PETA Accused of Promoting 'Eco-Disaster' With Fake Furs

By Marc Morano | July 7, 2008 | 8:04pm EDT

( - Fur manufacturers, feeling the wrath of animal rights activists, Wednesday labeled alternative fake furs an "eco-disaster," and accused the group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), of hypocrisy.

The latest squabble between the rival makers of the luxury garments occurred just before a "Victoria's Secret" fashion show was about to be broadcast in prime time on CBS Television. PETA activists disrupted a Victoria's Secret fashion show last week to protest model Gisele Bundchen's support of fur. Four activists rushed the catwalk with signs that read "Gisele: Fur Scum."

"PETA wants to eliminate all animal-based clothing, but the press never makes the connection that the alternative is eco-disaster," Teresa Platt, the executive director of Fur Commission USA, a fur industry advocacy group, told .

Platt called the movement toward petrochemical synthetic imitation fur part of "the leap from natural animal based products to politically correct ignorance."

According to Platt, faux furs or "Evolutionary Furs" promoted by PETA, require one gallon of petroleum oil for every three jackets manufactured. Platt said the synthetic fake furs do not biodegrade either.

"Fake furs do not degrade for at least 600 years and may take thousands of years, but at the end of the day, this is what is being promoted as environmentally friendly by animal rights activists," Platt said.

Noting the recent oil tanker spill off the coast of Spain, Platt said we will be soon be seeing "images of birds covered in oil, yet PETA still promotes these synthetic [oil based] products day after day."

Platt said she does not have a problem with the manufacture of faux furs, but opposes PETA's efforts "to make [faux fur] the only option."

"We support clothing choices, lots of them. PETA's problem is limiting options but not addressing the costs," Platt said.

The PETA sponsored web site boasts that designers like Oleg Cassini, who used to manufacture authentic animal fur coats, now only manufacture "fabulous faux furs."

"Mr. Cassini has put his name behind a collection of elegant, stylish coats called Evolutionary Furs, completely cruelty-free and made of modern synthetics to simulate fur," the web site states.

'Specious Argument'

Lisa Franzetta, campaign coordinator for PETA, did not dispute the ecological argument against fake furs, but called Platt's argument "specious."

"I certainly doubt that everyone in the Fur Commission is riding a bicycle to work and their primary concern is the amount of oil that is being used in coat production," Franzetta told .

Franzetta accused the fur industry of "just making that argument to justify [its] own inhumane industry."

But Platt insists the use of synthetic fibers in "four to eight million jackets" creates a disposal nightmare that PETA and faux fur manufactures ignore.

"Where are the recycling programs for the products PETA and [faux fur manufacturer] Patagonia promote and produce?" Platt asked.

"While fur farmers are regulated by humane statutes in terms of animal care, manufacturers of Evolutionary Fur are regulated by the Clean Air Act," Platt explained.

PETA plans to continue promoting fake furs because, "Synthetic and faux furs take inspiration from the beauty of animals without killing animals," according to Franzetta.

"The fur industry is placing tremendous demands on our natural resources," she added.

But Platt countered, "The fur trade, domesticated and wild, gives animals and animal habitat real economic value and is a vital component of ensuring abundance of animal stocks, healthy habitats and a sustainable harvest."

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