PETA AND FICA: STILL PELTING EACH OTHER
NEW YORK — The war of words continues between furriers and animal-rights activists, with both camps claiming victory in 1994.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says its antifur campaign has crimped fur sales, while the Fur Information Council of America denies that PETA has had any effect on sales.
With a budget of $10 million, PETA supplied 52,000 consumers with antifur paraphernalia — the most since the group was founded in 1985, according to Dan Mathews, director of PETA’s international ad campaign.
“Furriers can smile through their teeth and say sales are great, but our efforts directly affect their sales. More furriers are being forced to close their doors or sell other types of outerwear,” Mathews said. “In Copenhagen, pelt sales fell 30 percent, and more fur farmers and trappers are going out of business.”
A spokeswoman for the FICA, which represents furriers, fur retailers and manufacturers, said, “PETA’s efforts have absolutely no effect on fur sales. In the past year, media coverage has been extremely negative — all PETA does is their publicity events. The Ricki Lake incident backfired miserably.”
She referred to a PETA-led raid in November in which the talk-show host was arrested on charges of criminal mischief at Karl Lagerfeld’s offices here.
The FICA spokeswoman added: “The day after Thanksgiving, only 300 people participated [in the Fur Free Friday antifur demonstrations in Manhattan]. When one in five women owns a fur coat in this country, it’s obvious the majority are fur supporters.”
The New York City Police Department estimated about 800 people participated in Fur Free Friday.
Here’s a recap of what Mathews cited as PETA’s high points last year.
January: PETA demonstrators storm Calvin Klein’s New York showroom; the designer’s fur license had expired in December 1993.
February: Calvin Klein and Anne Klein announce they will no longer work with fur.
May: Mathews is profiled in the New York Times.
June: PETA meets with fur designers Marc Jacobs and Oscar de la Renta.
July: A California chinchilla farmer faces criminal charges for electrocuting a male chinchilla by clipping wires to its genitals.
September: Todd Oldham designs faux fur hats for PETA to be distributed in 100 stores worldwide.
October: Supermodel Cindy Crawford appears on the cover of New York magazine wearing only a PETA hat.
November: PETA raids Karl Lagerfeld’s New York executive offices with the help of talk show host Ricki Lake; ABC World News Tonight spotlights the case of the indicted chinchilla farmer in California.
December: In Paris, pop radio station NRJ provides PETA with $500,000 worth of air time and publishes PETA’s “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” ads with logos of the station and PETA in 20 French publications; Dateline NBC features PETA in its “Fight Against Fur” segment.
In an effort to broaden its global image in 1995, PETA plans to continue to work with models and actors, including Kirstie Alley, Woody Harrelson and Madonna, Mathews said.