Fur set to fly as designers targeted

By Errol Kiong

An animal rights group is set to protest against the use of possum fur at Fashion Week.

Auckland Animal Action is launching its campaign on Monday outside the Fashion Week buyers' event at the Viaduct.

Other demonstrations outside Fashion Week venues throughout the week are planned. Protesters will brandish placards and hand out leaflets.

Animal Action spokeswoman Rochelle Rees said protests would target designers using possum fur in their range, as well as Fashion Week in general, for its support of the fur industry.

It is understood several designers feature possum fur in their collections.

Ms Rees said the group was not opposed to killing possums.

"It's not just about killing animals that are pests. It's the way we kill them."

She said the fur industry's most common killing technique was the use of the leg-hold trap, a device banned in nearly 90 countries.

New Zealand did not regulate the length of time an animal could be left in a trap before a hunter returned for it, she said.

"Animals caught in traps are often left for days to suffer - many have been known to chew their own legs off just to get free. How can these cruel and inhumane methods be justified?"

Ms Rees said the fur industry was misleading consumers by marketing possum fur as eco-friendly and ethical.

The traps frequently caught native birds such as kiwi and weka, and even cats and dogs, she said.

"The sad reality is that they kill rare and endangered native birds, including the very species they claim to protect."

The group believed the promotion of possum fur would lead to an unsustainable demand, as it had with rabbits and foxes.

Ms Rees said tens of millions of animals were intensively farmed and killed for their fur each year.

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