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# FEEL FREE FRIDAY ~ 23

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Emy Will

Emy Will

Greetings from Johannesburg, South Africa. Although I have a doctorate in psychotherapy, my main passion is advocating for nonhuman animal rights. I condemn all cruelty to nonhuman animals and therefore follow a vegan lifestyle. I would like to connect with other animal activists from all over the world. The fur trade is one of the most abhorrent practices on this planet. Innocent animals are subjected to prolonged suffering for a trivial fashion item. As the chairperson of Fur Free SA. we campaign towards ending the global fur industry. This might not happen in my lifetime, but even if I leave one footprint behind, that is one step closer to the goal. This blog is a forum to discuss all aspects of the fur industry. It also raises issues around animal activism in general. Johannesburg is a crazy city and I need to escape from time to time. This photo was taken next to the magnificent Zambezi river.

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The idiom A leopard cannot change its spots means that a person’s nature cannot change. However, the story of how Shembe Church members are changing their leopard skin ceremonial dress belies this idea.

The Shembe Church, which is a mixture of Christianity and Zulu culture, is one of the biggest traditional religious groups in South Africa with around 5 million members.

Leopards are considered a symbol of pride, beauty and wealth.

Leopard skins are viewed as essential attire for church goers.

Shembe tribe

Thousands of leopards are slaughtered for their skins. Leopard skins

If this continues, Africa’s leopards, already listed as “near threatened” by the International Union Conservation of Nature (IUCN), will become extinct.      

Thanks to the Furs for Life project run by a conservation group, Panthera, more than 6 000 faux leopard fur skins were donated to the Shembe. These are excellent replicas of the real skin with its distinctive pattern.

Lizwi Ncwane an elder of the Shembe church totally supports this project but acknowledges the difficulties in getting all the church members on board. He explains,”Some people are ignorant about the conservation of a species”. They want authentic leopard skins.

Despite this, the fact that some people are even willing to consider alternatives is remarkable and shows that attitudes can change.

Leopard
Image and information from Saturday Star, March 7th 2015

As another saying goes, Where there is a will there is a way.

Leopard-change-spots (1)

Dedicated to all nonhuman animals who live and die in captivity!

 

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5 Comments

  1. Wonderful news, Emy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. cinnabar50 says:

    An interesting article. This is just wonderful, progress indeed. In this instance faux fur may help save animals. I can never understand why people just cannot see how wrong it is to kill animals for their fur or indeed any other reason. To my way of thinking Religion should be about caring for our world and its inhabitants, of practicing non-violence to all creatures. To kill thousands of leopard’s for their skins is just plain wrong and should have no place in religion.Lets hope more Shembe members wear the fake fur.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Emy Will says:

      I agree totally cinnabar. Sadly many people do not care about other species.In South Africa people are still burnt for withcraft (illegally) so animals are just not a priority. This is why this story is particularly encouraging.

      Like

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