Fur flies: posh coats find new homes with homeless
"I'm going to the opera!" joked Marie Ravix, snatching up a dramatic, long brown fur coat with delight Wednesday as animal rights group PETA handed the symbols of sartorial luxury to the homeless poor.
Ravix, originally from Haiti, has been living in the Community for Creative Non-Violence center in Washington for three years.
Wednesday, she had the not-exactly-everyday opportunity to pick out a fur coat, the color and size she pleased, donated by the People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
"I dreamed about this," gushed Ravix. "In my opinion, everything has its own place," she said when asked whether she minded wearing animal fur.
The event took place in a grim building filled with people taking a break from winter cold. The furs, which likely saw more glamorous days, were displayed on large tables, and the crowd of enthusiastic women rushed the room with expressions of glee.
"I know PETA is against wearing them (the fur coats), but they are giving them to a good cause, to the people that need them the most," said Cathy Presley, modeling her long black fur.
"I feel blessed. The coat is so warm," said Diane Lloyd, a shelter resident who selected a snow white full-length coat.
"We can't bring these animals back, but we can send a message that only people truly struggling to survive have any excuse for wearing fur," PETA presidentIngrid Newkirk said in a statement.
PETA receives donations from individuals who have been "sickened by exposes of cruelty to animals," the PETA statement explained.
"We've burned and buried fur coats, and even used them as bedding for shelters of homeless animals," said William Rivas-Rivas, PETA's spokesperson at the event.
"These people are not going to wear them for vanity, it's a matter of survival," he said.
Rivas emphasized that the" coats we give are not worth anything on the street, they have paint on them or some cut, they've all been devaluated to prevent anyone from trying to resell them".
PETA advocates the ending of animal cruelty in the food, science and fashion industry.
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