Wed, Feb 07, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Animal activist stages fur protest in icy Pyeongchang


An activist protests next to an Olympics rings sculpture in Pyeongchang yesterday ahead of the opening of the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea.

Photo: AFP

A half-naked activist sporting bunny ears and a fluffy tail yesterday braved the chill in Pyeongchang, South Korea, to protest the fur trade but, shivering on high heels, side-stepped the thorny issue of dog meat.

As temperatures plunged to minus-16°C, hardy animal rights campaigner Ashley Fruno, peeled off down to just a white bra and underwear while waving a sign that read “champions don’t wear fur” outside the Olympic media center.

However, despite withstanding the bone-chilling cold for more than 15 minutes, she insisted People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) had no plans to protest South Korea’s controversial dog meat trade.

“It’s certainly cold out here, but it’s nothing compared to what the animals go through on fur farms,” she told reporters. “Unfortunately fur is being worn by many Koreans and fur should not be seen at the Olympics. It’s animal cruelty so we ask everyone here to please go fur-free.”

“With so many stylish and toasty alternatives to fur available, there’s no excuse for harming a hair on a bunny’s back,” she said.

Animal rights activists have called for South Korea to stop eating dogs at previous major sporting events, notably at the 2002 World Cup when Brigitte Bardot fronted a campaign that provoked a backlash in the country.

The South Korean government banned the sale and consumption of dog meat in the run-up to the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics out of concern the issue could embarrass local organizers.

“Animal cruelty is animal cruelty, whether it’s dogs or rabbits, minks or racoons,” said Fruno, who admitted that being Canadian helped only a little in trying to beat the freeze in Pyeongchang.

“We’ll be speaking out about many issues while we’re in Korea, but we don’t have a specific dog meat campaign planned,” she added.

PETA have sparked anger from women’s rights groups in the past for stripping off to campaign for animal rights.

“In Asia the fur trade is very large and China is actually one of the world’s largest fur exporters,” Fruno said. “On fur farms in China, rabbits are crammed into cages and killed by being beaten to death, strangled, or having their throats slit while fully conscious.”

Last year, South Korea closed its biggest dog market — Seongnam market, which sold more than 80,000 dogs, dead or alive every year — to avoid criticism in the build-up to the Pyeongchang Olympics.

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