It's too bad Hong Kong's tai-tais live in a hot, humid climate, which rather undermines any excuses they may have for their love of fur. But if our fashion designers can take the lead and show that not wearing fur is even more hip, their wealthy fans may follow. They wield particular influence because China has become the world's leading fur producer. On behalf of Peta Asia-Pacific, actress and animal rights activist Kim Basinger has written to leading Hong Kong designer William Tang and urged him to go fur-free. 'During their visits to fur farms in China - which is now the world's largest fur producer - they never found anything that could even remotely be considered humane,' wrote Basinger, who has sent a similar letter to mainland designer Luo Zheng. Peta's undercover work has been stored on a DVD and sent to Tang and Luo. 'Peta's heart-rending investigations have documented that animals, including dogs and cats, are bludgeoned, hanged, bled to death, strangled with wire nooses and skinned alive ... Some animals kick and writhe as their skin is ripped from their bodies. 'Because fur is sometimes deliberately mislabelled, it's not always possible to tell whether the fur that you're using in your designs came from a fox or a fox terrier. By shun[ning] fur, you can be a leader in fashion and compassion.' Tang's office did not reply to our request for comment.