I was born and have lived most of my half-century in Montreal, Canada, an island city almost a thousand miles inland on the St. Lawrence River. Ships from Europe couldn’t advance further than the Lachine Rapids, just west of Montreal, when the city was founded in the seventeenth century. This is why Montreal became North America’s most important fur-trading center. (Many cities across the continent began as fur-trading posts established by adventurers who set out from Montreal.) I enjoy the fact that my family’s involvement with the fur trade continues a long Montreal tradition.
I have spent much of my last twenty-five years writing everything from magazine articles and documentaries to political thrillers. I also enjoy reading, good conversation, playing and listening to music, and walks with my dog in the woods.
To understand how I became a critic of the animal rights movement, we could begin with my grandfather Armand, my father’s father. His family fled anti-Jewish pogroms in Romania when he was a young child and he was brought up in Paris, where he apprenticed as a fur craftsman. As a young man, in the early 1900s, he immigrated to Canada. Each morning he joined other workers in the streets of the Old Montreal fur district, with his fur-sewing machine on his shoulder, waiting to be called in by one of the company owners who needed an “operator” for a day’s work.