My childhood was closely linked to life in the countryside, and at the end of the Soviet era I had to work on large livestock farms in the summers. At that time, I quietly dreamed that one day I would definitely come and save the sad cows, the frightened calves and the cheerful pigs. As we grow, our childhood dreams are often forgotten. When I had different experiences in my life and started thinking much more about what I do and how my actions change the world, my childhood feelings helped me make important decisions. I chose to leave a comfortable job (in the public sense) to start my own business. My main motivation was to do something more meaningful, to set an example for children and to develop the business at a level that could support activities that help animals to improve their living conditions in different ways. To fulfil that little girl’s dreams, only with a much more pragmatic approach.
This world is very multi-layered and complex, with different traditions and understandings. The use of animals and animal products in food and household has been rooted in people’s consciousness, daily routine, and habits for centuries. I believe that by educating, explaining, and leading by example, more and more people will, over time, choose a lifestyle that causes less suffering to animals and slightly reduces the daily consumption of animal products. This is a slow, difficult, controversial, and long road.
However, there are industries where, in my opinion, we need to act much more quickly and immediately – a business that is built solely on the basis of animal suffering to satisfy people’s luxury desires is not appropriate for today’s world. I am talking about raising fur animals in cages to sew furs and other similar clothes.
Every year in Latvia, more than 500,000 foxes, mink and chinchillas are kept in cages, violently bred, and killed after about a year to sell their furs at auctions. One neat coat needs about 50 foxes. The 50 wild foxes spend the year in a narrow cage, in unnatural conditions, getting crazy so that one “lady” can show herself with ambition. And it’s not about feeding people or providing warm clothes – it’s more about fashion, immersion, and selfishness.
For wildlife, this is an impossible mission – you are trapped, and all natural processes are completely disrupted, no foxes can hunt and form families, no mink can dive in the water and live in their caves.
This is an issue that needs to be addressed at national and legislative level. Already in 16 countries of the European Union, this unethical business is banned, and the industry has been given a transition period or compensation has been paid. Currently, deputies from several factions have submitted a draft law to the Saeima, which would force the termination of this form of business by 2026 in Latvia as well. Unfortunately, there is a great opposition among members of parliament who look narrowly – from a business point of view, forgetting about environmental pollution, the majority opinion, ethics, and empathy.
Therefore, the organization “Animal Freedom” placed a cage near the government building, where activists were sitting inside 24/7 for a month – symbolizing the suffering and senseless torment of wild animals and supporting the initiative #FurInThePast. A number of votes are needed for the law to come into force, and I sincerely hope that this action will help both members of parliament and those around us to understand the importance of resolving this issue and not further torturing wildlife. Every country that joins the ban is like a domino dice that can move and inspire other countries.
I also spent 2 days in the cage and enjoyed these days from the heart – this was my autumn retreat.
Sitting behind bars in cold and wind, I felt the harsh situation much more sharply and was overwhelmed by two feelings – sadness and helplessness because of tormented animals, but on the other hand – faith and inner strength that I can reduce animal suffering and Latvia will no longer be among the countries where such outdated, violent business is allowed.
These 2 days allowed us to stop a bit from the fast daily race, to realize where we are going, and that everyone has the choice to act or watch. And this time I chose to act rather than just talk about it.
In order to implement such initiatives, a lot of time and energy is needed, as well as funding is needed to be able to prepare the necessary information, activities and documents. It is so gratifying to know that there are organizations in our society whose activists value ethics and empathy, and the work of these organizations can be based on people’s faith, enthusiasm, and donation.
I, too, believe and support, so during the campaign, we donated 10% of every purchase from the “Vegan Fox” webshop to “Animal Freedom” to help fight for the necessary legislative changes. The sooner they are adopted, the more strength and energy there will be to focus on other activities to support the reduction of animal suffering and the improvement of animal living conditions.