Toronto residents fight fur-trim apparel trend, dog and cat fur use

News Apr 08, 2013 by Tara Hatherly Beach Mirror

A music video from a Toronto musician and local animal rights activists that denounces the popularity of fur-trimmed apparel is gaining in popularity on YouTube.

The video, released on YouTube in February, has been viewed almost 80,000 times. The video features the song Tell a Friend by North York musician Gabriel Nicolau, who performs as Gaiaisi. Nicolau is joined on the song and video by fellow Toronto musicians.

The recent increase of fur-trimmed jackets inspired the project.

“I didn’t actually know that those coats were real fur until this year,” Nicolau said. “A lot of people say, ‘Oh it’s so cold in Canada, we need this’, but the fact is that some of the best apparel in the world for extremely cold weather climate is all synthetic. People are scuba diving in the Antarctic Ocean in wet suits that are not made out of fur, they’re made out of synthetic materials, so it’s entirely possible to stay warm without it.”

Many of this past winter’s popular jackets are trimmed with coyote and fox fur, while knock-offs of popular designs are sometimes lined with dog fur, said Shannon Kornelsen, director of public outreach for the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals, an anti-fur organization based in Vancouver and Toronto’s Beach neighbourhood. The organization provided footage used in the music video.

In Canada, it’s legal to sell imported dog and cat fur, Kornelsen explained, adding lax Canadian labelling laws mean dog and cat fur is not labelled as such, instead being labelled as rabbit, fox or even fake fur.

“It’s just really sad, because people don’t know,” she said. “The way that Canada’s labeling laws work, a lot of products don’t have to be labeled at all, so even if it’s real fur, it doesn’t have to be labeled that it’s real. And the stuff that does have to be labeled that it’s fur, does not have to say what type of fur it is, so mislabeling is rampant. Our organization uncovers constant mislabeling - fake fur labeled as real, real fur labeled as fake, coyote fur labeled as something else and vice versa.”

Chinese manufacturers have admitted mislabelling dog and cat fur imports is common practice, she added.

“Even the people who maybe don’t necessarily know, or they know it’s fur, they probably don’t know that it’s dog and cat,” she said.

The YouTube video stars Kobu, a coyote look-alike who lives in the Beach with his owner Anouk Bikkers, an animal rights activist.

“He’s a rescue dog from Taiwan, he was brought over about two years ago and he was a street dog that was basically slated for slaughter himself, so it’s kind of fitting that he’s starring in a video about anti-fur,” Bikkers said. “I get stopped quite often by people remarking on his fur and his beautiful tail, and I’m like yeah and you’re wearing it on your jacket. So it’s a good segue usually. People stop and they don’t have that connection, and then they’ll be like, oh well that’s coyote, but it’s very similar. It could just have easily been my dog.”

Nicolau said he hopes his video’s message reaches far and wide.

“Historically there’s a direct correlation between anti-fur campaigns and activism, and the sales of fur and a drop in the amount of animals that are farmed and that are trapped for it,” he said. “We’re actually affecting their demand. I don’t think we’ll be able to measure that until we reach millions, but I know it is possible.”

To watch Tell a Friend, visit http://youtu.be/1KgNx8OgSrA

For details about the Association for the Protection of Fur Bearing Animals, visit www.furbearerdefenders.com

Toronto residents fight fur-trim apparel trend, dog and cat fur use

News Apr 08, 2013 by Tara Hatherly Beach Mirror

A music video from a Toronto musician and local animal rights activists that denounces the popularity of fur-trimmed apparel is gaining in popularity on YouTube.

The video, released on YouTube in February, has been viewed almost 80,000 times. The video features the song Tell a Friend by North York musician Gabriel Nicolau, who performs as Gaiaisi. Nicolau is joined on the song and video by fellow Toronto musicians.

The recent increase of fur-trimmed jackets inspired the project.

“I didn’t actually know that those coats were real fur until this year,” Nicolau said. “A lot of people say, ‘Oh it’s so cold in Canada, we need this’, but the fact is that some of the best apparel in the world for extremely cold weather climate is all synthetic. People are scuba diving in the Antarctic Ocean in wet suits that are not made out of fur, they’re made out of synthetic materials, so it’s entirely possible to stay warm without it.”

Many of this past winter’s popular jackets are trimmed with coyote and fox fur, while knock-offs of popular designs are sometimes lined with dog fur, said Shannon Kornelsen, director of public outreach for the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals, an anti-fur organization based in Vancouver and Toronto’s Beach neighbourhood. The organization provided footage used in the music video.

In Canada, it’s legal to sell imported dog and cat fur, Kornelsen explained, adding lax Canadian labelling laws mean dog and cat fur is not labelled as such, instead being labelled as rabbit, fox or even fake fur.

“It’s just really sad, because people don’t know,” she said. “The way that Canada’s labeling laws work, a lot of products don’t have to be labeled at all, so even if it’s real fur, it doesn’t have to be labeled that it’s real. And the stuff that does have to be labeled that it’s fur, does not have to say what type of fur it is, so mislabeling is rampant. Our organization uncovers constant mislabeling - fake fur labeled as real, real fur labeled as fake, coyote fur labeled as something else and vice versa.”

Chinese manufacturers have admitted mislabelling dog and cat fur imports is common practice, she added.

“Even the people who maybe don’t necessarily know, or they know it’s fur, they probably don’t know that it’s dog and cat,” she said.

The YouTube video stars Kobu, a coyote look-alike who lives in the Beach with his owner Anouk Bikkers, an animal rights activist.

“He’s a rescue dog from Taiwan, he was brought over about two years ago and he was a street dog that was basically slated for slaughter himself, so it’s kind of fitting that he’s starring in a video about anti-fur,” Bikkers said. “I get stopped quite often by people remarking on his fur and his beautiful tail, and I’m like yeah and you’re wearing it on your jacket. So it’s a good segue usually. People stop and they don’t have that connection, and then they’ll be like, oh well that’s coyote, but it’s very similar. It could just have easily been my dog.”

Nicolau said he hopes his video’s message reaches far and wide.

“Historically there’s a direct correlation between anti-fur campaigns and activism, and the sales of fur and a drop in the amount of animals that are farmed and that are trapped for it,” he said. “We’re actually affecting their demand. I don’t think we’ll be able to measure that until we reach millions, but I know it is possible.”

To watch Tell a Friend, visit http://youtu.be/1KgNx8OgSrA

For details about the Association for the Protection of Fur Bearing Animals, visit www.furbearerdefenders.com

Toronto residents fight fur-trim apparel trend, dog and cat fur use

News Apr 08, 2013 by Tara Hatherly Beach Mirror

A music video from a Toronto musician and local animal rights activists that denounces the popularity of fur-trimmed apparel is gaining in popularity on YouTube.

The video, released on YouTube in February, has been viewed almost 80,000 times. The video features the song Tell a Friend by North York musician Gabriel Nicolau, who performs as Gaiaisi. Nicolau is joined on the song and video by fellow Toronto musicians.

The recent increase of fur-trimmed jackets inspired the project.

“I didn’t actually know that those coats were real fur until this year,” Nicolau said. “A lot of people say, ‘Oh it’s so cold in Canada, we need this’, but the fact is that some of the best apparel in the world for extremely cold weather climate is all synthetic. People are scuba diving in the Antarctic Ocean in wet suits that are not made out of fur, they’re made out of synthetic materials, so it’s entirely possible to stay warm without it.”

Many of this past winter’s popular jackets are trimmed with coyote and fox fur, while knock-offs of popular designs are sometimes lined with dog fur, said Shannon Kornelsen, director of public outreach for the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals, an anti-fur organization based in Vancouver and Toronto’s Beach neighbourhood. The organization provided footage used in the music video.

In Canada, it’s legal to sell imported dog and cat fur, Kornelsen explained, adding lax Canadian labelling laws mean dog and cat fur is not labelled as such, instead being labelled as rabbit, fox or even fake fur.

“It’s just really sad, because people don’t know,” she said. “The way that Canada’s labeling laws work, a lot of products don’t have to be labeled at all, so even if it’s real fur, it doesn’t have to be labeled that it’s real. And the stuff that does have to be labeled that it’s fur, does not have to say what type of fur it is, so mislabeling is rampant. Our organization uncovers constant mislabeling - fake fur labeled as real, real fur labeled as fake, coyote fur labeled as something else and vice versa.”

Chinese manufacturers have admitted mislabelling dog and cat fur imports is common practice, she added.

“Even the people who maybe don’t necessarily know, or they know it’s fur, they probably don’t know that it’s dog and cat,” she said.

The YouTube video stars Kobu, a coyote look-alike who lives in the Beach with his owner Anouk Bikkers, an animal rights activist.

“He’s a rescue dog from Taiwan, he was brought over about two years ago and he was a street dog that was basically slated for slaughter himself, so it’s kind of fitting that he’s starring in a video about anti-fur,” Bikkers said. “I get stopped quite often by people remarking on his fur and his beautiful tail, and I’m like yeah and you’re wearing it on your jacket. So it’s a good segue usually. People stop and they don’t have that connection, and then they’ll be like, oh well that’s coyote, but it’s very similar. It could just have easily been my dog.”

Nicolau said he hopes his video’s message reaches far and wide.

“Historically there’s a direct correlation between anti-fur campaigns and activism, and the sales of fur and a drop in the amount of animals that are farmed and that are trapped for it,” he said. “We’re actually affecting their demand. I don’t think we’ll be able to measure that until we reach millions, but I know it is possible.”

To watch Tell a Friend, visit http://youtu.be/1KgNx8OgSrA

For details about the Association for the Protection of Fur Bearing Animals, visit www.furbearerdefenders.com