French hotline for attacks on fur wearers leaves animals rights groups furious

The French fur industry and animals rights activists have clashed over a new hotline for people who are insulted or attacked in the street for wearing fur.

French hotline for attacks on fur wearers leaves animals rights groups furious
Women wearing fur in Cannes. Photo: Franck Michel/Flickr
The French Fur Federation went on the attack this week against what it called the “misinformation of animal activists.
“Every week fur lovers are attacked in the street verbally or physically by radical militants,” it said in a statement to AFP.
It announced plans for a new information centre in Paris and a hotline, SOS Animal Activist Attacks, offering “support and legal help” for anyone who had been harassed.
The federation also lambasted the “hypocrisy” of some fashion houses who have “suddenly started denigrating fur to improve their image but who still use other animal products.”

France under pressure to ban circus animals after killing of tiger in Paris

Photo: Brigitte Bardot Foundation
It warned that labels that this strategy was short-sighted.
“Tomorrow silk, wool and leather will be the target for animal activist attacks,” the federation claimed.
But the main anti-fur group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), hit back late Tuesday saying the “real victims” of violence were the animals.
“In this cruel industry minks, foxes, chinchillas, raccoon, cats and lots of other creatures live confined in cages and then are gassed, electrocuted or beaten to death,” it said in a statement.
It said that there were plenty of alternatives to fur and leather.
Many major fashion labels no longer use animal pelts, including Gucci, the latest to say that it was going fur-free.
British designer Stella McCartney, a vegetarian, has never used fur and has banned leather from her collections, developing instead “vegetarian leather” which she claims is as good as the real thing.
But the French Fur Federation warned of the environmental dangers of animal rights groups promoting “synthetic materials to make fake fur from non-biodegradable substances often derived from petrol, which will benefit the petrochemical industry.”
It said that 90 percent of its members used suppliers “certified by the WelFur label for minks and foxes farmed in Europe” aims by 2020 to have all certified.
Rather than being on the decline, the federation said the French fur industry was growing with a turnover of 300 million euros, and employing nearly 2,500 people.


Halal meat sold in France can’t be called organic, EU rules

Halal meat from animals slaughtered by religious ritual without having first been stunned cannot be labelled organic, on animal welfare grounds, a top European Union court ruled Tuesday.

Halal meat sold in France can’t be called organic, EU rules
Photo: AFP

The way the meat is slaughtered “fails to observe the highest animal welfare standards”, said the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

The case came to the court after the OABA, a French association promoting animal welfare in abattoirs, urged the agriculture ministry to ban the labelling of such meat as organic.

French courts initially dismissed the OABA's case before passing it up to the CJEU for a definitive ruling.

“The Court recalls that scientific studies have shown that pre-stunning is the technique that compromises animal welfare the least at the time of killing,” said an CJEU statement Tuesday.

Producers have to meet the highest animal welfare standards to qualify for the EU's organic label, the court noted.

So while the ritual slaughter of animals was allowed on grounds of religious freedom, if they were not first stunned then that did not meet the highest animal welfare standards.

The meat from such animals could not then qualify as organic.

The case will now go back to the Court of Appeal in Versailles, France, for a definitive ruling. 

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