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December 16, 2004


John F

You can make leather from pig. Really. And cow. For once, I agree with La Lubu. Yes, it happens! ;-)


Well, I repent of my previous ignorance.

La Lubu, I remember a few years ago, I struck and killed a deer on a rural road in Marin County, California. It was dark, and I was going 40 miles an hour when an impressive buck darted in front of my Toyota Tundra. Had I been in a sedan, he might have come through the windshield and injured or killed my passenger and me. But given that mine ws a V8 pickup truck, the buck instead was thrown fifty feet down the road. He got up and staggered off, but I am certain his wounds must have been mortal.

I sobbed -- absolutely sobbed -- for two hours after that. It remains a horrific memory. (It happened just a week or so after 9/11; on a purely personal level, this was the more shattering experience.) I managed to spend the next several months as a pure vegetarian...


I am not in favor of raising small animals merely for pelts, but I have no problems with eating meat, wearing cattle-leather shoes (though my most-used pair is plastic because you can treat it with 10% bleach - I work around medical fluids), or wearing fur of a multi-use animal like a sheep in gloves or as boot lining. My fave winter material is goose down, however, and Goretex and fleece are useful artificial adjuncts.

zuzu, you've eaten alligator? ostrich? eel? My knowledge of exotic cuisine is slim, though I did have eel at a vietnamese restaurant once. Now, I fully agree that white-tailed deer are pestiferous in the bulk, and that So. Illinois needs more deerhunters. Venison is good, and if you don't like it, you can donate the carcass to a slaughterhouse that sends the meat to poor families.


It was dark, and I was going 40 miles an hour when an impressive buck darted in front of my Toyota Tundra.

Okay, you think you're being all cruelty-free and you drive a Tundra???

zuzu, you've eaten alligator? ostrich? eel?

Yep. Alligator only once, but it was pretty good; I don't advocate killing them for their skins. Ostrich is actually farmed for meat, and it's pretty steak-like, though a bit dry. As for eel: unagi!


I should mention that I was with roommates one night driving back from a club in Hartford, and several deer jumped out in front of the Dodge Omni. We hit one. My friends were entirely freaked out, because it was lying in the road. I convinced them to drive to the next gas station (pre-cell-phone days), where I called the state troopers to come put it out of its misery. And the next morning when I went to work, I picked some deer fur out of my roommate's headlights so she wouldn't lose her mind.


I gave up the Tundra, I assure you -- I have a smaller, sporty, far less offensive Solara now.


Chinchilla farming is just sickening and wrong. However, I would put factory farming in general right on up there. Not on perhaps the same exact level of evil, because of course people do need to eat, but to think that you are eating an animal who suffered needlessly, instead of living how an animal should live! Not to mention that North Americans eat far too much meat anyway, to the point of illness.

How much of our meat also fits the "luxury" definition? I think when we choose to pay cheap prices for tortured animal meat, we are engaging in a false luxury.

I like the local idea better. Eat the deer meat that is available, buy from local farms who free range their animals. It's hard, and deplorably, my family doesn't always do it, but we're heading in that direction.

La Lubu

"For once, I agree with La Lubu. Yes, it happens." SHHH! Keep that under wraps, John, or the Lefty Police are either going to revoke my card, or haul me in for questioning. Jeez! ;-)

Michelle, I hear what you're saying about the factory farms; it's a crime how those places operate. But frankly, I have more sympathy for the human beings working in those factory farms, who are subjected to all kinds of dangerous conditions in the course of their work. The injury rate is astronomical, and many of those are serious injuries, like lost digits or deep slices that cause crippling nerve damage even if the limb isn't lost.

I have a deep respect for folks who are struggling to keep their family farm afloat; the farm I had a CSA with last year has gone under. It takes a long time (as with any start-up business) to break even, and they just had too many setbacks this year, even though it was their most successful (they supplied many area restaurants from Springfield to St. Louis, as well as going to Farmer's Markets and running the CSA).

It's a good idea to support your local farmer (and other local businesses) for many reasons, but we're not at the point where everyone can do that yet. I do it because I can...access is cheap and available here. Other folks aren't so lucky.


Yeah, it is difficult to support the people we should support. For me, it means quite a drive. Then I get all tangled up in the whole "should I be wasting gas to go to the farmer's market" thing.I agree that we are not set up for that to happen on a widespread scale yet.

I also hate the conditions that the workers endure. (I learned a lot from Fast Food Nation), as well as asking my mom as a kid why most of the black folks in town wore big tall black boots. (Chicken plant.) Of course, factory farming is only one of the horrible jobs out there. My husband had a hole punched in his hand at the metal shop where he worked. The result was four fingers left on that hand, three digits which are useable. A lot of the manual labor jobs are really dangerous, including the one he does now, tree trimming. I guess someone's got to do some of this stuff, but they sure could make the conditions better.


Michelle, one of the good things about CSA is that it can come to your own community. They usually drop to a centralized pickup point.

I'm getting very interested in CSAs and (fairly) locally-grown foods and my local food co-ops (there are two, Flatbush Food Co-Op and Park Slope Food Co-Op, the largest in the country with 11,000 members). Right now, I'm a bit far from any of these options (I rely on public transport), but I'm thinking it's worth it.

Mercy Gonzalez

I can't believe it took me this long to discover that you are an internet, chinchilla, Anabaptist junkie.


Guess what, humans r the dominant species on this planet and have to power to enhance their lives if they desire. Unless u dont eat any animals, animal products, and dont wear or use anything involving animals... u r a hypocrit


I definitely agree with John.[Well,I have 2 adorable chinnys] It's cruel and barbaric to raise an animal just to get it's skin. How would those chinchilla farmers like it if their darling mummies raised them for their skin? [Come to think of it, yuck] Really! And for the foxes, rabbits and other pests...it's still not right to make stuff out of their skin.
Well people do have different views about them, but my view is that we are all animals under the eyes of the Lord [Well I'm not exactly a Christian but oh well] Just that we humans are just a different species of animals. Although people may try to forget the 'shame' of being an animal [Although I personally see no wrong in being an animal] We are all related, somehow, somewhere, somewhat. People may claim that human beings are smarter than other species of animals. Well I don't really believe in that. Yes I do admit that humans have more 'interlect' than animals, but there are still millions of info that scientists haven't discovered about animals yet. You may not know, but there may be a chinchilla world with even higher technology right under your nose, in outer space or wherever you can imagine! [Yes that's very farfetched but oh well]
One time I was surfing the net happily looking for information about my lovely chinchillas[yes I do love them lots] I stumbled across a website bearing chinchilla coats for sale. I have lodged a complaint about the website [I don't know how I did it, but I just did it] and it apparently isn't there anymore.
Let me tell you this, all evil animal killers, I even flinch before killing an insect. How old am I? I surely deserve more respect then some other wretched humans like chinchilla hunters and farmers. I am just a 13 year old kid.


Hello! I haven't been to your blog before. I was web-surfing (started at Trish Wilson's blog where I sometimes post) and ended up at this thread.

I live in Wisconsin. Just this month (April 11th) the Wisconsin Conservation Congress passed a proposal to make cats an "unprotected species", thus allowing hunters to shoot them. I am recovering from surgery but went in my wheelchair to both speak at the meeting and vote on this proposal. I am very glad that I did so.

One thing that really got me irritated was that one of the people who was running for an elected office on the local Conservation Congress board (Sauk county) got up and spoke about shooting four "feral" cats. His point was that they needed to be shot because they weighed over 12 pounds. He admitted to an illegal act in front of Department of Natural Resources agents, and was running for office in the congress! Of course, nothing happened to him (and, I didn't know the people running for office enough to either vote or know who won; I was there for the cats). If he had gotten up and spoken about growing industrial hemp in order to save the family farm, his farm would have been raided and he would have been arrested! And, industrial hemp is both an environmental need and a non-violent crime.

Anyways, this is a hot-button issue with many of us around this area. The Conservation Congress holds a lot of power with the state government. They say they want to shoot cats because cats eat birds, but not that long ago they made it so that now doves can be killed in Wisconsin. They are hypocrites.

Fortunately, our governor has made a public statement that if this law passes the state assembly he will veto it.

Please see:


Valerie Moll

I have two 5 yr. old chinchillas who I love with all my heart. They have distinct & unique personalities and they love their cage and the life they share with us.

I watched the PETA underground video showing the breaking of the necks and electrical shocks of the chinchillas. Our computer is in the same room where we have the chinchilla cage and they were out exercising when I looked at the video. Upon hearing the chinchillas screaming in the video, they became extremely agitated and upset and raced back into their cage. They are still upset 15 minutes after hearing the cries of the chinchillas.

I feel the only thing I can do is to love my chinchillas and all the other animals that I come into contact with with all my heart and soul as a very small effort to counterbalance all of the unfathomable violence and cruelty being done to animals by humans all over this planet every second of every day.


One little thing people often forget. They say leather and sheepskin and rabbit are OK because we eat them, but mink and fox is wrong because we don't. They forget that just because we don't eat them doesn't mean they're wasted. Mink fat and oil is used in most hypoallergenic health and beauty products. The left over bodies of ranched animals are most commonly either processed into pet food or into organic fertilizers.

Never confuse the words "Only" and "Primary". Fur is the Primary reason to ranch foxes and minks, not the Only reason.

Rivendell Chinchilla

I just want to say that MOST ranchers use human methods of killing. Is it not PETA who was euthanizing puppies, puppies for Christ sake in the backs of vans and dumping their bodies and alley dumpsters? Yes it was.. if you don't beleive me

I would never want to see any of my chinchillas used for pelts, I'm lucky in a way I breed majorily muation colors that are not primary chins for pelts, BUT I also do chinchilla rescue. When you see a chinchilla that hasn't been bathed in months, and the cage not cleaned in twice that, they are not given hay and are eating guinea pig pellets, or whatever else is on sale, sometimes they have water, but hey "Fluffy" LOVES to run in their ball (the little plastic one with no air circulation in it). When you see this you know why it would be better to be a ranch chinchilla. Like I said I don't want to see MY chinchillas there, but there are worse things for a chinchilla to be.... I think it the bad pet owners (obviously not you! Look at all those loving pics!) were given as much bad publicity as the pelters maybe we would have less of them.


Rivendell, fair enough. Not all ranchers are equally inhumane, but pelting is barbaric, regardless of how it takes place. My goal -- and the Matilde Mission's goal -- is to encourage "change by choice" among pelters and transition folks to responsible, loving, pet ownership. And yes, there are many bad owners. (Many chins die in Southern California every summer because they overheat -- owners can't or won't pay for AC).


Soooooooooooooo cynical. You sit at your computer with leather shoes, purses, wallets, jackets, seats, and steering wheels but you care so much about chinchillas what about the cows? You guys are a bunch of hypocrites!


I admit I have some leather items. I try to be environmentally conscious (and tell the designers they can go screw themselves and their overpriced wares) by buying second-hand clothing.
If I buy clothes new (rare), it is from an outlet source.

Food is a neccessity, for most people, fur is not. It's one thing to kill for food and use the byproducts rather than wasting them, it's another to kill for fashion.


I'm trying to figure out where your from. I typed Chinchilla something new zealand and this came up. Saw a title "chinchilla coat" and knew I had to come in. Am pleased you don't support fur breeding/pelting because I would have gone off my rocker. But you are wrong, sorry to say, I have the most amazing chins on gods green earth - you could be second though, but it's my lot that hold that title :) And all this chat about leather - I don't buy anything with leather and nor do I have sheepskins (very common in NZ). The Matilde Mission's goal - is that in relation to chincare and Sally there? I've been working closely with Sally to bring in Breeding Standards over here and she's been a huge help. Anyway - give your lovely wee girl a scratch/rub on the chin from me and my babies. Oh and for the record - I'm against fur breeding/pelting and will never own anything with real fur or even fake fur - my choice.


Hi there,
I just found this and applaud yoour efforts to protect chincillas. But I was surprised at your comment about owning and wearing a down coat. Harvesting of feathers can be, and usually is, very cruel. 70% of the worlds down comes from China-a nation not known for kindness to animals.

Here is a link with info to ponder:
No, not from PETA; it is from poultry.org

Stephen Caldecott

I have to say, I can not believe I am reading such a load of nonsense. I purchased a new full length black mink coat about four years ago, not because it looks cool, nor the fact that it cost a fortune, but mainly because it is the ONLY item of clothing that I have that truly keeps out the cold.
Besides, I will not accept any negative comment from those that choose to be tree huggers, and attend protests on weekdays when they should be at work, nor will I accept any negativity from those that eat meat, wear leather, silk or any other animal by products for that matter.
Should we damn all the Eskimos too? They only wear fur, and for the same reason that I do.
I also came across this site because I was searching for a new Chinchilla coat, I have had the pleasure of wearing one before, and it does the job very well (keeps out the cold), so as long as I can afford it and I dont have to take the opininons of others too seriously, I am not bothered in the least.

Kindest regards
Stephen Caldecott


I came across this site while studying the idea of raising pelt animals myself. My dream is to build my own little five-acre selfsustaining farm. I plan on having rabbits and chickens with worms to compost their droppings, ect. I am considering incorporating a carnivorous fur animal into the picture to consume the leftovers from the kulling of the rabbits and chickens. I also plan on growing my own fruit and vegetables. I like the idea of chinchillas over mink because they are small and less vicious. I will be killing the rabbits, chickens, chinchillas myself, using the meat, fat and skins from all of the animals, and doing it as efficiently and respectfully as possible. And I will wear both the rabbit pelt and chinchilla pelts that I sew into clothing myself.


In further reading, I've found that chinchillas are hay eaters; I guess I'll have to go with mink in my little ecosystem experiment.

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