Standing in line behind a woman wearing a half length fur coat I found myself summoning the inner strength to bite my tongue to state, “fur is dead”. I’ve done it before, though years younger, as I passed by the furrier in the mall. At that time I had noticed a woman donning a full length mink and admiring herself in the mirror. As I passed by the open glass doors to the store I leaned in and yelled “FUR IS DEAD”. I don’t know if that woman ended up purchasing a cover of dead animal skins that particular day, or if the salespeople there, stunned by my brash behavior, suddenly decided to quit and seek more compassionate work. I doubt either, for as humans, we seem to be all to able to justify our actions, just as I did that day when I belted out my educational proclamation for all in the dead animal store to hear. Likewise the salespeople probably quickly branded me as a vegetarian lunatic or PETA activist and the shopper likely rewarded herself with a new luxury item for her collection. So what was different today? Clearly the woman was not purchasing the coat as she was standing in a TSA airport security line. Had I whispered or proclaimed she was wearing dead animals I doubt I would have witnessed her leave the coat for the TSA and scurry to her flight sans outer cover. It was obvious to me that the woman took comfort in her coat, literally and figuratively. She was likely heading someplace cold and probably to a place where she felt the need to showcase her success in life. She’s made it. She can afford a luxurious coat and she wants the world to know. Perhaps by my silence, I gave her the respect that she wants. As I don’t know her, I am not clear if she deserves respect. She certainly doesn’t based on her wardrobe but perhaps she has redeeming qualities in the rest of her life and perhaps she is trapped in a life where she is expected to wear clothes made of tortured animals, eat animals and look down on other beings for their inferiority. Fortunately for me, I’ve broken through those chains and I don’t feel compelled to wear certain types of clothes, eat certain foods, or behave in a certain way. Now my activist friends would say I missed an opportunity today and perhaps I did. Perhaps that is why I decided to write about this, but perhaps I simply also realized that my words would not change the situation. Life is more about actions and therefore reactions. If I acted on my thoughts to call the woman out for her poor choice in wardrobe, her reaction would likely have been to ignore me or tell me off. And she would further find a way to justify herself as would I have done. Instead, I let it slide, deciding instead to have compassion for an individual that obviously has not yet learned a compassionate path, at least not as her actions affect animals. We need to educate others on the importance of compassion for animals but I’ve learned that we must also do so with compassion for one another. If it were acceptable (and not socially awkward) I would have given her a hug and let her know that people will love her more if she eschews wearing fur. So while I respect and appreciate activists who may throw paint on fur wearing women, or those who like me in my younger days called someone out for wearing fur, I’m at a point in my life where I think we need more compassion in our daily lives and we can bring about a compassionate world through sincere dialogue and yes, a few more hugs.