SUNSET BEACH - World-famous fashion designer Stella McCartney, in association with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), has announced plans to host the world’s first virtual anti-fur protest.
McCartney, daughter of Beatle Paul McCartney, is a life-long vegetarian and famous for her strong animal rights beliefs; she has teamed up with the world’s largest animal rights organization, PETA, to raise awareness inside Second Life.
The event will take place on a purpose-built sim created by Rivers Run Red. Inspired by the English countryside, it will feature stables, horse jumps, picnic tables, Linda McCartney mini veggie burger stalls and tree-houses containing information about both Stella McCartney and PETA.
The celebrations will begin at 19.00 GMT on 12th July with an outdoor picnic; visitors will have the chance to make a donation to PETA and will receive a goodie bag containing anti-fur accessories to help spread the word.
The picnic will also mark the beginning of the event’s highlight: a competition to come up with an SL version of iconic PETA slogan: ‘I’d rather go naked than wear fur’. Entries will appear on the island to inspire discussion about the cruelty of the fur trade.
First prize will be two tickets to the Spring/Summer 2008 Paris fashion show, second prize is a fall/winter Appaloosa bag and third prize is a full set of products from CARE, the first luxury organic skincare line containing 100% organic active ingredients.
“We are always looking for new ways to raise awareness about the extreme suffering that animals endure on fur farms and in cruel leg-hold traps in the wild, so when Stella came up with this idea, we were on board from the beginning," said Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA. The organisation has 1.6 million members worldwide and concentrates on the four areas that witness the worst suffering: factory farms, laboratories, the clothing trade and the entertainment industry.
The news has been greeted with considerable enthusiasm by members of SL’s many animal rights groups.
“I adore the idea! I am for anything that brings attention to the issue and strongly support anything that I can to promote it. There are many other options besides hurting harmless animals, not only in the wearing of fur but also in testing,” Jade Jewell, member of the PETA Members and Supporters in SL group, said.
Vegan and animal lover mikka Klaar believes SL offers an excellent campaigning opportunity. “How many people here feel free to advertise [their beliefs] who can't in real life? [This is] a chance to create a brave new world – or at least it’s a starting point.”
“The more people there are doing something against animal cruelty, the better,” agreed Berenice Cazalet, member of Against Animal Cruelty. “Especially here in SL, where everything goes! People are eager to explore and find out new things.”
“[SL] is one of the easiest ways to get international awareness,” Winter Staheli, member of the Animal Rights and Vegetarians groups said.
“This place attracts a lot of traffic,” commented TinaAnn Whitfield, a member of many animal rights groups including Against Animal Cruelty and Animal Lovers of Second Life. “[I think it’s] absolutely fantastic, I’m all for making the world aware of all things possible to stop the fur trade.”
“I think that if any message can reach even one person in a remote location it was worth it,” said Venezia Dagastino, participant in SL animal rights groups including Animal Haven and Vegan. “Awareness is the most important thing – people do a lot of things they don't think about, for example they wear fur and never wonder where it came from.”
“People spend their lindens a little more freely than their real money, so it could be a good place to raise funds as well,” Cazalet said.
There is hope that the opening of the Stella McCartney/PETA sim will help the animal rights groups already present in SL unite and make a difference.
“I really want to think so, because SL is an excellent tool for meeting others from around the globe,” Thomas Sadoul, member of the Animal Rights group, said. “I suppose it's like real life in that one just needs know where to look to find others with similar interests. An established meeting place would do a lot to promote a cause if enough people know about it.”
“I think, if we all work together, we will be much more powerful than just some tiny groups here and there,” Cazalet said. “I am a member of this group to show my attitude...the group as such is very quiet, nothing happens. I think this really must change.”
The Stella McCartney/PETA sim will open to the public on July 12th.
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