Friends of Animals’ Shocking Times Square Billboards: Fur Is For Neanderthals

New York — “Fur Is A Thing Of The Past” is the message of animal advocacy organization Friends of Animals’ new stunning billboards in Times Square and in the heart of the Broadway Theater District, which will be viewed by 2 million people every day for several weeks starting Oct. 21, and accompanying viral video and print ads in several publications.

The bold, far-reaching campaign urges consumers to evolve beyond the Neanderthal mentality that the bloody fur industry is selling.

New York City is the fashion capital of the world, and our bold billboards, video and print campaign strikes at the heart of attempts to portray fur as glamorous. We want fur to go extinct in the fashion industry — and the cavewoman draped in fur, chomping on an animal leg will be in the heart of Times Square and in the Theater District, looming above millions of shoppers, tourists and New Yorkers.

Over the past decade U.S. fur sales have declined — in 2003 sales totaled $1.80 billion, in 2012 sales totaled $1.27 billion. In February 2013, VauteCouture made history as the first all vegan label to show at New York Fashion Week, with its first full ready-to-wear collection complete with fur-free winter coats. US News World Report said of the show, “No one missed the leather or the fur.” And in September 2013, the home of high fashion and glamour, West Hollywood, banned the sale of fur apparel in retail stores, becoming the first city in the United States to do so. We have pledged to be a place that is free of cruelty to animals and we can no longer support the barbaric fur trade by selling the products of that cruelty in our city,” said West Hollywood Councilman John D’Amico before he introduced the ordinance that led to the ban.

Unfortunately, for some vanity at its worse persists and it’s stronger than their desire to evolve. Here in the United States, more people buy fur in New York than any other city, followed by Chicago. Global fur sales actually increased in 2012, driven by growth in Asian markets and increased designer use.

Chinese consumers bought more than half of the fur coats sold worldwide in 2010, and China’s retail sales of fur-related goods — ranging from full-length mink coats to ermine-covered toilet paper holders — were forecast to hit $6 billion in 2012, according to data from the China Chamber of Commerce of Foodstuffs and Native Produce. Mink remains the most popular fur representing approximately 70 percent of fur sold at retail. Broadtail, the pelt of a premature or newborn Karakul lamb having a flat and wavy appearance, fox and beaver, popular for trims, are showing growth.

Trish Donnally, fashion editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, has reported that 60 minks are skinned to make one knee-length coat. If that’s not appalling enough, minks suffer neck breaking, or are stuffed into boxes pumped full of unfiltered engine exhaust, then skinned, and lynxes, foxes and chinchillas are often electrocuted. Millions of dogs and cats in China are bludgeoned, strangled with wire nooses and literally bled to death, just so their fur can be turned into trim and trinkets. Frequently, products made from their fur are deliberately mislabeled as other species’ fur and exported to the United States to be sold to unsuspecting consumers in retail stores.

Friends of Animals’appeal to Americans urges New Yorkers and all shoppers to kill such archaic fur trends. Luxurious alternatives to fur are readily available — there’s no way to justify slaughtering more than 50 million animals raised on fur farms around the world who are killed for their pelts annually in addition to the approximately 10 million animals trapped in the wild. (This number does not include rabbits.)

So don’t be Neanderthals, consumers. Evolve and get with the times like West Hollywood, VauteCouture and other fur-free designers and retailers. Just as the Smartphone is the new payphone, Siri is the new road atlas, color is the new blackmdash;respect for animals scratches out fur. So send this video link to everyone you know and spread the word.