In their September issue, National Geographic Magazine published a story about the global fur trade. Richard Conniff offered a measured, well-written account of what he found in reporting on that premise. Conniff also copped to his ancestry - his grandfather was a wild fur trapper. He observed that for some people, that would constitute bias on the broader subject of whether the fur trade should be discussed and if he's equipped to be an honest arbiter of its inherent issues.
Been there, heard that.
I do a serious amount of soul searching on the subject of inherent bias. From the very start of this project, I've concentrated considerable energy on getting to know the arguments against my ancestors' choice of business. I've gotten to know activists who take a variety of actions against animal industries, some of which are illegal and have resulted in criminal convictions. I've nonetheless experienced empathy, outrage and the full range of emotions lying somewhere along the continuum between those polarized reactions.
In the weeks ahead, I plan to introduce what I learned from the animal rights community. I will also further introduce the various components of the fur trade that I've seen firsthand over the past five years of research. I know that some readers will see me as ill-equipped to be objective. I will nonetheless endeavor to tell a series of honest stories related to this premise. By doing so, I choose to enter the arena with questions that have no easy answers. Maybe answers aren't even the point. I hope you will check back to see what may be learned from that story. Even if only to see how much you disagree with what I have to share, or to laugh at the lengths I've traveled to gather a story I found to be surprisingly relatable.
I don't assume I will change the perceived bias some will ascribe to me. I'm a storyteller. This story is mine to tell. If you see something that trips a cord for you, I invite you to let me know. Be well.