Sunday, 16 June 2013

Article: Environmental Law Fuels Black Market Trade in Cat Skins

Fluffy, hold on to your fur: Some scoundrels may want a piece of you. A lucrative trade in cat fur is booming in Switzerland, and as a result, many domestic cats are disappearing, animal advocates say.

Animal rights activists say a law allowing citizens to shoot housecats that are more than 656 feet (200 meters) from their houses is to blame. The law was designed to protect wildlife from free-roaming cats. Past studies have shown that cats kill billions of birds and other wildlife a year. But activists say the law is being used as a cover to pick off innocent pets and skin them for their fur, The Verge reported. The cat fur trade was outlawed in Switzerland in 2008, but a cat-fur blanket can fetch more than $1,700, according to The Verge article.

An advocacy group called SOS Chats has used hidden cameras to uncover a booming black market trade in cat skins, as well as 21 cat-skin tanneries across the country. Some farmers even admitted to the group that they were raising cats for the explicit purpose of selling them to tanneries.

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