First person

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 January, 2007, 12:00am

We had a demonstration last week outside the Burberry store in Central. We are targeting Burberry because they will not stop using fur. Other high-end fashion firms like Ralph Lauren's Polo label have promised not to use fur in their clothes. Burberry will not do it. It just doesn't seem to be a priority for them.

Through our demonstrations, we are letting Burberry know that we are not backing off and we are letting people know that these things are happening.

No one from Burberry came out to speak to us, but one or two security guards told us to get off the stairs because they said it was the property of Alexandra House.

The demonstration went really well. It attracted a lot of attention. We gave out leaflets to passers-by and they started asking why we were targeting Burberry and why it isn't right to use fur. And after reading the leaflets, with pictures of animals being killed, they started to realise it is not right to kill animals for their fur.

Burberry said last year that they would not use fur from China but to us, it doesn't really make a difference. The bottom line is they are using fur - whether it's from China or other places, it still comes from fur farms.

There was a demonstration in Australia in December and one in the US this month and another one in the UK coming up. We will keep this up until they stop using fur.

Peta is quite new to Hong Kong. A lot of people in Hong Kong speak English and they are more aware of what is happening in the west compared to the rest of Asia. We think Hong Kong is a really good platform to start our work in Asia.

We particularly want to get into China. There are no animal welfare laws there and we would really like to start helping them to get some legislation going.

We have over 100 members and supporters in Hong Kong. I have been doing a lot of work on the mainland and Hong Kong in recent months. We are working with animal welfare groups on the mainland and Taiwan.

We still have a lot of work to do. I guess a lot of people just don't know what is going on in fur farms when animals are captured or bred for their fur. What we are doing is letting them know what is going on, to put images in their heads to get the message across.

When people see that animals are being skinned alive, electrocuted and killed in such horrible ways, they are totally grossed out. The problem is that so many people have no idea what is being done to animals.

I've been with Peta since I left university last year and I am totally happy with what I am doing. It is really meaningful work. Animals can't speak for themselves so we need to be their voice.

When I found out about Peta at university I was a history major and I was going to go into teaching. But I started thinking that something had to be done and I had to do something for the animals. It was something I really needed to do.

I would like to see an end to the fur trade. There are so many people wearing fur coats and fur trim. Every other person in Hong Kong has some fur on them. Stopping that is one of my goals.

My other goal is to promote vegetarianism, because of all the suffering that goes on in factory farms. People just don't realise what goes on. In the west there is more awareness, but in Hong Kong and Asia there isn't.

I have been a vegetarian for the past two or three years. I went vegan when I started working with Peta. My parents are still meat eaters, but I am trying very hard to change them. My mother is already cutting back on meat.

Over time I believe people will change their habits. It won't happen tomorrow. We have to persuade people. It's a long-term project.

As told to Simon Parry

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