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Leave wildlife in the wild, not your closet

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“Wow. I’d sell my kidney for one of these,” I remember telling my mother as we were shopping for winter coats during Thanksgiving break. The red, white and blue patch stared back at me as the soft fabric warmed in my greedy hands.

“Why would you ever want one of those?” she asked. “You know they’re real fur, right?”

Canada Goose Inc. was founded in 1957 in a small Toronto warehouse by Sam Tick. A family-run business for generations, the brand has expanded greatly by opening up retail stores in New York, Chicago, Toronto, Calgary, Tokyo and recently Boston.

Canada Goose prides itself on its promise of design and craftsmanship to meet the demands of the Arctic. Throughout their website, they don’t fail to remind consumers that the original intent of their coats was to protect scientists working in Antarctica’s McMurdo Station and the negative 94 degree conditions that they often encounter. However, in more recent decades, the coats have transformed from a scientific necessity to a luxurious fur fashion staple.

Of course I’ve seen them around from time to time at home, but the signature Canada Goose patches are on an ever growing, prominent display at the University of Massachusetts. They’re beautiful coats—they   really are. But after learning about how they use coyote fur to line the hoods of their coats, I can’t say I would ever wear one.

Listen, I’m not an animal activist in any sense of the term. I could never abandon eating meat. I love cheese and milk. But to wear something that was once living, which died simply for you to look good, disgusts me.

In response to PETA’s latest investigation into the fur trade, Canada Goose issued a new addition on their website stating, “We do not condone any willful mistreatment, neglect, or acts that maliciously cause undue pain, injury, or suffering towards animals, and we are committed to providing full transparency about how we make our products.”

To me, “ethically sourced” means that Canada Goose is taking these materials from animals that have died naturally in their own habitats. According to the national animal advocacy organization Born Free USA’s Victims of Vanity, this isn’t always the case.

Leghold traps are of the most widely used trapping devices and are still legal in every territory and province across Canada, the place where Canada Goose sources the majority of their fur. Traps are not selective. Unwanted endangered species such as cougars can and have gotten caught in these traps. While traps with “teeth” have been banned, animals are still caught in a tight and painful grip. They may often die in the slow processes of starvation and hypothermia before they are found and shot. Is that what Canada Goose considers an ethical killing? Is that what they use? It might be. There may be animal cruelty in every stitch.

Canada Goose loves to advertise with images of scientists researching in the unforgiving tundra, so why do I see so many young people wearing these coats in Massachusetts? It’s only 30 degrees, stop being so dramatic. CEO Dani Reiss contradicts his brand’s advertising argument himself, claiming that Canada Goose is the “Swiss watch of apparel,” and the “Land Rover of outerwear.” But scientists conducting in the Artic wouldn’t care about being the “Land Rover of outerwear,” while they try to impress the only other two people within a 100-mile radius of them. Let’s be honest about the brand’s real target consumers: rich people who don’t care about animals.

It’s a jacket, people. Go to Marshalls, they have a large selection and I’m sure you’ll find one. Maybe even one that didn’t require killing an animal.

Canada Goose’s most lavish coat retails for $1,695. That’s a hefty chunk of my UMass tuition per year and 1,695 items that could be bought off the dollar menu. Canada Goose’s PBI Expedition Parka for kids costs $745; even though it’s something they will probably grow out of in a year.

Sure, Canada Goose coats look extremely comfortable. And who doesn’t like fuzzy things? But no matter how you kill an animal, I just don’t see how wearing its fur is ethical by any means. Stay warm, and stay humane this winter.

Gretchen Keller is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]

5 Comments

5 Responses to “Leave wildlife in the wild, not your closet”

  1. Camille on December 4th, 2017 12:59 pm

    Your words: “But to wear something that was once living, which died simply for you to look good, disgusts me.” But you’re fine with EATING something that was once living, which died simply because it tastes good to you. That’s OK?? You need to educate yourself, my dear. Have a look at some meat and dairy videos.

    [Reply]

  2. Ellie on December 4th, 2017 1:50 pm

    Uhm what? This is so disgustingly hypocritical.

    [Reply]

  3. nicole on December 4th, 2017 2:13 pm

    Thanks for tackling this topic! Seems like you already have a vegan frame of mind, now to just see that killing animals for meat/eggs/dairy is just as cruel and unnecessary! Be kind, GO VEG! <3

    [Reply]

  4. op ed commentor on December 4th, 2017 8:01 pm

    Good article! Defeinetly important things to think about

    [Reply]

  5. NITZAKHON on December 4th, 2017 9:04 pm

    If you’re cold, they’re cold. Bring them inside. There’s plenty of room for them… next to the mashed potatoes.

    [Reply]

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