23 March 2005

Cruelty in the Name of Fashion & Profit

I am so upset.

About four, five hours ago, I watched a video clip a friend had forwarded to me. That video clip pretty much drove me mad.

It was a video clip of how animals are killed for their fur in China.

There was a man who grabbed a raccoon out of a battery cage, and who then proceeded to slam the animal down onto the ground repeatedly. Raccoons which actually survived that, and which were still struggling, got an extra bludgeoning.

A fox, still breathing after the slamming, had a boot mashed casually into its windpipe.

And then there were animals which were skinned alive. They were still breathing and kicking weakly when the knife slided into their flesh. They were still alive as their skin was forcibly pulled off their bodies, exposing tendons, muscles and raw flesh. Some of them remained alive for minutes even after this ordeal.

In one of the scenes, there is conversation and laughter as the cruelty continued. It's all in a day's work for them.

It's their livelihood; they have probably been doing this for some time now. They also grew up in an environment with a history of condoning such acts of animal cruelty; perhaps, the environment even encourages it.

I know all that; I had typed out that paragraph above. But knowing it, understanding why, and how, doesn't make it right. It doesn't make me feel any better. It doesn't justify all that suffering and cruelty. Nothing can.

And as I watched that video clip, I can't recall ever feeling such anguish before. I have also never felt such acute loathing for humans before too.

I had wanted to forward the address of that video clip to other friends. Yet, I didn't, because I wanted to write in the e-mail: For those of you who like fur, and who might buy a fur coat or two in future, please watch this. Please watch this, and I hope you will see this in your mind's eye the next time you see a fur coat. Please watch this, and I hope those pain-filled eyes peering from its furless, bloody and raw body will haunt you forever.

That would be quite... harsh. Hence I didn't. I thought of writing this instead: Do you like fur coats? Check this out.

But that would be mean, to lure them into watching something like that without a warning. But earlier on, I badly wanted to do that; scar my friends emotionally just so they wouldn't buy fur. Ever.

About four, five hours later, I wake up, and I recall a certain scene: A raccoon dog which had just got thrown onto a pile of others before it. A pile of mostly dead raccoon dogs. This particular raccoon dog makes no sound of pain, but raises its bloody, skinless head and looks back at its perpetrators. And then it looks at the camera with those beady eyes still full of life.

I can see it so vividly, even now.

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