Militant campaigners from the anti-fur association Fourrure Torture protested on Saturday afternoon on Avenue Montaigne, a street famous for its fashionable shops, in the posh 8th arrondissement of Paris. In front of chic designer stores such as Dior, Jimmy Choo and Chanel, the 50 or so protesters held up atrocious photographs of slaughtered animals, underneath which were written the words “Sonia Rykiel killed me” and “Gaultier killed me”.

Saturday 14th January was a date carefully chosen to coincide with what Metro has dubbed the “bloody” sales, and the peak shopping period in the French capital. As shoppers passed, the campaigners, wearing outfits covered in fake blood, shouted about the death of millions of animals, “sacrificed on the altar of fashion”.  

“By protesting today, and speaking to shoppers, we hope to bring about changes that will lead to an end of the suffering of animals, bred and killed for their fur in abominable conditions,” said Olivier Rafin, the coordinator of the protest.

Today, fur can be bought cheaply in the form of collars and accessories. Rafin warned that those coming to shop in the sales should be particularly careful as it is often hard to see the difference between real and ‘faux’ fur.

The protesters invited passing shoppers to sign their petition, which called for “an end to the production, importation and selling of animal fur”.

Rebecca Beaurein, 26, had come to look for bargains in her favourite designer stores, but sympathised with the cause of Fourrure Torture: “There are so many products on the market made of synthetic leather, such as bags and shoes. It’s really not complicated to make good choices which don’t involve the exploitation and death of animals.”

56 million animals are killed for their fur every year worldwide.

The association Fourrure Torture was created in November 2004, and has since worked in collaboration with numerous militant animal rights groups in France, informing the government, regularly investigating ‘fur farms’ across the world, and generally spreading awareness.

Because of the efforts of Fourrure Torture, several mainstream French clothes stores have already stopped selling products containing animal fur, including Promod, la Redoute, Camaieu, Caroll, Decathlon, and Pimkie.

With the hope of spreading awareness of the horrors of the fur industry, and particularly among younger generations, Fourrure Torture is active on Facebook, Twitter and Myspace.

Their next protest is planned for the 21st January in the town of Emagny. It will call for the end of the breeding of mink for fur, and FT hope to prevent the opening of a new mink farm in Moncley, a nearby commune.