Liz Hurley has provoked a storm of condemnation after becoming the new face of an exclusive fur company.
The actress and model has enraged animal-welfare groups by appearing in advertisements for American fur house Blackglama, which boasts of producing ‘the world’s finest natural ranch-raised mink’.
In many of the arty black-and-white photographs appearing in glossy fashion magazines, Hurley is wearing little more than the company’s fur coats and wraps.
Last night, leading animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) issued a savage attack on the 41-year-old.
‘It’s shocking that she’s taking money to wear baby minks, who are skinned at six months old for Liz’s luxuries,’ said Robbie LeBlanc, director of PETA Europe. ‘Her wardrobe is now as dead as her film career.
‘Millions of animals are electrocuted and skinned alive, suffering terribly for the production of fur. With so many fantastic faux furs available there is no excuse for the wearing of real fur.’
She is not the only celebrity to court controversy by advertising fur. The Hollywood star Gwyneth Paltrow has apologised to animal rights campaigners angry at her promotional work for an Italian fashion company that uses fur, ostrich and snake skin in its products.
Activists she should be ashamed of herself after she was photographed wearing a fox fur for the autumn collection of fur-lined boots and bags by the fashion company Tod's.
Ms Paltrow has been stung by the criticism, particularly as she and her husband, the Coldplay singer Chris Martin, are reported to be highly eco-conscious.
The new campaign is not the first time Miss Hurley has fallen foul of anti-fur protesters. An animal-rights sympathiser poured a glass of red wine over her white fur coat while shouting ‘You murdering bitch’ at a Hollywood birthday for actor Billy Zane in 2001.
Hurley is the latest in a long line of famous faces to appear in Blackglama’s ‘What becomes a legend most?’ campaign.
The firm’s fur products are considered among the best in the world and a single coat can fetch up to £13,000.
Audrey Hepburn, Marlene Dietrich, Lauren Bacall and Elizabeth Taylor are just some of those to have promoted the Blackglama label since the Sixties, although they did so before wearing fur became taboo.
More recently, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Elle Macpherson have all appeared in adverts for the brand, despite famously appearing in the ‘We’d rather go naked than wear fur’ campaign.
Crawford said the adverts were just another modelling job, while Campbell admitted: ‘I like fur.’
The new face of Blackglama: Liz Hurley has provoked outrage by her decision to front the exclusive U.S. furriers
Models Linda Evangelista and Gisele Bundchen have also worked for the company. Bundchen was reportedly paid £320,000 and two mink coats for the work.
She was subsequently targeted by PETA campaigners who stormed the catwalk carrying placards reading ‘Gisele: Fur Scum’ as she was modelling Victoria’s Secret underwear at a fashion show in 2002.
The model later repented, saying: ‘It was a bad decision on my part, because I don’t wear fur and I understand their cause.
‘I am the biggest animal lover in the world. I have four dogs and two horses, and I have rescued animals all of my life.’
Singing legends Barbra Streisand, Cher, Diana Ross and the late Luciano Pavarotti have also promoted the company’s wares.
Boast: Blackglama claims to produce 'the world's finest natural ranch-raised mink'
Other models to have worn fur include Kate Moss. While she has not posed for Blackglama, she has been spotted wearing a variety of seemingly real pelts. Last year, she was seen in a coat made from a dozen foxes.
Blackglama, based in Seattle, prides itself on producing the best fur coats. It insists that ‘every aspect of the pelt is examined, ensuring that standards remain the highest in the world’ and that it ‘presents only the finest mink with naturally superior colour’.
Miss Hurley’s willingness to wrap herself in fur is in contrast to actress Kate Winslet, who was incensed when she found out she had been duped into posing on a real fox fur rug during a recent magazine photoshoot.
Ms Winslet, 33, who wore nothing but Agent Provocateur stockings and Yves Saint Laurent heels for the Vanity Fair shoot, received an apology from the magazine after she had been assured the rug was made from fake fur.
Earlier this month, singer Natalie Imbruglia fronted a new PETA campaign insisting there was no ethical difference between a full fur coat and ‘a little fur trim’.
Last month actress Eva Mendez also stripped off to join PETA’s roster of celebrity supporters.
Hurley last night declined to comment on her decision to work for Blackglama.