Charlie & Canada Goose’s “Humane” Coyote Trim
Charlie is a wild-born coyote who was unexpectedly delivered to my doorstep in April 2007 after both his parents were shot for killing sheep. Whatever reservations I had about raising a wild animal simply didn’t matter – couldn’t matter – when I realized his survival, at least in the short term, depended on me.
Charlie rides in my truck, walks on a leash, and adores the cat and his hound-dog sister. Though we’ve been together for three years, I don’t call him my pet. He’s more like my co-pilot. I don’t wish to own him, just to live together in harmony. And that we do.
It’s clear that coyotes have their own inner lives. It’s clear they are close enough to our own canine family members that we wouldn’t want to see them in agony. So when companies like Canada Goose claim that they trap and kill coyotes “humanely”, it sends up a big, red flag :
“Canada Goose is deeply committed to the preservation of our global environment and the humane treatment of animals.”
If by ” the humane treatment of animals” Canada Goose means trapping coyotes who spend hours (or sometimes days) struggling to escape a painful trap, often breaking their own bones and teeth in the process, dying slowly of starvation or dehydration, or if they’re lucky, being shot. Each year in Canada, over 100,000 coyotes are trapped and killed in leg-hold, Conibear and snare traps. In agony and confusion, animals often break teeth and bones trying to escape.According to Fur Bearer Defenders: “Across Canada, trap check times vary from once every 20 hours to once every 14 days, but such laws are largely unenforceable. An animal who does not die quickly is faced with unrelenting pain and a panic-filled wait, until they are clubbed to death, suffocated, shot or strangled.”
This is what tapped and hunted coyotes look like. This is the ‘textile’ in which Canada Goose trims their hoods:
Canada Goose rationalizes:
We use Coyote fur only as absolutely necessary, and exclusively for functional purposes. Our jackets are–and always have been–used in the coldest places on earth.
And if that didn’t convince you (since there are cruelty-free, synthetic alternatives), how about the rationale of preserving tradition? Or the “well, it’s better than synthetics” argument (even though Canada Goose are already using synthetic poly, nylon, and spandex for shells and lining, and even though faux-fur from from recycled-PET is available):
More importantly, we take pride in the fact that by supporting this sustainable industry we are also supporting the native Canadian communities of the North and their centuries-old ways of life that are now being threatened… Many anti-fur advocacy groups fail to take into account the environmental impact of the production of synthetic fur. The chemical by-products of this production process have the potential to do more harm to the environment than the use of the fur from animals that are hunted as part of an ancient way of life that balances the needs of people and wildlife.
Throwing around terms like “sustainable”, when it comes to a pelt that needs to be tanned and preserved using toxic chemical, is anything but “sustainable”. This is what we call greenwashing. And lastly:
In stating our views and practices, we hope to promote the kind of transparency and context that will inform a reasoned discussion, one that moves beyond the shrill finger-pointing that often characterizes both sides of the debate.
Herein lies the core of the disconnect. Two sides of the debate. The coyotes themselves are not even validated as having an interest in their own lives. If we were to consider their perspective, which all of modern science agrees they have, the answer would be very clear as to which two sides of the argument overshadow the third.
Here are few 140-character tweets as examples:
- @CanadaGooseInc claims they use fur to avoid synthetics, yet their shells and lining are often synthetics.
- @CanadaGooseInc claims to be humane, but coyote trapping and hunting is certainly not kind: http://www.reinventtheicon.com/charlie-canada-gooses-humane-coyote-trim/
- @CanadaGooseInc is guilty of greenwashing. Fur must be tanned w/ toxic chemicals.