Bring home the national shame?

You can place an order for Burberry’s Peacock feathered trench coat at its city store if you have Rs 19 lakh; But spare a thought for the National Bird

Published: 25th March 2013 09:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th March 2013 06:12 PM   |  A+A-

The recent launch of a whooping £22,000 (Rs 19 lakh) worth trench coat by Burberry, made of peacock feathers, has turned controversial for promoting cruelty against peacocks. It has left activists fuming across the country as it is said that the feathers are plucked off the bird, when it is alive.

The Daily Mail, a UK daily, had investigated whether the feathers exported were from Indian peacocks.

It had revealed that until recently, the Burberry website - on which the coats are offered for sale - had said that the peacock feathers used to make the garment came from birds raised on farms in India. It stated: ‘100 per cent farmed golden peacock feathers, India.’ But the company later claimed it was a mistake and clarified that the feathers came from a farm in China. From China they went to a dealer in New York. The dealer in New York then exported them to India. In India, seamstresses sewed them onto the fabric, which was then exported to Italy, where the coat was finished by a company called Zamasport and then, the coats landed in London.

Whatever the origin of the feathers, this particular trench coat from Burberry’s spring-summer collection, said to be setting the world of fashion on fire, is on sale in Hyderabad! When checked with the Burberry store in the city, the manager said that though they had no stock of the trench coats yet, they were more than willing to order one.  “We do not have them in the store now, but we will order one for you or you can order one online yourself,” he said.

Commenting on the issue, Poorva Joshipura, CEO, PETA India, said, “The Burberry brand may be well known for its plaids, but what it should be known for is a long track record of promoting cruelty to animals, including drowning, strangling and electrocuting animals on factory fur farms and now, paying to have feathers ripped out of peacocks’ sensitive skin by the fistful. Anyone with an ounce of compassion should steer clear of Burberry’s cruel products and instead opt for any of the many fashionable options that didn’t cost an animal the skin (or feathers) off its back.”

Though the national animal, Tiger, has been in the news and focus of every government project, the national bird has somehow been ignored, opines Vivek Menon, Executive Director, Wildlife Trust of India.

“There are three perspectives to this story. One on wildlife conservation, two as an animal rights activist and the third one from the conservation point of view. Taking feathers that are shed by the bird is legal in some states and semi-legal in some. In terms of wildlife conversation, unless the origin of the feathers is sure, one cannot comment on the issue,” he said.

He warned, “I have always believed that the national bird peacock has always been ignored. Nobody bothers about the national bird. It is not rare or endangered, but soon might be in the list, with sparrows. There is no extensive study on the decline of the peacock population, nor on the poaching or trade. It is definitely a bad thing for anybody to promote fashion of such sort.”

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