GIVING US HOPE
The world’s largest fur auction house, Kopenhagen Fur, which has operated for 90 years, has announced it will permanently close. Considering 80% of the U.S. fur market comes from mink coats, we’re happy to see another nail in the coffin of this grotesque industry. The fur industry has been steadily declining during the last decade and many retailers have agreed to stop selling fur. Most recently, Nordstrom has joined a long list of major designers and retailers giving fur a boot including Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Coach, Prada, Burberry, Versace, Kors, Gucci and Chanel. Our work to bury the industry continues. We’re renewing our appeals to NY City Council Speaker Corey Johnson to dust off the retail fur ban bill that Friends of Animals drafted and set it in motion so that it can be voted on. New York City has long been the heart of the fur industry.
Stranded and sick mute swan rescued in NYC
New York City subway riders may have been nonplussed when Ariel Cordova Rojas carried a mute swan onto the train last week but that’s because they may not have realized the herculean effort she was going through to save it.
Rojas spotted the female swan at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens while enjoying a day biking there. The swan was off by itself in a grassy area near the water’s edge. Rojas, who has experience as an animal care manager at the Wild Bird Fund Rehabilitation Center in Manhattan, could tell the swam was unwell.
Rojas told The New York Times that she was able to get hold of the swan using her jacket to swaddle her. But getting her to medical care was quite the adventure. After getting help from a couple who drove her, the bird and her bike to a subway station and several rides later she was finally able to get the swan to the Wild Bird Fund where it is currently being treated for lead poisoning. Swans can ingest lead from fishing weights.
Though the NYT article got it wrong reporting that swans are invasive and destroyers of duck and geese habitat, thankfully Rojas understands their worth and took action. New York State had tried to eliminate mute swans with policies in 2014 but FoA helped to get a bill introduced to stop the horrific plan, and eventually New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation. Rojas, who was to celebrate her birthday the next day, said saving the swan’s life was a perfect present.
New England town first to ban fur on East Coast
A New England town has joined a growing movement across the nation to ban the sale of fur.
The Massachusetts town of Wellesley passed an ordinance to ban new fur sales starting next fall. The ordinance was approved by the Town Meeting by a huge majority.
The legislation bans clothing items and accessories that contain fur including handbags, shoes, slippers, hats, scarves, gloves, shawls and other accessories as well as home décor but there is an exemption for religious items. Violators can be charged a $300 fine.
Wellesley Professor Liza Oliver brought a petition for the ban to town leaders. She told the Milford Daily News she expects to propose a similar ban on the state level in January.
Wellesley is the first municipality in the Northeast to ban the sale of fur. California became the first state to ban fur in 2019, following bans in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Berkeley.
Friends of Animals has renewed its efforts for a fur ban in New York City, which first considered it in 2018 when City Council Speaker Corey Johnson proposed legislation. The bill had a hearing in the council’s health committee but then stalled when Johnson faced pushback from industry representatives and some religious groups. Last month FoA wrote Johnson again requesting he allow the council to vote on the bill. Johnson recently announced he would not be running for mayor in NYC.
Whale freed from fishing gear
A humpback whale who recently appeared to be entangled in lobster-pot ropes and was moving slowly, according to a report to the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society, was later seen free on off Montauk Point, in Long Island Sound.
It gives us hope that the several groups were poised to take action to help the whale. The U.S. Coast Guard Center in New Haven, Connecticut received a “heads up” as the conservation society, East Hampton Marine Patrol and the U.S. Coast Guard Station in Montauk, coordinating with NOAA Fisheries New England/Mid-Atlantic, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, the Center for Coastal Studies, and the Town of East Hampton, New York, searched for the whale with the intent to help it. Unfortunately, this is not the first whale to be entangled in fishing gear, a major source of entanglement and ocean trash.