“Skin Trade,” the independent film that exposes the cruel practices of the fur industry and the role it plays in contemporary fashion held two star-studded California premieres – one in Los Angeles and another in San Francisco. The documentary that began its nationwide tour earlier this year is still going strong.
“Skin Trade” takes viewers on a journey from the birth of the fur industry to its present day use in fashion. The film combines excerpts from hundreds of hours of interviews by well-known animal advocates and actual footage of the process innocent animals endure in the name of making humans look pretty.
The documentary is the brainchild of award-winning filmmaker Shannon Keith. Keith is an animal rights lawyer and founder of a non-profit organization called Animal, Rescue, Media and Education (ARME.) Her goal was to “understand what makes this savage industry tick and what it will take to change it.”
Shannon Keith had this to say to the Los Angeles Times, “I just could not believe that people were still wearing fur. I knew it was high time to make this film because these animals are being tortured alive- -it’s not a pretty thing.”
“Skin Trade” Reveals the Industry’s Most Blatant Lies about Fur
Although there are very graphic scenes, Skin Trade tries to educate the public about how they have been deceived by the fur and fashion industry. For example, the fur industry has stated that it switched to humane methods of euthanizing animals when that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The documentary shows animals being electrocuted or beaten to death and even some that are skinned for their fur while they are alive.
The movie also dispels the latest myth from the Canada Fur Council that calls the industry “green” because animal skins are biodegradable. Actor Ed Begley Jr. pulls in the reigns on that lie by showing the enormous amount of toxic chemicals used to process an animal skin or pelt. “It’s anything but green,” said Begley Jr.
“Skin Trade” also tackles the myth of faux-fur, revealing that many of the products are actually made from dogs. And NBA player John Salley addresses the use of fur by hip-hop stars as a status symbol. “They’re literally putting on an image, and the image is ‘I’ve made it,’ “said Salley.
Many other celebrated anti-fur individuals lent their time and expertise to the film. Some of these included Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio), environmental attorney Jan Schlichtmann, designer Todd Oldham, PETA President Ingrid Newkirk, Overstock.com chief Patrick Byrne and actors Alexandra Paul, James Cromwell and Jorja Fox.
The documentary will soon complete its tour, but private showings can be arranged at the ARME website and individuals can order the DVD online. Actor and animal activist James Cromwell summed up the future of the fur industry this way. “We have a choice. The question is, ‘Will human beings make the choice?’ Just choose. Choose, and it ends.”
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