Animal rights activism group PETA have given hundreds of donated real fur coats to Liberty in London, many given by popular celebrities. This is to aid the Regent Street department store’s annual coat drive, whereby they take donated coats from collections and give them out to homeless people.
With around 6,500 people living rough on the streets in the capital city alone, this is a very worthy cause and highly respectable of Liberty to try to help keep the homeless warm this winter. Equally as respectable is PETA contributing to the initiative, which started in 2013, although some questions have been raised by it.
“In donating fur coats to the homeless, the ethical organisation is condoning them wearing it”
PETA have handed over all their reclaimed fur on the proviso that it will highlight the importance of caring for animals during the winter, and that only those in desperate need are permitted to wear real fur. However, this is quite contradictory as the strapline of their official website reads “animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any way”, which specifically highlights their official stance against wearing animal products. In donating fur coats to the homeless, the ethical organisation is condoning them wearing it. Despite their claim that only those desperate enough have any reason to wear fur, this could strike some as hypocritical and almost as if it’s one rule for some people and another for others.
They are widely known for condemning those who wear real fur from any animal, even going as far as to throw red paint at celebrities known for wearing it, to resemble the bloodshed of the tortured and often brutally killed animals. The pain that animals are forced to endure in order to obtain their skins is in no way at all worth putting them through and, in my own personal opinion, they should not be worn by anyone. So, should PETA really be permitting anyone at all to wear real fur when they so openly condemn it as a principle of their activism?
“People forced to live on the streets are 47 times more likely to be a victim of theft than the general public, making this suggestion not all that unlikely, and the fur coats could even make them more of a target due their monetary value”
However, it could also be argued that since the coats have already been made, then they may as well be put to good use. The coats would otherwise be destroyed, and so it could make sense to give them away to people who would very much benefit from the warmth they generate. Although, who is to say that these fur coats would not be stolen from these vulnerable people and sold on to those not in need immorally simply for profit?
People forced to live on the streets are 47 times more likely to be a victim of theft than the general public, making this suggestion not all that unlikely, and the fur coats could even make them more of a target due their monetary value. The pieces are not being given out as fashion statements and so that moral argument does not come in to play in this instance, but PETA are still nonetheless making it possible for fur to be worn in this day and age. There is a lot of good meaning behind this latest move, but can it still be deemed ethical and right?
Tessa Jones for The Courier, December 1st 2014