Japan’s only mink breeder is in hot water right now after police found species of the American minks in his farm located in Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture. While many animal rights activists denounced the discovery, the Japanese public remains divided over their opinion on fur products.
Japan’s only mink breeder has been raising them since 1973 and upon questioning by the police, he admitted that he “had no idea it was illegal.” Breeding the American species is a violation of the Invasive Alien Species Law in Japan and would require government permission before it can be imported and reared. It falls under the ordinance of the environment ministry for harmful animals. The police discovered the species after receiving a complaint from non-profit group, Animal Rights Center (ARC). Chihiro Okada, head of the ARC, said, “Animals are killed for their fur to make clothing that people wear so casually.” Japan Fur Association adviser Shoichi Mizuno countered the accusation, saying, “It is nonsense to talk about (animal rights) for sentimental reasons that they feel sorry for animals” and said people have the option of not wearing fur coats if they’re against them.
Some international apparel brands have already foregone using real fur after radical protests by animal rights activists. However, because others still sell clothing with real fur, many are still “forced” to buy them. Associate Professor for street fashion at the Kyoritsu Women’s Junior College, Asuka Watanabe said that while fur makers and activists campaign against each other, some consumers also champion their cause that when they buy those products, it is to “honor the animals’ life by taking good care of the item and continue to wear it as long as possible.”
[via The Asahi Shimbun]
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