22 January 2010

Johnny Weir criticized for wearing fur during U.S. Figure Skating Championship

(photo credit: promotional)
International animal advocacy organization, Friends of Animals, posted an open letter to American Figure Skater Johnny Weir responding to a statement he made in a recent interview with the New York Times. In the article, Weir shrugged off his lackadaisical performance at the United States Figure Skating Championships saying, “My costume looked pretty.”

Friends of Animals President Priscilla Feral wrote, “Please consider that there’s nothing pretty about the fox that suffered and died to trim your outfit. The beautiful fox was likely anally electrocuted, or may have had its head bashed in, only to serve as decoration for someone’s performance.” The letter reiterated that, “If you buy fur, no matter what size piece, or which animal it comes from, you’re supporting an industry that has no respect for animals.”

Feral continued, “While you may believe that wearing fur is a 'personal choice,' kindly know that the animals you wear had no such choice. The fur doesn’t magically slide off these beautiful beings. Their nightmare begins in the cramped cages they spend their lives in, where they are forced to lay in their own feces, and ends with first cut in their anuses. Or maybe some animals you wear were caught in leghold traps, and struggled in vain to gnaw off their legs? Either way, there is nothing glamorous or pretty about the cruelty they endured. And it can’t be morally justified either.”

Weir is no stranger to controversy when it comes to his use of fur. When asked by Allison Williams of Time Out New York to divulge how many furs he owns, Weir replied, “I don’t have that many, I’d say maybe ten or so. That’s just the coats. Then I have all the hats. PETA can come after me all they want. You wouldn’t believe the hate mail I get from PETA.… I love animals to an extent, but how many starving people are there? Help people that need to be helped.”

It is reported that the flamboyant figure skater sends the mailers from PETA back to the animal rights organization after adding a touch of artwork: chipmunks with X’s for eyes.

The Humane Society estimates that the fur industry mistreats and kills more than 50 million animals every year.

Weir currently stars in the eight-part original documentary series, Be Good Johnny Weir, on the Sundance channel.

UPDATE 1/29: Johnny Weir switching to faux fur for the 2010 Winter Olympics 
UPDATE 2/14: Johnny Weir claims ‘crazy fur people’ threats keep him in Olympic village