Fur protesters claw way back

LYNX, the radical anti-fur campaign which went into voluntary liquidation following a libel case brought by a fur farm, is to be reborn. Its successor, Respect for Animals, will be launched today with a 10-minute propaganda film featuring the actress Alison Steadman.

The relaunch will infuriate the fur trade, which has been proclaiming a renaissance in fur- wearing and which strongly backed the case brought by Swalesmoor Mink Farm. Lynx was ordered to pay pounds 40,000 damages plus costs, which, with its own, totalled more than pounds 260,000.

Lynx, a limited company, went into liquidation last month and two of its staff, Mark Glover, the director, and Stefan Ormrod, a scientific consultant, were declared bankrupt.

Mr Glover, a former Greenpeace campaigner who founded Lynx in 1985, is to be a consultant to Respect for Animals and Carol McKenna is its campaigns director. Ms McKenna had the same job with Lynx.

The new group is worried about reprisals from the fur trade and refuses to define its legal basis, other than that it will be a 'legally constituted means of running an organisation'.

Although Lynx's has disappeared, its education trust and a separate shop, Flying Fur in London's Covent Garden, have survived. The proceeds from the Covent Garden shop are expected to be divided between the trust and Respect for Animals.

Ms McKenna said last week that the libel case brought against Lynx had silenced it for two years. 'There are so many articles appearing in the fashion press now saying fur is coming back into fashion. We can't allow people to think that's OK.'

She said the fur trade 'must have expected anti-fur campaigning to continue. That is my purpose in life. What else do they expect someone like me to do?'

Respect for Animals plans a national tour, cinema advertising and a poster campaign. In the film Ms Steadman plays a woman who thinks her fur coat is acceptable because it comes from a farm.

The film quotes the Farm Animal Welfare Council, the Government's advisory body, which says that farms for mink and arctic fox stop them from displaying normal behaviour patterns and 'do not satisfy some of the most basic criteria' for protecting their welfare. It says the animals are unhappy, under great stress and often driven to cannibalism and self-mutilation.

Ms Steadman said last week: 'Fur is very beautiful and you can understand why women want to wear it, but it looks better on animals. The fashion industry seems to be reviving fur coats just at the time when women were getting rid of them.' It was 'criminal' to kill an animal for a fashion item.

A pounds 500,000 appeal launched by Linda McCartney to save Lynx raised only pounds 10,000. Mr Glover said he would lose his house, worth about pounds 60,000. 'Luckily I didn't have many savings, but all of that will have gone too. I have lost everything.'

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