A French luxury toy manufacturer has sparked outrage among animal rights groups for selling teddy bears made out of real animal fur.
The company “Histoire de Bêtes” (“Animal Stories” in English) prides itself on hand-making “baby bear”, “baby bunny” or “baby teddy” plush with rabbit, mink or coypu fur.
Every toy boasts special finishing touches like a leather nose made from crocodile skins and sewn lambs’ eyes.
The teddies are “made in France with love” according to the firm’s website, for “extra soul and softness”. But love comes with a hefty price, as the teddies can cost up to €1,800 each.
The company acknowledges its use of animal rather than synthetic materials.
“For all those who are against fur, leather, even wool and prefer to turn to synthetic materials, we understand their point of view, but we do not agree,” reads a statement on its website.
“The petrochemical industry and our attachment to materials Fossils have still not resolved these subjects. We believe in natural materials, small local productions, less object with more meaning, ” it states.
Histoire de Bêtes also defends itself by pointing out it only uses furs that would have been otherwise wasted, like those of dead rabbits that are given to them by a French fur maker.
But none of this seems to matter to animal defenders, who have voiced their disbelief and anger on hearing about the business.
“How could someone give a child a teddy bear made of real fur? It sullies their innocence,” one user wrote on Twitter.
Many others said the company owners should be ashamed of themselves and called for a boycott.
A petition has been launched calling for the company to stop producing and distributing the toys. For petitioner Valérie Ducrocq Coupé, no argument can legitimize this barbaric and inhuman practice.
“At a time when our society is increasingly concerned about animal welfare, can we all let such a company torture animals for the “well-being” of toddlers with wealthy parents?” she asks. The petition has already garnered over 30,000 signatures.
“I really regret that this company is so far behind. Society’s views have changed,” the director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, told French daily Le Figaro.
Following growing outrage, several clothes manufacturers around the world have already given up on using fur, including luxury brands Giorgio Armani, The Kooples and high street giants such as H&M and TopShop.