May 05.8

Jasmine Polsinelli: Fighting for a Fur-Free Canada

Charity Pot >> Community

“My goal is to stop the fur trade in Canada by the time I’m 20.”

11-year-old Jasmine Polsinelli has set an aggressive goal, but her dedication to animal rights makes it clear that she intends to accomplish it. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Jasmine about her animal protection efforts when we called her at home in Oshawa, Ontario on an April afternoon. She had prepared answers to my questions before our discussion and bashfully warned me that she may mix up her words… though when we began chatting, I found her answers weren’t from a well-rehearsed script, but from the heart of an enthusiastic and intelligent individual with a remarkable love of animals.

Left: Jasmine with one of her family dogs, Right: Jasmine holding up a Fur Bearer Defenders T-shirt

We first became acquainted with Jasmine during our Canadian “Fur Trim is a Trap” campaign in which we partnered with The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals. Our joint efforts raised awareness about the cruelty behind trapping animals for their fur and resulted in 5000 signed postcards that appealed to Dani Reiss, President and CEO of Canada Goose, to stop supporting the industry by using coyote fur on the company’s jackets. The jackets are quickly becoming an icon of Canadian fashion, and by extension we’re seeing an unfortunate resurgence in the popularity of fur for fashion.

Jasmine bravely volunteered to personally hand-deliver the postcards- she was inspired by the thousands of individuals who, after learning about the cruel reality of trapping wild animals for fur, signed a card they hoped would deliver a strong message to Mr. Reiss. She says, “I knew I had to be there when all of those thousands of postcards were delivered…I wanted to share with [Dani Reiss] my ideas for a better Canada Goose jacket that doesn’t cause anyone pain or take away an animal from its family”. By abandoning the use of fur, Canada Goose would set a positive precedent for other manufacturers and become a brand that Canadians could truly be proud of.

Jasmine outside Canada Goose headquarters. Photo courtesy of FurBearerDefenders.com

So in late March 2013, with the signatures of 5000 supporters under her arm, Jasmine arrived at the headquarters of Canada Goose- but instead of meeting with Dani Reiss, Jasmine was intercepted by security guards at the door who stopped her from entering the building. Although she wasn’t able to deliver the postcards, Jasmine isn’t discouraged. She’s thankful for the media coverage that the issue has received and is still hoping to meet with Mr. Reiss to discuss her ideas for a fur-free Canada Goose jacket. With the help of The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals, she’s set up an online petition to gain public support for the meeting. She proudly told me she’s halfway to her goal of 2000 signatures, and asks for anyone who can spare a moment to sign. When she has reached 2000 signatures, she will send the petition to Dani Reiss in the hope that he will agree to meet with her this time.

Jasmine attempting to deliver postcards to Dani Reiss at Canada Goose, but security stops her from entering.

Jasmine’s determination to deliver the postcards to Canada Goose is just one example of her unwavering commitment to animal protection. This passion guides all of her actions: she has been a vegan her entire life, helps her Mom nurse sick and injured wildlife back to health and attends vigils with the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals and Pig Save Toronto. When I asked her how she became interested in protecting animals, Jasmine replied that it’s “a natural part of my life…I speak up for them because they can’t speak up for themselves in a way that people understand”.

Her commitment to protecting animals hasn’t gone unnoticed: for her 11th birthday, Jasmine was awarded a lifetime membership to The Association for the Protection of Fur-bearing Animals. This gesture speaks volumes: in Jasmine’s words, “this organization believes that an 11 year old can make a difference…whenever I am discouraged I can look at the award and know that I have people that believe in me”. With this type of support and encouragement, kids feel secure in their own voice and fight for the causes that are important to them.

Jasmine receiving her lifetime membership award from The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals

Although Jasmine shows an incredible dedication to animal rights, her Mom Kelli says she’s “a typical 11-year-old”. She loves reading scary books, playing soccer and riding rollercoasters. “Jasmine can spend a morning preparing herself to speak… to councilors about passing the ban against snares and body traps, then after she's done go and bake cupcakes and call her best friend. She has an incredible balance between activism and being an 11-year-old”, proving that the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive: kids can stand up for their beliefs and won’t miss out on the valuable experiences of growing up. They may even find their activism one of the more memorable and meaningful parts of their childhood.

Jasmine enjoying the outdoors near Pickering, Ontario

Jasmine reinforced this message for me: as a society, we should encourage the opinions of children and young adults; their inspiring energy, positivity and enthusiasm are exactly what’s needed to change the world around us. In Jasmine’s words, “there is a lot to do to make this a fur-free country but we can do it. Every step counts”.

Let’s start taking steps in the right direction.

To sign Jasmine’s petition to get a meeting with Dani Reiss of Canada Goose, click here

 To learn more about The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals and the Fur Trim is a Trap campaign, visit their website: FurBearerDefenders.com 

 

Katy Cobb

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