Fur ban - step in right direction

I WOULD like to thank Winnie Cheung for her letter concerning our anti-fur policy (South China Morning Post, January 30).

We are always willing to comment on our environmental and animal welfare policies; indeed we are delighted when they prompt debate. Through discussion we hope to achieve progress.

It is certainly not our contention that the methods used to produce meat and leather are satisfactory; it is, however, our position that the methods used to produce fur are entirely unsatisfactory.

Meat is still considered by many people to be an essential dietary requirement.

As a bar/restaurant chain we have to recognise that and work within it, doing what we can until it is commercially viable to operate an exclusively vegetarian restaurant. To that end we ensure all our meat is free range and our menus this year will be 50per cent vegetarian.

As for leather, we can only agree with Ms Cheung that the line between fur and leather is to an extent arbitrary. However, it must be pointed out that leather is at least a by-product of an industry many consider vital.

The production of fur, on the other hand, is a wasteful luxury involving, as it does, the disposal of tens of millions of fur-bearing animals' carcasses, not to mention those of four times as many ''trash'' animals accidentally trapped.

More than 400 years ago, Leonardo da Vinci said that one day men would look upon the murder of animals as we now look upon the murder of men. Our progress to that point is slow, we can move but one step at a time.

Fur is the first step and as long as people like Ms Cheung continue to wear fur, we cannot hope to deal with the issue of leather.

We look forward to the day we can.

STEVEN LEWIS Executive Mad Dogs International