dog (Canis familiaris) are probably indiscernible by most people. Once again the philosophy of "Its okay to kill some animals but not others," is being thrown at the public. But the individuals who try to defend animals and their right not to be slaughtered for food or clothing--we're the hypocrites?!

Can anyone possibly think the same fury would have arisen had it been discovered that the producers were using raccoon instead of rabbit, or squirrel instead of mink? No. Other than the cost and conceit issues involved, most of the consumers wouldn't bat an eye.

By the way, as long as people are being hypocritical, why not throw in racist, elitist and ethnocentric. We see cats and dogs as pets here in America, but in Asia they are a merely resource. Isn't that what American hunters and furriers call their prey--a renewable resource?

Fine, be outraged and disgusted by what you've learned. I'm all for that--I applaud it--as I myself was sickened and upset when I heard the story. But come on, people--take the next step in enlightenment here. Realize that whether the "Canis" is "latrans" or "familiaris," it suffers in exactly the same way.

Whether its cat or mink, rabbit or chinchilla, dog or fox, anal electrocution, strangulation or having the leg bones crushed in an iron steel-jaw trap while waiting to starve or bleed to death is a painful and horrific way to die. And that's not even taking into consideration the miserable conditions and circumstances in which farmed fur-bearing animals live their daily lives. All it takes from you, the consumer, is one word. Won't you say "NO" to fur of any kind? After all, the animal you spare just might be man's new best friend.

Leigh-Anne Dennison
Lakewood, Ohio

Burlington Coat Factory
Via E-mail:

With the recent discovery regarding the source of fur-trim on coats sold by your company, you are no doubt receiving much mail on the subject. Add mine to the pile, but with that in mind, I will be brief.

What a wonderful opportunity you now have for positive public relations! You have already removed your dog-trimmed coats from the racks and are offering customers who purchased coats with dog fur trim to return them for an exchange or store credit. But, you could further your good will by announcing a decision to discontinue the sale of any fur-trimmed items--go faux!

You can even issue a press release indicating that the whole "dog-fur issue" made you "stop and think." Why, in this modern age, should any animals (wild or domesticated) be inhumanely raised or hunted and brutally killed for the sake of fashion when faux fur now offers such a realistic appearance. And, it's more affordable to produce and purchase. Taking this position, you would certainly draw the accolades--not to mention the pocketbooks--of the animal right community.

Won't you take the high, more profitable and ethical road?
Leigh-Anne Dennison
Lakewood, Ohio