The forces working to clean up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are receiving aid from an unlikely source: PETCO. On May 7th the company began shipping donations of animal fur from its nationwide network of grooming salons to the Gulf Coast region. The fur is used in the creation of adsorbent booms which help to soak up and remove the oil from the water.

PETCO is working with Matter of Trust, a San Francisco nonprofit organization that has spearheaded the process of using donated animal fur and human hair to create the booms. Once the fur arrives, volunteers stuff it into donated nylon stockings to create the natural oil absorbers, which can be cleaned and re-used several times.

The oil slick is threatening aquatic and bird life in the area, and with environmental disaster looming, PETCO CEO Jim Myers was quick to see a niche his company could fill. “As soon as we heard about the call for pet fur to help with oil cleanup, we knew we were in a unique position to help,” he said. “With customers coming into our grooming salons every day throughout the country, we have a tremendous amount of material to contribute.”

So far PETCO has nearly 1,000 grooming salons providing fur, and expects to be able to ship up to a ton of fur per day. The PETCO Foundation is also involved in this activity by providing assistance transporting donated fur to the Gulf region.

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