Cruelty- Free Shopping for the Holidays

One day this month, People for Animal Rights (PAR) and Syracuse Animal Rights Organization (SARO) plan to stand in front of Skaneateles Furs to hold posters and give out leaflets reminding shoppers that there are many useful, lovely gifts we can buy for the holidays which don’t involve direct cruelty to animals.

If you don’t want to cause unnecessary suffering and death to animals, please avoid these items:

  • Fur – whether a full-length coat or trim on a jacket or gloves or toys;
  • Leather (animal skin)
  • Wool
  • Down
  • Products tested on animals. You can learn what companies do NOT test on animals by going to and looking for their list of cruelty-free companies and products.

Why not fur? Because fur is obtained by killing animals – and in very painful ways. Some animals are caught in steeljaw, leghold traps, which shut on their limbs with brutal force, and the animal may suffer for days before finally being killed by the trapper. Other animals are confined to small, filthy cages on fur farms, where they can go insane from boredom and fear and even self-mutilate. Death is often done by anal electrocution. And then there are the seals who are clubbed to death.

Why not leather? Besides coming from some wild animals (such as deer), leather comes from the skin of cows, calves, horses, sheep, lambs, goats, pigs and even dogs and cats (this may be the case if the product comes from Asia). Almost all these animals suffer confinement, crowding, branding, as well as non anaesthetized castration, dehorning and tail-docking.

Why not wool? Much wool comes from Australia, where sheep are kept in huge flocks and are cut (without anesthesia) around the tail area to prevent infestation with blowflys. The shearing process is done with such speed and force (given the large number of animals) that the sheep suffer cuts and experience fear.

Why not down? Down is plucked painfully from living ducks and geese.

Besides choosing gifts which avoid the above cruelties, you could even take a positive step to help animals by giving a gift which promotes healthy, compassionate eating – such as a gift certificate to Strong Hearts Cafe. Strong Hearts Cafe is a popular all-vegan restaurant in Syracuse and offers sandwiches, salads, soups, shakes, tea, coffee and fabulous desserts. See

Writer I.D. Linda is President of People for Animal Rights, P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse 13215-0358,, (315)488-PURR(7877) between 8 a.m. and 10 pm, This article was translated into Spanish  by Roberto English

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