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Animal Rights Group Unhappy With Weir Wearing Fur

January 26, 2010 | Fur

The NY Times
By NANCY ARMOUR AP National Writer
Filed at 9:59 p.m. ET

Johnny Weir has set fur flying again.

Friends of Animals has posted an open letter to the figure skater, criticizing him for having fox on one of his costumes and asking him to stop wearing fur. The animal advocacy group also contacted his costume designer, Stephanie Handler, on Tuesday.

''I totally get the dirtiness of the fur industry and how terrible it is to animals. But it's not something that's the No. 1 priority in my life,'' Weir said Tuesday night. ''There are humans dying everyday. There are thousands if not millions of homeless people in New York City. Look at what just happened in Haiti.

''I tend to focus my energy, if there is a cause, on humans. While that may be callous and bad of me, it's my choice.''

Weir loves fashion, and his costumes tend to be on the avant-garde -- some would say extreme -- side. When the three-time U.S. champion redesigned his free skate costume before nationals, he had Handler add a tuft of white fox fur to the left shoulder.

Weir said he thought the costume was ''lovely,'' but Friends of Animals disagreed. Foxes are electrocuted or beaten, and their pelts are obtained by skinning the animals alive.

''He's a role model for a lot of people, including other skaters,'' said Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals. ''When he makes fun of the suffering of animals that are consumed for this frivolous fashion industry and whose lives are sacrificed so he can wear little tufts of fur on his outfit, that's fair game for comment.''

Weir finished third at nationals, qualifying for his second Olympic team.

Friends of Animals is not the first group to target Weir. He said he's gotten letters from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and people have sent him videos depicting how animals are treated by the fur industry.

But Weir said this is the first time someone has contacted Handler.

''She did what I asked her to. It wasn't her choice to make me a costume with fur,'' Weir said. ''At least directly come to me and yell at me. Don't attack my peeps.''

Weir said he understands the groups' objections, but he doesn't share their point of view.

Besides, he's not the only skater wearing animal skin products.

''Every skater is wearing skates made out of cow,'' Weir said. ''Maybe I'm wearing a cute little fox while everyone else is wearing cow, but we're all still wearing animals.''

Comments

Dear FoA, It is good to know that we live in a great country, where we are allowed our opinions and comments. Unfortunately I am guilty of eating meat, simply because I enjoy it. I don't do the exotics and I also don't have a lot of leather products. But we could also go extreme and say plants are alive as well. I am not in to creating more arguments for the sake of arguments. What Weir did is not OK, and will never be OK. Just know you do have a 'carnivore' that is agreeing with you and not fighting you. I apologize if I generalized about we all eating meat or leather. That was not and never the point. We have technology which can handle much of our needs. We can also be more responsible.

I think it boils down to this: There is an old joke that goes "ask me if I care." The person asks, "do you care?" The response is "about what?" Weir doesn't care. What he cares about is his image, his look, the impact he can make or force on others. It's 'Hollywood' folks. It's done for the notoriety and without any care for others. I think the comment about going to the event and booing is correct. DO something about it. Get him to see that there are people out there who disagree. That as a performer he does have responsibilities about how he communicates and what he does. Yes we all wear leather in some form or fashion. But that is a byproduct of an animal that has been used also for consumption. You don't eat fox. So you raise it and kill it for one thing. Its fur. Not really cool, if you ask me. Besides that, you could actually (if it mattered to Weir - which it didn't, duh!) - he could have used fake fur. Wow, OMG, dude...that could have been a statement. FoA comments: We all don't wear leather or eat animals, and none of need to.

I have to say treating animals in the fashhion mentioned is extremely loathesome and who really needs to wear fur in this day and time? Not to mention a small "tuft" that could easily have been faux fur or somthing. But there is the larger issue, I do eat animals and wear cow leather I guess would this be considered just as bad? FoA comments: Just like Weir you have a choice. The animals do not. Please give it some thought.

Thank you for doing what you can for innocent animals. Johnny Weir needs to rethink what he is doing. If animals aren't his #1 priority, I'm okay with that but don't flaunt the terrible abuse animals endure. He is an Olympic skater. When the Olympics are on I will be rooting for anyone but him. I sent a message to his website. He is sending a terrible message about this country with his enormous ego. I hope, really hope, he loses.

Do any of you people eat chicken, fish, beef, or pork. Ever?? FoA comments: No. Neither do we wear fur or leather. But how would eating meat justify wearing fur?

Is it true that fossil fuels are direct result of decaying living oranisms that once lived here on earth?If that is the case we should not drive cars,use electricity,or the device which you are viewing this message on since plastic is a petroleum base product from yes fossil fuels.This would be pfofiting from animals that once existed in the wild as well.Food for thought.More everyday things you use in your life are in some way a product of something that has once lived than you care to acknowledge.

Flaunting the skin and hair of a fox leads to the notion that killing a fox for this reason is chic. That means living beings will be pursued and their lives interrupted and ended. These foxes, and other animals who are pursued for this end, aren't beings who "once existed in the wild"; they are here today, and we'd like them to be here tomorrow as well.

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