The other night a friend (and dog lover) was telling me of the horror stories coming out China by anti-vivisectionists who have exposed China’s dog fur trade. I had never considered China to be a source of fine furs and leather as Italy, Spain and Argentina still come to mind when I’m in the market for a coat, belt or wallet. But my friend informed me that PETA on their website has a video on dogs being flayed alive to provide linings for gloves and other products being sold at big box stores in the USA. I was unable to determine from what she told me if the canine fur trade was simply a by-product of the canine meat trade, invoking the old “its okay to kill the dog we’re going to eat it” excuse. So on a visit today to a big box retailer in my now suburbanized neighborhood to buy a birthday gift for my goddaughter I tried to find the truth about dogs in China but found another sino- canine issue that was equally disturbing. If China is stripping the skins off dogs they are also providing second skins in the form of designer clothing for canine bon vivants. Most interesting among the selection was festive holiday wear. Today in some faraway sweatshop in Hunan a worker is sewing a canine Santa suit thinking how some day her own children might be able to attire themselves in such finery. But the workers dreams are crushed when a coworker informs her that these bright red ensembles are destined for American dogs. The same specie that on weekends that same worker is flaying. Examining the holiday as well as the everyday attire I looked closely to see if any dog fur was used in the making of the dog clothes. The labels indicate all polyester materials and there is no evidence of animal products used in these animal products. But other pet products were more suspect, some AKC label dog toys appeared to be made of some sort of fur but I doubt the AKC would ever approved of dogs being used in dog toys.
In the long run my only fear is a vast Maoist led conspiracy of striping dogs of their natural skin then cornering the world market on badly needed imitation canine Harris tweeds and Santa suits. Who ever thought the Chairman would lead us down this road.