Friday, February 25, 2011

Art In Heaven

My son's class is going to a Pioneer Village on a field trip next week. A permission form was sent home asking parents to sign off on allowing the kids to participate in Opening Ceremonies while they are there.  Our public school stands for O'Canada every morning and I have taught my children why we show respect for the playing of the National Anthem.  The Opening Ceremonies on this field trip however includes reciting the Lord's Prayer and singing God Save The King.

I hesitated at signing off on it but did after much thought, still indicating I'd leave it up to Carter to decide that day. Just because we do not practise religion in our home doesn't mean I can't expose my children to what others celebrate and recognize. We live in a very diverse community for a reason.... we moved here on purpose with diversity in mind and so there are religions and traditions that go along with various cultures here. I explained to Carter that some of his friends will know the words to these exercises and asked if he had ever heard about God before. He said he had but didn't really understand what it was. I told him that his Dad and I believe that a common thread in most religions is Spirituality, Love and Good Nature. Because we embrace those things within our family, we've never found it necessary to take part in any one particular religion that defines a who or a what you're supposed to believe in. Instead, we believe what we feel and that it's ok to feel differently from one another.

Yesterday, he came home from school with his music duo tang in hand, absolutely furious. He slammed it down on the stairs and asked me why I had signed off on that form if I knew what Opening Ceremonies meant. It turns out they are learning them in music class before the trip. I asked why he was so angry about it and my not-quite-nine-year-old son said to me "Why would you want me to learn a song about Gods and Kings thinking they are better than anyone else when our family treats all people the same. Who do those people think they are??" He had a point. He hasn't figured out Hierarchy just yet....! I raise my kids to live a compassionate lifestyle and that involves but is not limited to treating the human race, all animals and the universe with respect. How could I possibly have thought he wouldn't pick up on the Hierarchy so evident in these religious ceremonies? I am fully aware that God Save The King was once Canada's National Anthem and so because it was at one time a representation of our country, it is the only reason I struggle with him not having respect for it.... however, I "get" what he is saying and admire him for noticing that. I told him I can support him there and if he doesn't feel comfortable singing about that he doesn't have to. I asked him if he had any thoughts on the Lord's Prayer. He responded, "What, that poem about Art In Heaven? I think it must just mean the author is talking about the shapes the clouds make in the sky. Us humans can see them from here on Earth on the one side of them, so even though we all look at the same thing we can all see it a bit differently, so it doesn't really matter who you are or where you live, on Earth or in Heaven, you can still see the art....just differently"

His take on hierarchy and this analogy he came up with floored me. Religion is like an Art, of which we all interpret in different ways. I get it. And I'm very proud of and wowed by this baby boy of mine.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Only Losers Sell Fur

Recently I have had to and will continue to, boycott one of my favourite retailers Winners. It's difficult to be sure the clothing I buy is sweat shop free and I do what I can to be sure I make purchases that are cruelty free and ethical however I know that indirectly I have supported sweatshops and other mistreatment unbeknown to me. I don't know what I don't know, which is why I question almost everything I buy. I have learned Winners sells fur. Now I must voice my disgrace on the subject. 

On the Vancouver Animal Rights Campaigns blog they posted in detail recent encounters with Winners:

Winners Selling Raccoon Fur

Well, this is it, we are SICK AND TIRED of seeing cheap, cruel fur for sale atWinners, and we are even more sick and tired of being lied to about it!
Winners sells fur from many different species of animals like rabbits, raccoon dogs, mink and foxes, raised on fur farms in several different countries including CanadaGreeceFinland and China.
When contacting Winners in the past regarding their sale of fur they have stated “as long as it is in style, we will continue to sell it.”
When a concerned customer contacted them in regards to a raccoon dog trimmed jacket they were sold and specifically told by Winners staff that it is FAKE FUR, their response was “well our staff are not experts on the subject.”
NOW, this is the latest from WINNERS:
“Hi ****,
Thank you for your email.  We appreciate the time you have taken to contact
us and have taken your comments very seriously.  Your voice does count, and
we will continue to evaluate the sale of fur in our stores.
As a retailer, our goal is to provide our customers with the widest
selection of merchandise, while providing the best quality and value.
Therefore, as a retailer with a diverse clientele, we make every attempt to
understand and satisfy the needs and concerns of all of our customers.
Please be assured WMI does not condone the unethical treatment of any
animal.  Our buyers only purchase fur products from reputable manufacturers
in the industry.  We have very tight systems in place to ensure that we do
not purchase or sell any merchandise containing dog or cat fur. Whenever
possible, our buyers purchase domestically produced goods, where it is
illegal to use dog or cat fur and any new purchases require manufacturers’
documentation that no dog or cat fur is involved.
Our Buyers travel to China periodically throughout the year and tour many
of the factories, however we have Agents who live there that we pay to
protect our interests and to ensure our vendors are abiding by our
agreements.  Be assured we have all of our Vendors sign an agreement that
indicates no fur from endangered species, dog, cat, racoon dog, asiatic
racoon, etc…  will be a part of any product offered to, shipped to or
sold to our Organization by them or their affiliates.
We hope this information answers your concerns.  If you have any other
inquiries, please feel free to contact our toll freeCustomer Serviceline
at:  1800-646-9466 in order to speak to one of our Representatives.”
Winners has now stated that they do not sell ASIATIC RACCOON.  The problem is we were in Winners on December 23rd and we found a whole rack of winter jackets with raccoon dog trim labeled as ASIATIC RACCOON. (attached are pictures of the trim and the tag)
Winners has stated: 
“Our Buyers travel to China periodically throughout the year and tour many
of the factories, however we have Agents who live there that we pay to
protect our interests and to ensure our vendors are abiding by our
We contacted the manufacturer Soia and Kyo whose fur trimmed jackets are for sale in Winners right now.  They told us that Winners has not ever inspected any of their factories, let alone a fur farm, as they are an independent manufacturer.  So Winners has NO IDEA where they source their fur from, or how the animals are treated.
Thank you for your efforts, please forward this email!
Please note:
This alert is not meant to incite any illegal activities and all the information in this message is for legal use only. We don’t take
responsibility for other people’s actions no matter how much they make us smile. Thanks for your support.
Fur from China is often mislabelled as fur from other species or even as "all man made materials". There aren't any laws in Canada regarding labelling. Products do not have to say which animal the fur is a source of and don not have to even indicate that it is real.. But you can't mislabel them, legally. Fur is exported to countries throughout the world to be sold to unsuspecting customers.
PETA has been documenting articles and footage of the the Fur Industry for years. 
There are no penalties for abusing animals on fur farms in China who are the largest fur exporters in the world. Be aware, ask questions and please don't support cruelty. Compassion Is Fashion!!

About Me

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Life-long Vegetarian and proud to be Canadian. Really, I'm a little bit of everything, all rolled into one. I'm a bitch, I'm a lover, I'm a child, I'm a mother, I'm a sinner, I'm a saint (I do not feel ashamed) I'm your hell, I'm your dream (I'm nothing in between) You know, I wouldn't want it any other way..... (I'd like to think that song was written about me! lol)