Animal rights group irate over Trudeau's Christmas card
Published Friday, December 17, 2010 7:35PM EST
MONTREAL - The furry frills on Justin Trudeau's Christmas card have drawn fire from an animal rights group.
The card that the Liberal MP for Papineau sent to his constituents this year has Trudeau and his family in parkas with thick fur-lined hoods huddled under a fur blanket.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has blasted the MP and his family for wearing coyote fur, calling it "a lurid way of celebrating peace on Earth."
PETA spokeswoman Jane Dollinger calls the fur a product of misery and says coyotes are often killed in steel-jaw traps which have been banned in many other countries.
In Montreal, local PETA spokesman Lucas Solowey told CTV Montreal's Catherine Sherriffs that the card also sends the wrong message.
"It's not great for a holiday card, it doesn't bring the message of cheer," he said. "It brings the message that cruelty to animals is okay, and it's not okay."
Trudeau's office refused to comment on PETA's fiery reaction to the cards.
But spokesman Alex Lanthier says Trudeau and his family were wearing parkas made by Canada Goose, a Canadian company which has a "sustainable way" of collecting fur.
Canada Goose says it obtains the fur in the most humane ways and adheres to the guidelines of the Fur Council of Canada.
The company's policy also says it uses coyote fur "only as absolutely necessary, and exclusively for functional purposes."
Lanthier says this seems to be the first time Trudeau's family has been photographed in fur, but pointed out the MP's late father and former prime minister was photographed in similar fur-lined parkas multiple times in the past.
Furthermore, says Allan Herscovici of the Fur Council of Canada, the industry is subject to strict standards and also has little impact on the environment.
"In Canada the fur trade is well regulated," he said. "We are not using any endangered species. In fact, the fur trade is an environmental success story of sustainable use of renewable resources."
In Trudeau's riding of Papineau in the Parc-Extension-Saint Michel-Villeray borough, reactions from constituents were mixed, with some seeing no problem with the greeting card while others feel Trudeau should have known better.
"I think he's a rising star in Canadian politics," one constituent said. "Honestly, that's kind of a faux pas that shouldn't be done when you are where you are in his career right now."