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WHAT WOULD GOD SAY ABOUT FUR?
Whoever one may conceive as one's Creator, Greatness is the first thing that comes to our minds and hearts. In the animal rights community, there is much controversy about religion as they all seem to relegate animal to the condition of non-sentient beings merely for human use.
These questions continue being asked but no satisfactory answer has ever been provided. The very fact that animals suffer so horrifically in the hands of humans, with the blessings of religion leaders, has allienated millions of people from religion. The quest for the truth prevail as it is unconscionable the idea that God in His perfection would permit so much perversity against his defenseless creation. Below are some interesting interpretations and references regarding humans v. non-humans:
by Richard Schwartz, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, Mathematics
College of Staten Island
Staten Island, NY 10314 USA
Phone: (718) 761-5876
Fax: (718) 982-3631
According to Professor Schwarts, God Does Not condone mistreatment of animals--anywhere on the Bible. Here's what Dr. Schwarts wrote specifically about the use of fur as clothing:
THE PAIN OF FUR-BEARING ANIMALS
Fur is obtained from animals who are either trapped or raised on ranches. Both involve treatment of animals that appears to be far from the Jewish teachings that have been previously discussed: Animals caught in steel-jaw leg hold traps suffer slow, agonizing deaths. Some are attacked by predators, freeze to death, or chew off their own legs to escape. It has been said that one can get a "feel for fur" by slamming your fingers in a car door. A Canadian Wildlife service report gives an idea of the terror that trapped animals face and their desperate efforts to escape: The stomachs of [trapped] arctic foxes . . . often contain parts of their own bodies. They may swallow fragments of their teeth broken off in biting the trap, and sometimes part of a mangled foot; almost every stomach contains some fox fur, and a considerable number contain pieces of skin, claws, or bits of bone.
Over 100 million wild animals are killed for their pelts every year. Many species of animals killed for their furs have become endangered or have disappeared completely from some localities.Millions of animals not wanted by trappers, including dogs, cats, and birds, die in traps annually and are discarded as "trash animals." Many trapped animals leave behind dependent offspring who are doomed to starvation.
Treatment of animals raised on "fur ranches" is also extremely cruel. Confined to lifelong confinement, millions of foxes, beavers, minks, ocelots, rabbits, chinchillas, and other animals await extinction nothing to do, little room to move, and all their natural instincts thwarted. The animals are simply a means to the maximizing of production and profit, and there is no regard for their physical, mental, or emotional well being. Because of the enforced confinement and lack of privacy, naturally wild animals often exhibit neurotic behaviors such as compulsive movements and self mutilation. The animals finally suffer hideous deaths by electrocution by rods thrust up their anuses, by suffocation, by poisoning, which causes painful muscle cramping, or by having their necks broken.
According to the International Society for Animal Rights, Inc.,to make one fur garment requires 400 squirrels; 240 ermine; 200 chinchillas; 120 muskrats; 80 sables; 50 martens; 30 raccoons; 22 bobcats; 12 lynx; or 5 wolves.
IS FUR NECESSARY?
Judaism puts human beings on a higher level than animals and indicates that animals may be harmed and even killed if an essential human need is met. However, is the wearing of fur truly necessary for people to stay warm during wintry weather? There are many non-fur coats and hats, available in a variety of styles, that provide much warmth. Imitation fur is produced at such a high level of quality that even among Chasidim there is a small but growing trend to wear synthetic "shtreimlach" (fur-trimmed hats).
Based on the prohibition of tsa'ar ba'alei chayim, Rabbi Chaim Dovid Halevy, Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv issued a p'sak (rabbinic ruling) in March, 1992, indicating that Jews should not wear fur. Rabbi Halevy asked: "Why should people be allowed to kill animals if it is not necessary, simply because they desire the pleasure of having the beauty and warmth of fur coats? Is it not possible to achieve the same degree of warmth without fur?"
In his book, The Jewish Encyclopedia of Moral and Ethical Issues, Rabbi Nachum Amsel, a modern Israeli educator, states: "If the only reason a person wears the fur coat is to "show off" one's wealth or to be a mere fashion statement, that would be considered to be a frivolous and not a legitimate need. Rabbi Amsel also points out that hunting for sport is prohibited because it is not considered a legitimate need (Avodah Zarah 18b).
"Even though you make many prayers,I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood. (Isaiah 1:12-15)"
What kind of lesson in Jewish values are young people getting when they see worshippers coming to synagogue in fur coats on the Sabbath day? Not only do animals benefit from our compassion and concern -- we, too, benefit by becoming more sensitive and more humane, as Jews and civilized human beings. Learn more from this link: http://jewishveg.com/schwartz/index.html
ISLAM & ANIMALS:
As with other religions, what Islam teaches about animals and what followers believe and do are often at odds.
Mohammed most expressly outlined his view of the human obligation toward animals in Hadith 3:551, related by his disciple Abu Huraira, who was well-known for his own love of animals.
According to Abu Huraira, "Allah's Apostle said, 'While a man was walking he felt thirsty and went down a well and drank water from it. On coming out of it, he saw a dog panting and eating mud because of excessive thirst. The man said, 'This (dog) is suffering from the same problem as that of mine. So he went down again into the well, filled his shoe with water, caught hold of it with his teeth, and climbed up and watered the dog. Allah thanked him for
his good deed and forgave him.' The people asked, 'O Allah's Apostle! Is there a reward for us in serving (the) animals?' He replied, "Yes, there is a reward for serving any animal."
Hadith 3:551 is perhaps the most emphatic mandate for humane work to be found in any of the primary religious texts of any of the Abrahamic religions.
But Abu Huraira narrated a similar incident to which Mohammed accorded even greater significant. According to Huraira in Hadith 4:538, "Allah's Apostle said, 'A prostitute was forgiven by Allah, because, passing by a panting dog near a well and seeing that the dog
was about to die of thirst, she took off her shoe, and tying it with her head-cover she drew out some water for it. So, Allah forgave her because of that."
Hadith 4:538 promises specific forgiveness of sin to those who help animals, even if the sin is as grave as prostitution is considered to be within Islam, and is compounded by the prostitute having removed her head covering. These are offenses which in parts
of the Islamic world are still punished by stoning or flogging.
In essence, Hadith 4:538 states that practicing compassion for animals is more important than obedience to even some of themost basic social norms. Hadith 4:538 indicates as a cultural goal the education of a society in which everyone is compassionate toward
animals, and therefore no one is stoned or flogged.
Reconciling these teachings with the traditional views that Islam requires animal sacrifice at Ramadan and that Mohammed forbade keeping pet dogs is not as difficult as is commonly believed.
As Al-Hafiz B.A. Masri detailed in his 1987 opus Animals In Islam, recently republished by the Islamic Foundation & Compassion In World Farming, the purpose of Ramadan sacrifice is to share food, as charity, and Mohammed himself outlined other options to the
faithful. The Islamic obligation is to charity, not to slaughter.
Attention to the evolution of language meanwhile indicates that the original meaning of the prohibition on "keeping" a dog pertained to keeping a dog unnecessarily confined, with exemptions outlined for working dogs whose use would require confinement at certain times. This is consistent with Mohammed's often expressed objection to keeping any species confined in a manner causing the animal to suffer.
Editor, ANIMAL PEOPLE
P.O. Box 960
Clinton, WA 98236