You walk into your favourite store. You browse through the shelves and racks. Then you see it: fur trim. The response of an empathic or compassionate individual is often sadness, disappointment, or anger – you know an animal died, and their skin is being sold as a commodity.
But what do you do next?
The Fur-Bearers often talk to advocates and animal lovers who want to take action against a store, but aren’t sure where to start, or what will be the most effective course. We’ve broken down four steps anyone can take that will have an impact on retail outlets through open, honest, and compassionate communication.
- Tell them you won’t be shopping there anymore. Retail outlets purchase a season or two ahead of time the products they think will sell. If they see a lot of people wearing fur, or people in the store are asking about fur, or they’ve simply sold a lot in the past, it makes sense that they’d order more. But if you make your message clear, without violence or malice, that you won’t be shopping at their store because of their sale of a particular fur product(s), you’re giving them valuable information about consumers.
- Suggest alternatives that they could provide. Just like any other compassionate conversation you may have, providing a solution or alternative is a beneficial way to change behaviour. By offering reasonable alternatives (for example, telling a store that Wully Outerwear has many of the same attributes of Canada Goose but actually helps animals instead of using the skins or feathers of dead animals) you’re showing them that you’d be willing to spend money in the stores – on ethical products.
- Tell your friends. This doesn’t necessarily mean hosting a silent vigil, protesting, or starting a petition (though these are viable options). Talking to your family and peers through social media, over coffee, or around the water cooler about the sale of fur products and why you won’t be shopping at a store is a way to grow not just the economic pressure for change at the retailer, but compassion in the people around us.
- Be the change. It’s one thing to say you want to see change. It’s another to lead the way. Make ethical choices in your life, purchase products that are fur-free (and some of them give back to wildlife), treat and speak to others with the compassion you want them to learn, and find ways in your community – whether it’s for wildlife used for fashion, social issues, conservation, or pets – to be a leader for the change you want to see.
We know that we will #MakeFurHistory in Canada. And it all starts with your choices.