At 2:20 AM, on 15 April 1912, the RMS Titanic sunk after hitting an iceberg on her maiden voyage from England to New York. The death total was 1,571 (or 1,513 depending on the source) people.
As today is that day, I am going to look at a few little bits and pieces of the Titanic, from an vegan point of view.
It was a passenger-ship of extremes, millionaires and captains of industry, separated by a couple of decks from migrants to the new world who carried all their worldly possessions in a suitcase.
Among the very rich passengers, was JJ Astor, who was also one of the fatalities, his family amassed their wealth in the fur trade in the South West and Canada. His was a fortune built on the bloodied corpses of animals whose lives were stolen for the greed of a selfish man.
The death of one man, in the lap of luxury, hardly seems comparable to the deaths of the millions of animals that would have been slaughtered in order to become the US’s first multi-millionaire.
Another wealthy First-class passenger, was the Swiss tennis player, Richard Norris Williams II, whose concerned in this private letter to another First-class passenger, seems to be on his fur coat, and not the dying and dead surrounding him.
‘I was not under water very long, and as soon as I came to the top I threw off the big fur coat. I also threw off my shoes. About twenty yards away I saw something floating. I swan to it and found it to be a collapsible boat.
As the world subsequently found out, although over 1,500 people died that night… Mr Harold Wingate of the White Star Line could report- the fur coat was saved.
The overcoat belonging to Mr Williams I sent to a furrier to be reconditioned, but nothing could be done with it except dry it out, so I sent it to him as it was.
Mrs. Lilli Black, another whose fur coat managed to survive the horror of that night, and years later remiscinced on the events of that fateful voyage…
“If it weren’t for my fur coat, 1 believe I would not be alive today, nor would the young steward. Mr. Fitzpatrick… I had. on a hooded steamer coat over my, nightclothes, and Bert [Denbouy] grabbed my, fur one from a chair as we left, the stateroom. That ‘extra’ I wrapped around Mr. Fitzpatrick when we had rescued him from an overturned boat.”
Mrs. Washington Dodge was another passenger who managed to rescue her fur coat…
I slipped on my fur coat over my night robe and preserver, put on my shoes… They were lowering [life] boats. I entered the second boat…
But the various fur coats were not the only dead animals on the boat that night.
Among the provisions taken on board the Titanic were the following:
* Fresh Meat 75,000 lbs
* Fresh Fish 11,000 lbs
* Salt & dried fish 4,000 lbs
* Bacon and Ham 7,500 lbs
* Poultry and game 25,000 lbs
* Fresh Eggs 40,000
* Ice Cream 1,750 lbs
* Fresh Milk 1,500 gal
* Fresh Cream 1,200 qts
* Condensed Milk 600 gals
* Fresh Butter 6,000lbs
* Eiderdown Quilts: 800
The Titanic was a luxury cruise for some, and passage to hope for others, and a celebration of death for thousands of animals.
As shown here, the connection between wealth and the exploitation and cruelty to animals. When animals have become commodities, when the price for a dead animals is greater than the value of a their life, it is easy to see that perhaps, the more money a person, or society has, the more they exploit animals.
This is one suggested reason for the hatred that fur wearers attract, but not as much aimed at leather. Fur is seen as a luxury good, leather utilitarian. Rich and useless people wear fur, flaunting their wealth, average, every day people wear leather, demonstrating their hard work. Fur is seen is an extravagance, leather is seen as a by-product of the meat-and-dairy industries.
And yet to the animal that is slaughtered, there is no difference, if they are turned into a fur coat or a leather sofa, they are still just as dead.
The more money you have to spend, the more you have to spend on useless status items, and dead animals are just one more thing to buy to flaunt a persons wealth.