British Mayor Refuses to Wear Fur Trimmed Robe

New Stockport Mayor Ken Holt made news in May by refusing to don the robes of his office during a swearing in ceremony because the robes were trimmed with ermine.

Holt said of his decision,

When I realized the mayoral robe was decorated with real fur, I refused to wear it and will not be doing so during my year in office. I am very much opposed to any cruelty to animals and have read recently in the press about the appalling cruelty to animals when furs is obtained in countries like Belgium and ares of the Far East.

A few years ago Holt made headlines by calling for a boycott of Stockport’s twin city in France, Beziers, to protest bullfighting. Holt says he is considering boycotting the annual visit that the mayor of Stockport traditionally makes to Beziers. Beziers said,

There are two ways of looking at it: either to go and make the point to our friends in Beziers while I am there or to make the point by staying away.


Fur fight as mayor refuses his robe. Manchester Online, May 2003.

Animal Rights Activists Target Bullfighting in Barcelona

The World Society for the Protection of Animals and Spain’s Animal Rights Defense Association are targeting Barcelona to convince the city to outlaw bullfight ahead of the 2004 Universal Forum of Culture which Barcelona will host.

The two groups commissioned a survey which found that 63 percent of respondents in Barcelona wanted an end to bullfighting. An earlier study commissioned by the two groups of attitudes about bullfighting in Catalonia as a whole found 94 percent of respondents favored outlawing bullfighting (neither survey is available online, however, so it’s not known exactly what questions the survey asked).

Manuel Cases of the Animal Rights Defense Association told Australian newspaper The Age,

At the end of the 19th century there were three bullrings in Barcelona, now there is just one left. That has bullfights on Sunday from May to October but mostly for people who come in tourist buses from the Costa Brava.

Philip Lymbery of the World Society for the Protection of Animals said in a press release,

Bullfighting is abhorrent to many people internationally. This new survey shows that the majority of people in Barcelona agree that bullfighting has nothing to do with culture and everything to do with cruelty. It is ironic then, that a city that allows over 100 bulls to be ritually tortured and killed as entertainment annually will next year host the Universal Forum of Culture. We therefore urge Barcelona to ban bullfighting and thereby avoid tainting the spirit of this international cultural event.

Catalonia’s animal welfare law forbids the fighting of animals but specifically exempts bullfights that take place on public holidays.

Bullfighting is popular in Spain in general, but not in the Catalonia region. According to the World Society for the Protection of Animals, for example, only about 100 bulls are killed annually in bullfights in Barcelona. This out of an estimated 20,000+ bulls killed annually in bullfights throughout the country.


Survey reveals Spanish opposition to bullfighting in Barcelona. Press Release, World Society for the Protection of Animals, April 4, 2003.

Majority of people in Catalonia, Spain, opposed to bullfighting, according to a new survey released today. Press Release, World Society for the Protection of Animals, March 22, 2002.

PETA demands withdrawal Nike commercial

Coming on the heels of its complaints
about commercials featuring National Football League defenseman John Randle
chasing a chicken dressed as Brett Favre, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is demanding Nike withdraw a commercial featuring the NFL’s
Denver Broncos.

The commercial parodies the running
of the bulls in Spain. The viewer sees the bulls stampeding down a street
and a matador waiting for them in a large stadium. Before the bulls can
get to the stadium, though, the Denver Broncos defense lines up in formation
on the street. The commercial cuts back to the stadium where the matador
is perplexed by a loud crash and then wailing of bulls in the distance.

According to a PETA press release,
the commercial “promotes animal torment and cruelty.” Personally,
I thought the commercial was hilarious.


PETA sees red over Broncos Nike Ad. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Press Release, October 12, 1998.