Furry Chinese Fashion Trade (Autoehnography research: Animal Welfare in Asia)

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In my previous post I touched on the idea raised in the Cove of Dolphins being denoted as pests of the sea by Japanese authorities. This led me to think what other species are classed as pests in Asian cultures this lead me to discovering the Chinese fur trade.

The Chinese fur trade is a hard plight to research due to the graphic images of senseless killings. China skin raccoon dogs, dogs and cats for their fur trade. These animals are mostly not killed humanely and are often skinned alive. My research indicated that some of these animals will be alive for 5-10minutes after they have been skinned (PETA 2015), why aren’t they killed first? Often to protect their fur.

China has a large contingent of street animals and often these street animals find themselves within the fur trade, with some cats and dogs still wearing collars. Around two million dogs and cats are bred or taken from streets in China and killed for the Chinese fur industry (Animals Australia 2015) each year.  This lead me back to a point raised in my previous post, Dolphin and Whale meat is common within Japan so does this also extend to cats and dogs being pests that needs to be exterminated just being a normal part of Asian culture?

I feel that Asian cultures have little respect for animal welfare, especially since they skin an animal that still has an ownership collar on them. China exports fur to multiple Western countries though what intrigues me is the question whether fur is a popular fashion icon within China?

Hong Kong holds a fashion fair specifically for fur, The Hong Kong International Fur and Fashion Fair which has been held since the 1930’s (China Exhibition 2015). In 2014 the festival generated $150 US Million in product sales, with Russia being the largest buyer though not far behind was China, Japan and Korea.  Thus it is evident that fur is a part of Asian culture, further evident through the Hong Kong Fur Federation striving to become the worlds ‘hub’ for fur products.

The Cove discussed that the Japanese people did not know that the Dolphin slaughter was occurring, I believe this is also the case within the fur trade. Obviously China has strict censorship but Japan’s Government implemented the State Secrets Protection law in December 2014 (Aota 2015). The State Secrets Protect legislation states that any public servants or others whom leak state secrets or journalist that encourage such leaks could be imprisoned for five to ten years (Lies 2014). This further explains the states tough stance on activism, the Cove being a prime example. Within the Cove it is often discussed that the Government employ the fishermen for the Dolphin slaughter, however; whenever an activist protests against the this slaughter as shown within the film they are arrested and not allowed back.  Hayden Panettiere is famous for not being able to return to Japan due to an arrest warrant for her protesting of the Dolphin slaughter within the Cove itself.

Will the State Secrets Protection legislation also criminalise whistle-blowers of animal plights? These plights seem to be hidden from the public. I plan to further investigate the animal welfare legislations within Asia.

References:

Animals Australia 2015, ‘Dog and Cat Fur’, FurAnimals Australia, viewed 16th September, url: < http://www.animalsaustralia.org/issues/fur.php>

Aota, H 2015, ‘Report: Japan’s Press Freedom Deteriorates under state secrets law’, The Asahi Shimbun, 13th Feburary, viewed 16th September, url: < https://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/politics/AJ201502130073>

ChinaExhibition 2015, ‘2015 Hong Kong International Fur & Fashion Fair’, ChinaExhibition, viewed 16th September, url: <http://www.chinaexhibition.com/trade_events/6654-2015_Hong_Kong_International_Fur_and_Fashion_Fair.html >

Lies, E 2014, ‘Strict new Japan Secrets law take effect amid protest’, Reuters, 9th December, viewed 16th September, url: <http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/12/10/us-japan-secrets-idUSKBN0JN15920141210 >

PETA 2015, ‘The Chinese Fur Industry’, Animals Used for Fur- People for the Ethical Treament of Animals, viewed 16th September, url: <http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-clothing/fur/chinese-fur-industry/ >

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