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Waltham animal hospital collecting fur clippings for Gulf oil cleanup

Posted by Megan McKee  June 5, 2010 09:52 AM

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An animal hospital in Waltham is joining a nationwide effort to contribute fur and hair clippings that will be made into oil-soaking booms for use in the Gulf of Mexico.

“We’re always shaving areas [for animal procedures] and it usually just goes to waste,” said Sharon Gately, communications director for the Veterinary and Emergency Center of New England. “I just thought it was such a good idea.”

Gately said she found Matter of Trust, the organization that is coordinating fur and hair collection efforts, on a web site devoted to reducing the carbon imprint of dogs.

She said the organization will email her every two weeks with an address where the hospital should send its clippings, which she estimated fill two trash bags every day. Once the clippings are received, they’re stuffed into nylon stockings, tied at the end, and ready to soak up oil.

Matter of Trust is collecting fur and hair from salons, groomers, alpaca and llama farmers, individuals, and pet owners. The organization's president, Lisa Craig Gautier, said she has received 11,000 e-mails in the past two days, and most are from those wishing to donate.

But the fate of the booms is in the air right now.

After originally saying they’d use the natural fiber booms, BP, which is coordinating the oil cleanup effort, reversed their position, said Craig Gautier.

But harbormasters in Florida have just announced they’ll use the natural fiber booms, she said, adding that videos on Matter of Trust's web site show how their booms are just as efficient and buoyant as synthetic booms.

"We don’t have anything against synthetic boom, but you have to drill oil to make it," said Craig Gautier."This is a renewable resource that we’re diverting from a landfill."

The organization is also collecting nylons to contain the clippings. Craig Gautier said Hooters just donated 100,000 pairs.

Gately said the animal hospital will have a bin out front to collect nylons. “Being an animal hospital, even though we’re not wildlife, it is nice to help out in any way we can,” she said.

Megan McKee can be reached at megan.mckee@gmail.com

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