The well-known department store Harvey Nichols in London described the wearing of a £68,000 lynx fur coat as “the pinnacle of trend-setting bravery”. This is 2019. When are traders and sellers of animal skins going to learn that this is a cruel and immoral business?
They said that the coat would “inspire longing glances.. bathing the wearer in an aura of luxurious self-assurance”.
The problem was that the store could not confirm that the fur came from a legal source. Neither could the supplier, the Italian fur brand, Lilly e Violetta.
I’m not going to be politically correct and simply report the story. I will say right away that the fur trade should be entirely banned anywhere on the planet because it cannot be justified. However the fur trade is in rude health.
There are four subspecies of lynx wild cat: the Canada, Eurasian, Iberian lynx and the bobcat.
Today the elusive lynx is a protected species because it was hunted to near extinction. The Iberian subspecies is critically endangered and has been for many years. The Eurasian lynx is being reintroduced after being almost wiped out across Europe. The bobcat in America has been trapped and hunted extensively but trapping and hunting is now limited as I understand it in some states of America. The bobcat is making a fragile recovery in North America.
The Canada Lynx has an extensive range from Alaska via the Rocky Mountains to New Mexico. It’s fur, sadly, can be traded and sold in the UK but the exporter has to have a permit to import and export. Further they have to prove that the pelts came from captive animals raised on legal fur farms i.e. licensed.
The lynx fur coat advertised on the Harvey Nichols website was described as the “purest Montana lynx fur”. Lucy Bannerman of The Times newspaper suggest that this means that the fur came from a fur farm in Montana. The supplier could not confirm the source and was unable to provide evidence of a permit required by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
As a consequence, Harvey Nichols removed the coat from sale. They say that the supplier had signed a form promising to adhere to ethical sourcing principles. The department store confirmed that it would no longer be stocking any products by Lilly e Violetta. They said that no coat had been sold and no profits made.
It is believed that there are fewer than 250 lynx left in the wild in Montana. They are protected. There are fur farms in Montana which are undeniably cruel. The lynx can roam over 400 km² in the wild and yet they are kept in small cages on fur farms until slaughtered for their skins.
A Montana attorney, Matthew Bishop, believes that 99% of the public has no idea that lynx are being raised for fur. The industry keeps a low profile because they are aware that it is ugly and cruel.
It is interesting to note that the chief executive of the British Fur Trade Association, Mike Moser, said that he had never heard of lynx fur farms. He said that it is not a species suited to farming. He actually describes the cat as a ‘breed’ which is incorrect. This is not a breed of cat. That’s surprising as well. He claims that it is more ethical to trap wild lynx as long as the trappers acted “in harmony with the environment”. I would strongly disagree with him. It is time, as stated, for all trapping, shooting and hunting of wild cat species for their fur to be banned completely.
The lynx is threatened in Montana because of climate change, logging and past persecution of the animal. If one is trapped today, the trapper has to report it immediately. How many lynx are trapped accidentally on purpose and injured and therefore they have to be killed for their fur?
If a trapper accidentally traps a lynx there is an incentive to not report it and keep the animal because of its high value. It seems to me that the law which is intended to protect this animal in North America is not working satisfactorily.
Kendall Jenner wore a lynx fur coat in 2016 for the launch of her clothing line. The supplier Lilly e Violetta claims to be “committed to reliability based on transparency and trustworthiness and sustainability based on respect for people, the planet and animal welfare”. Are those hollow words? They declined to answer questions from The Times newspaper. And as mentioned cannot prove that their fur is legal. Not a good look.
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