In Defense of Unborn Lambs

Animal rights activists in Great Britain and elsewhere are launching new protests against astrakhan, lambskin derived from lambs that are killed shortly after birth and, activists claim, in some cases before they are born.

Astrakhan is produced in Uzbekistan from the karakul lamb. An individual pelt can bring Pounds 330 to 45 and a coat made from the material can fetch Pounds 3,500-4,500 according to the Times of London.

PETA’s Sean Gifford told The Times,

The fur trade is a violent, bloody business but these skins are particularly gruesome. Upwards of 4 million lambs are slaughtered every year for these coats. A ewe can usually have four births in a lifetime. The first three lambs are slaughtered after they are born. But the mother is butchered 15 to 30 days before giving birth to the fourth lamb. The unborn lamb is then ripped from her belly. Its skin has not had a chance to develop so it is softer and more highly valued.

Some suppliers of astrakhan deny that the ewe is slaughtered before birth. The Times quotes Andrea Martin of the British Fur Trade Association saying,

Karakul sheep and lambs provide an important source of food as well as other income from skins and wools. In Muslim areas, including Uzbekistan, slaughtering methods for animals are governed by strict religious principles intended to assure humane treatment of animals. Allegations of mistreatment and induced abortions make no sense.

What is the relevance of the “induced abortion” claim? The Times claims, for example, that,

Astrakhan was in limited use three years ago but fell out of vogue after Stella McCartney, the British designer, rounded on her friend Madonna for having an astrakhan coat, telling her she was “wearing a fetus”. She has never been seen in public in it since.

If you’re comfortable with wearing a quote made from animal skin, exactly what does the gestational age of the skin matter? Are there people out there who actually think, “I have no problem wearing lamb skin from a two-day old lamb, but killing the lamb before its born is simply unethical?”

Makes no sense (which is why McCartney and Madonna probably find it to be a logical position — or perhaps it conflicts with Maddona’s kabbala beliefs!)


Aborted lambs are fashion victims. Maurice Chittenden, The Times Online, March 6, 2005.

A New Fur Controversy. New York Metro, March 28-April 4, 2005.

F— The Animals?

Fashion designer Julien Macdonald has a lot of experience with facing animal rights protests over his use of fur, and he certainly didn’t do anything to lessen enmity from activists with this statement as part of an interview with British newspaper The Observer,

I think there is so much else going on in the world. Focus your attention on something that’s important. Like finding a cure for cancer. Finding a cure for Aids. I say fuck the animals. There’s somebody dying in a bed because there’s no cure for that disease. At the end of the day everybody eats meat. It really doesn’t matter. I think what was a taboo has now become the norm. It was a taboo to wear diamonds. Now everybody wears diamonds. It’s a trend, a fashion. What do you think your cat or dog eats? Where do you think that meat comes from? Where do you think Pedigree Chum comes from? It’s not picked off a tree.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ Sean Gifford told Wales on Sunday,

Most people shun fur. The catwalk doesn’t dictate what people wear, it has become a desperate battlefield of designers trying to be outrageous. Dinosaur designers like Macdonald have this way of seeing a beautiful animal and saying, ‘Oh, look at the beautiful mink — let’s break her neck and steal her skin.’ If Macdonald wants to be a true visionary he would find a way to recreate the beauty of a mink without causing suffering.

A spokesman for Animal Aid added that,

His [Macdonald’s] shallow existence doesn’t leave him much time to combat the evils of the world. Yet he whines and whines about anti-fur protesters who apparently should be finding a cure for cancer instead!


Grand master flash. The Observer, September 7, 2003.

Fur flying over Mac. Kate Jackson, Wales on Sunday, September 14, 2003.

Insert PETA Punchline Here

Scottish activists with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals experienced a problem they don’t usually run into — they couldn’t even shovel out the usual crap about animals.

Emma Dempsey, Sean Gifford, and an unidentified individual in a cows suit, planned two dump two tons of elephant manure from a dump truck at the entrance to some sort of beef event.

But the activists were unable to get all but a small amount of manure out of the dump truck. So rather than spreading the same old s—, the activists instead were arrested for alleged breach of the peace.


Cow nicked at protest. The Daily Record (UK), May 22, 2003.

PETA Protesters Pelted

PETA’s Sean Gifford and an unidentified person in a cow suit showed up at Aberdeen Grammar School to make their case against milk to students. Instead two police ended up having to rescue the protesters from the students.

As many as 100 students surrounded the duo and began throwing cartons of milk at the PETA protesters. Gifford told The Daily Record,

I have been all over the UK with this protest and I have never seen anything like this before. It must be something to do with children in Aberdeen. I think they just got a bit over-excited but I’m sure they will still go home and think about our message.

But 16-year-old Alan Smith responded that,

This is a stupid idea. We should be encouraged to drink milk. I certainly won’t stop drinking milk just because a man has dressed up as a cow outside my school.


We’re Udder Attack. Charlie Gall, The Daily Record (UK), October 12, 2002.

PETA Wants to Run Anti-Fur Ad in Great Britain

Before the Sept. 11 attack, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals commissioned a particularly violent anti-fur advertisement that it planned to show in the United States. After the Sept. 11 attack, PETA shelved those plans but did display the ad on its web site. Now, PETA wants to show the ad in UK cinemas. Lets hope they get approval for that and start showing the ad in the United States.

The ad is a barbaric summation of PETA’s views. It shows a woman wearing a fur coat on a busy day who suddenly is attacked by a stranger with a baseball bat. The man beats the women until she falls to the ground at which point the stranger steals her coat and runs off. The viewer is left wondering whether or not the woman is still alive.

According to PETA’s Sean Gifford, this advertisement is supposed to highlight the pain inflicted on fur bearing animals who are raised and killed for their pelts,

When animals are killed on fur farms, they are gassed or beaten and many of them are alive when they are skinned. This advert is meant to convey the graphic nature of what happens. . . . It is meant to shake people up and we only hope the censors do the right thing and allow us to show it.

It is odd that PETA recently complained that a game of cow bingo reinforced cruelty to animals, but it has no such qualms showing an advertisement featuring the brutal beating of a human being.

Which is why this writer, for one, hopes the British advertising censors allow it to run, and moreover that PETA changes its mind and broadcasts this ad in the United States. That PETA thinks a mink killed for its fur and a woman assaulted with a baseball bat are essentially the same things speaks volumes about where the animal rights movement is coming from.

There can be few more visceral examples of the poverty of the animal rights position than to point out that the larges animal rights organization in the United States is unable to draw clear moral distinctions between the thousands of women murdered every year and the killing of mink and other fur bearing animals. This commercial should be considered required viewing for anyone who wants a peek at what is really behind PETA’s pro-animal facade.


Animal rights want to show violent advert. Graham Hiscott, The Irish Examiner, March 9, 2002.