From Karen Dawn, DawnWatch.com
Last week somebody asked me if I had seen much change in media coverage of animal issues in the decade over which I have been sending out DawnWatch alerts. Those of us who been involved in animal advocacy for some time remember the days when Oprah would gift little mink purses to her audience members. We wrote her beseeching letters knowing that a heart as large as hers would eventually make room for the animals.
And indeed, over the next
few years we saw her awareness grow and saw it reflected in wonderful
coverage on her show of animal issues such as puppy mills and factory
farming. This month we see O Magazine, of which Oprah is the founder and
editorial director, take a strong stance against fur. Yes, things have
changed over the last decade!
In "Behind the Scenes" on page 24, O Magazine editor in chief Susan Casey gives us background to this month's fashion spread with her column titled, "Something Wild: O celebrates feel-good fashion." She shares with us that her fashion department was told to expect "much fur" on the runways this year but that not all trends work for all people:
And there's one that O has decided to skip, not just this season but in every issue since the magazine began: garments made of real fur.
She describes Oprah's personal "aha moment" when she looked at a sable cape in the closet. Casey writes:
The cape's thick pelt gave her a visceral sense of how many four-leggeds had been used in its creation, bred specifically to be killed.
We also learn that O has also chosen to leave leather bags out of this
month's fashion feature. Nice!
The following lines are just a tad awkward for animal advocates because we know about the sad lives of animals used for entertainment -- such as for fashion photo shoots. Casey writes:
That's not to say you won't find exotic animal skins and feathers in O's October issue: it's just that they're still attached to the living creatures that grew them.
Indeed the model is working in various shots with a pony, an adorable pig
on a leash, a magnificently feathered owl, a strikingly handsome rooster, a
gorgeous python hanging around her neck, and a cuddly tiger cub in her arms.
Casey sums up her column on the cruelty free fashion spread with:
Too extreme-- or extremely cool? That's your call. (After playing with these beautiful animals all day we vote the latter.) Please send us your insights at Oprah.com.
Please do! But I don't think now is the time to start complaining about
the use of captive animals in the shoot. As fur floods the market this year,
now is the time to be celebrating O Magazine's courageous stance against it.
The use of the live animals does remind readers that they are living
sentient beings; education rather than exploitation was clearly O Magazine's
intent. We'll have many opportunities to discuss captivity issues later so
for now, as so many other magazines display fur, I hope we can focus on
giving the O Magazine editors credit where it is due -- with loads of
positive feedback. And if you have ever thought of subscribing to O Magazine
now is the time, making sure to tell the magazine why you are getting on
The page that specifically asks for comments about the magazine is at:
You can also leave a comment right below the photos of the coats on line
And the magazine also prints comments posted on its facebook page, which is
Note: Separate from the page 200 cruelty free fashion spread, the
magazine also has a section on page 104 headed, "Four Trends to Avoid and
What to Wear Instead." It includes a picture of a model in a big puffy fur
coat. The caption reads:
"No doubt about it, fur is fantastic looking -- on animals. Faux is the only
humane way to go."
Thank you O Magazine!
I send thanks to Jenny Heath Espeseth for making sure we knew about this edition.
DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at DawnWatch. You may forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts only if you do so unedited -- leave DawnWatch in the title and include this parenthesized tag line.