.
Cruelty is never in style. But now more than ever, as more and more fashionistas are
becoming “recessionistas,” fur is as conspicuously out of place as a bailed-out banker’
s private jet.

-----------------------------------------

Michael McGraw is the director of media relations for People for the Ethical Treatment of
Animals (PETA), 501 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510; www.PETA.org.






Copyright ©  PETA & AMBIENTE MAGAZINE.   Do not reproduce without citing these sources.
.
www.ambiente.us  MARCH | MARZO 2009

In hard times, make a real fashion statement| Don’t wear fur
By Michael McGraw

When Tia Carrere walked the red carpet at the Grammy Awards last month, bargain
hunters everywhere cheered. Celebrities regularly receive thousands of dollars’ worth
of free clothes from designers, but Tia took a different route. Her entire outfit—including
her stunning black dress, baubles and bag—cost less than $100. She told a reporter,
“I just wanted to make a statement that you can look great for not much money.”

Can we expect to see stars wearing frocks from Target at future awards shows and
film premieres? Probably not. But there is one thing that celebrities can do to show that
they feel their fans’ economic pain: Leave the fur at home. Nothing says ostentatious
consumption like a coat made by ripping the skin off dozens of animals’ backs.

At a time when most of us are cutting costs—taking cues from first lady Michelle
Obama, who wears J.Crew and affordable designers to official events, scouring
consignment shops and discount stores for bargains—some celebrities and the
designers who dress them seem woefully out of touch. Yes, I’m talking to you, Ashley
Olsen. Designer Giorgio Armani, who told Time magazine that he had decided to stop
using fur, yet still sells rabbit-fur garments—rabbits don’t count
.
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?—included floral-print fur coats and fur-hemmed
skirts in recent collections. More ridiculously, he
also featured fur-trimmed snowsuits. For babies.

While many Americans are worrying about
losing their jobs or keeping up with their
monthly mortgage payments, flaunting fur is
a bit gauche, to say the least. It also sends the
message that the wearer doesn’t care about
anyone but him or herself.

On fur farms around the world, animals spend
their entire lives in small, filth-encrusted cages,
often with no protection from the driving rain or
the scorching sun. Rabbits’ tender feet become
raw and ulcerated from rubbing against the wire
mesh of the cage bottoms, and the stench of
ammonia from urine-soaked floors burns their eyes
and lungs. Video footage taken during undercover
investigations of fur farms in China and France shows
rabbits twitching and shaking after their throats are cut.

Some animals are still alive, breathing in ragged gasps, as the fur is ripped off their
bodies. An investigator working undercover on a Chinese fur farm filmed a skinned
raccoon dog, tossed onto a heap of carcasses like trash, who had just enough
strength left to lift her bloodied head and stare into the camera. Even in countries with
animal welfare laws—and China has none—animals are poisoned, gassed and
electrocuted for their fur, all legally. Animals who are electrocuted convulse, shake and
cry out in excruciating pain as they die of heart attacks.