Friday, August 27, 2010

Israel and Possible Fur Ban

National Public Radio recently related a story about efforts of animal rights protest industry advocates to get Israel to ban fur. You can read the story at Israel Fur Ban

It has created somewhat of an uproar as the ban will be a significant issue for Orthodox Jews who have the tradition of wearing a fur cap. My understanding of the tradition is that the wearing of a fur cap represents the kingliness of the wearer, who on the Sabbath remembers to rest as the LORD commanded.

Of course the animal rights protest industry advocates point to Jewish tradition that forbids cruelty to animals, suggesting that the production of fur is somehow a violation of that tradition. This argument is similar to the same kind of legal nonsense employed by so-called Constitutional attorneys who claim that the death penalty was/is a violation of the U.S. Constitution. What makes the argument so egregious is its revisionist understanding of history. How could the death penalty be anti-constitutional when the founding fathers believed in its use? Likewise, how could the production of fur be cruel when Jews who wrote the tradition were involved in various forms of animal use?

But who cares about the facts? Animal rights protest industry advocates know how easy it is get a hot country with a small minority of fur wearers to marginalize "others" in the name of fake-morality. I propose that Nebraska ban ice houses. Everyone knows how dangerous they are when the weather gets warm. Do you think I can get this legislation passed?

Stephen Vantassel is the author of Dominion over Wildlife? An Environmental-Theology of Human-Wildlife Relations (Wipf and Stock, 2009). He also believes that animal rights poses almost as a great a threat to the environment as the hungry bull dozer.

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