p a n a c h e


ashionistas were purring in delight when designers at the recently held New York Fashion Week made models strut down the ramp in animal furs that ranged from a dyed silver-fox on a coat, to a leather trench-coat with mink’s fur running down its back, to hoods and skirts with fur trimmings and even leggings made out of leather! Designer Michael Kors, who has faced the ire of animal rights activists earlier, got plenty of applause for his ‘quintessential American sportswear’, which spared not even sports apparel from using real fur. As fashion critics are doling out appreciation for the innovative creations that have made fur more

Blood on the runway

You know you’re going wrong when fashion trends transform your wardrobe from being cool to terribly cruel...

: PETA ourtesy Photo C

wearable, it is apparent that from hoods to shoes to suits, which boast of fur will now be among the must-haves of the fashionable set. This is perhaps the point when we should remind ourselves of the PETA warning – “Fur on your back, blood on your hands.” “Cave-people-like designers who still use fur are chasing headlines from the controversy. It does not take one ounce of creativity to rip the skin off of an animal’s back,” said Poorva Joshipura, Chief Functionary, PETA India. Describing the cruelty of this industry Poorva added, “Be86

cause fur farmers care only about preserving the quality of the fur, they use cheap slaughter methods that keep the pelts intact but which can result in extreme suffering for the animals. Small animals may be crammed into boxes and poisoned with hot, unfiltered engine exhaust from a truck. Engine exhaust is not always lethal, and some animals wake up while being skinned. Larger animals have clamps or a rod applied to their mouths while rods are inserted into their anuses, and they are painfully electrocuted. Gassing, decompression chambers, and neck-snapping are other common fur-farm slaughter methods. A video

shows raccoon dogs in China – where most of the world’s fur comes from – being hit in the face with metal pipes, picked up and slammed hard on the ground, skinned alive and thrown in a bloody pile, still alive. One dog in the video lifts her skinned head and blinks her eyelashes at the camera as if to say, ‘why?’” In India, the leather industry plays an important role in the economy, and while leather leggings thankfully haven’t yet made their way to this side of the globe, wallets, belts, shoes etc, are made out of leather. While most Indians are proud of this industry’s growth, its methods of operating are shameful. “Cows, sheep and other animals are

crammed into trucks in such high numbers on their way to slaughter that their bones snap, they get trampled, suffocate or die en route. At the slaughterhouse, all of these animals have their throats slit in full view of their companions,” reveals Poorva. While style icons like Madonna will continue to wear fur, other more responsible and compassionate celebrities like Michelle Obama and Charlize Theron are a better example for those eager to stay in step with fashion. And if you must have the fur, opt for faux fur, and so ensure that at least you have no blood on your hands. Anu Gulmohar

5 march-18 march 2010

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