Animal Defenders of Westchester

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We advocate on all animal protection and exploitation issues, including experimentation, factory farming, rodeos, breeders and traveling animal acts.

Animal Defenders of Westchester
P.O. Box 205
Yonkers, NY 10704

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[NOTE] A few days ago we posted a portion of a fashion article in the WESTCHESTER WAG that advocated 'fooling' animal activists by wearing a certain type of fur (see below).  Below the alert are the responses sent by the editor to Johanna Clearfield and myself; our letters appear below the editor's responses:

The WESTCHESTER WAG is a popular free monthly periodical, catering to the upscale element in Westchester (  In the September 2005 issue is an article entitled FALL FASHION: ROMANCE RETURNS.  Under the subheading SHOES, FUR AND OTHER 'BASICS' we read:

"You can achieve instant glamour and move from day to night if you have a luxurious fur collar (and cuffs)that you can fasten on a coat, jacket or sweater.  If you are planning to invest in a full length fur, consider sheared or plucked mink, which is elegant and less likely to arouse the ire of animal activists who spot you in the distance.  Black knitted mink jackets are divine, but they look like chenille, so you may be just as happy with chenille and you can always add your fur collar."

I suggest you kick these people's butts.  There is a time for polite and a time to 'take it up a notch.'  This magazine recognizes the 'problem' of fur, but opts to tell its readers how to trick us - wrong. It also quotes heavily from Neiman Carcus. Editor Mary Ann Liebert bemoans the passing of her 19 year old cat, and talks about the WAG's 'Best dressed pet' contest in her editorial.

EMAIL for EDITOR Mary Ann Liebert: [email protected] 
cc: [email protected] 


Dear Ms Clearfield,

You point is well taken. You are not alone in calling this to my attention, and as an animal lover myself, I feel very badly that WAG would promote killing animals for the sake of fashion. You obviously knew from my editorial how much I value animal companions, and I love all animals…seals, elephants, and all the creatures that so enrich our environment. I abhor recreational hunting and killing animals for fashion is, in reality, the same thing. I will figure out a way to address this issue some way in the November or December issue of WAG issue, and I will make it a priority to be watchful that we do not encourage sacrificing animals for fashion or frivolous reasons.

Thank you for taking the time to write to me; it is an important point.

Mary Ann

-----Original Message-----

Sent: Monday, September 26, 2005 10:20 AM
To: Liebert, Mary Ann
Subject: Please reconsider promoting Fur Fashions

I understand your editor recently grieved the passing of her long-time animal companion, a feline. I'm sure your readers would be quite disturbed by an editorial that would encouraged readers to "achieve instant glamour and move from day to night if you have a luxudious fur collar (and cuffs).." made of kitten or puppy fur. Would you say your readers would be "just as happy" with a slaughtered baby seal that was clubbed in the presence of his traumatized mother?

While companion animals have a long history of human care and protection; other animals (such as mink/Fox/baby seals) do not. That does not make them any less valuable or somehow deserving of cruelty and death. Human beings have countless non-fur options. We do not need to feed an industry that raises baby animals as if they were plants to be harvested. All living creatures deserve respect and consideration - not just your cat.

I am only one of thousands of fashionistas living and working in the New York area who cares about clothes will NEVER buy fur. How could I possibly support these ridiculously cruel practices (castrating sheep without any anesthetic is just one of dozens of common practices)?? It shouldn't take the photo of a baby seal being clubbed with blood spilling out on the pure Anarctic snow to recognize criminal injustice.

I am offended and disgusted by your paper's promotion of an industry that exploits so many innocent creatures who can do nothing by way of defending themselves. Imagine your own cat in a fur trap, if you would. Imagine yourself being raised for the consumption of others.

It is unnecessary and abhorrent. Please change your editorial policy and ban the promotion of this cruelty.

{Ps. for more documentation on the cruelty of animals raised for fur; please visit (one of many) websites such as: 


Johanna Clearfield

Dear Ms. Blackman,

As an animal lover myself, I am upset that this obviously slipped by me. The fashion piece came in just as we were going to press, and although I did not read the final copy, this is no excuse. I have a dog and cat and love animals – all animals – and value the contribution they make to our world. I abhor hunting for recreation, and killing animals for fashion is very much the same thing. I feel badly if the piece says or insinuates that plucked mink should be chosen to "fool" animal lovers. I will meet with our editor to discuss a way to make amends for this oversight.

I very much appreciate the time you took to write, and you can be certain that we will find a way to showcase fashion that respects these feelings.....and I will be sure to get this point in either the November of December issue. Please stick with me while I make this happen. In the meantime, my sincere apologies.

Mary Ann

-----Original Message-----

From: [email protected]
Sent: Monday, September 26, 2005 9:46 PM
To: Liebert, Mary Ann
Subject: re hiding your fur coats

Mary Ann Liebert


I'm glad you suggested your readers hide your cruelty coats from animal activists, you should hide your faces as well; however: we are not stupid. We recognize, and will comment upon, your blood coats at every opportunity.

Kiley Blackman


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