Earlier this week, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police made the smart and progressive decision to stop using fur for regular cold-weather use in their uniform hats. The famed Mounties noted that they had "listened to the views and concerns of the public and employees in regards to the use of animal products in police-issued uniform and equipment." There are functional alternatives to fur, and it is just another example of moral progress to opt for faux.
But again, as elsewhere, we see the overreaching hand of government attempting to lobby for and aggressively work to maintain animal exploitation practices under the guise of executing its duties.
I wrote earlier this week about the state of Maine using public resources to influence the upcoming ballot question there on bear baiting, hounding and trapping. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has been all in to try to protect the business of bear baiting guides who offer guarantee kills of bears, even though state law forbids this sort of use of taxpayer funds to influence elections. Well, in Canada, Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced that the government would force the RCMP to revert to using hats made from fur. This is the same Tory government that spends millions of dollars a year to defend the clubbing of seals, so it shouldn’t be a great surprise. But it’s another example of the state’s overreaching, outrageous role in perpetuating animal abuse, at a time when the world wants to move on from it.
Each fur hat requires at least two animals to die, and usually to suffer beforehand in cruel leghold or body-crushing traps. Some will even be caught in drowning traps and held underwater to die a slow and agonizing death. This method of killing is so inhumane, it has been deemed unacceptable by the Canadian and American Veterinary Medical Associations.
Approximately 3,000 hats are issued to new RCMP officers every year, which means 6,000 to 9,000 muskrats suffer and die each year to meet the demand.
The Canadian government’s politically motivated actions are an affront to the many members of the public and the police officers who supported the RCMP's conscientious decision.
Humane Society International’s Canada office is calling on the country’s government to stop playing fur politics with RCMP uniforms. This was a decision made by the RCMP, for the RCMP, in the best interests of the force, the public and animal welfare. Politicians should propel, not retard, moral progress for animals.