“Authentic, iconic, Canadian” are words used by the Canadian brand Canada Goose, and words with which we love to identify. But would we continue to do so if they were stained by a connection to inhumane, unnecessary killing?
On the first Saturday of February, a group of animal activists from Ontario known as The Kitchener Ontario Animal Liberation Alliance (KOALA) held a protest outside of Channer’s Apparel store for men in Waterloo.
They were opposing the unnecessary use of coyote fur on the hoods of premium jackets made by the company Canada Goose, stating that the company uses inhumane practices to catch the coyotes with foot traps.
Malcolm Klimowicz, a member of KOALA told The Cord that once the coyote is trapped “they could be out there for weeks sometimes,” which means they either, “freeze or starve to death.” There is also a high risk of the injured animals chewing off their own legs to escape, he said, or being painfully “eaten by other animals.” Either way, death by trap probably results in a coyote’s suffering and torment.
Yet, this torture leaves many unfazed. An employee of Channer’s, Bill Townsend, ignorantly stated that the fur “is acquired in a humane fashion,” as it is done through a “managed process.” He continued, “This fur trade is providing jobs for people and it is creating commerce.”
As if we haven’t heard this argument before. A well thought-out and perfectly rational reason for murdering animals — the economy.
In this situation, though, the one to blame for such cruelty is not Townsend, his fellow employees, or the customers buying the fur. It is the president of Canada Goose, Dani Reiss. He is the person of power choosing to build a business that incorporates unnecessary death into its product.
I’m convinced that the company would still thrive without killing coyotes.
Nevertheless, Canada Goose does offer another reasonable explanation for the presence of the coyote fur: Reiss explains that the fur, “provides warmth around the face in a way that no synthetic fabric can.” Their website also states that coyote fur “doesn’t freeze, doesn’t hold moisture, retains heat and is biodegradable.”
All of these qualities are absolutely positive. However, there are alternatives that provide similar if not the exact same qualities such as cruelty-free versions of wool, for example. Even if other materials do not compare to real fur, there still needs to be an aspect of tolerance that we carry with us. Warmth or comfort doesn’t have to come at such a high price.
We need to ask ourselves whether these animals are being killed for survival or adornment. We no longer live in a world where high status is determined by whether our clothing was once able to walk.
As Klimowicz points out, “the majority of people who wear these things live in southern Ontario where it’s really not that cold.” Compare this to southern British Columbia, and wearing fur for warmth is simply ludicrous.
We as consumers can display our knowledge of the fur industry’s cruel origins and opt to buy non-fur coats in general, or at least Canada Goose jackets that do not use coyote fur. Better yet, we can invest in a good pair of long johns and a rain coat, clothes that actually suit our West Coast climate.