Queen's University — Since 1873
16th February 2012

Animal rights group rallies

Group protests against fur in Canada Goose jackets

Kingston Animal Trust member Shawna Robinson said Tuesday's demonstration was the first time the activist group came to campus.
Kingston Animal Trust member Shawna Robinson said Tuesday's demonstration was the first time the activist group came to campus. (Justin Chin)

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The popularity of Canada Goose jackets on campus resulted in an anti-fur demonstration on Tuesday afternoon.

The Kingston Animal Trust, a local animal rights advocacy group, staged the protest outside the JDUC.

Participants gave out pamphlets with information about the trapping and killing of animals in Canada.

“The major thing is Canada Goose jackets — it is so present on campus. Everyone has one. That was the reason we started is because of this renewed interest in fur coats,” Eric Simpson, member of the Kingston Animal Trust, said.

Canada Goose uses coyote fur trim on their jacket hoods.

According to the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals, an activist group established in 1944, each year over 100,000 coyotes are trapped and killed in Canada.

“If you see a fur trim on a Canada Goose jacket, it’s definitely real fur,” Simpson said.

Canada Goose has a fur policy on their website that explains why using real fur is strictly for practical purposes in cold weather.

“Faux fur is ONLY a fashion statement,” the policy reads. “It will not act the same way that real fur does to protect skin

from frostbite.”

The policy also states that coyotes are one of three animals that protect people from frostbite.

“The first two are wolf and wolverine; however, they are not abundant, so not a viable option,” the policy reads.

It also says coyotes are used because they are considered “pests.”

“They attack livestock, endangered prey species, pets and sometimes even people,” it reads.

Simpson said this was the group’s first time holding an event on campus.

“We did some information sessions downtown, walking around and giving people information; but by far, the biggest concentration of Canada Goose jackets are on the Queen’s Campus and that’s where the majority of the fur is.”

Statistics Canada said one million animals are killed in Canada for their fur every year. Simpson said the event was meant to be information-based.

“We really believe that it’s due to people not knowing, so we think it’s important to educate people. We wanted to avoid the traditional finger-pointing and bring more of a friendly discussion,” he said. “It’s about education, not blaming.”

Shawna Robinson, another member of the Kingston Animal Trust, said the group is mandated to raise awareness in the community about animal rights.

“[People] farm animals like mink and foxes and they will have them all in a barn together and then raise them and then kill them and skin them for fur trim,” she said.

Robinson said some coats don’t use real fur. TNA’s website states all their fur-lined coats use faux-fur.

Robinson said animals are usually killed for fashion alone.

“What typically happens is a trapper will catch a coyote and some traps are meant to kill the animal instantly if it catches it in the right spot,” she said. “If they find them alive in the trap, they will shoot them in the head, crush them to kill them, skin them and then toss the body.”

The Kingston Whig-Standard reported that approximately 300 beavers were trapped and killed in townships north of Kingston in spring 2011. The cull was an attempt to curb road damage caused by flooded beaver dams.

Each year, almost two million dogs and cats are killed for their fur in China, according to Global Action Network, a non-profit organization.

“If you’re buying fur, you don’t even necessarily know what it is. If you’re buying a Canada Goose knockoff, it could be dog or cat fur — you don’t really know,” Robinson said.

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