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So it seems that possum fur has been labeled as the 'ethical fur' for the animal welfare and environmentally aware consumer. However, there is no such thing as ethical fur and Auckland Animal Action is in firm opposition to the possum fur trade. To enable the trade to remain profitable, it will have to rely on continued possum numbers and as such has no conservation value. To wear a dead animal's skin is disrespectful to the animal. Many people consider criminals to be 'bad' yet we do not shoot them and wear their skins. The promotion of possum fur will also lead to demand for other factory farmed furs, and in the worst case, could lead to the introduction of possum factory farming. To be ethical, do not wear fur. To kill for ones own vanity is disgusting and unnecessary in today's world.
IMPACT OF POSSUMS - A RURAL LEGEND!
The myth of possums destroying our environment is one that fashion designers often refer to in order to back up their bloody trade. However, MAF has admitted the actual number of possums in NZ is about 1/3 of what is sometimes claimed. If we were to destroy the creatures most responsible for the destruction of our native forests, we should look no further than ourselves. New Zealanders taste for meat has left most of our land barren and razed for intensive and unnecessary farming. If these people are serious about saving our forests they should go vegan right away!
Possums eat about 21,000 tonnes of vegetation per day (300 g wet weight per possum x 70 million possums). This oft-quoted figure is frequently used to depict possum as a rapacious consumer of all things green, but that implication ignores the daily foliage production of perhaps 300,000 tonnes for forests alone (7.5 million ha x 15 tonnes wet weight of foliage/ha/yr).
These rough calculations are backed up by a study at Waihaha, West Taupo, which showed that possums there ate only a small percentage (<15% by weight) of the annual foliage production of any of the 15 most common plants. Possums do not, therefore, threaten total deforestation on a national scale-in most forests, the process is one of compositional rather than structural change.
Source - Landcare Research NZ
THE FUR INDUSTRYS' SICK SECRET REVEALED!
Brushtail possums were among the earliest animals introduced into New Zealand by European settlers. They were first brought from Australia in 1837 to establish a fur industry.
By 1922, 36 batches of possums had been imported, mostly from Tasmania where possums were larger and had the black fur preferred by furriers. These possums and their descendants were liberated at more than 450 places around New Zealand by 1930.
Source - Landcare Research NZ
Possums were brought to New Zealand over a century ago in the hopes of introducing a bloody fur trade. The fur trade itself is responsible for bringing the possums here. How can we expect this industry to treat its own mistakes with care and ethics?!
It is our responsibility to treat these animals fairly and humanely. No animal is a 'pest'. It is humans alone that categorise animals such, reflecting our anthropocentric philosophies. Possums can feel just as much pain as a dog or a cat. They are highly social animals and loving parents.
It is our own fault possums are here in the first place therefore it is our duty to possums to find ways of controlling their numbers that are humane. Barbaric hunting and trapping, is not the answer, not to mention the horrendous 1080, which is a bigger problem to our natural environment than the possums themselves!
1080 completely dehydrates all the cells in the body. 1080 causes convulsions, internal bleeding and continual vomiting. It is simply a long painful inhumane death.
Leg hold traps cause immense pain and trauma to possums caught in them again the animal can suffer a slow languishing death. Such traps are indiscriminate and often catch non-target animals. Kiwis have been reported as caught in traps meant for possums!
In the 1980's several experimental intensive possum fur and meat farms were set up. All failed as the possums experienced high mortality rates due to stress at confinement. Why were such farms ever attempted when our bush land is apparently over-run with possums?
SUMMARY OF OUR CASE AGAINST THE POSSUM FUR TRADE
The damage possums are causing to Native bush is overstated, as are their numbers. Possums were brought to NZ by humans in the hopes of making money from their fur.