PETA and Fur in Canada

Trudeau Family in FurThis one isn’t strictly about food, but the relevance is pretty clear.

The question: in a nation (i.e., Canada) built, once upon a time, on the fur trade, can a politician wrap his family in fur and win a public relations battle against a rabid animal rights organization?

Here’s the story, by Tralee Pearce for the Globe & Mail: Justin Trudeau’s Christmas card controversy

Greetings misfire: Instead of spreading holiday cheer with his annual family Christmas card, Justin Trudeau has drawn the ire of animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

The junior MP and his family – wife Sophie, and two children, Xavier and Ella-Grace – appear in a photo wearing fur-trimmed parkas and huddling under a fur blanket….

(For my non-Canadian readers: Justin Trudeau is a Canadian Member of Parliament, and son of the late Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.)

Now, the folks at PETA are masters of media and of attention-getting more generally, so I hesitate to accuse them of gaffes. But if ever there was a cultural battle that PETA could lose, this may be it. The Trudeau family is essentially royalty, the closest thing that Canada has to the US’s Kennedy clan. And as I noted above, fur played a pretty important role in Canada’s history. It’s not all that surprising that the comments under the Globe story are pretty consistently pro-fur (or pro-Trudeau) and anti-PETA.

I get the sense that as the political mainstream in North America seems to become increasingly sympathetic to animal welfare considerations (and, e.g., insisting on stricter standards for factory farms), the strict animal rights position endorsed by PETA seems more and more out of touch. Of course, the question that remains is: is that PETA’s folly, or their genius?

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Thanks to the inimitable NW for showing me this story.

About Chris MacDonald

I'm a philosopher who teaches at Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management in Toronto, Canada. Most of my scholarly research is on business ethics and healthcare ethics.
This entry was posted in activism, animal rights, animal welfare, ethics. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to PETA and Fur in Canada

  1. Chris – I don’t necessarily share your view (or perhaps the Globe’s) of Trudeau’s legacy but it is significant. This is a great read and it is nice to see not everyone ‘caves’ to PETA propaganda.

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