An unusual story out of Russia is quickly becoming the poster child for cognitive dissonance in regards to the fur industry.
The brief story, as depicted in the New York Post, is that a woman, Natalia Gaintseva, went to a Russian fur farm to pick out a fox that would become her coat. This was a gift from her husband. But when she arrived, she had the ‘light bulb’ moment we are all so familiar with.
“When I saw her cowering at the back of the cage, I felt really sorry for her and couldn’t possibly imagine wearing her,” Gaintseva said. “She really was a beautiful little fox looking up at me with her gorgeous big eyes.
“I’d much rather buy her and release her than have her killed and wear her,” she said. “Not now that I had seen her alive.”
Gaintseva learned quickly that the fox would not be able to survive on its own in the wild after being raised on the farm, and decided to keep her as a pet.
If this was not a case of cognitive dissonance being shattered, we don’t know what is.
Cognitive dissonance is defined as the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.
This is often seen in the world of animal welfare: the reality of the deaths of animals, which can often be barbaric, is intentionally ignored so that the existing belief system (animals being used for whatever purpose) can remain intact and unchallenged.
In the case of Natalia Gaintseva and her fox, she was forced into seeing past what she believed into what was fact and it truly did disassemble the dissonance she had developed.
We don’t know if Gaintseva and her fox will live happily ever after. But we do know one more person who once thought fur was fashionable has seen the truth – and fewer animals will die as a result.
The ongoing efforts of The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals in finding humane, sustainable solutions to issues like the commercial fur industry and wildlife conflict is based on this concept. The more we can show people of the truth, and the more we can provide alternatives, the more people will learn we can be a humane country. Join us today as a member or donor to help us help the animals.