Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Thank You SOS Chats

Early cat blogging: If you can read French, check out SOS Chats in Switzerland which I learned about today after reading an article in the New York Times. Even if you can't read French, the pictures are great.

Photo credit: Nicolas Righetti for The New York Times

I had no idea it was legal in Switzerland, of all places, to skin cats for their fur and sell the garments. Fortunately, this is about to change and hopefully this year.
While it is legal in Switzerland to shoot feral cats as well as domestic ones that stray more than 200 yards from their homes, it is not clear how many cats are hunted every year here and across the border in France, where residents have also complained about disappearing felines. One government official put the number at a couple of dozen. Luc Barthassat, a legislator with the Christian Democratic People’s Party, said about 2,000, but members of S O S Chats, an advocacy group, say tens of thousands are killed.

Estimates of the value of each pelt vary wildly. Mr. Barthassat said he had been told by tanners that they pay only about $5. But animal rights advocates say that hunters make much more than that, noting that some blankets made from 10 pelts sell at retail for more than $1,700.

But the numbers almost seemed beside the fact this fall, after a series of TV reports created a public furor. Three TV news crews from Switzerland and France conducted hidden-camera investigations that caught tanners who had officially denied trading in cat fur actively doing so and, in at least one case, explaining that cat meat was also available.

It's one thing to raise animals in captivity for pelts as well as hunting wild animals for the same reason, and I'm personally not a proponent of either. But at least I understand it. I'm less adverse to the idea if the wild animals being hunted are primarily used as food and the pelts are used secondarily to avoid wasting any part of the animal.

But people have been losing their beloved pets to this absurd practice. SOS Chats did a lot of work in exposing this and I'm very happy they did. If I knew someone had shot and killed any of my cats for pelts or meat I'd be tempted to reciprocate.

No comments: