New York City Considers Again A Ban on Foie Gras, As Farmers Refute Animal Abuse Claims

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New York City’s reputation for fine dining makes it one of the premier destinations for eating foie gras in the country. The renowned but increasingly-controversial delicacy made by force-feeding ducks and geese has been banned in states like California, overturned in a court decision, only to have a federal appeals court reinstate the ban. California bans the force-feeding of animals, a tenet also at the heart of new legislation before the New York City Council.

New York City looks increasingly likely to ban foie gras, and fowl farmers aren’t happy about it. A bill sponsored by Carlina Rivera, a city councilwoman who represents Manhattan neighborhoods, would prohibit the sale of the delicacy, and levy fines of up to $1,000 to businesses that violate the ban.

The bill, which already has the support of half of the Council in the form of co-sponsors is also supported in principle by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“It’s a purely luxury product,” said Ms. Rivera, who conceded to having tasted foie gras before she knew how it was made. (“I wasn’t a fan,” she said.)

Foie gras advocates say claims of torture are exaggerated and politically motivated. Mark Caro, author of ‘The Foie Gras Wars’, an overview of all aspects of the controversy argues that the uproar is overstated. “If you try to get people to give up their cheap chicken, you would have a problem, because it would affect their budgets,” Caro is quoted in the New York Times.

The attempts to ban foie gras are rooted in the wave of populism that has swept the country. Caro believes that attacking the lifestyles of the 1% is part of today’s political activism. There is no agreement among scientists and credentialed professionals associated with the food industry about whether foie gras is the product of torture and inhumane punishment of animals. The Times goes in-depth to educate us on all the nuances involved in this long-fought battle around foie gras.

AOC first took up the topic in 2009.

Chanel Ends Use Of Exotic Animal Skins Including Crocodile, Lizard, Snake + Stingray Skins

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Chanel Ends Use Of Exotic Animal Skins Including Crocodile, Lizard, Snake + Stingray Skins

On Monday, in advance of Chanel’s pre-fall Metiers d'Art show at New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art, the luxury house announced that it has initiated a ban on exotic animal skins in its designs and products. Chanel will "no longer use exotic skins in our future creations," Bruno Pavlovsky, Chanel's president of fashion, told WWD.

The ban extends to crocodile, lizard, snake, and stingray skins, and also includes fur, the use of which Chanel has already wound down in recent years in recent years. "It is our experience that it is becoming increasingly difficult to source exotic skins," the brand said in a statement, per WWD, noting its intention to begin innovating "a new generation of high-end products" sans skins and furs. In place of these animal products, Chanel will reportedly turn to fabric and leathers generated by the "agri-food" industry.

LA Moves To Ban Fur Sales & Manufacture, Following San Francisco, West Hollywood & Berkeley

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LA Moves To Ban Fur Sales & Manufacture, Following San Francisco, West Hollywood & Berkeley

Los Angeles, long associated with red carpet glitz and glamour, has voted to ban the sale of fur products, making it the largest American city to respond to a unanimous City Council vote to draft an ordinance that will ultimately prohibit the manufacture and sale of new fur products within the city.

Projected to take two years to institute, the first step is to draft a city ordinance that takes into consideration “how fur apparel is utilized by religious organizations, and possible exemptions, as well as potential conflicts with federal and state laws relating to sale of fur products derived from legally trapped animals,” writes The LA Times.

West Hollywood already has a fur ban, but the law was changed to exempt fur from animals legally trapped under state law. Berkeley and San Francisco have fur bans, adapted to comply with local laws and ordinances.

Keith Kaplan, spokesman for the Fur Information Council of America, a trade group for manufacturers and fur merchants, argued that global retail fur sales are $35.8 billion and that more than 1 million people were employed, as of 2014.

Big industry brands abandoning fur in their collections include Michael Kors, Armani, Gucci and most recently Burberry.

The current London Fashion Week promoted itself as being fur free.

VS Angel Martha Hunt Seduces In Jack Waterlot Images For L'Officiel Malaysia October 2015

VS Angel Martha Hunt Seduces In Jack Waterlot Images For L'Officiel Malaysia October 2015

Victoria's Secret Angel Martha Hunt, who is also a spokesperson for Free People, adds her western woman brand of sexy sizzle in a country where women have been caned in the last few years for adultery.L'Officiel Malaysia has always intrigued us with their provocations in this deeply Muslim country where activists from a coalition of eight organizations have formed the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality. Earlier this month, the coalition denounced  the government's claim that child brides are rare in the country. 

Citing statistic from United Nations’ reports, the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) said there were as many as 15,000 Malaysians who were married off before the age of 19, contrary to the low figures given by the prime minister’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor at a function in the US yesterday.

Malaysia to Free People

Checking for a status pdate on last week's PETA action against Free People for refusing to stop the sale of angora after brutal videos of harvesting angora from rabbits were revealed, we note that the conflict was settled in the last 24 hours. Writing about the action last week, we didn't even think to look and see if Martha was the model behind the campaign. Woops!

It appears that Free People conceded today. 

PETA Launches Anti-Angora Campaign Against Free People & Urban Outfitters

PETA Launches Anti-Angora Campaign Against Free People & Urban Outfitters

In August 2015 PETA issued a graphic report on Argentina-based, wool-supplier farm Ovis 21. The farm was a major supplier to Patagonia and also Stella McCartney, who dropped them immediately. The title of the report: 'Lambs Skinned Alive, Throats Slit, Tails Cut Off' was confirmed by Patagonia's subsequent, at once investigation, and the company also cut its ties to Ovis 21.

PETA issued a disturbing look into Chinese angora-wool farms, undermining a worldwide view that the rabbit-based product was obtained without farming the animals. As a result dozens of retailers including H&M, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, QVC and more stopped using angora wool. Anthropologie, too, stopped using angora wool as a result of the PETA report, but sister company Free People didn't get the message

Today, PETA announced a campaign against Free People, sold at its parent company's stores Urban Outfitters.  The New York Post reports that last week all 'angora' products were removed from the company's online website.

Investing $360 In Hermès Stock, PETA Gains Insider, Shareholder Status

The stake that animal rights group PETA has bought in French luxury brand Hermès is one single share costing $360. In buying the share, however small an investment, PETA will now have access to shareholder meetings and a range of new pressure tactics on Hermès management.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has launched a new awareness campaign to stop Hermès from using crocodiles and alligators in its iconic products, including its Birkin bags.

“PETA will be campaigning outside the company, and, as a shareholder, also working from the inside to demand a ban on exotic animal–skin accessories, including crocodile-skin bags and alligator-skin watchbands,” PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a statement on Thursday. Hermès has not yet responded.

It’s easy to dismiss PETA’s strategy as ‘fringe’ but the group’s end of 2014 report documenting alleged inhumane and ‘cruel’ treatment of both crocodiles and alligators at Hermes suppliers, prompted Jane Birkin, namesake of the company’s coveted Birkin handbag, to request the removal of her name from the ‘Birkin Croco’ until Hermès employs “better practices in line with international norms.”

The company responded to Birkin’s request, saying that they will investigate practices at the Texas farm Padenga Holdings, a public company, supplying their skins via Kariba, Zimbabwe.

In the company’s vision statement, it makes no mention of animals or the conditions in which they live or die, before becoming a handbag. Bloomberg reports that Padenga harvested 40,000 crocodiles last year.

Birkin bags are notably hard to come by, Style.com reported last fall that the Himalayan crocodile Birkin bag is believed to be the most expensive one ever sold, priced at $432,000.

The 30-centimeter diamond Himalayan Birkin is possibly the rarest and most desirable handbag in the world. This bag is made of Nilo crocodile, rendered in a subtle coloration that is meant to evoke images of the majestic Himalayan mountains. This dyeing process is painstaking and takes many hours to complete—the lighter the hue, the more difficult the process. The color pairs perfectly with 18-karat white gold hardware, which is itself studded with white diamonds. The cadena lock alone is comprised of 68.4 grams of 18-karat white gold and encrusted with 40 white round brilliant diamonds, totaling 1.64 carats. On the bag, three different structural elements of the Birkin—the Touret, the Pontets, and the Plaques de Sanglons—feature more than 200 diamonds for a total of 8.2 carats. This is arguably the rarest, most spectacular, and most jaw-dropping Birkin to ever be made.

Joaquin Phoenix Discusses Treatment of Reptiles in Fashion Industry