When we hear about a beauty queen’s nude pics, we usually expect it to be some kind of scandal that forces her to give up her crown. But that’s not the case with these Miss USA pageant winners, who chose to pose in the nude for a PETA ad, in an effort to urge the pageant industry to stop supporting the fur trade.
Susie Castillo, Shandi Finnessey, Shanna Moakler, and Alyssa Campanella expose it all for the ad campaign, in the hopes that this will bring attention to the fact that the pageant industry often gives furs to pageant winners. Miss USA gives each winner a full-length mink coat and jacket (valued at $15,000).
“I was so disgusted that I would wear this skin … and consider myself beautiful,” said Finnessey, who won the 2004 Miss USA pageant.
According to PETA, millions of foxes, minks, raccoons, chinchillas, cats and dogs are “electrocuted, beaten, drowned, strangled, and skinned alive” for their fur.
“The more I learned of the tortures that animals go through in the name of fashion, I just think it’s so unnecessary,” said Castillo, who won the 2003 pageant. “It’s unbelievable to me, actually.”
There is a formal petition organized by sites such as ForChange.com, begging pageant industry board of directors to end this “shameful practice of supporting the bloody fur industry.” Anyone can sign the petition that is sent to many pageant leaders.
A bit about the fur trade
The fur trade is a worldwide industry, though nowadays much of the focus on fur trade is centered around specific fur farms and authorized hunting, vs. the wild wild west-like days of centuries past. Supporters of the fur trade claim that the methods used to obtain fur from animals is not cruel. They go on to say that these animals live among an abundant population, and that the practice of killing these animals for fur is a right they ought to have (furs from cold-temperature animals, like Polars, have been a sought-after commodity long before modern-day capitalism was established).
Canada remains a hotbed for fur trade activity. The Fur Institute of Canada claims there are around 60,000 active (licensed) trappers in the country. Nova Scotia remains the world leader in mink and foxes, earning $150 million in revenue.
With this continued success, however, there’s no question that the fur trade has lost some of its steam. Part of it has to do with animal rights, while another large part has to do with the increasing number of synthetic choices available, which not only allow someone to buy a product without having to kill an animal for it, but is also considerably less expensive.
There’s no word, to date, whether major pageants across the country are taking this petition seriously. Yet having not just former pageant participants, but actual winners, take such a bold (and nude) stand with PETA will certainly help spark a conversation.