People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have donated 200 fur coats to Fjölskylduhjálp, a food bank and general donations centre for Icelanders in need.
Vísir reports that the furs, which have been marked with red paint, will be handed to Fjölskylduhjálp tomorrow.
Ásgerður Jóna Flosadóttir, the managing director of Fjölskylduhjálp, told reporters that there are about 170 homeless individuals in Iceland. She also said they are responding to tips from the general public as to who needs these furs; primarily, people who are “street homeless”, and sleep out of doors, exposed to the elements.
While it may seem odd that an organisation that ostensibly fights for animal rights would be giving away fur coats, PETA does provide a rationale for the operation.
“Donating unwanted furs that have been marked with red paint to homeless people not only helps needy people keep warm, it also allows us to counteract reports of a ‘fur comeback’ by showcasing that we are receiving more donations of fur than ever before from people appalled at the cruelty involved in fur ranching and trapping,” PETA claims. “In media interviews resulting from fur giveaways, we are able to point out that, even after using hundreds of furs in educational displays, dumping them at museums and outside furriers’ stores, painting them for floats, dragging them through the streets, burying and burning them, and even donating them to wildlife rehabilitators for use as animal bedding, we still have plenty of coats left over. Fur giveaways also counteract furriers’ efforts to portray fur as ‘upscale,’ ‘chic,’ or a status symbol; rather, the overwhelming influx of fur into our office means that fur has hit rock bottom.”
Not everyone is on board with the operation. RÚV reports that former MP Guðrún Ögmundsdóttir is amongst those who find the operation questionable at best, adding that she believes it is “morally wrong” to label people as poor.
“I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I heard about this yesterday,” she told reporters. “That these furs have been sprayed so everyone knows they came from [PETA], you are essentially marking these people as poor for accepting these products.”