"There's nothing sexier than wearing your own skin," says Meggan Anderson (pictured above in the middle), who used her topless torso spray painted like a cat's skin to draw attention the cruelty animals suffer for their furs.
Anderson and others from national animal rights group PETA
, which is based in Virginia, came to Pioneer Courthouse Square
and held protest signs over their chests this afternoon in Downtown Portland
. They are in the middle of a Northwest sweep this week which includes Seattle
and Vancouver Fashion Week in British Columbia
According to a press release from PETA, animals are sometimes electrocuted, poisoned, gassed, and have their necks broken for their skins and hides. Snakes have hoses rammed into their mouths and are pumped full of water, so workers can more easily skin them alive.
The activists, who were not targeting any Portland businesses in particular
this time, said there is no reason to be working with fur in the 21st century. Designers like Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren refuse to use fur in their collections, but activists said there was still room for improvement. A small team of activists hoped to shock downtown shoppers and convince them to cross any chinchilla coats off the day's shopping lists. PETA volunteer McKenna Fisher said it takes 30 to 35 chinchillas to make one coat.
"I think if people actually watched a video of what they are wearing
[it's nasty, beware], they wouldn't be wearing it," Fisher said. She was shoving fliers into the hands of wide eyed passersby, who stalled to stare at the naked women often peering around the political messages they held over their chests.
The three colorful, topless women stood outside for an hour on the blustery autumn afternoon. Tricia Harris, one of the spray painted women, admitted she was "a little cold," but Anderson chimed in saying, "It's nothing compared with what the animals go through."