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January 20, 2006

Mary Alice Pollard

World Famous Musicians are in the vanguard of Cornish Woman's Campaign
Rachael Foster Reports
West Briton Newspaper

A Cornish animal rights activist has set up a global campaign to try and save millions of animals which die each year from the Chinese fur trade.

Mary Alice Pollard, who lives in Gerrans on the Roseland Peninsula, already has support for her campaign from world-renowned musical artists, including Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Jimmy Page and The Levellers.

Mrs Pollard campaigns under the banner Cornwall's Voice for the Animals, and is building up a group - Musicians Against The Fur Trade.

The group exists to raise awareness and also to form a "musical petition" which will be presented to the Chinese Government.

"This is so that singers, songwriters and musicians can work towards a common goal," said Mrs Pollard.

"In May we will send this to the Chinese Government with signatures from all over the world.

"This a chance for people to group together in a common art and a common cause. I think there's strength in numbers."

It is estimated that up to three million dogs and cats die each year for the Chinese fur trade.

Often, the animals are skinned alive, and remain conscious for 10 or 15 minutes after the pelt is removed.

Even before this horrific act, the animals are kept in cramped conditions and are beaten and clubbed to knock them out before skinning.

Some animals still wear a collar, a sign they were once a much loved family pet which was stolen for the fur trade.

The pelts could be turned into anything from clothing to toys, some of which aren't properly labelled as real fur.

Although Mrs Pollard is extremely keen to see the trade outlawed, she realises the importance of finding alternative means of income for people working in the industry.

"It's very easy to hate these people that do this to these beautiful animals, but we have to find them alternative work," she said.

"If we ban this, what happens if it goes underground? We have to give these people alternative, cruelty free work.

"We have to make sure the EU bans imports of fur, so we stop the trade in the western world."

One musician who has joined the campaign is Maria Daines, from Cambridgeshire. She has written a song - I Am The Owner Of This Coat - for the cause.

She said: "This song was inspired by the work of Mary-Alice Pollard, Cornwall's Voice For Animals.

"Contrary to our knowledge of this subject, the fur trade is very much thriving in some parts of the world.

"A lucrative business is labelling real animal fur as 'fake' fur, and selling it as trinkets, fur trims and clothing, even as pet toys.

"The animals are not killed humanely, they are not transported humanely, they are thrown around like rubbish before their deaths, in crates that hold up to 30 dogs or cats in the smallest of spaces.

"How can we stand aside and let this continue? Please help by adding your name to the petition."

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