Heather Mills Asks EU to Ban the Sale of Cat and Dog Fur; Paul McCartney Calls for Boycott of Chinese Goods and Olympics
Heather Mills was back in Brussels last week to once again demand that the European Union ban the sale of cat and dog fur within its borders. In particular, she presented evidence that 2,000 to 3,000 domestic cats had been stolen off the streets of the Czech Republic and skinned alive for their fleeces. She also showed members of the European Parliament a baby blanket made from the skins of twenty cats (See photo above).
Although EU member states Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, and Italy already have laws in place banning the sale of cat and dog skins, Ms. Mills and other activists have been campaigning for the past five years to have the EU's executive body, the Commission, enact an EU-wide ban on the importation, export, and trade in cat and dog skins. "How much more do we have to show to get this ban in place?" Ms. Mills asked the parliamentarians. "How many more animals have to be skinned alive before they (the commissioners) go and do something about it?"
The pro-fur lobby across Europe is not only opposed to the ban but in denial as well. On November 29th, Richard D. North told the BBC that Mills' campaign was a ruse designed to attack the legitimate fur trade and that nobody had ever found a large amount of cat and dog fur in England. "The European fur industry would never use it," he declared. "Why bother, when there are lovely skins from properly farmed animals?"
Struan Stevenson, a member of the European Parliament from Scotland, quickly exposed North's broadside as a tissue of lies by saying, "It's cheaper to make these things from cat (sic) and dog (sic) than it is to make synthetic fur." In fact, in his Brussels' office Stevenson has assembled a confiscated coat made from Alsatian (German shepherd) skin, a pelt made from four golden retrievers, and a blanket made from seventy cats. This would seem to buttress claims made by anti-fur campaigners that products made from feline and canine fur are readily available throughout the Continent and in Old Blighty. "It really is time for this trade to be banned and the EU border to be sealed against it," he told the BBC.
The murder and torture of cats and dogs for their pelts is not limited to Europe. Not surprisingly, China kills more than two million cats and dogs each year for their fur. Saint Bernards are also bred and raised for the dinner table. An undercover agent for PETA this past summer filmed live cats being boiled to death in hot water before being skinned by a fleecing machine similar to a clothes dryer. A spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in London not only defended the practice to the BBC but moreover laid the blame squarely at the feet of Europeans and Americans who buy and wear fur.
After viewing the PETA footage for the BBC's Six O'Clock News, Heather Mills' famous husband, Paul McCartney (See photo below), said, "This is barbaric. Horrific. It's like something out of the Dark Ages. And they seem to get a kick out of it. They're just sick, sick people."
Not contented with merely condemning these barbaric practices, Paul went on to call for a boycott of all Chinese goods as well as the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing. He further vowed that he would never perform in China as long as these practices continued. "I wouldn't even dream of going over there to play, in the same way I wouldn't go to a country that supported apartheid. This is just disgusting. It's just against every rule of humanity. I wouldn't go there," he said.
Paul is a longtime vegetarian, animal rights advocate, and environmentalist who has co-written with Philip Ardagh an ecological fable for children entitled High in the Clouds. The book, which is illustrated by Geoff Dunbar, is aimed at alerting young adults to the perils of pollution, overpopulation, and urban sprawl. His recent album, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, has been nominated for three Grammys: Album of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album, and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.
Down under on Kangaroo Island, cats are being slaughtered and made into stubby (beer and soft drink) holders, hats, golf club covers, and slippers, according to a December 12th report in The Advertiser out of nearby Adelaide ("Feral Cats Turned into Hats, Slippers"). Worst still, these atrocities are being funded by the state in spite of the fact that they are illegal under Australian law! The fact that Aussies are lining their pockets with the blood from feral cats is not surprising since they have vowed to exterminate all of them as well as millions of wild horses, camels, donkeys, pigs, cane toads, foxes, rabbits, and goats. (See Cat Defender post of October 20th entitled "After Ridding Ohio Statehouse of Rats, Cats now Find Themselves Facing Eviction.")
The illegal trafficking in cat and dog pelts also occurs in the United States and a few years back several retailers in New Jersey were caught selling clothing made from feline and canine fur. It is difficult to tell how widespread this practice is because products made from cat and dog fur can only be identified by subjecting them to expensive genetic tests. Most all fur looks pretty much the same to the untrained eye and, besides, only connoisseurs paying big bucks care whether a coat or jacket is made of either mink or cat fur. Clearly, it is useless for the politicians in America, Europe, Australia, or elsewhere to pass laws banning the slaughter of cats and dogs for their fur if these laws are not going to be rigorously enforced.
Photos: Geert van den Wijngaert for the Associated Press (Heather Mills) and Ireland Online (Paul McCartney).